Searching for the right dress
When I first started looking for dresses, needless to say I was overwhelmed. So many different styles to choose from can paradoxically feel just as stifling as having a restricted selection. My main issue was thinking that I knew what I wanted, when in actual fact, after trying those gowns on, they just didn’t work for me. The overall experience was a blend of excitement, confusion and quite a lot of stress!
Why I went bespoke
One of my best friends had her wedding gown designed and handmade and despite being dubious at first, I was blown away by the end result. From then on, I thought that a bespoke dress would be the perfect solution when it came to allying the elements that I had liked in the dozens of discarded dresses that hadn’t been quite right. Bespoke also let me have a creative input in designing and thus allowing me to truly reflect my personal style.
Finding a trustworthy designer
I used the same company as my friend as she couldn’t stop raving about them and I had seen their work first-hand. This greatly helped in establishing a base of trust with them, which only grew when I flew to New Delhi for a fitting and actually met them and saw them work.
Three dresses is never too many!
It was important to me to distinguish the three chapters of my wedding. The first is the legal wedding which I wanted a demure and shorter dress for, almost with a retro twist; the second is for a black-tie wedding celebration in Seville, hence the dramatic fish tail gown inspired by flamenco dresses, and finally, my last dress is to match a secret garden theme for the romantic ceremony in France, complete with embroideries, pleating and lots of drama.
The process was quite straightforward: plenty of measuring at home, FaceTime and calicos being sent back and forth to determine the best cuts and options for me. I will admit that it’s challenging to work with a studio so far away, but they made the whole experience as easy and enjoyable as possible.
A little bit of stress
The scariest moment was hands down waiting for the final package to arrive! My nerves were all over the place, especially as postal services and couriers can lose items occasionally. I was also concerned that everything would be packed well and most importantly, still fit after trying them on in New Delhi a few months before. Fortunately, everything was perfect.
Favourite moments of the process
My favourite moment was meeting the whole team in New Delhi and getting to experience something other than calicos and a phone interaction. My sister was with me too and it was so useful to have her input for the final designs, which being entirely custom pieces, could be tweaked as much as I wanted. Additionally, I am so happy that such wonderful, talented people worked on my dresses: getting along so well with them made the experience that much sweeter.
I would definitely recommend this process to other brides, but only if they have at least 18 months available for it. There is a lot of back and forth and you need to allow the time for designing, receiving parcels, making decisions, alterations, etc. And if you can go out there for a fitting, definitely do!
The dresses are very different to what I thought I would ever wear. What I realised is that they each reflect different aspects of me and in them, I don’t just look like a bride, but most importantly, I still look and feel like myself. Throughout the experience, I also welcomed advice and input from the team in India and my sister, who made me think of styles and details I never would have before.
Tweaking the designs
There were a few design tweaks, but mostly I was confident in my initial decisions. The biggest ones were probably additional 3D embroidery to my French gown, the length and fabric of my civil ceremony skirt and going from a removable train on my Seville gown to a full beaded fish tail. There were also some changes in veil lengths, but it was all straightforward and never an issue to change my mind: if anything, the studio was the first to suggest the best tweaks and alterations! They always wanted me to be 100% happy and for that, I’ll be forever grateful.
You can read more about why I decided on bespoke bridal wear in the rock my wedding article: