If you have your heart set on your dream wedding dress but dread the thought of browsing endless rows of white satin, a custom-made wedding dress might be the key to happily ever after. Whether you have hard-to-fit measurements or style that can’t be confined by off-the-rack choices, having a dress made to fit doesn’t have to be prohibitively expensive, either.
Because it is usually best to work with a local designer who can conduct fittings in person, begin your search for a designer by asking friends and family if they know of anyone who makes bridal fashion. Always ask to see photos of previous gowns they’ve made, references and to see a dress in person if possible. Often, dresses may photograph better than they look in real life.
Fashion programs at area colleges can also be a good place to find the perfect dressmaker. Professors often take in custom design work on the side or can recommend advanced students who design bridal gowns. It is best to keep in mind that all designers are not created equally, and one who might make a killer cocktail dress might not be up to the intricacies required in bridal couture, such as corsets or bustles.
Theaters are also great places to look for designers accustomed to creating elaborate looks out of luxurious fabrics. As an added bonus, many theater costumers are well-acquainted with creating looks that take movement into account, ensuring you’ll be as comfortable on the dance floor as off. Two such theater costumes — Jenny McNee, costumer at the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, Va., and Emily Rohm, actress and designer in Bolinbrook, Ill. — shared their thought on and experiences with designing custom wedding gowns. ...