Can I Add A Little Bit Of Individuality To My Wedding Dress?
The answer is most definitely 'Yes!'. This year Edith & Winston Bridalwear noticed an increase in brides asking for a little bit ‘more’ when it comes to their beautiful wedding dress. The number of brides looking to adapt and individualize their gown has increased dramatically since 2015.
Occasionally, a bride will walk in to a boutique and fall in love with a wedding dress – just the way it is. That means if she’s fallen in love with a lace champagne ball gown, she will walk down the aisle in a lace champagne ball gown.
That’s not always the case, however. Every woman has a part of their body that they do not like, want to hide or sometimes it’s an area they love and want to show off more. That means changing necklines, adding sleeves and giving the bride a little bit of individuality to the gown that they have fallen in love with. There is nothing wrong with falling in love with a gown just the way it is, but don’t let anyone make you feel that there is anything wrong with wanting to change something to suit you. As long as a seamstress tells you she can do it, don’t be afraid -- you know your own comfort levels and at the end of the day it’s your wedding day. Just be mindful of the time and costs involved.
Some designers will be able to sell to the boutiques the matching lace and fabric of a gown, so little changes can be made by a seamstress. Some don’t and that’s their prerogative – it just means your lace will have to be the closest match the seamstress can find. But it gives you options. The changes I refer to are things like adding a cap sleeve or removing a sparkly belt and replacing it with something more subtle. If the gown you love needs a major alteration to its shape, it probably means that there is another gown for you out there. When researching wedding designers look for those like Ivory & Co, who offer accessories to match their designs like the reverse bolero.
Since opening in late 2014, we have sold extra lace to many of our brides. Some have added it to the train of their skirt, others have added thin cap sleeves and some have had a whole new bolero designed for their wedding dress. A custom-made bolero like this costs around £200 - £350*, depending on the seamstress. (This is not included in your gown costs and should be budgeted for separately as standard alterations can cost between £150-£250* depending on what needs doing).
I spoke to three of Edith & Winston’s brides about why they chose to have bespoke alterations. Katy got married in December at Eaves Hall. She wore a Callista gown that was completely redesigned including a reverse bolero designed to match her gown.
Katy said “I chose to alter my gown because I had a specific vision of how I wanted my wedding dress to be. Being a plus size girl I have spent years getting to know what suits me. I quite like certain parts of my body and I wanted to show these off and to make the best of my figure on my wedding day. I had the straps removed from the gown in order to create a sweetheart neckline. I added a reverse lace bolero to add a vintage feel to my dress. The extra cost was a shock at first but I basically had a dress redesigned which was completely bespoke to me and my wishes. Looking back at our wedding pictures I couldn’t be more thrilled!”
Jenny recently got married in January wearing a Kelsey Rose gown with bespoke alterations. She kindly explained to me why she had her dress altered to suit her needs. “I felt that I wanted to adapt my wedding dress because I always have felt self-conscious about the top of my arms, I don’t wear sleeveless dresses but the dress I chose was so stunning I could see the potential with just a few tweaks to make me feel comfortable. We created lace and tulle sleeves and added more lace to the waistband to make it more individual. It was comforting knowing that what I had envisioned in my head was able to be made by the very talented seamstress and it made it so that one part of the wedding planning process was a relaxing and exciting experience for me. I felt like nothing was too much trouble and having me feeling comfortable and beautiful was their only priority, which is such a comforting feeling. I was happy to pay for the seamstress to make the alteration, you can’t put a price on perfection and I know that my wedding dress is totally unique, one of a kind, which only makes it all the more special”
Edith & Winston Bridalwear work with two independent seamstresses who have years of experience to ensure every bride gets the dress of her dreams.
Some brides find a dress that suits all their requirements, like Becky, who wore a beautiful ball gown with straps.
Becky said “My dress was the first dress that I tried on. I kept comparing each dress I tried on to the first. I then realised that it was my dress, it was perfect. It had an inbuilt corset that meant my lumps and bumps couldn’t be seen! I didn’t want an off the shoulder gown as that isn’t my style. This one had large straps and was beautifully decorated.”
Every bride deserves to feel amazing on her wedding day and no-one should feel uncomfortable with the way they look in their gown. If the boutique can’t source the extra fabric for you, find a seamstress who can, especially one who has dressmaking skills. The designers’ gowns are beautiful just the way they are, but working daily with plus size brides, I understand and believe that, mostly, you can make a bespoke change to suit you!
Written by Rebecca Lord-Lyon
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*Prices are a rough estimate from March 2016 by an independent seamstress