The most beautiful wedding gown I have ever seen was custom made. Mother of the bride told me its story after the wedding. Since the bride did not like most of the bridal gowns her family could afford, her mother chanced upon a brilliant idea.
In the dry cleaners in town, she had made acquaintances with an oriental woman who did alterations for the customers. This seamstress had impressed the bride's mother with her impeccable stitching. During a conversation, the seamstress had told the mother that she used to be a tailor in the country she came from and she could make any clothing fit any body shape.
The mother asked her daughter to pick a wedding gown photo from a brides' magazine. Then, taking the photo and her daughter, she faced the seamstress and inquired if she would consider sewing her daughter's bridal gown. The seamstress said she would, but she could only work on the wedding dress in her spare time. This was not a problem since the wedding was planned for months ahead. The sweeter part of the deal was that the seamstress asked half the price of off-the-rack gowns, provided the mother would buy the material, thread, and other things needed to construct the gown.
A bride may not always get this lucky, but there are other ways to come up with a custom-made gown. One of them, even though more costly, may be to check out a few bridal salons. Some tailors who work for the bridal gown shops will tailor custom-made gowns if asked, and they may provide the materials as well. One can also find good tailors who make alterations in other clothing stores and in dry cleaners that offer alterations.
There are many advantages in having a wedding gown custom-made. First, the price will be less with an average custom-made bridal gown costing between $250 and $500, including the materials. It will fit the bride perfectly. It will be one of a kind, and the bride can ask the seamstress to add a few ornaments to go with the theme of her wedding. The gown will be finished on time for the wedding, and other than three to five fitting sessions, the stress on the bride will be reduced.
One caution is not to skimp on the quality of the materials. The higher the quality of the materials, the better the gown will come out. An average bride will need probably ten to twelve yards of fabric, and if needed, the same amount of lining, plus thread, buttons, snaps, etc.
Another caution is to avoid silk. Most tailors do not like to and probably cannot work well with real silk. Synthetic silks, however, are all right, because they do not slip and slide or lose shape.
Another option for a custom-made wedding gown can be to choose a nice evening gown, and if desired, add to it lace, pearls, sequins, or silk flowers with fabric glue. In this case, the headpiece and the veil will have to be purchased separately. Some bridal salons may sell a headpiece and veil somewhere in between $200 to $400 on the average.
If coordinated well, a custom-made gown will add to the enjoyment of one's wedding with a more flattering style and fit. Also, it will not weigh heavily on the bride's budget.