I have been lucky enough to have been designing and creating bespoke wedding dresses for my clients for 16 years now with my business Eternal Spirits. When I established Eternal Spirits my specialism was as a corsetiere but designing bespoke bridal gowns and evening wear soon followed and it’s been so rewarding to be part of creating a little bit of magic for so many brides.

Every bride’s dream dress is different and with each new bride is a fabulous new personality I get to know and spend time working with to create the perfect design. Incorporating lots of aspects to create the dress; from silhouette and fabric to detail and colour as well as taking into account the client’s personality and wedding theme. There are so many ‘ingredients’ involved in putting together the absolute perfect creation for each bride I work with and every recipe is always different and always exciting.

WHY GET A BESPOKE WEDDING DRESS?

Whether its your first wedding or not there aren’t many times in a woman’s life where the perfect dress or outfit is so important.

Brides not only want to look like a goddess but they want to feel like one too, so having a dress that’s made to order is the way to get exactly what you want.

It isn’t just about getting the perfect design it’s also about it being cut and made to fit you properly and perfectly.

The making of a unique dress creates a story as part of your wedding and part of your family history as wedding dresses are often passed through generations as they hold such sentimental value.

On many occasions I have been given old pieces of lace or a grandmothers wedding dress to use as part of the new dress and that can form a really special part of having something unique made.

It’s an opportunity to have exactly what you want down to the last detail.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BESPOKE AND ‘OFF THE PEG’?

There is nothing wrong with an off the peg dress, there are some beautiful ones out there and having a dress custom made isn’t for everyone. Many brides do indeed find their dream dress ready to go.

But so many brides don’t and that’s where bespoke is your answer. But also having a dress made for you means you are investing in the local economy, local skills and small independent businesses and you get exactly what you want too.

Off the peg dresses have several profit layers attached and you can’t guarantee it will have been ethically manufactured and of course it won’t be unique.

A bespoke wedding dress doesn’t just have to mean big budgets, often designers like myself take a clients budget into account when looking at designs and fabrics.

HOW LONG DOES A BESPOKE DRESS TAKE TO MAKE?

I’ve had clients come to me two years before their wedding, I have also had clients come to me a few months before.

6 months to a year is a good time as its planning in all the fittings but often it can be quite a flexible process because its all happening locally.

Many dress shops instil fear into brides if they don’t order their dress 12 months before the day and its often because it takes months to have the dresses shipped in from the Far East because they will build up their orders to get one big shipment over.

So these crazy time frames on dresses have come from that.

HOW DO I WEAR MY DRESS AGAIN?

Wedding dresses do tend to be a lot of money for one wear, but if you box clever with your dress you could wear it again. If your dress is made of silk it can be dyed a different colour and made into a cocktail dress.

Having a two piece corset and skirt means you can keep wearing the corset for nights out or anniversaries.

It may be that you don’t go for a traditional colour wedding dress and then you have something that could work as evening wear for future events.

Or if you have children your dress may become christening gowns or upcycled a few decades later for another family wedding dress.

There are lots of possibilities if you do want more use out of it and often your wedding dress maker can remodel it for you after the big day.

WHAT DO I NEED TO CONSIDER IF I HAVE A DRESS MADE?

I have clients who come with clear ideas of what they want and others who come with no idea and we always get their with the perfect design one way or another.

Some advice to brides when going along to fittings: take suitable underwear, always wear the same bra and think early on about the bra you may wear on the day under your dress if it isn’t boned.

Also take shoes a similar heel height to the ones you will wear on the day and, as you get your accessories, take along those along too. This will help your dress designer no end.

Finally, have fun with it! This should be a fun process and not stressful.

For more information contact: Susi Henson eternalspirits.com

Photo Credits:Crash Taylor & Marcus Holdsworth