As much fun as I had shopping for wedding dresses in NYC, I came out of it wishing I could’ve shopped in London instead (or, even better, in addition!). I’ve spent more time than I’d like to admit trawling through UK wedding blogs and in doing so have found lots of small UK designers whose gowns seemed a bit more my style than most of what I saw in New York. It feels churlish to complain about the embarrassment of sartorial riches available in NYC, but I was after something sweet rather than sexy, simple rather than ornate, old-fashioned rather than contemporary—and, for all of the amazing shops here in the city, it’s not the best place to look for a gown meeting these specs.
I especially would’ve liked to try some of the ’50s-inspired tea length gowns from UK designers like Candy Anthony, Fur Coat No Knickers, and House of Mooshki—I have an amazing ‘50s boat neck sheath inherited from my grandmother that I love wearing, and the ease of movement afforded by a tea-length gown started to seem awfully appealing after finding out just how hard walking around in your typical full-length + train number can be for the coordination-challenged bride. Try as I might, though, I couldn’t work a London shopping junket into my schedule.
Image | Love My Dress
And as much as I liked some of the dresses I tried on during my NYC shopping (er, trying on) spree, like I mentioned in my post on wedding dress shopping tips I never felt like I’d found “the one.” There were a few I seriously considered buying, but they were all quite pricey (or, in one instance, too hard for me to walk in). While I was prepared to spend on the right dress had it turned up, the thought of shelling out $3500+ for a single-use gown that I didn’t absolutely adore wasn’t very appealing.
So I turned to my plan B: having a dress custom-made. I happen to live in the same apartment building as an awesome seamstress who specializes in wedding dresses, and I’d always had her in the back of my mind in case the traditional route didn’t work out. Once my gown shopping burnout set in, I made an appointment with her where we went over my wedding dress Pinterest board, discussed my ideas, and settled on a basic style: ‘50s lace tea-length with a full skirt, boat neck, and three-quarter sleeves, inspired by the dresses I’d been ogling online.
The next step was a shopping trip to Mood Fabrics, an enormous designer fabric shop that apparently sometimes features on Project Runway. Though I’d gone in expecting to choose a classic lace, I ended up falling in love with the dotted fabric pictured at the start of this post—I am woefully ignorant about fabrics and don’t even know if this is classified as a lace or what—but it made me think of confetti and champagne bubbles, and, though I’m generally not one for impulse decisions, I decided to go for it. It was definitely the priciest fabric I looked at, but my mom, who came along on the fabric scouting expedition, loved it too and very generously agreed to cover the cost.
That’s where I’ve left things for now. Once I get my measurements taken and finalize some of the style details, the next step will be a muslin mock-up to make sure I’m happy with the choices I’ve made—and then, on to the dress itself! Although I can’t pretend it’s not a little scary committing to an unknown gown, I’m feeling good about my decision. I’ve second-guessed my fabric choice a bit—I go back and forth between loving the uniqueness of the one I chose and wishing I’d gone with a conventional lace, preferably one with scalloped edges for the neckline and hem—but I’m confident about the general look I’ve chosen, and I don’t regret not buying any of the dresses I tried on in the boutiques. I also feel good about supporting a small, (extremely) local business rather than one of the bridal giants. And, as an added bonus, the total cost will come to about $1500—less than half of what I’d have paid for the favorites I tried on in shops. It would’ve been even less if I hadn’t chosen such an expensive fabric.
Have any of you readers gone for a bespoke wedding gown? If so, I’d love to hear how it’s going (or how it went)!