Wedding dress: tailored or off-the-rack?

It’s hard to forget Kate Middleton’s stunning ensemble of satin and French Chantilly lace. The dress was created by designer Sarah Burton, who worked closely with Kate in bringing her elegant vision to life.

Kate Middleton

Of course, for many of us who don’t have Kate’s budget, there are a lot more things to consider – price tag, time, the desire not to look like an oversized doily…  It all comes down to a fundamental question: Customised or off-the-rack?

As a personal shopper, I always tell my clients that choosing the right dress is about highlighting your individual style.  Here are some pros and cons in deciding between bespoke or ready-made.


Just for you

Because the dress is made just for you, you’ll get a perfect fit. This is a better option if your body shape doesn’t typically fit into retail sizes. With a well-priced and respectable seamstress, you’ll see your dream dress come to life and it won’t be as costly as the designer gowns.

The bad thing about having a dress made is that it takes time to create – usually up to several weeks, and the dress may be beautiful but not flattering on you. This is why it’s very important to communicate openly and honestly with your seamstress! Bring photos and fabric swatches, and be very specific about what you want, down to the last details. To save on costs, you may want to look into local fashion schools that have talented students who’d be keen on designing your dress without straining your budget.

Tailored wedding dress


Off the rack

On the other hand, you’ll be able to bring a ready-made wedding dress home right away and well-informed staff and bridal consultants in the store can answer all your questions and give advice on the latest trends and the silhouettes that fit your figure. Plus, your dress can still be unique by embellishing it with accessories and beadwork.

Keep in mind that fitting may be a problem. Sometimes you’ll find the design you want but it won’t be available in your size. Then there’s the question of money. Designer label gowns can have a hefty price tag. Off-the-rack gowns usually need further alterations, and these may drive up the cost.

Wedding dress shopping

When buying your dress, choose a reputable bridal shop with a large selection of gowns, shoes and accessories. They offer professional alteration services that can transform your shelf find into a unique creation with additional trimmings and beading.

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