This post is part two of a series on the ins-and-outs of ordering a custom wedding dress. Check out part one HERE.
In this blog, we share more information and insights into why custom gowns are the right choice for making the dress of your dreams.
What other accessories and embellishments can I add to my wedding ensemble?
Now that we’ve walked through the different components of a dress, let’s talk accessories and embellishments. These items aren’t as essential as the dress itself, but they can help elevate a wedding ensemble to a show stopping level.
Many brides add some kind of headpiece to their wedding looks, whether it’s a floral crown, a glittering tiara, or a beaded circlet. Here in Vietnam, many brides choose to wear traditional hats to with their traditional Ao Dais. We love Ao Dai hats because they frame the face in a halo, drawing attention to the blushing bride’s face. They are also the perfect place to add lace appliqué or beading to give the outfit an even more angelic look.
A veil, like a train, is one of the more traditional components of a wedding dress. There are many veil lengths, from short birdcage (barely covers the face) and shoulder-length veils to chapel (90 inches), cathedral (up to 120 inches), or even royal veils (up to 140 inches). A shorter veil can add a young, casual, and fun atmosphere to the wedding look while showcasing some beautiful embroidery or appliqué detail. If you’re not planning on adding a train to your dress, a chapel length veil can help add some of that romantic flair for the ceremony. And if you’re wearing a dress with a longer train, we definitely recommend cathedral or royal veils — they help add a sense of balance to the long train and can also help showcase some amazing lace. No matter the type of veil you choose, remember to be mindful of the total weight. You’ll be wearing it pinned to the top of your head or in your hair, and the longer and more embellished the veil, the more it will drag on the floor and add weight to your head.
We love the way gloves can add a little bit of Hollywood glamour to a wedding ensemble. A pair of lace opera gloves can give you that classic Audrey Hepburn look while covering any scars, pigmentation, or cellulite on your arms. More understated, lace appliqué tulle gloves can draw attention to your hands and complement the lace of your wedding dress. If you’re planning on wearing gloves during the ceremony, we recommend wearing fingerless gloves, to prevent any awkward pauses during the exchanging of the rings.
An embellishment is any decoration or detail that goes directly on the dress to enhance its beauty. Here at Dream Dresses by PMN Dream, we like to use lace, hand-beaded lace, specialty beading, pearls and other materials to add embellishments to our dresses.
Lace is an integral part of most wedding gowns. While all-lace wedding dresses do exist, we find that most dresses use a satin or tulle base and add lace applique or inserts. We like to use lace appliqué to accentuate our brides’ figures, as appliqué on a dress will draw the eye. If a bride loves her upper body but is self-conscious of her legs, adding some lace appliqué to the bodice of the dress can help emphasize her torso. In this dress, the direction of the lace on the top of the bodice frames the model’s chest, and the appliqué at the waistline the highlights the model’s thin waist and lengthens her legs. (https://www.dreamdressesbypmn.com/collections/ao-dai/products/white-and-purple-ao-dai-vietnamese-bridal-dress-with-embellishment-octavia)
Smaller lace inserts are more subtle. They suggest hints of romance, elegance, or sex appeal depending on where they’re placed. Lace inserts on the sleeves or shoulders can add flair to a plainer gown, and inserts at the sides of the body help highlight the waist and create a dramatic hourglass figure. We also love the look of lace insertion with beaded embellishments, like in this bespoke dress.
Beaded dresses are beautiful and add a glamorous, couture look to the wedding ensemble, but can be extremely difficult to walk or dance in due to their weight. Our couture hand beading may add up to eight or ten pounds to your dress, and you will have to take care to avoid any snags. If you want some amazing wedding photos and don’t mind changing after the photoshoot or ceremony, a heavily embellished dress can be a great way to add a special touch to your wedding.
Even if you don’t embellish your dress, you can embellish other parts of your wedding look. Some brides like to add beading to their veils for a little extra sparkle during the grand entrance that won’t weigh them down for the rest of the night. Other brides like to wear lace gloves, or add an embellished detachable train to their dress. The sky’s the limit!
How is my wedding dress constructed and how is it priced?
Almost every custom wedding dress designer has a basic pricing strategy loosely based on the material cost, administrative overhead, design process, and time spent on the gown. Each designer will have different priorities when calculating the final cost of the gown — for example, one designer may specialize in intricate hand-beaded designs, and will price those designs higher than the industry average to reflect the skill and aesthetic sense in her work. Another designer may include luxurious touches, like French seams instead of a basic overlocked hem, which will also increase the costing. In this blog section, we’ll break down a few common reasons why custom gowns cost what they do.
When it comes to materials, it’s true that you get what you pay for. Basic materials, like white satin, can cost under a dollar per yard, but fabric at that price is almost always of a lower quality. These cheaper materials will be synthetic and will trap heat more easily as well as feel scratchy and thin. The more expensive the fabric, the nicer it will generally be — luxury fabrics can cost over 50 dollars per yard, even for a cut of plain silk.
One thing that people are always shocked by is the price of good lace and embroidered tulle. Good lace is created using high quality materials by precise machinery, both of which significantly drive-up costs, and beaded tulle is often either completely handmade or produced using sophisticated machines. Here at Dream Dresses by PMN, we regularly use lace and embroidered tulle that run upwards of 100 dollars a yard.
A basic sheath dress may require up to 5 yards of fabric, and a more voluminous gown will need 10 or more yards depending on the number of fabric layers and construction. Any additional appliqué or embellishments will further drive up the cost. If your designer uses good materials, the total cost of your dress could include more than $1000 in materials alone.
A custom dress is made to measure, which means there’s no premade pattern available when a customer places their order. When a designer receives a bride’s measurements and vision, they first draft a few concept sketches to make sure the dress will meet the bride’s requirements. When the bride approves the design, the fabric selection, patterning, and construction begins. A simple dress may just require a few cuts of fabric, pleating, and hem finishing. A more voluminous dress, such as a ball gown, may have over 20 layers and lace inserts with 180 yards of tulle. A good designer will always send progress pictures to their client to make sure the bride is satisfied with the dress as it’s being made, to prevent unwanted waste and a negative customer experience. All of these steps can be time consuming, so a designer will often tell you in advance what her production schedule is like and how long it will take for the dress to be complete. At Dream Dresses by PMN, we recommend ordering your dress, providing measurements, and finalizing the design at least six months before your planned wedding date, especially if you have a dream dress with extra layers, embellishments, or appliqué.
Labor is by far the most variable factor in the whole process. The bulk of labor on a basic wedding dress with few embellishments is done by one or two seamstresses, which makes it a fairly simple operation. An embellished gown with multiple layers and embellishments, however, is much more labor-intensive. After the basic construction is complete, any appliqué or beading is applied to the face of the dress by hand. Beading and lace appliqué can each take a team of two or three people anywhere between four days to a month of work to complete. This beaded dress took a team of three people two months to complete.
Now that we’ve broken down the construction process and pricing factors, our Custom Wedding Dress 101 series is complete! We hope this blog series has helped demystify the process of ordering your dream wedding dress. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment down below, or contact us HERE!