Last updated on April 22nd, 2020
A couture wedding dress is the fairytale dream of many brides — one of a kind, a dress made only to be worn by you. It fits perfectly and flatters entirely. It reflects your unique style. Made using the most divine fabrics and with the unrivalled skills of a designer and their atelier, the result is the most perfect dress imaginable.
When you opt for a couture gown, you, too, have the opportunity to create the perfect dress for your perfect day.
Take some of the most recognizable wedding gowns from the last few years: Megan Markle’s elegant silk gown for her high formal wedding to Prince Harry at Windsor Castle, Kim Kardashian’s white lace gown for her romantic Tuscan ceremony, or Salma Hayek’s ball gown with embellished bodice for her stylish Venetian wedding. Each beautifully reflected both the bride’s taste and style and suited the venue and occasion perfectly.
Making a Best Couture Wedding Dress
But what does it take to create the perfect, custom-made wedding gown? These are the steps on the journey to the most incredible couture wedding dresses:
1. Establishing a Good Relationship Between Bride and Designer
Choosing a designer is the bride’s first step and without a doubt, the most crucial to get right.
Of course, it’s important to choose a designer whose work you love. But this isn’t the only criteria. You must be able to form a warm and friendly relationship with this designer.
To produce a gown that you completely adore, the designer must not only know what you do or don’t want from your dress. They must also understand what makes you tick and what makes you feel incredible. They must ‘get you’.
The initial meetings with potential designers are, therefore, so vital on the road to creating your perfect dress.
2. A meeting of Minds
A designer needs to know you well, so be prepared to meet your designer a few times before a design can be finalized. They must understand your preferences in terms of dress shapes, fabrics, and finishes. They’ll appreciate knowing if you have particular features you’d like to highlight or play down.
They need to understand the type of occasion you are planning for your big day. Will it be a highly formal and sophisticated city wedding? Will it be a more romantic or bohemian countryside affair? Are you looking for a gown for a Dubai wedding to be held in a beachside venue? All this will help them create unique design ideas with you and your ceremony as the inspiration.
Always meet your chosen designer with an open mind. Couture wedding gown designers have skills to determine what particular styles would be most flattering to your body shape, what may suit the occasion best, and what styles and finishes are most current.
It’s best to be flexible. You and your designer must have a meeting of minds if you are to create the most perfect dress together.
3. Choosing Fabrics and Finishes
Choosing the shape and the style of the dress is just one important decision to make. It is also vital to choose the right fabrics for the dress. Perhaps the occasion suits lighter, floatier more romantic fabrics like delicate silk, chiffon and lace, or perhaps a more structured satin gown.
Bridal fabrics used by couture designers are of the highest quality and can feel heavy when used in volume. The weight of the dress is an important consideration: no bride wants to feel encumbered or stifled by their dress, no matter how beautiful it is. Clever design tricks by an experienced designer can ensure that the perfect style can be achieved alongside the bride’s comfort.
The finishing touches are integral to the overall statement the dress will make. They could be delicate and subtle, or more extravagant. A bride and designer might choose from any number of beautiful finishes: silk flowers, crystals, pearls, or sequins for example.
4. Sketching and Drawing
A couture dress design will start as a rough sketch emanating from those initial meetings between bride and designer. As ideas are honed, these drawings will become ever more detailed until a final design is agreed upon.
This is not the end of the drawing process, as the patterns need to be drawn. This is the blueprint for the dress, where every tiny detail is mapped out.
Pattern drawing is a crucial stage for the designer. These patterns will be used in the atelier to cut the fabric and sew the dress into shape. To ensure the dress is finished on time and that it matches the final design drawing completely, these patterns must also be refined until they are exactly right.
5. Sewing and Beading
It can feel like a long process just to get the design to this point; but actually, the sewing and beading is often the longest stage in this process. A couture dress can sometimes be kept for thousands of hours in the atelier in the hands of very talented craftspeople.
Once all the fabric is ready, the wedding dress is painstakingly sewed, one part after the other until it takes its final shape. And then the finishing details must be added, painstakingly hand-sewn on one by one.
The creation of a couture dress takes the utmost dedication and incredible skill. It has been known for wedding gowns to be 6,000 hours in the making. For this reason, a couture designer will always give a timescale of at least six months to completion, possibly even a year.
6. Ensuring the Perfect Fit
The dress is now almost ready. All that remains is to ensure the perfect fit for the bride. This may take several attempts, up to six fittings, before both the bride and designer are completely happy that the wedding dress is both incredibly flattering and comfortable enough for the bride to enjoy her wedding day.
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The Finished Piece
A couture wedding dress is a serious undertaking. It takes the time and skill of a whole team of professionals to create. It takes passion, dedication and patience from both the designer and the bride, too. But for the perfect dress, the lengthy process of creating it is always worth the effort.