Tips for having your wedding dress custom made

Considering having your wedding dress custom made? If you’re not sure where to begin or the thought terrifies you a little, I caught up with my sister Ruth who talks through the process and shares how one local designer ensured she ended up with the dress of her dreams.

Ruth, why did you decide to have your wedding dress custom made?

Initially, it wasn’t my intention. I started out by visiting many different bridal boutiques and what I quickly discovered was that I liked various elements of different dresses but I couldn’t find one dress which included them all. Because we were getting married in winter I had a distinct style in mind and finding it was proving difficult. It was my great aunt who suggested I have my dress made. I knew this was probably the only way I was going to get exactly what I wanted.


Did you have a style in mind?

Yes, and I think this is ultimately what led me to having my dress made. Because of the season of our wedding, I envisioned a dress with long, lace sleeves and I wanted an A-line skirt, which didn’t flare out too much as I’m quite tall.


Who made your dress and why?

Lizzie Agnew made my dress and as soon as I met her I knew she was perfect. She instantly knew what I wanted from my description and I just felt like she understood where I was coming from. Ultimately, she created a dress which I could change for the evening. It had a strapless bodice with a separate lace top overlay, which fitted on top. It had long sleeves and a high neck. It had just the right amount of flare and was finished with a beautiful belt.

In the end, I didn’t remove the lace feature of the dress in the evening. I loved the dress so much and it almost felt like I was downgrading it by removing such a lovely feature of it.

How would you describe your dress?

I would say that it was actually quite simple and classic. I really love nice fabric and having my dress custom made allowed me to choose exactly what I wanted. I was instantly drawn to lace when visiting boutiques. I felt it suited me and I knew I wanted it to be part of my dress. Lizzie showed me a few different options and I just felt that the lace I choose was a little bit different from anything else I had seen. It felt a bit more luxurious.

I’d also say that my dress was extremely comfortable, which is something I wasn’t expecting to say about it. Because it was made specifically for my body, it fitted perfectly and was effortless to wear.


What was the process of having your dress made?

It actually took less time for my dress to be made than I thought it would. About 8 months before the wedding I met with Lizzie and we agreed on the style of my dress. She showed me features of different dresses which we could incorporate into mine. We had a really good chat about what I liked and didn’t. She talked me through the entire process and I left feeling confident about my dress.

It was only a couple of months before the wedding when Lizzie began making it so I would say the process isn’t for the faint hearted. However, I had total trust and confidence in Lizzie and I knew this was important. Lizzie started with the bodice, which was fitted on me and then worked from them. I attended about four or five fittings until the dress was finished. She was really accommodating with appointments meaning that I could come after work. The process was quick and easy and I was extremely pleased with the results.


What advice would you give a bride considering having her dress made?

Firstly, I’d say research is key! Get reviews of a designer and take a look at dresses they have already made. Choose someone who understands you and your style. Meet up with them and have a really good chat about what you envision, bringing along pictures of styles that you like so that the designer can develop a good understand of what you have in mind.

Secondly, you need to trust them! My dress was made a few months before the wedding but I had total faith in Lizzie and understood the process. I knew that the dress was being made for my body so there wouldn’t be any massive alterations needed. And if you do change your mind about the design half way through, it’s easy for your designer to make some changes to bring it in line with your vision.

You can check out Lizzie’s website at

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