Beyond the Basics of Wedding Dress Shopping | Part 2
Wedding dress customization, pricing, and what happens after a bride says YES to her dream wedding dress.
Hi there and welcome back to the MaeMe Bridal podcast. I’m your host Melissa Estess, and I’m so excited that your are joining us today because we are going to follow up on Part 1 episode of our “Going beyond the basics of wedding dress shopping” series from two weeks ago, and today, I am going to answer all your questions about wedding gown customization, wedding gown pricing, and what to expect after you say YES to your dream dress!
I have found that by educating and empowering our brides and reducing the unknown, we can almost eliminate our bride’s fears and anxieties about shopping for their wedding dress. So, I am going to do my absolute best to equip you with all the details associated with wedding dress customizations, additional costs, fees, and what happens after you say YES to your dress! If you missed last week’s Part 1 episode in this series, I highly recommend that you go back and listen. We discussed wedding gown construction, measurements, and touched on customizations. Click here to find to the previous episode of this series along with easy to follow show notes.
Today, I will dive deeper into:
- Wedding gown customizations
- What brides are wedding gown customizations ideal for
- Wedding gown pricing
- What happens after you say YES to your dream wedding dress
Wedding dress customization
Bridal gown customizations can be as simple as changing a gown’s neckline from sweetheart to a v neck, or as intricate as changing the silhouette of a dress, taking the top front of a dress and combining it with the back of another dress, changing the lace pattern, adding a longer train or removing it all together, adding or removing beading, changing the fullness of the skirt, changing the fabric of the skirt…and the list goes on! It is important to know what type of shopper you are:
If you are a bride who is an abstract thinker, if you can envision and dream up design elements, if you can look at a sketch and imagine the sketch coming to life, if you are comfortable with a bit of a surprise element… customizing your wedding dress can be so much fun and very hands on process! You have the opportunity to have a truly ONE OF A KIND wedding gown that speaks to you specifically, that no other bride will EVER wear again! How exciting is that? If this sounds like you, you are a great candidate for ordering a custom wedding gown.
On the other hand, if you are a more concrete thinker, if you like to see things in their completed state, if you prefer objectiveness over subjectiveness, if you do not like to take risks and surprises do not excite you, in fact, it terrifies you… customizing your wedding dress may not be the ideal option. Instead, the process can feel completely overwhelming and not fun at all! And that’s okay too! We have around 500 wedding gowns in boutique with amazing styles and design elements already created! You can try on the dress of your dreams and see exactly how it will look on your frame, the color it can come in, the way the neckline falls and the length of the train, etc. For MOST of our brides, this is the preferred option because, let’s face it, wedding planning can be stressful as it is, so not seeing your actual wedding dress in person until just a few months before the wedding can definitely add to normal wedding stress if the concept is already out of the box for you.
Now, let’s talk about the bride who is in-between bride 1 and 2… perhaps you LOVE everything about a dress you try on in boutique and you are so close to saying YES, but it has a narrow plunge at the bust that you aren’t quite comfortable with, or the straps are a little thicker than you prefer, or you would prefer a few additional lace appliqués on the front of the skirt. NO PROBLEM! All of those adjustments can be made in alterations! We can order your gown as is, and have the final tweaks to make that amazing gown, perfect for YOU! This option allows you to see the gown in person, pretty much how it will look on your wedding day, except for that small change you want to make to make it YOURS! The investment to perform a small adjustment like this is much more affordable that ordering a custom gown, and the time frame is often much shorter. In addition, the seamstress is able to show you what the changes may look like in advance, and you have more control over how much or how little adjustment you want.
For most of our brides, there is some sort of budget in place, so cost is a very important factor. The investment for customizations can fluctuate so much, so it’s hard to offer a reasonable estimate or price point without knowing more specifics about the type of gown you are looking for. What I can say, is I would expect to add at least $300-500 or more to a gown’s cost if you want to make changes from the designer. If you are looking for a fully customized dress, we are probably looking to start around $3000 and go up from there. If you are wanting a few minor tweaks in alterations, the alteration cost will probably start around $100-$200 for custom changes to necklines, beading, lace, etc. I know that is a vague answer, so if you have something specific in mind, please visit us in boutique and we can offer you a more insightful cost analysis and estimate based on your preferences.
My final point on customizations is that not all bridal designers offer this service, and depending on what your preferences are, some designers are a better fit for your vision than others. Again, this is something that is best discussed during your appointment in boutique.
Wedding dress pricing
As for wedding gown pricing, again, it is hard to provide specific details because there is such a wide range of gowns and price points out there, but if you’ve never shopped for wedding gowns I can certainly give you a rough idea of what to expect when you are out shopping so you don’t have complete sticker shock!
Most wedding gowns at brick and mortar boutiques will start around $1000, some with a starting price point that is even higher than that, and the gowns can go up to 10,000 or more. Now, I can speak for MaeMe specifically, our inventory ranges from $1000-$5000, with the majority of our wedding gowns being $1500-$2500. For our brides that are looking to make custom changes or order a custom gown, I would say your price point will probably start around $3000 and go up from there.
Also, this helps you start thinking about your wedding budget and specifically, your wedding gown budget. We HIGHLY recommend that you have this discussion prior to shopping so we can best accommodate you and assist you in selecting your dream gown- one that you LOVE, and that you feel great in, but also is within your budget.
What to expect after you say YES to your wedding dress
Your stylist will measure you to determine the best size to order for you. Again, just as a reminder, wedding gown size charts do not run like regular clothing. You can expect to order about 2 sizes larger than you normally wear. If you are a combination size bride, there may be the option to order your gown with split sizing, which means, sometimes we are able to accommodate a combination frame.
Once we’ve measured you, selected a size, and you’ve paid your invoice, we will celebrate with champagne and take photos with you and your loved ones, and you will enjoy the rest of your day celebrating your bridal moment!
On our end, we create an in-house file for you with all your wedding details and we place the order for your wedding gown with the designer. We then receive a confirmation of your order along with an estimated completion date for your gown. Your file is updated at that point, and we mark the estimated date that we expect to receive your gown. When your gown is completed, the production team performs a quality control check on your gown and the original order placed, and the gown gets packaged up for delivery to the boutique. Once we receive the gown in boutique, the gown goes through a second quality control check by our operations manager. The gown then receives a look over and a steaming, and your gown is then placed in a MaeMe garment bag for safe keeping. We contact you to let you know that your gown has arrived, and we schedule an appointment for you to come back in boutique to try on and pick up your gown. When you come back in boutique to try on your gown, if you have not yet purchased your veil, jewelry, or other accessories, we shop for these items to complete your bridal look while you are wearing your gown. When you slip your gown off, you will either take her with you, or you can choose to leave her at MaeMe in storage. You would then schedule an appointment for alterations and bring your gown to the alteration shop for your first fitting. Alterations usually require about 3 fittings with a few weeks in between. If you are having custom changes performed in alterations as we discussed earlier, you may expect an additional fitting to accommodate those changes. Your gown is then steamed or pressed again once alterations are completed by the alteration shop, and you are ready for your BIG DAY! After your wedding, you can pick up a wedding gown preservation kit from MaeMe to send your gown off to get cleaned and preserved!
And now that you are a married lady and an expert in all things bridal, you can help your friends, coworkers and family ACE the wedding planning thing, and of course, bring them to MaeMe so they can become a #maemegirl, TOO! And if you’ve found this helpful, share it with your fellow brides-to-be! Be sure to stay connected with us on social for the latest in fashion and bridal news.
If you’d like to set up an appointment to shop at The Bridal Boutique by MaeMe, click here! I hope you enjoyed this episode, and have a wonderful day!