Easy and authentic touches to create a custom gown.
Every bride wants to have a look that expresses her unique style. Finding a show-stopping dress is just the start—next you have to make the look your own. When you take it to the seamstress it will be fitted to your body and altered to suit your personal style, giving most women a once-in-a-lifetime chance to add bespoke details to a garment.
Even if you like the way the dress looks right now, and don’t want to do any major alterations, you still can make small changes to make your dress one-of-a-kind. Customizing your wedding dress doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming either. With pretty little touches it’s easy to get a personalized look for your wedding day.
1. Pick a theme for your wedding.
One of the easiest ways to keep your look personal but cohesive is to choose a theme for your wedding. Are you and your partner fans of Shakespeare or Star Wars? Do you share a beloved pet? Work in subtle references to your passions in your signature cocktail, table names, desserts, and décor. Once you know your theme it’s easy to add a few personal touches to your bridal look, with a coordinating pin, flowers, or hair piece.
2. Find a personal item to add to your dress.
Following in the “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” tradition, many brides like to incorporate heirlooms into their gown. This might be a small brooch that gains a new life as a belt embellishment, a special necklace or bracelet, or a small embroidered detail that imitates a loved one’s handwriting.
Some brides choose to add a panel of vintage fabric to their wedding dress, usually from their mother or grandmother’s gown. It’s a beautiful way to celebrate the past—and the future.
3. Think about how you want to include bridal colors.
Every bride has her colors. Adding something to your dress in a coordinating hue, like a wrap or a sash, instantly creates a custom look. If you are getting your bridesmaid dresses from the same bridal salon where you chose your dress, they may be able to help you find something to match. For instance, some places will dye shoes the color of the bridesmaid dresses. If you’re brave enough for a really bold color statement, you can add an underskirt to your dress in a fabric that matches your wedding colors.
4. Discuss alteration possibilities.
Sometimes the easiest way to take the look from off-the-rack to custom is to have it altered. A skilled seamstress can dramatically change the look of a dress by adding a new neckline or sleeves, but can also make more subtle changes like replacing a zipper with a button-closure.
If you went dress shopping close to home, your bridal boutique probably knows a seamstress nearby who can work with you to achieve your perfect look. If you bought your dress farther afield, you may need to do your own research. Just make sure that you find someone with experience altering gowns and special occasions dresses. It’s worth every penny.
5. Customize your bustle.
Did you know that there are different kinds of bustles? There are American bustles, French bustles, Austrian bustles, ballroom bustles, train-flip bustles and more. Each bustle in unique and changes the look of your wedding dress. Seamstresses are most likely to offer to do either the American or French bustle, as those are most common, but you can ask them to show you other styles as well. Just remember that not every dress is compatible with every type bustle.
Maybe you don’t want to make any changes to the dress itself. After you’ve found the perfect dress, it might be hard to improve on it. Instead, why not accessorize beautifully? Gorgeous bangles, a stunning muff, a tiara, or a cathedral veil can make a lasting impression on your friends and family. You could even add some sparkle with a bejeweled belt, or a splash of color with a sash that matches your bridal colors.
This may also be the moment to add drama to your outfit with a pair of chandelier earrings or a statement necklace. Just be sure your look balances well—you don’t need to wear all your jewelry at once!
7. Switch up your ceremony and reception looks.
For most brides, once they put their dress on, they never want to take it off. Nevertheless, they may still want one look for the chapel, and another for the reception. Of course, your dress will look different once it’s bustled, but there are other ways you can refresh your style without undergoing a complete costume change.
If you have a rustic reception venue, why not trade your veil for a flower wreath? You may also want to wear understated jewelry for the ceremony, but add some bling for the party. Swapping out accessories is a great way to change up your look without having to choose between elegant and flashy.
Pulling it all together for a day that’s uniquely yours
Your wedding dress style should reflect your personality and your relationship. Whether you’re in a ball gown or a simple sheath, let your style shine through. Whimsical details make the day memorable for everyone, and these days anything goes. If you want serve ice cream sandwiches instead of cake, walk down the aisle to the opening bars of your favorite theme song, or have your Pomeranian as ring-bearer, you can!
Your dress should but just as much your own as any other part of the wedding. A touch of color, a vintage accessory, or a line of buttons are the perfect finishing touches. So, customize your dress however you like! The most important thing is that on your wedding day you celebrate the start of a new life with your love.