Designer Wedding Dress ~ River Elliot Bridal ~ Cambridge
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Thinking about a custom wedding dress? Here are all the answers you need

Thinking about a custom wedding dress or bridal outfit? Here are all the answers you will need.

bespoke lace wedding dress
Yes, you will definitely be happy with your designer wedding dress or bridal outfit

One of the main emotions I see in my bridal clients when we first meet is a cocktail of excitement and uncertainty. Not because they’re scared of me (I give them wine or biscuits…sometimes both!) but because they are worried about this somewhat invisible magical experience. When you first meet me and we start talking about a truly bespoke designer wedding dress or bridal outfit (which means I design a unique wedding dress or outfit that is unlike anything in any bridal shop) it’s scary. You cannot visualise it. You can not touch a dress or outfit, or try them on. However, that in itself is the beauty of this whole process. Through our meetings we talk about YOU. What you like, don’t like, what you like to read, watch, your favourite thing to do at the weekend. Do you like beaches or cities? Do you like Downton Abbey, Orange is the New Black or Sex and the City? It sounds mad but it helps me build up a map of your style and tastes, what inspires you, what is sentimental to you and from there your design begins to evolve and take shape on paper. I have a great eye for trends and style, and write a monthly trends report for Magpie Wedding blog so I can advise you on what’s hot in the bridal world!


You are and you always will feel happy and excited because there’s never a single moment where I don’t ask you, how do you feel? Do you like this? What do you think? You have complete control over your designer wedding dress or bridal outfit and I work alongside you guiding you on style and fit, as well as what fabrics will work best for your wedding dress or outfit. We’re always a team first and foremost, so there’s never a chance that you’ll worry that I may run away and create something completely crazy! 


Plan ahead! Book your wedding dress or bridal outfit appointment in advance

The process of having a custom made designer wedding dress or bridal outfit is a wonderful experience and very different to a ready-to-wear bridal boutique. As with a bridal shop you need to plan your wedding dress or garment well in advance of your wedding day. I typically ask for approximately 6 months from start to finish, but I can accept shorter time frames if I have availability and for an extra fee.


We start with a friendly, informal consultation

After you have contacted me, I always request we meet for an initial consultation in person. This lasts up to 60 minutes and is free. The first consultation can be at my studio, your house or even a cafe or pub! The first consultation is always free and there are no obligations. It’s a great chance for you to meet me and find out more about what I do, as well as discuss your wedding dress. Bespoke isn’t for everyone, so I completely understand if you instead choose to find your wedding dress from somewhere else. The consultation starts with an informal friendly chat about your initial idea using inspiration pictures or internet links that you can send me in advance or bring to the meeting. And if you don’t know what you want, don’t panic. I meet many bridal clients who do not have the faintest idea of what designer wedding dress or outfit they’d like. But, after a while their eyes suddenly widen and they feel that bridal buzz which is priceless. 



I have a treasure chest of fabrics for you to browse

If you’d like to check out the vast array of bridal fabrics you could consider for your wedding dress or bridal outfit, then you have come to the right place. I have so many swatches of beautiful bridal fabric in my studio in Cambridge. During the consultation we can look at various fabric swatches, which will also give me a better idea of what you like the look and feel of, as well as the cost of your final dress or outfit. We’ll discuss many important aspects such as what kind of fabrics and colours best suit you, and you’ll have the chance to hold fabrics up against your skin to see if they will work with your colouring. And, if I don’t have anything that you like I can order more swatches and post them to you free of charge. 


Fight the fear. You’ll definitely love your dress or bridal outfit

I totally understand how this is a major worry for bridal clients choosing to have a bespoke designer wedding dress or outfit. Imagining a grand unveiling where I remove the blindfold from your face and say ta-da! Only for you to burst into a flood of tears. This will not happen! The way in which we work together means you’ll always feel in control and happy at every step of the way. For example, once you have confirmed that you would like to work with me, I create a collection of sketches for you to choose from. The sketch you choose is never final, there is always opportunity to change or tweak the design within reason. After the sketch has been approved, I then create the pattern for you and the first mock version of your dress. This is made using calico cotton, which is a cheap bland cotton used in fashion design for toiles. The toile (mock dress/garment) allows me to assess fit and the both of us to assess the style. If you hate the neckline, we’ll change it. If you want the skirt or trousers to fit a little tighter, I’ll change it. You’ll always be able to express how you feel about your wedding dress or bridal outfit and I’ll always listen to any concerns or feedback that you have. 


A bespoke wedding dress or bridal outfit won’t cost the earth

One of the most common worries bridal clients have is cost assuming a bespoke wedding dress or bridal outfit may cost in the thousands. Straight away I am not going to lie. Bespoke prices should and will not be competitive with current online bridal retailers, nor should they be. A designer wedding dress or bespoke bridal outfit is being tailor-made for you and nobody else and that will come at a premium. However, it doesn’t mean it will be break the bank either. Bespoke prices at River Elliot Couture start at £1600 plus fabrics and other materials. On average custom made wedding dresses can cost from £1600 – £3000 depending on the design and fabric. The final cost will include the labour which is the design, pattern making and construction of your truly unique bespoke wedding dress or outfit plus fabric costs. Your wedding dress will be one-of-a-kind and not replicated in any way for anyone else.


Once the cost and quote has been agreed I will then schedule production in my studio in Cambridge and start making the pattern for your dress. This is not final and minor tweaks and adjustments can be made during the fitting sessions in Cambridge. Over the whole process, you’ll begin to see your idea transformed into a real dress or bridal outfit, understanding how a custom wedding dress or design service ensures your garment is tailor-made to your figure, style and preferences. At the end, you’ll have a dress or outfit that’s truly unique to you, incorporating your own vision and design not to mention a garment that fits your body perfectly.



There will be fittings. Be prepared.

There will be approximately 4 fitting sessions depending on the complexity of your wedding dress or bridal outfit design. The fittings are essential to the process and they are only done in my studio in person unless we agree that I travel to a more convenient location. During the fittings I assess how the toile (mock garment) fits your body according to the full body measurements I took previously. While you are wearing the toile, I pin any changes and make thorough notes, checking with you on specific features such as necklines. I also explain to you what I am doing and why so that you can understand the process and how the design is working with your body shape. It’s a fascinating experience giving you a really good insight into how clothes are made. 


The final dress or outfit will be everything you have wished for

After we have completed the fitting stage and both fabric and style have been finalised, I will start the proper construction of your final custom made wedding dress/outift. This is where the magic happens! I am trained in couture techniques and these will be applied with individual care and skill to your beautiful wedding dress. Typically the third fitting session will be in your bridal fabric. The dress will not be fully stitched together, but hand sewn in certain places so that we can still make small changes. The bridal fabric will always behave differently to the calico cotton we use in the toile and early fitting sessions, so it’s crucial to check that everything is right. I also have various mannequins in my studio that I alter to mimic your body – this means that I can work on your dress or outfit between our meetings. 

Choosing a bespoke designer wedding dress or bridal outfit is truly one of the most special experiences you could have leading up to your wedding day. You’ll feel incredibly important and special, treasuring the journey for the rest of your life, especially as you look back on your amazing wedding photos. If you’d like more information or would like to book an appointment with me, please use the form on my contact page or email 


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