Sometimes there's a need to go beyond conventionality and put your own unique stamp on something ordinary. Clearly, there couldn't be a more appropriate time than when it comes to choosing your wedding dress. While off-the-rack options abound, some brides crave a more personalized choice that captures their individual taste and preferences. Budgeting for a customized gown depends upon several components that, when added together, can range from conservative to over-the-top.
Brides paid an average of just over $1,500 for their bridal gowns in 2006, according to the Bridal Association of America. The amount you shell out depends upon the gown's fabric and accoutrements, which includes how simply or ornately it's beaded, laced and hand-stitched. Cost Helper cites between $500 and $1,000 for brides who opt for an unadorned style, and $2,000 to $5,000 to accommodate a more embellished design. Just don't wait until the last minute, or you may end up with a "rush fee" anywhere between 10 and 25 percent. Cost Helper recommends ordering as early as two to five months before the ceremony.
The more elaborate your design, the greater investment you'll make in your bridal gown. Charting a specific style doesn't have to be any more complicated than drafting a basic sketch for the dressmaker, or just picking up a wedding pattern for a couple of bucks. The difference in cost is whether you keep the design simple yet elegant or upgrade it to incorporate additional enhancements.
There's just no comparison to getting a proper fit, nailing your perfect design, and avoiding the tedium of sifting through throngs of rack dresses by having your own custom-made gown. The question then becomes one of quality and cost when choosing your dressmaker. Experience and a solid portfolio trump most everything else in a seamstress, which is where considerable cost variance comes in; think twice about contracting with someone who has few dresses under her professional belt just to save money. Rates can be by the hour or per project, so request estimates of completion to compare your short list of dressmakers, and to determine which fee schedule works best for you.
If you envision simple elegance for your custom wedding dress, you'll likely pay less than the bride who covets extravagance. A curve-hugging gown with no train requires far less material than a classic princess dress with extended train. Fabric choice and amount play a significant role in which end of the cost spectrum you'll be, which can start at about $4 per yard. Choosing one of the many silk variations, for example, will set you back as much as $35 per yard, according to HouseFabric.com, while Diamond French Satin is a mere $13 each yard.
Based in Arizona, Lori Corrigan is a social media collaborator with more than 25 years of experience in research writing and editing. Her work has appeared in "Ladies' Home Journal," "Woman's Day" and "Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul," covering topics such as business, psychology, animal welfare and academia.