For my solemnisation and dinner party, I went with the bespoke wedding gown route, because I’m not a Size-10-and-under bride. I really wanted to pay homage to my natural predisposition for bad, unglamourous dance moves and chicken nugget binging.
Putting on my gown made with love by Clarissa on my big day
While I was fully consulted throughout the whole design process by Clarissa from Charmed by Rae (read all about the design process here), nothing quite prepared me for the moment I set my eyes on the finished product. The reason being a bespoke wedding gown is something out of the imagination of you and your designer. There’s no actual ready-made product to refer to like an off-the-rack or made-to-measure gown and you have got to make decisions and not change your mind too often about what you want.
The gown I felt was 100% “Me” and 100% comfort level too
I’m the kind of girl who shops with intention and I make a beeline for the cashier after grabbing everything I need, so the bespoke route worked out for me. But I would be lying if I said I didn’t have doubts at all. I admit, at every stage, while I liked how the gown looked, I wasn’t quite sure if I had made the right choices, but I held my tongue and just put my trust in Clarissa and the process. I’m so glad I did!
Related: Read about me finding my ring box via Instagram and chuckle as you read our wedding vows.
The First Fitting
The base of the gown
With a certain degree of uncertainty surrounding the bespoke gown-making process, it’s important that you learn to manage your own expectations and “let it go” when you’re working with your designer on your gown. At least that’s what I learnt!
I started off being quite heavily involved in the brainstorming process, offering very specific details I wanted in my gown. I spent some time selecting the lace together with my designer too. Towards the end of the gown-making journey, I lightened up and gave my designer free reign to do her thing. On retrospect, this approach totally worked.
You’ll see what I mean by “you need to manage your own expectations” when you see the photos from my first fitting below. Excuse my pale and grumpy face. It was a really busy day for me.
Just checking for fit and general cutting at the first fitting.
At the first fitting, the “base” of the gown is put together and what you see is a simple dress that’s lovely, but not quite the real deal yet.
I remember wondering to myself if this was it and then reminding myself mentally that Clarissa is an amazing designer and there’s still more lace to be put on and tweaks to be made.
Here’s what happened at this session:
- I tried on the gown
- Gave her my feedback on the fitI voiced my concerns that the cutting was a bit loose and Clarissa assured me she would make the adjustments but still allow me some room to move around in.)
The “base” of the gown is done, but it’s still quite bare at this point.
You can see that at this stage, at the first fitting, the neckline of my gown hasn’t been embellished with the second layer of lace I picked out yet. The dainty floral pattern of the lace was supposed to creep up around my V-neckline covering my bust area a little more. There would also be lace added to my waist area to make me look slimmer.
I really couldn’t imagine everything she was telling me, but I just decided to go ahead with this vision she had. Trust is super important.
The Second Fitting
Almost there, but not quite!
I don’t have many good photos of the second fitting because I did it at my place, the lighting was really bad and I used my phone camera. I thought the gown was rather dainty and pretty, but it didn’t quite make me go like, “OMG!” I did start thinking that maybe it’s just me being stoic about everything.
While most of the adjustments had already been made, a few details were still missing and would only be added on by the final fitting.
- The pearls at the back of the gown covering the zipper hadn’t been added yet
- Additional lace would still be added on to complete the design
- The lace hugging my waist and hip area to elongate my frame wasn’t sewn on yet
It sounds like nothing much, but these little details are vital to bringing the gown together and I couldn’t believe how these tiny things can transform my gown completely until I saw it with my own eyes.
Don’t involve too many people in your gown-making process
Looking at these photos and how many changes my wedding gown went through over the two fittings, I think it really helped that I didn’t ask for opinions from The F Man, my friends or my parents/parents-in-law.
I was very fortunate that I didn’t have to consult anyone and I could just do whatever the hell I wanted. With so much happening leading up to the wedding and with all the choices I could potentially make regarding my gown, too many cooks tend to spoil the broth! The last thing I wanted was to get into a frenzy after receiving feedback, do an about-turn and change something drastic about my gown. If you’re going for the bespoke route like I did, save yourself from grief and don’t consult too many people. Trust in yourself and your choices!
The End Product
The bespoke wedding gown I could never have imagined
You can see the lace detailing she added to the side of my waist/hips
Layers of hand-picked gorgeous lace looking so amazing together
What did I say about trusting the process and the designer? The outcome was this elegant and gorgeous wedding gown that I could never have imagined.
I received so many compliments about my gown. Of course, I am the bride so people must “gimme compliments” anyway. Jokes aside, it was super flattering and I believe it truly reflected my personal style preferences.
Can a gown get even more “Carrie” than this?
I could do everything I’d usually do and still look fabulous in my gown.
I didn’t need help holding my dress while rushing to my venue.
I squatted on the floor and danced in it with my favourite babies. (Song was “Dancing Queen”, if you gotta know.)
I ate and drank without having to suck it in.
I scurried from table to table without falling down.
Is this proof enough that I could be entirely “ME” during my wedding?
A good piece of advice I received from the tailor working with Clarissa on my gown was, “Just be confident! Don’t care about anything and just feel good in your gown.”
That piece of advice is gold. I really felt like I didn’t care what I looked like on my wedding day. Of course it helped that all that hard work put in by Clarissa to create my gown helped make me feel even more comfortable in my own skin. With a gown this beautiful and made perfectly for me, I could really focus on everything that was happening so quickly instead of fussing about a too-tight gown situation and unsightly bulges.
I can’t recommend Clarissa enough. Her attention to detail, cheery disposition and wonderful eye definitely made me feel like I was in good hands.
If you’re interested in sounding out Clarissa on your own bespoke gown, drop her a message via Facebook!
In partnership with Charmed by Rae. All opinions are my own.