What are the differences between ‘bespoke’, ‘made-to-measure’, ‘made-to-order’ and ‘off the peg’ wedding dresses?

We frequently hear different terms for wedding dresses, such as bespoke, made-to-measure, made-to-order and off-the-peg, but often people are not really sure what they mean. In this article, we’ll explain how each type of wedding dress service works and how much you should expect to pay for them.  

Rustic Church wedding idea

Bespoke wedding dresses involve the process of creating a completely new design based on your unique requirements. As they design a dress specifically for you, this tends to be very expensive. It normally starts with a consultation process, the designer will gather what you are looking for and make a dress sketch based on your description. The bespoke dressmaking process normally involves multiple fitting sessions and can be quite time-consuming. Brides who go for bespoke often know exactly what they want and can't find anything they like in the existing market or tend to have a large budget so that they can enjoy the luxury of having a personally designed dress. The lead time varies massively depends on the schedule of the designer or seamstress, a bespoke dress can be made within 2 months but can take as long as 8 months. Prices for bespoke dress are often £3000+, however, if you have a design already and just want a seamstress to make the dress, you might be able to save a little on the designing fees.  

Made-to-measure wedding dresses are custom made, but it is the size that is tailored rather than the whole design. First, you choose a style from the designers’ collections, then they will take your measurements and make a dress to fit your unique body shape. Made-to-measure wedding dresses are generally cheaper than bespoke dresses, as the designer does not have to create a new design from scratch, they can use existing designs and just adjust the sizes to make it a perfect fit. Most made-to-measure wedding dresses are priced between £1500 to £3000. However, at Aneberry, as we take a direct to consumer approach, our made-to-measure dresses are under £1500. 

Made to order is the most common type wedding dress among the bridal shops. The process is normally you try a few sample dresses, and the shop will order a standard size for you from the designers. Many brides will face the problem of not fitting into a standard size gown, as a result, they have to pay a large amount extra to get the dress altered to their actual size. Be aware some shops even persuade you to buy a size bigger than your actual figure, so they can make a good profit on the alterations. Price for made-to-order dresses are often between £1000 to £3000, however, high-end brands may cost more. Basic alterations, such as taking in the hem or taking in the sides, should cost around £200-£300. Made to order dresses usually takes 4-6 months to make. 

Off the peg wedding dresses are often available at discount outlets. The shops buy in bulk either from a designer or manufacturers, so they are able to negotiate a more competitive price than most independent bridal shops. The downside is that they are not able to order one dress at a time, hence if they have sold out of one style in your size, you may have to wait until their next bulk order to get your desired dress.  Some discount outlets separate the under layers from the outer shell of the dress. So you are expected to purchase a separate corset and underskirts to maintain the original shape of the dress. Prices for outlet wedding dresses are generally between £400 - £1000.  For a corset and underskirts, you should allow a budget of £100. You also need to take the alteration costs into consideration.



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