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Made-to-Order vs. Off-the-Peg

There are so many choices now for brides of all budgets when it comes to finding your wedding dress. But which is best, a dress made-to-order especially for you or one readily available bought off-the-peg?

The real answer is it depends. There are pros and cons to both of course, and if your wedding is in less than four months, you won’t then really have a choice! But, for most brides, there is always a choice.

Boho Wedding Photoshoot at Bassmead Manor, Cambridgeshire

Naturally, everyone initially assumes made-to-order gowns are preferable. It is a brand-new gown, made just for you. No running the risk of hidden marks or stains, for you only to discover on your big day when it’s too late! This one is fresh from the sewing machine. Additionally, a made-to-order gowns offer choice. Your choice of size, colour, and any additional extras, so this dress is exactly what you always dreamt of, customisable your way. Contradictorily, off-the-peg gowns are only available in the size and style that the boutique has instore at that given time of your visit. Off-the-peg boutiques tend to buy their samples in bulk, so what you see is literally what you get. For some brides, fate will work its magic and your dream dress will be available in exactly your size, and for a fraction of the price. Some brides find their dress and the style matches their vision completely, but it may be big. Therefore, seamstress alteration costs and timeframes must be considered on purchasing. Alterations can cost as much as £400 depending on the dress and amount to be adjusted, so off-the-peg isn’t always the cheapest option.

As with most industries, the newest trends come with the higher price tag. With being created especially for the bride from the newest season’s collection, made-to-order gowns follow this lead too. Although, saying that, these days, there are made-to-order gowns for all budgets if you do the right research. Off-the-peg outlets tend to be able to use price to their advantage, with them being able to offer heavy discounts from the usual RRP. This can be a huge draw for some brides wanting to wear a designer gown, but unable to afford the price tag they usually come with, so those with the eagle eyes can grab themselves a deal!

Boho Wedding Photoshoot at Bassmead Manor, Cambridgeshire

For the budget conscious bride looking for a good deal, this isn’t to be expected from made-to-order gowns. There are rarely sales or discounts to be had, special offer designer trunk show weekends at best, but these are far and few between. Additionally, some designers give a guide as to what boutiques can charge for their gowns and won’t allow for prices to be knocked down. With made-to-order gowns being mostly price-led decisions, based on wedding budgets and what designers fall within that, price is less influential with off-the-peg. These gowns are usually heavily discounted, leading to dress decisions to be designer-led choices, with the bride opting for the gown they love, and not having to pay the higher price. The warming advantage of off-the-peg shops, is that this gives brides the option to purchase a designer gown, when they may not have been able to buy the same designer with a made-to-order. So if you love a designer’s style, and you’ve been dreaming of wearing a Jenny Packham dress since you were 12, you need to be trapsing those off-the-peg outlets. Get all your girls involved too. If there is an outlet in their nearest town, tell them to get down there pronto! And, importantly, keep checking back as they get new stock in all the time. It may also be beneficial to speak to any off-the-peg shops near you to let them know what you are looking for, as they can let you know ASAP if a gown comes in that fulfils your criteria.

For those fashion forward brides, the newest gown for the current season is only, realistically, available made-to-order from authorised boutiques. If you are after the hottest dress this season, you’re going to want to do your research and then make an appointment at your nearest boutique ASAP. However, if you were looking to purchase off-the-peg, you will be hard pressed to find the newest seasons gowns, with generally only previous collections tending to be available at these boutiques. With visits to authorised boutiques comes the luxurious boutique experience, a one-to-one consultant, (and often some Prosecco on hand if you choose to visit Lily Francis Bridal!) You will usually be the only bridal party with an exclusive appointment and can choose to bring along your bride tribe for a fun filled experience and to help you make an unpressurised decision. One downfall of off-the-peg outlets is that you have to make your decision in the moment. You cannot go away and think about your options, as you run the risk of the dress being sold to the next bride that walks in the door, and once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Boho Wedding Photoshoot at Bassmead Manor, Cambridgeshire

Making a decision and purchasing from an off-the-peg retailer results in brides being able to buy and walk right out the door with their gown in hand. The perfect solution for those brides with a short lead time before their wedding day or have left the dress shopping to the last minute! Unlike off-the-peg gowns that can be taken away on the day, made-to-order usually takes 4-6 months to arrive into the store, and that is without the time to be allowed for alterations. Dress shopping for made-to-order gowns is usually advised about 12 months before the wedding day to allow for enough time, so brides need to be organised and order their gowns early.

There is no right or wrong way to purchase your wedding dress. Maybe the benefit of a swift off-the-peg purchase heavily outweighs the latest trends for you, or you just want that brand new gown made just for you despite the price tag that comes with that. It really doesn’t matter what your choices are. All that matters is that you feel comfortable with your decision, and that you love your dress!

Photoshoot Credits:

Planner and Stylist: @lbcweddingsandevents⠀⠀⠀

Photographer: @ellen.sear⠀⠀⠀

Videographer: @storybyshan⠀⠀⠀

Florist & props: @victoriaplusclaire⠀⠀⠀

Venue: @bassmeadmanorbarns⠀⠀⠀

Bridalwear: @lilyfrancisbridal⠀⠀⠀

Bridal Make Up: @makeupby_joely

Bridal Hair: @clairebarberella⠀⠀⠀

Assistant: @thewedding_bee⠀⠀⠀

Stationery: @foxglove_press⠀⠀⠀

Hair accessories: @cassiembridalaccessories⠀⠀⠀

Cake: @suehurstcakedesign⠀⠀⠀

Model Couple: @forever.more.couple

Celebrant: @lovejemmaceremonies⠀⠀⠀

Table Prop Hire: @misscarlysleandco_events⠀⠀⠀

Furniture Hire: @Rosetoneeventfurniture⠀⠀


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