What Goes Into Designing a Wedding Dress?

A bride’s wedding dress is one of the most important fashion decisions she will ever make. It is a symbol of her individual style, something that will be preserved in photos for generations to come. It needs to suit her personality, work for her body type and compliment the aesthetic of the other wedding choices she’s made. It should be stylish but not too trendy, feminine without crossing into provocative or matronly, sexy and sensuous or perhaps flirty and foxy. A lot of thought goes into choosing this once-in-a-lifetime gown.

It wasn’t until the middle of the 19th century that white became a standard color for bridal dresses. Prior to that, a bride could wear gold, blue or whatever her favorite dress happened to be. The color white became de rigueur after the wedding of Queen Victoria in 1840. From then on, brides across the world opted for white gowns in the same way they opted for lace and long trains and poufy skirts.

But as access to international trends has become easier due to the media and internet, wedding dress styles have started to change again. Runway designers such as Oscar de la Renta and Vera Wang have influenced brides to add texture, color and embellishment to their dresses. Celebrities, who are also a major influence on bridal fashion, have popularized alternatives to the traditional white gown as well. Gwen Stefani, Reese Witherspoon and Anne Hathaway have all worn variations of pink to their big days.

Today’s brides are more accepting of wedding dress diversity than ever before. As society becomes more embracing of same-sex marriages and women’s rights, wedding gowns are evolving to reflect these changes. Many designers are also taking the opportunity to embrace sustainability, introducing ethically sourced materials and creating inclusive collections that offer options for brides from a variety of backgrounds and cultural traditions.

The process for designing a wedding gown is more time consuming than the average formal gown, and it requires more fittings and tailoring as well. And because of the intricate details on some of these dresses—many gowns feature more than 1,000 pins securing ornamentation—they tend to be more expensive too.

Before a gown is ready to ship, it must go through quality control. This is when the designer checks for any imperfections and ensures all embellishments are secure. Brides should order their gowns as early as possible to get the look they want for their special day. Cho recommends that brides allow eight to 10 months before their wedding for the ordering and alterations process.

While renting a wedding gown is more budget friendly than purchasing, some services have extra fees such as shipping, insurance and late charges. It’s also important to check the dress’s return policy in case of damage. And if a gown doesn’t fit, some rentals will let you swap it for another style or even return it completely.

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