A Budget-Savvy Custom Wedding Dress

How this budget bride got an affordable custom-made wedding dress

I didn’t think I was one of those little girls who spent time daydreaming about what her future wedding dress would look like. But as soon as I got engaged I knew EXACTLY what my dress should look like!

What I wanted was pretty simple, so I never expected to have to go the custom route. Surprisingly, what I truly wanted didn’t seem to exist, at least not in my price range.

I pictured a deep V-neck in front and back, a ruched waist, side pockets (eek!), and a really big tulle ballgown skirt. Simple with beautiful gathered fabric details. No embellishments, no fuss, no bling. And to finish the look… a cropped black leather jacket and white Converse sneakers. A little unorthodox, I know, but come on… IT’S AWESOME! I cannot wait to wear this totally sweet combination!

custom wedding dress inspiration - my dream wedding dress!

my custom made wedding dress inspiration - this poofy skirt is a dream!

[Photos from various and very lovely sources]

My wedding dress shopping struggle

Most gowns nowadays are strapless, but I had something with shoulder coverage in mind. I was pretty certain I wouldn’t be able to find the dress I wanted in stores (at least not for my ideal budget of $600.) I considered buying a used wedding dress as a way to save money, but I couldn’t find what I had envisioned in my head.

What I wanted was so specific, and even though I tried all the regular routes of saving money on a wedding dress, I was coming up empty. It seemed like the only option for me to get the dress of my dreams was to get a custom-made wedding dress. But from everything I’d read, custom making a gown was less than budget-savvy.

So I felt like I won the lottery when I heard about a woman who lives about an hour from me who makes custom wedding dresses as a hobby. And for cheap. Talk about hitting the budget-savvy jackpot!

Related Post: The Best Places to Buy or Sell a Used Wedding Dress

Why I chose to have my wedding dress custom-made

After visiting a couple of bridal stores to try on dresses just to make sure that the dress idea I had in my head would work (and to confirm that the dress I’ve dreamed up just doesn’t exist on the rack), I decided to go the custom route and have her make my dress.

Now, I realize that hiring a seamstress to make a custom wedding dress can be quite expensive, but I’ve been very fortunate in that this is one of the most budget-savvy things I’ve done. Because, with fabric and labor, my entire custom-made wedding dress will only cost $393. Yeah, dude. For really reals.

Designing my custom made wedding dress

Here’s the sketch I’ve done that she’ll be custom making my wedding dress from:

My sketches for my custom made wedding dress!

You might remember this dress from my earlier inspiration board post. I fell in love with the silhouette but wanted a very different bodice, so I’ve used this as the jumping-off point for my own dress.

I initially wanted fabric flowers on the waistband like in the photo, but I realized that wearing a jacket over the dress for the reception (remember, I’m getting married December 31 and it will be COLD!) would make some really awkward fabric lumps and bumps happen. Eek. So, I’m keeping the dress sleek and simple – fitted on top, and very full on the bottom.

The custom wedding dress process

At this point, I have purchased the fabric but the dress isn’t in production yet. I’ll have another post later showing the progress on the dress, and of course the finished product! And so, the saga of the custom-made wedding dress begins…

Favorite Wedding Dresses from BHLDN


Anyone else out there going the custom route for their wedding dress?

Editor’s note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more pandemic wedding resources here.Β 

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