10 questions to ask your dress designer

Karen Willis Holmes

Arm yourself with the questions below before choosing a wedding dress

When it comes to choosing or designing your wedding gown, there’s more to consider than just how jaw-droppingly gorgeous you will look as you walk down the aisle.

Couture wedding dress designer Karen Willis Holmes shares her 10 most important questions to ask any prospective designer before settling on your final dress.

“For a bride there are lots of things to consider and organize for your big day,” says Karen “none of which are more than important than your dress.

“Bridal gown designers should expect to be asked any or all of the 10 questions below, but the questions are not only for the designers.

The brides should think about and answer some of the questions themselves before venturing into a bridal studio.”

1. What is the price of the gown?
There is no point trying on the gorgeous ball gown with the big price tag if, realistically, it isn’t in your budget. By looking at the price tag or letting the sales assistant know your budget this will help them and you to find that perfect gown, but one that won’t break the bank.

2. What is included in the price of the gown?
This is vital when considering your budget as well. Alterations and additional charges can add up depending on what work you may wish to have completed, so knowing what is included and what will cost extra will help with your budgeting.

3. Can the gown be ordered with any changes be made to the patterns or fabrics?
This will differ with every designer you approach and may vary the price, particularly if the material or work required is particularly fiddly.

4. Where is the gown made?
Understand that there are production lead times whether the gown is made in Australian or not, and gowns coming from overseas may be held up in transit or not be quite what you expected.

5. Are there any fittings included in the price?
This can mean a range of different services and varies from designer to designer. In her studio, Karen Willis Holmes defines fittings as:
Ready-to -wear gowns: no fittings or work included in the price of the gown
Demi-couture collection: two fittings to hem the gown to the correct length are included in the price
Couture gowns: five fittings to have the gown made to fit your exact body shape and design requirements

6. How long will it take to order the gown? What would be the due date?
Understanding that there are production lead times whether the gown is made in Australian or not and gowns coming from overseas may be held up in transit. Most designers ask for a minimum 6 months lead-time.

7. Can you do alterations for me if needed?
The chances of requiring some sort of alteration, even if it’s just a hemline, are high and though they look easy, particularly on a complex wedding gown, a skilled seamstress is not easy to find. The work is likely to take longer than you may think. Don’t risk ruining your gown by whipping out the sewing machine and doing it youself (unless you’re an experienced seamstress, of course). It would be a pity to ruin the gown at this stage if the work is done badly.

Questions/tasks  for the bride:
8. Have you checked out the designer’s reputation?
Do your research online about the company you want to purchase you dress from Check there are no re-occurring complaints and general feedback of negligence. Search forums and general feedback on sites such as Easy Weddings which offers brides the chance to write reviews of vendors they’ve used..

9. Have they been a good company to deal with?
Even if it’s only on the phone, do you like the ‘vibe’ of the place? Will you be treated properly after you have purchased your gown? This is important every bride should have an enjoyable shopping experience!

10. Are you happy with the quality of the gowns?
When you are in store look at the quality of the gowns in general and ask yourself: are you happy with the workmanship and fabrics used on their gowns?

“So with these questions in the back of your mind, embrace the wedding dress shopping experience and have fun,” says Karen, “It is a happy time of your life that should be remembered!”

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