The Difference Between Made To Measure, Bespoke and Ready Made Wedding Dresses

  • The Difference Between Made To Measure, Bespoke and Ready Made Wedding Dresses

Made-to-Measure, Bespoke and Ready-Made Wedding Dresses.

Understanding the difference between Made to Measure, Bespoke and Ready Made Wedding Dresses is quite a challenge.  The past few years has seen as steady rise in the use of this description from brands eager to differentiate their products and services, to the point where it is almost impossible for newly engaged brides to fully appreciate what the differences are or even where to start looking.  Whilst it might appear seamless to find a designer wedding dress online with next day delivery to be tried on at home, it cannot be compared to the experience of physically shopping for a wedding dress.  The ability to be able to order 3-5 different bridal gowns to try on at home, returning the ones (or all of them) that don’t fit or meet the expectation, works quite well for a small percentage of shoppers; but for the majority of those who do not fit standardized measurement charts, made-to-measure, bespoke and ready made wedding dresses requires much more involvement and personalized services to achieve the same result

Made To Measure, Bespoke and Ready Made Wedding Dresses

Not every bride wants to spend every available weekend visiting bridal boutiques and then having to wait a year or even 5 months to get her hands on her dream wedding dress and some brides will want to see exactly what they are buying so that everything is clear cut.  But so often, these are the very same brides who end up spending an additional small fortune on wedding dress alterations just to have the dress exactly how they want it.  Now we might seem biased on this point, but we certainly think it is worthwhile keeping in mind that this is the most important dress that you will ever purchase; so take your time, DO YOUR RESEARCH and don’t be panicked into purchasing a dress that is not quite right for you as you will either hate it or spend considerably more trying to achieve the perfect fit.

Bespoke Wedding Dresses

It is worthwhile booking a consultation with a Bespoke Wedding Dress Designer during the wedding dress shopping process.  As within a short while, the differences between Made to Measure, Bespoke and Ready Made Wedding Dresses will become abundantly clear.

The Bespoke bridal gown is a unique one-off design created just for you that allows you to work closely with a wedding dress maker to achieve the design that you want. The process involves much more than just ordering a dress off the pegs as you will need to allow time for consultations and 3-4 fittings of the chosen design. The time frame for a bespoke dress can be anything from 6 weeks to 12 months depending on the type of design and also on availability.  Even if you have a design in mind, the dressmaker will still need to make a first pattern and toile for your design just to check that everything is as you wanted and also to achieve the perfect fit. For many brides, a bespoke wedding dress is not just about purchasing a luxury wedding dress but an essential part of the process of finding a service that fits with their schedule and lifestyle.

4 Reasons Why Brides Choose Bespoke.

  • Because they cannot find the dress that they want or that fits the way they want
  • The freedom of controlling the design and achieving the perfect fit
  • The full benefit of a handcrafted Made-to-Measure or Custom Made Wedding Dress means no additional fees for alteration.
  • Sustainability and Responsibility of knowing where and how your dress is made from sketch to completion triggers a immediate bond and trust in the quality and workmanship. It is also a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity

The cost of a Bespoke Wedding Dress will depend on personal factors such as taste, budget and the choice of materials. But worth bearing in mind is that the cost of the dress includes the toile fitting, materials, dress fittings and alterations with no further costs once the price is agreed – even if slight changes are made. Expect to spend from around 2-3k upwards


Made-to-measure wedding dresses offer a cheaper alternative than a bespoke wedding dress and a better fit than Ready-Made wedding dresses. This service is most common among designer bridal labels who offer a selection of wedding dresses for you to choose from.  The chosen style is then made up in the closest size to your measurements and then fine tuned to fit your body shape.  The lead time for made-to-measure can vary between 6 to 20 weeks as the garments are not always locally produced. Prices generally start from around £1250 – 2,900

Ready Made Dresses

Large outlet stores purchase in bulk from designers, warehouses and stores that are closing down, which is why they are able to offer highly competitive pricing.  The stock is constantly rotating and updated with new products arriving each week.  You will find that there is more choice at the smaller end of the size scale between 8 – 10 and most outlet stores will also have a selection of plus size ready made dresses that are ready to be purchased on the same day. All the dresses are made to standard sizing and unless you are between 5ft 7 – 9″, you will need to make additional allowances for alteration costs to achieve the perfect fit.  Alteration costs for ready-made dresses can be anything from £150 – £600.00 depending on the detail and materials of the dress

Made-to-Order Dresses

The process in bridal boutiques is to try on a range of style  to help you find the style that is perfect for your body shape.  The boutiques will often use giant clips and straps to help them to adjust the dresses to your size.  Whilst this is great for shopping, it can often give the buyer the wrong impression of the final fit of the dress which is then ordered in the closest size, or even in a bigger size to get you to spend more on alterations . Some bridal boutiques will also suggest customizable options for made-to-order wedding dresses but these will come at a hefty price together with the alteration fees when your dress arrives in store. The time frame for made-to-order dresses is around 16 – 20 weeks and cost vary starting around £1250 – £3000.

At the end of each season the boutiques will divest themselves of extra inventory and this is the perfect time when a bride-to-be can purchase a deeply discounted gown.  Both ‘best sellers’ and poor performing dresses will be put into a sample sale at the end of the season and sold at a marked down price to clear.  Do be aware that it is common practice (Outlet Stores) to remove the supporting under layers designed to maintain the structure of the dress such as petticoats and corsets and charging for them as extras. Depending on your choice of boutique , brand or label, expect to spend upwards of £600 on a sample dress to around £1850.00 for a made-to-order dress

Our Mission

“To design products that enhance your individuality using the finest quality materials from around the globe”.

“Size doesn’t matter as this is essentially what Bespoke product design is all about”!

We understand that your free time is valuable to you whether you choose to spend it alone or with friends and loved ones.  Which is why we don’t practice high pressure sales but focus on making you feel and look good in a relaxed, calm and understated way.  We stop at nothing to deliver exceptional design and authentic bespoke wedding dresses designed and hand crafted in our  workrooms by Cynthia and her talented team.  To understand and learn more about the Bespoke process and How We Work please click on the linked page.

*Please note that we cannot provide quotes over the phone other than to use the starting price as a guide until we know all of the work involved. We hold consultations by appointment only in our Cookham Atelier in Berkshire.

If you would like to have a brief discussion with Cynthia about your needs  – Call the studio direct on +44 (0) 7932 673 430, or by email

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