Archive for the ‘General’ Category

The Top 5 Questions I Get Asked by Brides About Having a Wedding Dress Exclusively Designed & Created:

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Hi lovely people,

Every day I meet with brides and discuss what their dream wedding dress would look like. As we sit down and look at ideas, photos, sketches and fabric samples, I get asked a number of questions from each bride which are usually around the same topics. So I realised it might be very helpful if I wrote a blog answering these questions!

My TOP FIVE questions I get asked by brides are as follows:

1. How much time to do I need to have a wedding dress made?

Good question! Some of my bridal clients book in as early as 12 months ahead. While others book in around the 6 month mark and sometimes we even have last minute brides with only a few months to go.

It’s good to get locked in as early as you can so we can get your design finalised and choose the fabrics. Some materials and laces can take several months to arrive if they’re coming from France, so if you book in early we have unlimited options to refine the design, choose the materials and laces and arrange fitting dates.

But we don’t need to start your first fitting too early. Many brides loose weight or tone up  for their wedding day. So if we start fittings 12 months ahead, then by the time it gets close to your wedding date your body will have changed and we’ll have to keep altering the shape and size of your gown.

However we do get busy here as most weddings tend to happen close together. The more we can plan and pace the work we do on your gown over the coming months, the better service we can give to you.

So what I would advise is – just contact me as soon as you can and let me know your wedding date. I prefer more time rather than less so don’t wait to set up your consultation with me!

However if you have only just found us at the end of your wedding gown search or you have a very short engagement period, please don’t be afraid to still contact me about your wedding dress. If we can fit you in to our busy schedule we will!

2. Can I make changes to my wedding gown design later if I decide I don’t like something?

This is an awesome question and I’m glad you asked! We do a first fitting in calico cotton where you can see how the whole gown is going to look and we will discuss ALL changes at this first fitting. You’ll be able to see the whole gown shape, neckline, skirt shape, straps, train – basically everything will be there in fairly clear detail.

This is an example of one of our gorgeous brides at her first fitting wearing the “calico cotton toile” version of her wedding dress.

While you are wearing the (calico cotton toile) gown we will discuss things such as the neckline and we can actually cut away the fabric while you’re wearing it (but very carefully!) to make it lower or more v-shaped or rounded or sweetheart right before your eyes.

You will be able to see roughly see how your gown silhouette is going to look and we will be making lots of small adjustments to the fit of your gown and minor design changes. So this is the optimal time to make any small changes you would like.

3. What is the latest stage that I can still make changes?

When I design for a client, we look at examples of my previous clients gowns, lots of sketches and other photos, your ideas and also the type of wedding ceremony and reception you are having. I then create a final illustration gleaned from the ideas we have discussed.

After I have done this sketch – of course you can change your mind! Even big changes are ok at this stage as long as we haven’t started the pattern for your bridal gown. If we have started the pattern then we will discuss what options you have available to make the changes you are requesting.

Then we create a calico cotton (toile) version of your gown. At this stage as I mentioned earlier, we can make lots of “small changes” such as altering the neckline shape slightly, making the skirt a little tighter, or the train a bit shorter etc.

Then we make the gown in the final fabric. If your gown is nearly finished then it’s going to be much more difficult to make any changes at all to the design – although we have been known to insert an extra panel to the back train to make it longer at the last minute! (We really go out of our way to make our clients happy).

However being able to make a change late in the process is extremely rare. It depends on what the design looks like and what you are requesting to change. So I would never count on having this option! Not to mention that major style changes after your gown has been cut in the real fabrics are not part of the agreement so they would incur extra charges. This might seem unreasonable but you have to consider for us it will require a lot more time and labour to draft a new pattern, possibly sew a new calico toile of the part you want changed, a fitting to try the toile on, purchase of more fabric to recut the style and then sewing it all up again and another fitting to check it all fits!

But don’t fear! That’s why we do a first fitting in calico! To make sure you’re happy with everything! :)

However one exciting thing we can do later on is decide how you want the beading and embellishments to look!

In every case, please tell us asap if you want to change something or are unsure about something and I will tell you what your options are. We are not scary or intimidating – so you can talk to us about any concerns and we truly want you to feel and look amazing on your wedding day!

Image: Foster Photography www.fosterphotography.com.au

4. How do I know if I’m going to like my wedding dress or not when it’s finished and what if I don’t like it?

With all the opportunities to see how your gown is going to turn out – a first fitting in calico cotton and then fittings in the real fabric to adjust the fit and perfect the embellishments, I don’t think you’re going to dislike your bridal gown.

If there are any problems it’s normally something in particular you don’t like about your wedding gown, but there are other aspects you are happy with. In this case just talk to us about these issues and we can usually rectify them.

But we definitely aim to avoid any problems by checking everything carefully at the wedding gown fittings so there is little risk of you hating the whole dress!

5. So, I’ve decided I want to go ahead and have Sarah Alice Andrews – Bridal Couturier make my couture wedding gown, what is the next step?

First we need to finalise your wedding dress design. Sometimes this is done during the consultation, but other times it takes more discussion and several email exchanges before we get it right.

After you have confirmed you’re happy with the design, I will send you your first invoice for the initial retainer. This allows me to start your wedding gown pattern and start purchasing materials. So the next time I see you will be for your first fitting in the calico cotton toile gown and at a date that suits you.

If we are using special laces I will start sourcing these immediately.. Or you may want to wait to choose the fabrics until after your first fitting in the calico cotton when you can see roughly how your gown will look and it will be easier to visualise the effect of the different fabric choices. – Of course I will help you with this and guide you in the right direction to choose materials that are suitable for your gown.

I hope these FAQS are helpful to you! I find they’re the most common questions I get asked, but of course if you have any further questions don’t hesitate to ask me! Or you can also find more FAQs in the About your Gown Page or check out this post I wrote some time ago about Having Your Wedding Gown Designed & Made-to-Measure – A Step By Step Guide to the Consultation Experience.

An important point to remember is that you’re not alone in your “Couture Wedding Gown Creation Journey!” You have a designer (myself) and very skilled pattern and sample makers who are all going to be looking after you and ensuring that your wedding gown is perfect. We want you to look amazing walking down the aisle! To us that is the greatest privilege and why we are in this business!

Image: Foster Photography www.fosterphotography.com.au

If you’re considering having a couture bridal gown created for your wedding day, then send me an email or give me a call. I do free consultations where we can discuss the type of gown you’d like to have created. I’m also happy to liaise (initially) over email: Contact me here:

If you’re keen to learn more about us at Sarah Alice Andrews – Bridal Couturier, you can check out the following:

Facebook – www.facebook.com/SarahAliceAndrews

Twitter – @SarahCouturier

Pinterest – sarahaandrews

Instagram – @sarahcouturier

Feel free to send me any comments about this blog post via Facebook or Twitter, send me an email or give me a call Ph.0431 977 814.

Happy Wedding Planning! x Sarah

 

Looking for something to do this Saturday? Refresh your wardrobe and support World Change!

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

My good friend Louise is holding her 4th “Under A Tree Clothing Exchange” this coming Saturday 4th May in Brisbane. So if you’re looking for something fun to do – and perhaps find some new pieces for your winter wardrobe then you should check it out!

What is a “clothing exchange” you might ask? It is an event where you take some quality clothes from your wardrobe that you don’t want or need anymore and you exchange them for other clothing items that are available on the day.

These could be dresses or tops, skirts, jackets, pants etc, even accessories including belts, hats or gloves. But they must be in good condition and not old and worn looking. You will be selecting from items other participants have brought along so make sure you bring things you think people would want.

Chatting with Louise, she told me that they will have volunteers available on the day to help you select something if you need help. And if you’re planning to go to this event alone, you can still have a lovely time. – Louise and her volunteers will make sure you meet people while you listen to live music at the event and enjoy tea and biscuits at pretty tables set up throughout the venue.

 

It’s all happening at a previous Under A Tree Clothing Exchange as people pick out their new items of clothing..

 

But there is more to this event than just swapping clothes. A Pot of Tea Under A Tree supports the Somaly Mam Foundation which is a charity which literally rescues young girls from sexual slavery in Cambodia. Louise tells me that “1 in 40 girls in Cambodia are sold into sexual slavery from as young as 4 years old.” How horrific is that!

 

But by holding these events to raise money for the Somali Mam project, A Pot of Tea Under a Tree has raised enough money to save 16 girls from Camodian brothels.

 

Louise’s mum Anne-Marie, Louise & myself (Sarah) at the launch of Project Futures in 2011 where we met Somaly Mam.

 

Check out the website for more information about the clothing exchange: www.underatree.com.au and follow the links for information about the Somaly Mam Foundation.

 

Unfortunately I will be at my head quarters in Sydney this weekend! Lots of bridal fittings happening.. But if you are in Brisbane and you are able to go, I’d love to hear how you enjoyed it!

 

And if you’re considering having a couture wedding gown created just for you and made to your individual measurements, send us an email or call us. I do free consultations where we can discuss your gown and I’m also happy to liaise (initially) over email: Contact us here:

I also share lots of photos, industry news, things that inspire me and behind the scenes via:

Facebook – www.facebook.com/SarahAliceAndrews

Twitter – @SarahCouturier

Pinterest – sarahaandrews

Instagram – @sarahcouturier

Feel free to send me any comments about this blog post via Facebook or Twitter or send me an email!

Happy Wedding Planning! x Sarah

Choosing your wedding gown style with a blank canvas & an open mind!

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Hello lovely brides, wedding vendors and friends,

I wanted to share some thoughts with you about design after lots of reflection about all the gorgeous wedding gowns I have created since I have been in business..

As a fashion designer it’s great to see how each wedding gown evolves and it’s especially exciting when I have a client who is comfortable to let me design her bridal gown based on my delicate design aesthetic.

I do love seeing your ideas including photos and sketches you have collected. It’s also important for me to be aware of fashion trends, weddings and haute couture collections. Some of you may have imagined your wedding gown for years.. And even if you haven’t it’s just a matter of a quick search on Google Images or Pinterest to be overloaded with wedding dress images! So it’s almost impossible not to have some clear ideas about what you want your wedding gown to be like!

However I still think it’s a great process to design your gown without looking at lots of photos but to start instead with a blank piece of paper. If we sit down and discuss your wedding and the type of atmosphere and theme you want for the day I can get a feel for the type of wedding you’re having and what sort of gown would be perfect for that occasion.

We can also discuss what aspects of your figure you want to show off (and also those things you’d like to disguise..). We can look through some of my sketches so you can point out the ideas you like and I will create a design that will really suit you and your wedding day theme!

An example of a client who went through this process was Cate (pictured above left). As Cate lives in Brisbane (and I am based in Sydney), we had a phone conversation about how her wedding was going to be styled, the venue etc and what Cate’s fiancé was going to wear. I met Cate in Brisbane a little while later and we discussed some designs I had created to show her and she told me which ones she liked and we created a final design from there.

I was really proud to have created Cate’s bridal gown – knowing she was so happy with it and that it suited her style so perfectly. Cate was an unusual client because she never collected any photos of wedding gown images at all! Cate allowed herself to be a blank canvas!

It was a huge challenge to design a wedding gown for Cate with only a telephone conversation, some photos of Cate on my mac and a blank piece of paper! But this process worked so well because Cate trusted me completely. While on my short trip to Brisbane, I showed Cate my ideas for her gown and we discussed them in detail and put these ideas into one final design.

You might have noticed Cate’s couture wedding dress on my Home Page, but if you haven’t here’s another sneek peek until I post a full blog about her wedding very soon!

Image above by Foster Photography. (I love their photography style. You can have a look at more of their work here: www.FosterPhotography.com.au)

If you are considering having a couture wedding gown created just for you and made to your individual measurements, send us an email or call us. I do free consultations where we can discuss your gown and I’m also happy to liaise (initially) over email: Contact us here:

I also share lots of photos, industry news, things that inspire us and behind the scenes via:

Twitter – @SarahCouturier

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/SarahAliceAndrews

Pinterest – sarahaandrews

Feel free to send me any comments about this blog post via Facebook or Twitter or send me an email!

Happy Wedding Planning! x Sarah

 

Romantic & Elegant Church Appropriate Bridal Gowns

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Hello everyone!

With the trends towards sleeves and illusion necklines coming through in a big way for wedding gowns at the moment, there is more opportunity for brides who want or need a Chapel ready (Church appropriate) wedding gown that covers the arms, shoulders and decolletage (think Kate Middleton’s gown).

Exploring this trend, while knowing that most brides still wanting to feel alluring and beautiful, I created some sketches and here is one of them:

 

This gown is all about the amazing French lace which is cleverly cut and stitched on to tulle around the neck and shoulders. It also accentuates the back with pleats creating a bustle effect which is very elegant.

A gown like this would also look super cute with a small ruffle right down the centre back all the way to the skirt train. (Can’t imagine this? I’ll have to draw it for you sometime..)

If you are looking for a Chapel ready gown you will find they are extremely hard to find. A lot of brides end up buying a strapless dress and having it altered to have the appropriate coverage, but it just won’t have the same effect as a bridal gown that was designed to have sleeves.

So talk to me about having a wedding gown created especially for you!

I am still taking bookings for as early as February 2013 weddings but not for long! So contact me asap if you want a couture dress made just for you for an early 2013 wedding!

Send us an email or call us: Contact us here:

Twitter – @SarahCouturier

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/SarahAliceAndrews

Pinterest – sarahaandrews

Happy Wedding Planning! x Sarah

 

What’s Happening at our Couture Studio: September News Update

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Hi lovely brides, vendors and readers,

As many of you would know October and November are VERY busy months for weddings! So we have been incredibly busy finishing off gowns for our lovely brides and preparing for the early 2013 weddings as well!

Each of our bridal gowns are SO different to each other so we are really enjoying working on all of them. The chantilly laces are exquisite, the silk fabrics are exceptional quality and the hues range from white, ivory, pink to beige.

Some have gorgeous rinestone beading, while others are all about the draping and ruffles or an incredible French lace that I handpicked for the gown.

I can’t wait to share the photos not only from the weddings but also from the behind the scenes making of these bridal gowns. It’s hard to imagine just how much delicate hand-work, time, sweat, tears and love goes into each couture gown and why you would choose to have your wedding dress custom made as opposed to buying it off the rack.

Things to look out for in the next couple of months – a new Glamour Photoshoot with Foster Photography of one of my gorgeous brides and also more posts of Real Weddings!

Remember, I post every 2 weeks on a Wednesday so check my Facebook or Twitter to see updates about new posts. I know some of my readers would prefer I blogged more often, but we’re very busy making your gorgeous wedding dresses here so we don’t have much time to spend online!

x Sarah

A glimpse into the bridal gown designer’s studio:

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Hello everyone,

This afternoon I am preparing to sew beads and tiny clear sequins on to the corded lace of a wedding dress, so I thought I’d share with you a little something from the studio before I begin:

It’s another angle of some of my wedding gown designs..

It’s always interesting to see how they appear in photographs and I’m always conscious of how the design looks with the bride wearing it from every single angle. No one will be photographed more than the bride – and with all of your friends and family hoping to take photos of you walking up the aisle and dancing with your new husband in your couture wedding gown – we don’t know what angles will be snapped.. So we must make sure you look good in all possible ways!

If you would like to discuss your wedding gown design and the ‘angles you would like to feature or discreetly minimise’, just give me a call or send me an email – details on my contact page.

You can also chat with me on Twitter – @SarahCouturier

Become our fan on Facebook.

Or get inspired with us on Pinterest.

x Sarah Alice Andrews

New Trends in Bridal Gown Inspiration – High-Necked Details and Capped Sleeves:

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Hi to all the lovely brides planning your weddings and of course to my fellow wedding vendors and friends,

This post is about some of the new wedding gown styles I have been working on recently. – There is a trend towards vintage looks with high necklines, small capped sleeves, bustles and stunning delicate details in chiffon and lace. It’s a very soft look, sweet, innocent and perfect for an elegant, romantic wedding.

These gowns are devoid of stiff structure or excessive boning and have a natural flow. They could be bias cut in silk satin, with silk organza inserts, soft silk tulle, silk-cotton voile or French Chantilly laces.

I also explored a bit of an Indian sari feel to some of the designs as well. It would be gorgeous to use a stunning embroidered and beaded sari as the main fabric for your wedding gown. And then you could wear a veil with the same embroidery and detailing.

If you like some of these ideas and you would like to discuss further, just give me a call or send me an email – details on my contact page.

You can also chat with me on Twitter – @SarahCouturier

Or become a fan on Facebook.

Or find us on Pinterest.

x Sarah

Having your Wedding Gown Designed & Made-to-Measure: A Step by Step Guide to the Consultation Experience

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Hello to all the lovely Brides-to-be, Wedding Professionals & Friends,

For those of you who are curious about what happens in an initial wedding gown consultation, here are a series of photos to show you what I do:

  • First we talk about the type of design you would like. For some brides, you may have a very clear idea of what you want and we will start with this as the basis of our discussion.
  • For other brides you may give me just a brief description of what you would like, or maybe you would like to look through some wedding dress designs I have done in my look book for inspiration.
  • I am always delighted to create something from scratch if you would prefer. I will consider your personality and body shape, the type of wedding day you are having and also the season and climate and I will come up with a range of ideas that I feel would suit you.
  • Depending on the complexity of the wedding gown design and the ideas we have, I may need to work on the design and really refine it so another meeting may be necessary before we finalise it. You’re always welcome to email me with any ideas you have prior to meeting, as this will speed up the process so I can pre-prepare some designs before I meet with you.

  • Once we have finalised your bridal gown design, we will then discuss the fabrics that would best suit the style that you are going for. I normally supply all fabrications as I have access to the best suppliers of the highest quality silks and laces. However, you are welcome to bring your own materials if you have already purchased them or if you have a beautiful heirloom lace you would like incorporated for example..
  • The laces I use are often woven in France on the original 19th Century looms and I select the perfect lace for each gown based on what I feel will be most suited to that design. Some laces can take months to arrive from France as they are often woven especially to order.
  • If you’re having a gown with lace, we will need to choose the lace prior to finalising the fabrics completely so that we ensure the shade of the lace and the silk are perfectly matched.

  • Next we get your measurements so I can start on the toile (calico cotton version of your gown) with my team. And the process of creating your dream wedding gown has begun!
  • If you are planning to loose (or gain) weight before your wedding, just let me know. We can still start your gown immediately, but depending on how much weight you intend to loose it will determine how early we can start doing major fittings.

These photos were taken in my mother’s gallery: Robyn Bauer Studio Gallery in Brisbane, Paddington. This is where I conduct all initial consultations with my Brisbane clients. For all other interstate clients I try to plan as much as possible via email and phone until you’re ready to meet in person in my Sydney base. (If you live in Sydney – it will be even easier for you as we can do everything locally).

We then plan out a series of fittings where all my Brisbane and other interstate brides can book their flights in advance to Sydney (where I am based and I do all fittings). Some clients choose to make just a day trip to Sydney – flying in and out for their fitting in one day. However others may stay for a few days and have a holiday..

I have some gorgeous clients from Sydney and also interstate, and it’s such a pleasure to work with all of them. The client above is Cate who is based in Brisbane and will be flying down for her fittings. I’m sure you’ll see more of her on my blog, but to keep her wedding dress a very special surprise for her family, friends and most importantly fiance, I’ll wait until after her wedding before I post more photos of her!

Sarah Alice Andrews

Colour wedding gowns? They’re so bridal & enhance your look. Here’s the best colour selections:

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Hello to all the lovely brides and wedding professionals reading my post this week,

With all the excitement recently from the bridal shows overseas and MBFWA (Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia), there are so many new trends being discovered and so many ideas, it can be hard to decipher the best options for you and your wedding..

But your bridal gown is about far more than just fashion. You’ll have these photos forever and your family will pass your photos down for generations. So you want your wedding gown to have a style that you will always love and be proud of.

Some of the top designers are exploring some very dramatic colourways these last couple of seasons (Think Red and Black!) and some of them look great on the catwalk or red carpet, but they are not necessarily the best options for your wedding day.

If you are thinking about a choice other than the traditional white or ivory, consider these gorgeous hues I have selected that I feel will remain classic and elegant for years to come:

White                                         Silver                                         Antique

 

  • White or Ivory: A classic and elegant colour choice. A good rule to follow is that the more olive your skin tone, the whiter you can go with your fabric. For paler skin go for an ivory or creamy hue so the gown adds some colour and warmth to your complexion.
  • Silver or Pale Grey: This would look stunning in a French lace with silk organza or dupion beneath it for added texture. Be careful that this colour doesn’t wash you out though. Perhaps hold a piece of fabric up to your face and have a look in the mirror – or get someone to advise you if you’re not sure.
  • Antique or Champagne: It’s a lovely choice because it’s still very traditional but it has a regal feel about it with the gold tones.

 

Mocha                                       Blush

  • Mocha or Oyster: It’s an unusual option but I’m seeing more of this colour as brides look for something a little different but still within the neutral shades. This colour can range from a goldish hue through to more beige tones.
  • Blush, Rose or Ice Pink: I love this option but you should be careful not to pick an overpowering shade. Even if it looks very pale in the swatch, remember that as a whole gown the effect will be much stronger (and pinker!).

 

As you can see from my examples above, by sticking to the ‘Pastel’ shades it is possible to choose an unusual and non-traditional colour while not being too shocking and still creating a look that is very Bridal. However the most important thing is to choose the right colour for you. Whether that’s white, ivory, blush, mocha etc.. Maybe you could even venture into a very light cloud colour for your ‘something blue’..

So what colour have you decided you will wear on your wedding day? Share your thoughts on my Facebook page or via Twitter.

 

Sarah Alice Andrews

For Beauty’s Sake! Don’t be in Pain on Your Wedding Day!

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

With all the media coverage of the Logie Awards recently, I’ve been hearing about celebrities who were instructed by their gown designer to wear corsets beneath their dresses that cinched them in so tightly they hurt their ribs and got bruise marks! (talk about unrealistic expectations!)

The same goes with footwear. These women were told to wear heels so tall that they could barely walk – just to add 10 inches to their height.

Of course I adore heels! (Every girl does..) but as a designer, I love to make women look their best. My aesthetic is that women should look beautiful and feminine, but they should also FEEL beautiful and feminine! If you can’t walk, it hurts to stand and you can’t sit down, let alone comfortably breath – then there is a problem with what you are wearing!

My version of the cinched-in look..

It truly is possible for you to look gorgeous without forcing yourself into uncomfortable garments. By considering your propotions, height and colouring as I do when I design, you will absolutely look your best!

If you love huge ballgowns, but you’re very petite and could be engulfed by wearing such a design – I can craft a design with these features that works for you.

Or if you want something figure hugging but that gives you a slim waist look, it’s all about playing with the proportions of the design strategically. Even ‘semiotics’ can play a role in the visual appeal of how a gown looks..

So don’t fear – you don’t have to be in pain on your wedding day! It’s such an incredible day you only get to enjoy once, so don’t make the mistake of being uncomfortable..

As always, love to hear your comments. Check out my Facebook & Twitter to share your thoughts on this topic!

x Sarah