Posts Tagged ‘FAQs’

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

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

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 –

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


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:

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


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


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

Wedding Gown Designs: You don’t have to settle for ‘Almost Perfect’

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Hello to all my lovely brides & friends!

For those of you are finding it hard to find the ‘perfect’ design for your wedding gown, perhaps it’s a simple solution of combining elements you like together. Here are some designs that combine the same components but as you can see I have used them in different ways to create something totally unique!

If you want a traditional and very pretty style we could create something for you like this gown which has French scalloped lace edges on the sleeves and neckline:

Or if you like some aspects of the design above but you want something easy to move and dance in, you might like a shorter length version of the same design – T-Length bridal gowns are becoming quite popular these days believe it or not! Even as a second wedding dress for the reception. We could create it with or without the capped sleeves:

& another very pretty example:

We could keep the skirt very simple in a beautiful silk satin and make the bodice a really ornate and detailed feature with lots of panel work, embroidery and beading. Or if you preferred, we could even add some detail on the skirt as well and make it very rich like a brocade look.

These examples are some more obvious interpretations playing on long and short lengths, however the same thing applies to very simple changes. Perhaps you just want a different neckline, slightly more fitted skirt, or more beading on the bodice.. All these options are possible when you get your wedding gown created by a true couture designer. And you don’t have to be sure of what you want. That’s where our expertise comes in! Just contact us for a consultation and we will go from there!

Have a great week & happy wedding planning!

x Sarah Alice Andrews.

Should you choose Fake Flowers or Real Fresh Blooms for your Wedding Day?

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Hello lovely brides & friends,

Recently I have been working on several gowns that I’m doing all the styling – head pieces/veils/choosing the bouquets – the works. So I was trying to decide whether to do a stunning head piece with fresh flowers adorning it or silk ones.. This led me to the question: Will you choose fake or fresh flowers for your bridal bouquet, head piece or table decorations?

I know most of you will say ‘REAL flowers of course!’ But if you stop and think about the benefits of using fake (silk) flowers you’ll start to see the dilemma:

  1. Fake (silk) flowers can last for a lifetime with the proper care, so you can enjoy and cherish them as a keepsake years after your wedding.
  2. Silk flowers are always in season! So no matter what time of year you have planned your wedding or what the weather is like, you are guaranteed to be able to get the flowers you desire.
  3. You can take ‘pack’ your flowers in your suitcase if you’re having a destination wedding. Finding and ordering your bouquet from a local florist in a foreign country, remote island or small beachside town may be a daunting task that you can easily avoid by having your silk flower bouquet arranged and carefully packed to travel with you.
  4. You will have perfect full-looking blooms for all of your wedding photos. Unlike real flowers which only have a certain lifespan, silk flowers will not wilt or bruise. This is perfect if you’re getting married in a hot climate as well..
  5. The exact shade and colour you choose for your silk blooms will be exactly what you receive. When you choose silk flowers you aren’t at the mercy of what the florist can source fresh which can differ slightly from what you chose because nature isn’t always reliable!
  6. Silk flowers are non-allergenic. So if you, your finance or anyone in your bridal party suffers from hay fever or allergies to pollen, they won’t have any problem with the fake flowers!
So, now that I’ve got you possibly thinking about silk flowers for your wedding day, why not get inspired by something even more amazing.. Like a vintage brooch, button or feather bouquet.. I did some searching and I had to make myself stop before I went totally overboard! The list is endless!
Here are some stunning ones I found:


I love this concept “Your Life in Your Bouquet” by Brooch Bouquets find them here.

This one is made by Noaki & you can find her here.

And here is a silk flower bouquet like I’ve been talking about. This one’s by Blue Orchid Bridal.

It will be way too much fun searching for your bridal bouquet with possibilities like these.. I have even found bouquets that use bits of lace.. How pretty if you take some scraps of silk and lace (which I will give you if I design and create your gown and you let me know that this is what you want to do) and take them to your florist or bouquet designer like the ladies above and they can add some of the original lace from your gown to your bouquet..
How pretty..
But don’t get me wrong –  I ADORE fresh flowers! But there are too many stunning bouquets to show here and if you find a wonderful florist or if you have some favourite blooms in mind, you won’t need too much inspiration to come up with a gorgeous bouquet..
Anyway, happy searching!
x Sarah

Will you get your Wedding Gown Couture Custom Made vs Off the Rack? Tips to help you decide:

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011


A decision you may find yourself needing to make in the hunt for your perfect wedding gown is whether you’re going to buy it “Off the Rack” or if you will have one “Made to Measure”.

In my career I have designed bridal gowns for international labels who mass produced & also small couture labels who created one-off dresses, so I have a lot of experience in both choices. There are significant differences between the two, so I have endeavoured to list some of the major differences and benefits as follows:

Buying your wedding gown off the rack:

  • This is a good option if you would like a traditional style of wedding dress.
  • Buying your gown off the rack normally means that it is a mass produced style. Most stores will carry just one sample gown in stock and will have the factory make it in your size after you order it.
  • Generally samples are stocked in a size 10 or 12, so if you’re a different size you’ll only get a rough idea of how it will fit and look on you in your true size.
  • Your gown will come in a standard size so you may require alterations if it doesn’t fit you perfectly as is. It is a good idea to ask your sales consultant about possible alterations that may be necessary prior to purchasing your wedding gown so you are aware of any additional costs that may be incurred.
  • Length – if you are very short or tall, you may need to have the length adjusted on your bridal gown. Some boutiques will order your gown with a different length (usually up to 3 inches shorter or longer) depending on the style. Gowns that have full pieces of lace or embroidery may not be able to be adjusted because it will alter the whole look and proportions of the design. Your bridal consultant will explain to you which styles can be adapted. I would definitely recommend having the gown ordered with the correct length if possible as it is more likely to retain the original proportions of the design.
  • Straps, Sleeves & Jackets – Honestly these are not easy to find in a bridal boutique simply because there is still such a strong preference for strapless wedding dresses. If you shop around you may find them, but be aware if you’re looking for a wedding dress with a sleeve or a strap, you most probably will require alterations. This is because it is difficult for (any) designer to create a fitted sleeve style that fits ‘everyone’ as women are very different shapes around the shoulder/arm area (that’s why bespoke suit tailoring is so popular for men!).
  • Another option is to add a small capped sleeve to anexisting strapless style – talk to your bridal sales consultant if they offer this service or if they can order a small length of extra fabric or lace when they order your gown, and you can then have a dressmaker add these for you.
  • Design Options – An off the rack dress is limited entirely to the fabric the sample is made in and there may be a limit of 1 – 3 colour options. It’s generally not possible to customise the trims, lace or beading unless you take your gown to a dressmaker which is an extra charge.
  • So who should buy off the rack? I would suggest it if you are extremely time poor or feel more comfortable seeing EXACTLY what you are getting in front of you rather than going through the design process and viewing sketches and fabrics etc.


Having your gown made by a couture designer (made to measure/bespoke):

Obviously I do consider this a wonderful option – as I myself offer this service. However here are some reasons why:

  • The process of having a couture gown made begins with a consultation, followed by a series of fittings, and finally picking up the finished gown. So you get to enjoy the experience of wedding dress fittings! It’s a much more prolonged experience than just walking in and buying your dress off the rack and being done. It’s very exciting seeing it all come together and watching the design and fitting process.
  • It’s a perfect fit! Nothing will fit you better than a design customised to your bodyshape! Even the little details are customised including extra boning and support in the bust or waist if you need it. You’d be surprised how many little details are considered and refined for an individual bride’s gown both inside and out! This is part of the couture experience and truly is an art in itself.
  • On that note it makes it easier to find lingerie for under your gown. There is nothing worse than choosing a gorgeous low back wedding dress and then you can’t find a bra or corset to match because everything is too high at the back. If you have your gown made-to-measure then you can have the neckline of your gown adjusted if necessary to fit the lingerie. Or we can make special allowances in the design to allow you not to wear a bra etc.
  • You have limitless options in fabric and colour, lace and beading (depending on your budget). Dresses off the rack are only available in one fabric or lace.
  • The design is TOTALLY customisable. If you want sleeves/straps/a little matching bolero, garter or a veil that has matching lace to your gown – we can do this for you and more!
  • If you’d like a little button hole or fascinator/hair-piece for each of your bridesmaids that has lace from your gown, it’s also possible!
  • If you have religious or personal requirements about the height of your neckline or sleeve length etc, these are easily accomodated and we can still creating something very flattering for you within the boundaries.
  • I also offer my clients a special gift of a sketch of your gown to keep as a memento of your couture bridal gown experience.
Of course the decision is entirely up to you and there are many advantages to both. I wish you the best of luck in your search for the perfect wedding gown and I hope this was helpful for you! As always if you’d like to leave me a question or comment, check my Contact page.
x Sarah

6 of the Best Tips For Choosing Your Dream Wedding Gown:

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Whether you have been dreaming of your wedding gown since long before you got engaged, or you haven’t given it any thought at all until now, one of the most exciting decisions you’ll make in planning your wedding is choosing your wedding dress.

You may have everyone asking what are you going to wear? & suggesting where you should go or giving you advice about what they wore to their wedding and what they think is appropriate.. Without a little bit of planning, choosing your wedding gown can go from fun to stressful.

So amidst all the excitement, if you keep a few simple points in mind it will help keep the process a smooth and memorable experience. Here are some of my top tips that you should remember when searching for your wedding gown:

     1. While researching online for ideas or visiting a bridal store, do not limit yourself to a certain look or fabric. Be open to trying different styles on and see what suits you.

For example, you may have your heart set on a strapless style, but you could be more comfortable and find it more flattering to wear a style with a softly ruched strap. This allows you to wear a bra with straps which will give you more support if you need it. A gown with straps can also have a much lower back than a strapless gown (because a strapless gown needs to be fitted high to hold it up).


Or you may have imagined your bridal gown would be in rich silk satin, but it might look too heavy or be unsuited to the style of gown you like. To achieve the look of the draping, skirt and train you are after, you might need to go for something lighter like silk chiffon.

Perhaps you’ve been thinking lace is too fussy for you, but depending on the style and cut of the dress (and the choice of lace) it could look amazing..


     2. If you have a particular budget in mind, communicate this to your consultant. Try on some gowns that fit into your budget first and this will give you an indication of what is possible at your desired price range. If you haven’t found anything that you’ve liked so far, you may wish to try on a couple of gowns in a higher price bracket. However at least if you have tried some gowns in your initial budget first you will be able to make an informed decision on how much difference there is in quality/fabrications/beading and fit between the different price brackets and whether it’s worth paying the difference.

When I design a gown for a bride, I am considerate of budgets. I use only the finest fabrications, silks and laces and this is something I won’t compromise on – even when trying to make the gown more affordable for a bride. However I can still make many allowances if you have a lower budget and this may mean I do less handwork, beading or different quality of crystals etc. I’ll always explain to you the options that you have so don’t hesitate to ask me about my price range.

     3. It’s best to limit yourself from visiting too many bridal boutiques or trying on too many wedding dresses. It’s difficult to remember what you have tried on or you liked (no bridal salon will let you take photos) and it can get very tiring and overwhelming as well. A lot of stores have a maximum number of gowns they’ll let you try on at an appointment, so you need to keep that in mind as well.

If you are getting your gown bespoke made (like I do at Sarah Alice Andrews – Bridal Couturier) then I would recommend only trying a few gowns on to get an idea of the silhouettes you like. If you are thinking T-Length, A-line, big and full skirted, or mermaid it will give you an idea of whether that style will suit you.

When I work with a client, I can see the shape that will suit you best just by looking at your silhouette. & During the first fitting which I do in calico cotton (a toile) we will discuss the silhouette and you can see a basic shape of what your gown will look like. We can make any changes we wish to the silhouette at that point and I’ll be aiming to give you the most flattering look possible.


     4. We suggest you carefully consider how many people you bring with you to your consultation or fitting appointment. It’s lovely to have everyone there with you (your mum, grandmother, all your bridesmaids and your aunties) but too many opinions can be confusing. It may also slow down the fitting process so you have less dedicated time focused on you and more time spent placating everyone else or trying on gowns you don’t like simply to please someone else (and remember time and the number of gowns you can try is usually limited).

I am happy for you to bring whoever you like (3 is a good maximum number) but bare in mind I work in a unique way from other bridal designers. As I come from a background of fine arts, I use a truly creative process to design your bridal gown so that it’s all about flattering you, your style and your figure and I can source inspiration from anything and anywhere. (an heirloom brooch, a beautiful piece of fabric, a ballet, a venue or an old photograph etc) So your experience will be benefited by trust and a little time and space for us to think about the perfect gown design for you so I can work my magic!

     5. So what else should you consider before you start looking for your bridal gown? I would suggest you have your venue solidified. If you have not chosen your venue yet, than at least have an idea of the settting eg. Beach/destination wedding, church or garden, and whether you’ll be dancing etc at your venue or how formal it will be and of course the season!

An idea of your venue helps with choosing your wedding gown because certain styles are more suited to certain venues. You wouldn’t choose a huge ballgown for a destination wedding for example (and it would be very hard to pack in a suitcase!). As an artist and a designer, I like to think about the venue and tie these elements into your wedding gown concept. These could be very subtle design attributes, but it’s all about choosing the right style for you, your personality, your dream day and the venue that you have chosen is a part of that.


     6. So lastly, when should you start your bridal gown search? We recommend brides start looking 8 – 10 months in advance of their wedding. Honestly the more time the better as we have limitless options for design possibilities. However if you have only a few months before your wedding it may still be possible for me to create your wedding gown. I will be more limited in my choice of laces for example as many of the laces I use have been woven to order in France which can take several months for that part alone, but don’t worry I will still source something Beautiful for you which is more readily available.

I hope these tips have helped you with some things you need to think about to find your dream wedding gown! Send me a message on Twitter (@SarahCouturier) or Facebook or send me an email if you have a question or a comment.


Sarah xo

How to choose the Right Bridal Lingerie for your Wedding Gown.

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Hi lovely brides & friends,

This blog is a little bit of a short one as it’s a busy time here at my little studio! But I thought I’d share some advice with you on my wide knowledge of Bridal Lingerie. (Another area of expertise of mine).

I will say first that I strongly prefer to help you choose a design that will truly flatter your figure, rather than choosing a style regardless of your shape and then having to find undergarments that will ‘suck’ you in for example, or a bra that will give you enough support when you’re dress is extremely low at the back and can’t have a regular bra or strapless. However whatever style of wedding gown you choose, it is still very important to choose the right undergarments as this is the foundation of your look.

As a bride, I’m sure you’d like your lingerie to be pretty! As far as colours go, if you dress has a couple of layers of lining, shapewell, lots of boning, and silk etc – then technically you could probably wear any colour you liked and it wouldn’t show through! But for safety’s sake I’d suggest you stick to pastel tones (baby blues for your something blue or pale pink, silver, gold etc) or if your gown has only one or two layers of silk satin than it would be best to go with ivory/white or nude colour undergarments.

If you’re gown is very fine or tight, you could go for bottoms with a fine lace that is very smooth. This could be a Chantilly Lace or a Leavers Lace with no elastic or seams around the lower edge. Test out a few in-store by bringing a tight skirt to try them with, or ask for a silk slip if they have one that you can try with it.

If you think that any kind of lace (smooth or not) is going to show through, you could go for ‘Laser Cut’ bottoms. These have no seams and no elastic so they’re the smoothest you can possibly get if you’re worried about seams showing under a tight fitting or a bias cut wedding gown.

La Perla ‘Laser Cut’ Bottoms

If you’d like to wear something controlling, there are a number of options available for you such as the usual styles of ‘Control Briefs’ etc. Choose a good quality brand that will not ‘Roll Down’ – anyone who’s every worn them will know what I’m talking about.) Or a more sexy alternative are ‘Waistcinchers’ which are like a very wide suspender belt that sits underneath your bust and controls your waist. It can also have suspender stockings attached for a glamourous look.

Christies ‘Waistcincher’ with Push-up Bra & G-string

Another option is a ‘Step-In’. This is a brief that stops high on the waist and may also have suspenders attached. It could be boned or be a firm fabric like a control brief but it’s often made in lace so it’s much prettier and doesn’t look like it’s made to control (so it can look like lovely bridal lingerie).

Christies ‘Step-In’ with Wire Bra

If your wedding gown has straps, you may want to consider a bodysuit. These aren’t so popular as they used to be, but they’re great because you don’t get the bra ‘cut-in’ lines or the top brief cut-in lines that you do with regular underwear so you will have a really smooth line. They can also come in really pretty lacey styles in ivory and white. It’s not easy to find really pretty ones, so you might have to go to a specialist, high end lingerie store.

And of course ‘Corsets!’ Incredibly sexy.. You can wear them with suspender stockings if you wish and they are fully boned to give you a really lovely waist-line. Some brides prefer them to a regular strapless bra because they feel more supported and that the bones of the corset will help hold itself in place and stop it sliding better than a strapless bra. Most corsets do up at the back, so when you try it on in the shop you need to make sure you can do it up yourself  – or ask one of your bridesmaids to help you put it on, on the day!

Christies ‘Corset’ with G-String

Things to note:

  •  Check how low the back of your dress is. If you think it’s lower than a regular bra (and you have been advised to wear a bra or corset underneath your gown) then perhaps ask if you can take a photo of you wearing your gown from the back so you can remember how low you need your bra to be when you go shopping. You can also show these pictures to the shop attendants.
  •  Another thing you can do is to have someone mark the line of the back neckline of the dress on your skin and then go shopping (ASAP!) for your bridal lingerie and use the mark as a guide for how low your bra needs to be. I definitely suggest this option as it eliminates any guesswork, but you do need to go shopping for your bridal lingerie before the mark wears off!
  • If you haven’t purchased your wedding gown yet and you do have a particular body issue, talk to your dressmaker or bridal shop assistant about styles that will help disguise this area and flatter your attributes. There are so many options available to you for your wedding day, that there will certainly be a style to suit you perfectly!
  • For example, If you’re worried about your stomach, we could do some lovely soft ruching over your waist line. Or if you want to hide your thighs we could do an elegant A-line shaped silhouette. This would show off your waistline and then the skirt would widen out naturally covering your thighs. Or if you are very busty and need good support, apart from choosing a style that has good construction and boning, we could also try a style with delicate straps so that you have the option of wearing a regular style bra if you wish.
  • It’s so much more elegant, flattering and beautiful to wear a style that truly suits you rather than following fashion on your wedding day. Fashions will come and go but you’ll have your wedding pictures forever.

Hope this gives you a little bit of an idea what to look for when you’re shopping for your bridal lingerie, or even your wedding gown! Send me an email, a tweet or a facebook message if you’d like some help or more tips on any of the things I’ve suggested or if you’d like to leave comments about your experiences on anything I’ve mentioned. (Check my contact page for details).

All items in the photos displayed are available from: unless sold out. Contact them for availability.


xo Sarah


Would you wear a T-Length gown?

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Sometimes I’m approached by brides who would like to wear a t-length wedding dress or something a little shorter than the traditional floor length style. T-length dresses (a skirt usually around knee length) are perfect for a relaxed, informal event such as a beach or destination wedding, or an intimate church wedding with a cocktail party reception.

You might even prefer to wear a full length gown for the ceremony and photos and afterwards you could change into a t-length gown for the reception so you can dance comfortably and move around easily.

Of course wearing a t-length gown means you can show off your gorgeous shoes & pedicure! You could even wear a closed toe shoe and beautiful hosiery – there are so many beautiful lace patterned styles available. (Ask me for suggestions but here are a few I love: PantyhoseAnklet Socks or you could wear an elegant pair of La Perla Stay-Ups or Stockings.

When I’m designing a shorter length gown or a gown that doesn’t have a train, it’s important that the gown still has a very ‘Bridal’ feel and all the splendor and significance of a full length gown and that it doesn’t look too casual.

Maybe this can be achieved with an extra special lace – on a short gown we could add some frivolity such as an all lace skirt with a pretty scalloped hem or silk organza with hand stitched lace appliqued delicately so it’s all frothy and wonderful!

Even adding a silk organza train which can be detached for your reception.

Maybe we could make a special feature of the bodice with ornate beaded lace or lots of intricate panel work such as a gown like this:

On the gown above, the skirt is a gorgeous silk satin in a 50’s style box pleated look, so no other embelishment is needed. How pretty would it be to wear a small fascinator and veil with a gown like this?

Or you could have a pretty low back, we could even add some lace scalloped cap sleeves to this design for a romantic look. A birdcage veil would be so sweet over the face with this gown and we could put some of the same lace motifs into a clip on the side of the veil.

So before you decide to buy or commission a gown you might be wondering if a T-Length gown will suit you. I suggest that you think about the skirt lengths you normally wear. Do you like short or long styles? Are you comfortable showing your knees or would you prefer to hide them? We could make the gown above your knees, just below the knee, or ankle length if you prefer.

T-length gowns can also be any silhouette – even a fitted sheath like style.

If you work with a designer such as myself you will have our expertise to ensure that the length and proportions feel comfortable for you and suit you perfectly. Your gown will be first made up in a calico fabric (basic cotton) and at this stage we can easily change the skirt length and proportions as necessary. Whether it is above the ankle or above the knee we will ensure it suits your silhouette and the type of venue you’ll be wearing it in.

If the fabrics are chosen well and the design is well proportioned we can ensure that your gown sparkles and is truly bridal! So… The next question is: What should your maids wear? Well short length dresses too! Something pretty in a vintage style with plainer fabrics and demure colours, maybe pretty sleeves or shoulder straps, a higher neckline or strapless with soft ruching. You could even have each maid wear a slightly different style for an ecletic mix. – Talk to me about getting your bridesmaids gowns bespoke made too, or I can give you some advice on styles to look for.

x Sarah