Whether it's a sleek satin sheath or a fairy-tale-princess gown with all the trimmings, most brides have been dreaming about their wedding dress since childhood. If you want a dress that fits you (and your expectations) to a T, a custom bridal gown could be your dream come true. "I never use the same design twice; I like each dress to be individual," says Liliya Korenman of Couture by LK Design (282-3555).
To create a custom gown, designers can start from practically anything: a description, a photograph or even an existing dress. Evelyn Bagala (305-3173) recalls one bride who brought in her mother's high-collar, long-sleeved wedding dress and wanted to make it strapless. It also needed to be a size larger. "I turned it into the most gorgeous gown you've ever seen," says Bagala, who is opening a shop at Quioccasin Station in January (she formerly worked out of the now-closed Creations).
Every bride comes in with an idea of what she wants, but Nittaya Bowes of Nittaya's Designs (364-4858) always likes to offer some advice. After more than 38 years of designing and altering wedding dresses, Bowes can simply look at a bride and know which style will look best on her, as well as the fabrics that will complement that particular style.
Ideally, you should allow up to six months for the completion of a custom gown, but don't rule out this option if you're working within a tighter time frame. Bagala tells the story of one dry cleaner who shrunk a bride's silk gown after she had worn it for her bridal portrait — Bagala created an identical one for the bride in just 24 hours.
While having the dress of your dreams can mean almost everything, Korenman stresses that brides shouldn't overlook comfort: "It is the most important day of your life, and you want to enjoy it."