Choosing a wedding gown is one of the most exhilarating and stressful choices a bride makes, and deciding on a custom gown raises the stakes. Fear not! Sovannary En reveals her top tips for designing the perfect custom wedding gown of your dreams.

SELF AWARENESS

The most beautiful design comes from self-awareness. It’s very important for brides to be clear on their preferences and to be aware of their body shape, no matter what size and what styles, and silhouettes will flatter them. Fit is so important, it’s one of the biggest moments in your life so the gown should reflect that.

Take a peek inside your closet. Think about what you already own that fits and flatters you and what makes you feel pretty. Your “regular” clothes can be a touchstone for finding your wedding gown; your wedding gown shouldn’t be a costume – it should be an extra-special version of you!

Keep an inspiration board of images you are drawn to. You will start seeing trends in your photos, like if you love lace or favor a trumpet silhouette.

Pursue one strong design concept, one statement, and go with it. Don’t try to cram every good idea you’ve ever had into one gown. That wouldn’t be a pretty gown!

LISTEN TO YOURSELF

In order to choose a gown that you love you must listen to yourself, not what you think everyone else will love. A big mistake is to listen to others or copy another bride just because you like her gown. Go for something a little unconventional or different and to listen to your heart and work with the designer on something special to surprise everyone on your big day.

BEGIN THE PROCESS EARLY

If you’re getting a custom wedding gown, most experts would advise you to plan 6 to 8 months out before your big day to give yourself enough time and for last minute alterations. On the other hand, it’s not impossible to get a custom wedding gown made in a short amount of time but you may have to pay extra and depending on availability of the designer. Factor that into your budget, if that’s the case.

WHO TO BRING TO BRIDAL CONSULTATION

Invite no more than two people to go with you, maybe it’s your mom, best friend, sister or mother-in-law; it’s a good time to start bonding. When a bride comes in with an entourage, and everyone has an opinion, it’s difficult for the bride to express herself. Often the bride ends up not making a decision and will come back on her own another day.

COMMUNICATION

There should be a very open dialogue between designer and client, especially when designing a custom wedding gown. Good communication leads to the best designed wedding gown.

MAKE SURE THE DESIGN PROCESS IS NOT A GUESSING GAME

When ordering a custom gown, client and designer should be on the same page before scissors touch fabric.

BE FLEXIBLE

Your designer is likely either professionally trained or has made enough dress to know what may or may not work for your dress. If you read all of their feedback, love everything they designed, and like their style, you should try to give them the overall look you want and let them add their designer touch.

WHAT TO BRING TO FITTINGS

Bring heels, strapless bra, and shapewear that you’ll be wearing on your wedding day for the perfect fit.

FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH SOME OF THE TERMINOLOGY

So you’ll be better equipped to converse with your designer and get the best result.