Top Tips for Booking your Bespoke Wedding Dressmaker from ChantelleSophia
Welcome to the new wedding supplier Q & A series where we will be speaking to some of the best Wedding Suppliers in the Industry. We hope to uncover valuable information and tips that will prove essential to your own wedding planning.
Many have been chosen for their unique skills, offering something above and beyond the traditional standard services. All share a common love for the couples they work with, along with the leading knowledge within their industry.
This week I’m speaking to Chantelle from ChantelleSophia. She’s a Bespoke Wedding Dressmaker based in Wimborne, Dorset. Working from a home based studio, she helps bride’s to turn their dream wedding dress into reality.
If you are wondering on whether to buy a dress off the peg or to have one designed & hand made, read on!
Whats the story behind ChantelleSophia?
I always wanted to work for myself and design. The bespoke side of things is for brides that are a bit unusual, cant find it in the shop or have a particular theme or idea in mind that is really specific. It’s great to work with them and make them feel good, confident and comfortable. Thats also similar with the alterations, quite often the brides if they have a sample dress, it may be 2 sizes too big, or they have lost / gained weight. It does happen, and they often fall out of love with their dress. It can often be just a simple case of added sleeves or straps and they love it again.
Who is your ideal client? What sort of people look for your skills?
People look to me to solve a particular problem they may have. Whether the dress doesn’t fit or feel right or they cant find the dress that they want. With a bespoke dress, often the brides are a little more quirkier, looking for something completely different.
A bride from last year we both had the pleasure to work with Camille, was she one of the quirkier brides? Yes, kind of but most importantly for her it was comfort. With any client whether it be bespoke or alterations I try and listen as much a possible. Asking such things as ‘What do you want on your wedding day?’ Camille was more Boho in style and she wanted comfort.
However some brides want big showstoppers, and if thats what they want for their big day I can do that too.
If you could work with anyone, who would it be?
I know there are two royal weddings this year, but as far as celebrities go, thats never been something of interest. I would say though that it would have to be someone who was quite quirky, because it would be more of an ‘out there’ dress. Possibly someone with a large budget, because it would be great to go for no restrictions. We could go for what ever fabric they wanted, be extravagant and quite fancy. That would be my ideal – a big crazy, nerdy fantasy wedding!
Top Tips for someone looking for a Bespoke dress designer
- Research – definitely the most important. Similar to all the suppliers booked for your wedding, have a good look at their portfolio, and check that they are your style. As much as I do bespoke and a large range of things, I may have a certain style of my own that shows through. Make sure the designer is listening to you and that they are designing according to your needs.
- Meet with them – in person preferably. It’s important that you like them and get on with them, the fittings are rather up close and personal. Many designers are happy to talk over the phone and my first consultation is free.
- Mock Up Fittings – Make sure there is a mock up fitting, so it’s never a case to have a straight from paper to finish. The first cut fabric design allows you to make things perfect before committing to the final cut fabric. Make sure you are well and truly happy with it, because once it’s cut, thats it!
- Information! The more information the better! Pinterest is great but I find I often have to ask whether it’s the style of dress they like or the whole photo. Often Brides to be can get so caught up with the styled photo shoot. Often when pressed they say ‘Well actually I don’t like the skirt on that – it’s just a really nice picture. I say to brides that if there is a certain neckline then just google the images and send them through to me.
- A dress of 5 parts! Quite often Brides to be come to me with ideas for 5 different parts of dresses. This is often the case if they are the type of bride that has gone to around 20 different shops, has tried on loads but everyone has had something not quite the same. So it tends to be lots of things mixed together. So the more I can see the better
Do you ever need to advise Brides to be against certain design ideas?
The only thing I tend to do, when I say ‘take 5 different things from 5 different dresses’, is to quite often say that upon a dress it’s good to have 1 to 3 main features. So let’s say a really low back, a train and a really nice lace – we have 3 main features that we are really drawn into and make it look pretty. If you then start adding bows and buttons, lots of features on there tend to make it too fussy.
Often within the design stages the brides can see it on paper and decides its too fussy. Seeing that the excitement had clearly got to them. Sometimes in person I pin it all on and then they decide it needs to be toned down and peeled back a little.
Quite often a bride can send me through so much, they feel they have swamped me with different designs. Often though when you look at them they tend to be quite similar, and it can be, once you see it all down on paper very clear with a definite design style running through. The only thing I cant do, is when a Bride comes to me saying ‘I dont know what I want!’
What do you think sets you apart from other designers?
Probably just that – doing the unique but still looking like a wedding dress. Thats a thing that a lot of people worry about . I’ve created a few with colour, they may still have the ivory but they are far from traditional. There is a fine line with it all – that if you go too far then it can look cheesy and almost costume, too fantasy and in fact look cheap. Its keeping that balance between quirky and a wedding dress – I’d like to think that is what I am known for.