Couture Bridal Gowns: Should You Say Yay Or Nay?

The bridal industry is indescribably massive with new brides and bridal parties popping up almost daily. Many brides-to-be will make shopping for the wedding dress their first priority and during this time, scout out a variety of designers, styles, and looks. One of the design terms that is becoming increasingly popular is couture bridal gowns.

What exactly are couture bridal gowns?

"Couture" is a popular term that you have probably heard a dozen times during any reality TV bridal show or during a wedding expo. Many women flock to couture items because the word sounds classy, intriguing, and expensive. This is understandable because couture is actually a French term and is also known as "Haute Couture".

Haute Couture translates to "high sewing" or "high dressmaking".

During the early days in France, Haute Couture was used when people were talking about the much sought after dress houses ran by popular designers, Dior, and many others. The term was never used loosely and in fact, is still regulated to this day, as to which designers can use Haute Couture in their marketing campaigns.

Designers who wished to be known as part of the couture culture had to meet certain criteria set forth by the fashion design industry of France. One of those rules was that the main type of design within a shop had to be of the made-to-order variety. This means that the designer would meet with a client and create the dress of her dreams based upon her likes. Couture dresses are custom designed.

In terms of wedding dresses, you might see "couture" stamped all over a company website or brochure, especially in the United States as the county does not have to follow French criteria for couture clothing. You may even walk into a bridal boutique and see "custom bridal gown" advertisements. Take these marketing campaigns with a grain of salt until you actually speak with the dressmaker.

When the basic framework for a dress has already been designed, this is not considered to be couture but rather "Pret-a-Porter". Many bridal shops will advertise as having couture gowns and indeed will make changes and add enhancements to a basic dress in order to personalize it for you; however, if the dress is not made from scratch right their onsite, this is not truly a couture piece of clothing.

The reason that true couture shops are few and far between is because a designer who sews together every stitch of a wedding gown by themselves needs to be insanely talented. There are many talented dressmakers in the world, but couture wedding gown making is definitely a special niche set aside for the best of the best.

Couture bridal gowns are also wildly expensive and surpass the cost of a pre-made dress by hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars. You will also have to factor in any alterations that will need to be made. Almost 100 percent of brides purchasing a bridal gown (even those that are custom made) will require alterations before the big day as body sizes change over the course of a few months or more.

Before you choose to go with a truly couture bridal gown, you should get a quote of the dress and how much any alterations will cost. This will help you maintain within your budget and help you make an educated decision as to whether to choose a couture gown or not.

If you have your heart set on a couture gown, be leery of designers who use this term and are actually interpreting it as a dress that is simply "high-end", as many vendors often do. Meet with the designer and ensure that he or she can indeed make you a custom made dress that is 100 percent stitched, cut, and designed from scratch.

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