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Saturday, March 9, 2013


I have had several gals ask me about the number of hours it takes for me to create a wedding gown and also the cost of a custom gown.  So, I thought I would share the information in case there are other who may be wondering the same thing.   Here's the pricing for a Shea Marie designs gown:

Consultation:  FREE

Design Services:  $275.00
  • We'll take a trip to a *bridal salon and try on various styles/silhouettes to find the gown(s) that reflects your unique style and is most flattering to your body type.  From there we'll consult on the gown's design elements and I will finalize the design details and develop a sketch.
  • We'll take a trip to the fabric store to select the fabric and trims for the gown
  • You can plan on a minimum of four fittings:
    • Muslin bodice fitting
    • 1st fitting:  gown with undergarments (bra and slip)
    • 2nd fitting: gown with undergarments and shoes
    • Final fitting
* I have made "long distance" gowns....obviously, in that case photographs of yourself in various styles that you like can take the place of a trip to the bridal salon.  It just takes more phone calls/emails to ensure I know which design elements you like.  From there, I 'll sketch up the design and you will approve it before I get started.
My niece's gown took 13 yards of fabric

Material Fees:  varies
There are a number of factors which affect the overall price of the material fees.  First, the silhouette of the gown itself drives the yardage required:
  • a very full skirted/ball gown is obviously going to call for a great deal more fabric than a form fitted sleek design.
  • The next element is the train; the longer the train, the more yardage it will take:
    • Court (1 ft.)
    • Chapel (3-4 ft.)
    • Cathedral (6-8 ft.)
With that in mind, a full skirted ball gown with a chapel length train can take approximately 12-18 yards of fabric; a sheath design with a court length train may take only 6-8 yards.  Finally, the price per yard will affect the cost.  A polyester satin can cost $9-15 per yard; a raw silk can run $20-40 per yard.  To me, this is an individual preference and I try to work with my brides to find the fabric they want at the most reasonable price.

Labor Costs:  varies
I charge $30 per hour for my labor.  Again, the hours involved in the draping, cutting, and sewing of the gown is dependent upon the design of the gown.  I can give you an estimate during the consultation as to how much time may be involved.
My daughter's gown took 18 yards of fabric; material costs were under $400.00
The lace overlay gown that I am working on right now, is just about complete and ready for the unveiling (no pun intended) later this month.   It is a much more sleek silhouette which took 7 yards of fabric; material cost is just under $350.00.  I have approximately 2-3 hours of work remaining on it, which will put the labor hours at approximately 25 hours.  I'll be adding a picture to this post when it is complete and of course, all my designs are on my website: Shea Marie Designs

I hope that helps; a custom gown CAN be affordable!   Wedding gowns are my all time favorite type of design work.  They truly allow my creative juices to flow....especially when the bride gives me some creative license.

I'll be honest, every gown gives me fits at some point in the project, whether it's fighting with the fabric (like my sister-in-law's gown), or going through a dozen needles due to the beading (like the one I'm currently working on).  The struggles are all worth it, when the gown is complete and the bride looks absolutely stunning and is overjoyed with the result.   It's then, when my heart is full of pride and I am so thankful to have played a part in making her dreams come true.

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