Catherine's FAQ's to help dispel some of the myths surrounding having a wedding gown made.

What is involved, how does it happen?

As with most designers Catherine works by appointment. The initial consultation is a process whereby you discuss your ideas with the designer who will show you a range of fabrics that will be suitable for your design etc. This is the stage where I develop and define your ideas using expertise and experience. If you decide to go ahead I ask you to pay a deposit - usually about £200 - £250. The fabric is then ordered and you are given a cutting for matching cakes, flowers etc.

The first stage is down to you. Panic not! You need to buy the appropriate underwear. Usually this will be a well fitting bra or basque. Don't guess your size, be measured properly! You will need to wear this underwear for every fitting. Alternately we may find a corset built into the dress is a better option for you.

The second stage is a toile. This is a mock up of your design in calico. The purpose of this is to establish the line of the gown and to refine the fit.

How will I know what it will look like and what if I don't like it

You will get a very good idea of the basic overall shape when I fit the toile. The advantage of having your gown designed and made is that you will see how the design evolves at each fitting. This flexibility gives me the opportunity to alter any aspects of the design as we progress thus eliminating any potential problems as they arise. Remember - this is a partnership where Designer and Bride are working together towards the same goal - perfection on the day! The comment I hear most often is "it's far more beautiful than I ever imagined it would be!"

Will I need lots of fittings?

This will vary depending on the style of the gown and your size and shape! A rough guide is one - two toile fittings and four - five silk fittings before we stand back and admire!

What if I put on or lose weight

It's jolly inconvenient but we'll get round it somehow!! All joking apart, the point of having your gown made is that it fits you perfectly on the day. To this end the final fitting doesn't happen until 7 - 10 days before the wedding.

Will it be ready on time? When can I collect?

Of course it will!! It's not in my interest to miss this deadline - I'd never work again! Many clients like to collect the gown 2 - 3 days before the wedding or if space is at a premium Catherine will bring the dress to you on the wedding day as long as your wedding is not in Timbuktu!

What about co-ordinating with other members of the wedding party?

At your initial consultation you will be asked about the look of your wedding. This is not nosiness on the part of the designer but an attempt to identify how the individual elements combine to make the whole picture. This involves discussing how colour and shape combinations will compliment the bride and create a pleasing look overall. Catherine would be delighted to design and create for bridesmaids and mothers as well as waistcoats and accessories for the groom.

How long does it take?

Ideally, six months is perfect. This gives me plenty of time to sort everything out. However not everyone fits into this timescale and I have been known to produce a gown from start to finish within a week!

How do I clean and store my dress after the wedding?

I always recommend a good drycleaner who specialises in cleaning wedding gowns and who can arrange to have your gown packed in acid-free tissue and a double-layered box for safe storage.

Where do I go from here?

Pick up the phone and call Catherine on 01225 339294 I look forward to hearing from you.