Deborah Flores admits she wasn’t the type of person to dream about her wedding dress. In fact, she didn’t really start thinking about it until plans for her and husband Antonio’s big day were well underway. Still, she had quite a good idea of what she wanted.
“Lace,” she smiles. “I knew I wanted a lace dress as I’ve always loved the material. I thought it would be lovely to have it as the main component, so that was one of my starting points.”
And that is where the search began, although Deborah remained quite indecisive about the type of silhouette she wanted, and the overall style of her gown. “Originally I thought I might go for a more princess-style look with a big fairy-tale skirt,” she says. “But three things made me change my mind at the last minute.”
“First of all, as I have quite a petite frame, I didn’t want to wear a dress that might appear overwhelming. I wanted to look like I was wearing the dress and not the other way around. Secondly, I was thinking back to how wonderful my sister – who has a similar physique – looked in her dress two years ago, and so thought a simpler style might work better. Finally, I wanted to be comfortable. While I wanted the dress to be beautiful, I also wanted to be able to sit, walk and dance comfortably in it throughout the wedding, and not feel weighed down.”
With all of this in mind, some might have assumed that Deborah’s next step would have been to try on different dresses to see what suited her best. Instead, she took to the internet to find a dress online. “I know it was risky,” she says. “But I wasn’t disappointed. I was actually very drawn to the idea of being able to have the dress designed exactly as I wanted, at a very good price.”
Deborah started her search unsure of where she would end up and trawled through a few sites before realising none would give her the level of customisation she was looking for. Then, finally, she found one that would, and it even came with the guidance of her own online designer.
“It was quite a long process,” the bride continues. “I started by sharing a few ideas of what I had seen online and explained every detail to the designer. I passed on pictures of what I wanted for the front, back, bodice and skirt, and also chose a lace design that perfectly matched what I had in mind.” She also chose the fabrics, colours, length of the train, sleeve cuffs, skirt trim and more. “It went on and on!” she smiles.
It was at that point that the design company started work on the actual tailoring of her dress, followed by the first set of photos one-and-a-half months later. That gave Deborah the chance to make some further alterations before the gown was shipped over by courier. The result? “It was absolutely perfect and I was over the moon,” she grins.
In fact, Deborah says she was overwhelmed when she finally saw her dress in the flesh. It was exactly what she’d hoped for: a light ivory shade with a mermaid silhouette, an illusion neckline, long sleeves and a sheer back. The floral sequin lace was the highlight she had dreamt about, and she also loved the button closure detail and long train. “I wasn’t worried because I had seen the dress develop every step of the way and had even tested the service on the bridesmaid dresses, which I had ordered in advance,” she says. “But it was still exciting!”
“I actually tried it on for the first time on my own because I couldn’t wait until someone else got home! Needless to say, I couldn’t button myself up properly and could barely keep it on, but I fell in love with it immediately. I realised that, aside from some tiny sizing issues, it was exactly what I’d been hoping for. I was overwhelmed by the incredible craftsmanship and unbelievable quality.”
Of course, Deborah understands that buying a wedding dress online wouldn’t suit everyone, but she does recommend looking into it if you’d like to save a bit of money on one bought in store. “It takes time,” she says, “and you have to be willing to go into a lot of detail about what you’d like, and to go through online reviews to understand the design company that might suit you best. When you choose one, ask as many questions as you can before you make a decision, as it will be vital to know how well you can communicate with the people making your dress.”
In fact, while Deborah says the process was cheaper than buying a dress in store, she knows it could well have gone wrong and ended up being a waste of money. “But if you do go down the online route, choose a size slightly bigger than your own so that you can have it taken in if you need to. I was pleased I had tested the site in advance with a dress for one of my bridesmaids and that it worked out well.”
Looking back, Deborah says she was glad she chose an online channel because it allowed her to save a little and splurge on other things for her and Antonio’s big day. “Walking down the aisle in my dress felt absolutely wonderful,” she says. “I wouldn’t have changed a thing. It was lovely to be wearing something that was made just for me, but equally to know I hadn’t spent the earth. I plan to keep it forever and to enjoy having it around. I certainly feel like I have a special bond with it!”
Matthew at Hush Studios