PHOTO: HER WORLD BRIDES SEPT 2014

There a world of difference between a canvas bag you buy from a suburban shopping mall and one that you purchased from a branded boutique: the fabric for both bags may be the same but the creative design and quality of workmanship separates one from the other. I find it puzzling when brides compare a one-of-a-kind gown by a designer with a dress they bought from an online site, or purchased off-the-rack from a gown rental shop. 

The dresses may look the same from afar but up close, the difference is clear. If the bride is ok with her bargain buy, then fine: just don’t complain if the dress falls apart, fits badly and causes skin rash before your wedding.

Here are some important difference brides should note before rushing to purchase that very affordable dress from Taobao.

Fabric Counts
Not only does polyester look very different from silk or satin, it also feels very different. I have an aversion to polyester blend fabrics as they feel ‘plastic’ and retain body heat, which leads to skin rash easily. Synthetic fabrics, especially laces, tend to be itchy and ‘pokey’ too.

This matters when a bride has to run around the whole day in her dress. No matter how beautiful the dress look, fabric plays an important role in the fall and construction of the design. Beautiful fabric will flow fluidly against your skin, and can be tailored to create perfect shapes to highlight your physical assets. Cheap fabric, no matter how talented your seamstress is, tend to be stiff or wilt easily, and are difficult to move around in. Here’s a guide to common wedding gown fabrics

It Takes Time
There really is no comparison between a customised gown that requires months of hard work, and one that’s mass produced. A bride deserves a dress that fits her perfectly and is made to highlight her features and assets; you would be lucky to find a mass produced gown that fulfills all that. 

The stitching and cut of a hand tailored customised gown will always be superior to a dress put together by an assembly line machine. No bride wants to be walking down the aisle in a fitted dress only to realise the seams are coming apart!

See also: GORGEOUS BESPOKE WEDDING DRESSES! 9 LOCAL DESIGNERS TO CHECK OUT

Uniquely Yours
Imagine sharing your bridal portraits with friends and colleagues and realising that one of your gal pals wore the exact same dress for her wedding! A haute couture creation is really a work of art, a creative vision of the designer, and takes months to complete. The piece can be adjusted and adapted to the bride if required, without compromising on the initial design.

A customised gown is a truly unique creation that a designer creates just for the bride. Think of the gowns celebrity brides have worn before: from Vera Wang to Valentino, these celebrity brides don dresses that are truly one-of-a-kind and unique. If you’re really looking for a dress like no other, that no other bride has worn before, then put aside a budget for your dream dress. 

All About the Details
There’s something very beautiful about handworked detailing, be it hand-sewn laces or beadwork. The creative instinct that goes into the placement and sewing of the details creates a pattern and effect that is very unlike mass produced trims. A good designer will use details and trims to complement the bride’s physique and features, or to highlight the dress design in complimentary ways. And this takes time and patience to get right.21 useful wedding dress shopping tips from real brides

See also: 21 USEFUL WEDDING DRESS SHOPPING TIPS FROM REAL BRIDES