Designing THE Dress

When people keep asking me if I have my dress, my answer is “well, kind of…”

As I explained earlier, dress shopping was pretty stressful for me. After a few epic fails, my older sister got on the phone and started randomly calling all the dress shops in the Tampa Bay area to see if they may have what I was looking for. I wasn’t targeting a particular designer or style number, but I knew I wanted some lace and a few other specific features. Plus I wanted to make sure the dress would be in my budget.

When I was shopping at some of the bigger bridal stores, I would try on dresses that were hundreds or thousands of dollars, and for some reason they felt cheap. I don’t know if it was the material, the bling, or the scratchiness, but it was hard to imagine shelling out 10x more than I had ever spent on a dress for a dress that didn’t feel very quality.

But…time was running out. I went to a shop by myself one day after work and found a dress that had many the features I was looking for. I guess it looked pretty good on me. I was sick of the process and just ready to walk out with a dress. I even FaceTimed my mom so she could give her approval. I almost said yes, but then I looked up and saw another bride in her dress. She was beaming. In fact, she may have even been twirling a bit. Her whole demeanor screamed, “This is the dress I’m going to get married in!”

At that moment, [much to my consultant’s chagrin] I decided I was not going to just settle and buy a dress. I wanted to beam and twirl.

I thought back to the places my sister had called. I ended up making an appointment with a little boutique in St. Petersburg, call Anglo Couture. It is a local shop where each dress is personally designed and handmade. To me this screamed $$$$. But when my sister called, the woman assured her that it was almost within my pricepoint. But…when you factored in the alteration budget, I was good to go! (Since every dress is handmade, it is sewn to fit the individual bride. Basically, no alterations are necessary.)

Anglo Couture has an adorable showroom in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg. They only schedule one appointment at a time, so to say I received personalize attention is an understatement. The owner and designer, Vicki, personally welcomed me and we sat down to review some inspiration pictures.

My experience here was the opposite of everything I had previously felt. Vicki and her assistant Megan soon had me in some sample dresses and were laying and pinning. I was able to try on different styles and fabrics. We kept tweaking different elements. I felt like Cinderella when the mice were creating the perfect dress for the ball…

The fabrics I chose are gorgeous, and to quote Vicki, “feel like butter.” The design is exactly what I had in mind, but just couldn’t find in the stores. It is classy, yet modern, and just thinking about it makes me want to walk down the aisle already! As eager as I am to show you the dress, you’ll have to wait for the big day too!! I don’t even know what the final product looks like myself (I should be stressed, but I’m not. I am SO excited.). I contemplated revealing the sketch of the design, but I can’t do that either. With that said, I can’t leave the hive completely hanging, so I have some dress porn coming your way. These are some of the amazing dresses Vicki has made in the past.

**And just so you know, my dress looks nothing like any of these :)

Gosh, I’m a pain huh?

All images via Anglo Couture





Did anyone else design their own dress? Please tell me it was everything you hoped and more!


Mrs. Squirrel

Tampa, FL
Wedding Date:
May 2013
A Foxy Fête: Let Them Eat Cake!
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  1. bluewhale Member
    bluewhale 638 posts, Busy bee @ 10:03 am

    I totally know what you mean about the dresses feeling cheap! That shocked me more than anything about dress shopping. Even the Lazaro dresses I tried on felt a little cheap, and then cost more than five thousand dollars! There were only two dresses I tried on that didn’t feel cheap, and one of them is now my dress :)

    I can’t wait to see your dress!!! (I’m trying to imagine it, based on the fact that it’s nothing like the ones you posted… I’m intrigued to see what you chose.)

  2. mstoadstool Member
    mstoadstool 2485 posts, Buzzing bee @ 10:45 am

    Cosrume made was the best thin I could do, my dress ended up being about 20% less than similar designer dresses, but it fitted like a glove. I can’t wait to look at your finished dress.

  3. Member
    mrsskeletonkey 3459 posts, Sugar bee @ 11:15 am

    @Miss Blue Whale:

    I totally agree. When I went dress shopping I couldn’t believe how cheap everything looked and felt. I have tried on dresses at Deb’s that felt like they were made with more quality, to be honest.

    And Miss Squirrel, your dress sounds like it is going to be amazing! I also read your bio and your wedding sounds like an absolute dream! (my dream wedding, in fact!).

    So excited to see it all unfold!

  4. mstreasure Member
    mstreasure 1655 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:35 am

    One of my regrets is that I didn’t do a custom-made dress. I can’t wait to see how yours turns out!

  5. Member
    Red Poppy 31 posts, Newbee @ 11:44 am

    That is so awesome! Dresses 3-5 are especially pretty.

  6. Guest Icon Guest
    Chibi Bride, Guest @ 12:45 pm

    I’m in the process of doing the same thing. I could not find one dress that felt like The One and I’m sick of the Bridal Salon Syndrome. I’ve got someone who already does my alterations (being 4’10”, you have to have someone on call) and she says she’ll help me design and create exactly what I want. It really has taken some of the stress out of the process.

  7. Member
    cosmo_gmr 488 posts, Helper bee @ 3:42 pm

    I also went costume made… the dresses I saw were gorgeous but so expensive!

    My mom made my dress, we went shopping for the fabric, the tulle, the crystals… I was an amazing experience :)

  8. Member
    kmconda 71 posts, Worker bee @ 6:22 am

    Ugh so jealous and now wish I lived in FL! Running into these SAME issues up in South Jersey / Philly and starting to think about pursuing dressmakers… Can’t WAIT to see the finished product! xo

  9. Member
    alyssa719 32 posts, Newbee @ 9:48 am

    I love this!!

    I was amazed how something so expensive could feel so cheap, how many threads were in places, crystals about to fall off, etc. OMG! and I was supposed to spend *how* much??! So I decided to make my own – still working on it (not getting married until October) but so far, much happier with the decision, being able to pick my fabrics out of high quality choices, add what I want, make it longer (I’m pretty tall), etc.

  10. mspony Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 5:50 pm

    Her work is amazing, I can’t wait to see what your custom dress looks like!

  11. Member
    macru 12 posts, Newbee @ 8:06 pm

    That is so awesome! Dresses 3-4 are especially pretty.

  12. Member
    Lisushi 114 posts, Blushing bee @ 9:57 pm

    I can’t wait to see the actual dress! I’m *seriously* modifying a dress I purchased at a charity bridal shop (at a very discounted price), so it will be “semi-custom.” It’s nerve wracking not knowing exactly what it will look like, but it helps to know that no matter what the seamstresses can always make changes to make it exactly what you imagined.

  13. mswallaby Member
    mswallaby 2070 posts, Buzzing bee @ 9:24 am

    I looove your inspiration – can’t wait to see how it turns out!! And it’ll be such a bonus to have a dress designed for just YOU, that fits you like a glove – alterations are such a pain, and you’ll end up with your own unique dress. Love it.

  14. msmongoose Member
    msmongoose 264 posts, Helper bee @ 2:50 pm

    This is absolutely fabulous!! What a unique experience to have a dress custom made for you–I am so excited to see what it looks like :)

  15. Member
    Miss Canaras 75 posts, Worker bee @ 7:17 am

    I totally did this! I new from the beginning that my mom would be making my dress (she’s an amazing seamstress) so I tried on dresses just to find the silhouette I liked. From there, we frankensteined two dresses together, and I can’t wait to see what it eventually looks like! Either way, I know it’ll be one-of-a-kind, and made just for me!

  16. Member
    eladyelaine 2 posts, Wannabee @ 12:06 pm

    I’m designing and making my dress! I know exactly what I want AND how I want it made. Being in the garment industries, I know first hand how they skimp on fabric because of cost. And since sleeves are making a slow comeback, my dress will be 3/4 lenght sleeve, off the shoulders neckline in chantilly lace over silk satin mermaid dress! Whew! I have been looking for this dress in stores and online (I’m lazy, didn’t really want to sew my own dress) but after seeing the fabric quality and prices, I decided to go for it!

  17. graywolf Member
    graywolf 725 posts, Busy bee @ 5:50 pm

    great idea and its nice you got to meet her! my dress was made for me too and it was surprisingly unstressful..

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