Hey there, DG World! We're here with a brand spankin' new type of blog content and we are so excited to continue this series going forward! We really want to highlight education for our couples; there's a wealth of knowledge we'd love to share with everyone and these blogs are just a small step to help spread that information everywhere! A lot of these education blog posts will be in conjunction with other video content we're creating, such as Reels or TikToks, so definitely check out all of our social platforms to get the full picture.
Today, we're discussing the differences in ordered wedding dresses. There's a lot of specific terminology that gets thrown around in Bridal World that's sometimes different than in regular fashion. We want to empower our brides to feel confident and comfortable discussing their desires and visions for their wedding day. This is a super quick glossary of terms you'll hear from consultants, designers, seamstresses, and more as you navigate the bridal process! We hope this gives you the tools to feel confident saying "YES" to your dress!
Special Order means a gown that has been ordered specifically for you, the bride. At Dress Gallery, we primarily focus on special order gowns. These are NOT made to measure. They are made off a designer's size chart and a size is ordered for you that is closest to your size off that designer's size chart. Alterations are still necessary and should be expected with special order gowns! Here at Dress Gallery, special order gowns range $1300-$3000.
Off-the-rack (or OTR) means you found a rockin' gown here, in store, that was your perfect size and color! Off-the-rack gowns are sold as is, which means the size/color/style that the boutique has in store. Off the rack gowns are often discounted, which is a great way to get a designer dress for a steal. Dress Gallery carries a LARGE variety of dresses to be sold off-the-rack with the largest amount of inventory being in sizes 8-24. Most sample gowns in boutiques are in those size ranges, as they are the easiest to put a large variety of bodies, so heads up if you're shopping OTR! Dress Gallery's off the rack dresses range from $800-$1500.
Couture means the dress was made by hand for you! This usually means the dress is one-of-a-kind or at least only reproduced a select amount of times, normally with approval from the designer. Couture gowns are all the rage, but come with an expensive price tag. Most couture gowns START at $10,000 and go up from there. Dress Gallery does not carry any couture or made-to-measure designers. You'll need to shop larger Metropolitan areas to see couture designers.
Colorway refers to the colors in which the dress is created. Most designers create their dresses in at least two colorways, if not more. There are often multiple combination of colorways that can be created based off the availability of different fabrics. Certain designers also allow you custom create your colorway for additional fees. The two most popular colorways for most designers are Ivory/Ivory (meaning all the layers in the gown are a beautiful, bridal ivory) or Ivory/Champagne, in which the liner layer features a soft champagne color from the designer. Each designer has different undertones with different names and hues, so your consultant will walk you through ALL the colorway options available for your specific dress!
Custom means the designer is changing something on your special order dress. Custom changes normally incur custom fees, but it's a great way to change details about a gown to make it wholly years. Not every designer allows for custom changes; sometimes, these customizations need to be done by a seamstress. A custom dress is not made to measure. You will still have standard alterations to do. An example of a customization for a wedding dress includes changing the fabric of a dress, lowering/building a neckline, changing straps, etc. We love helping brides walk through customization options so they can truly help create their perfect dress!
Private Label means that the boutique has worked with a non-named designer to help curate a collection for their store, specifically. While private label gowns are not EXCLUSIVE to each boutique, they are often difficult to find as each boutique has created customizations with the designer and often named the collection/dresses themselves. Private labels are a great way for boutiques to offer unique styles and in-demand looks at a much lower price point than the big designers! Dress Gallery features a few in house collections we are super proud of!
Hollow to Hem is a phrase used when discussing the height of a wedding dress. Almost all gowns are made a standard height so that taller women (usually those 5'10" and above) do not have to order extra material. That means that most dresses have a tall hollow to hem - the distance between the hollow of your throat and the hem of the gown. Most women are fine getting the standard height dresses and having a seamstress hem if necessary. For brides who are taller or shorter, many designers will offer different hollow to hems or custom hollow to hems to allow for a more proportional dress to be created. Even if a custom hollow to hem measurement is taken, small hems are occasionally needed. Your consultant will take your height (along with shoes!) into consideration during your appointment, so don't worry!
We hope that this quick little glossary helps you during your first bridal appointment! These are the most frequently asked questions during our phone consultations or by new brides booking an appointment, so we hope this alleviates a little nerves before you walk in our door. We can't wait to help style you!