Travel & Places Asia Pacific

Should you get them made here?

Considering having your bridesmaid dresses made in Thailand? It can be save you tons of money and allow you to have exactly the look you want for your wedding, but it involves lots of extra planning and it’s not without its risks. Here’s what you need to know before you decide whether it’s a good idea for you.

Visit in Person

Having your bridesmaid dresses made in Thailand makes the most sense if you’re actually going to be in Thailand or if one of your bridesmaids or good friends will be here in your place. Tailors can take measurements from your bridesmaids by email, but don’t expect to be able to do this all electronically. The opportunity for mistake is too high. You need to establish a personal relationship with the tailor, make sure he or she understands what you want, and take a look at his or her work in person. Best-case scenario, you’ll have measurements for at least one of your bridesmaids while you’re there and you’ll have enough time in Thailand for the tailor to be able to make a prototype dress using those measurements. That way you can avoid any disappointment or miscommunication. If you’re going to be here for a destination wedding, plan to visit the tailor on your scouting trip. Ask him or her to block off time for last-minute alterations once your bridesmaids arrive in Thailand. Many tailors, including two from this list of Bangkok's Best Tailors will make bridesmaid dresses.

Gather Your Materials

Good tailors will require detailed measurements plus full-length photos of your bridesmaids in light, snug clothes such as leggings and tank tops so they can see what they are working with. Explain carefully to your bridesmaids how to take their own measurements or have someone else take them and provide them with a form to fill out. Double check everything your bridesmaids send you. Everyone makes mistakes! You can email me for a detailed photo guide to taking measurements/PDF form your bridesmaids can fill out.

Pick Your Style Carefully

Pick a style that’s easy to replicate and doesn’t involve too many complicated twists and turns or isn’t too fitted. Simple lines work best. Provide the tailor with detailed photos or drawings of the bridesmaid dresses you want. If you have a sample you can send or bring in person, even better. Check out these sites for bridesmaid dresses to get started.

Pick Your Fabric

If you’re in Thailand, you can head to one of Bangkok’s silk shops near Chinatown for Thai silks, many of which are Dupioni silks or similar and are an amazing bargain compared to what you’ll spend for similar fabric at home. You will need two or more yards of fabric per dress depending on the design you choose (longer, fuller dresses can require as many as five yards of fabric), so as you are calculating the cost of custom made dresses take that into account. Once you've settled on a design and talked to the tailor, he or she will tell you how much fabric you will need per dress.

Plan Your Time

It’s inevitable that one of your bridesmaids is going to measure incorrectly, gain or lose a few pounds or be unhappy with the way her dress fits. Make sure you have plenty of time to have alterations made or, if things go terribly wrong, enough time to have a dress completely remade. This means you’ll need a cushion of at least a few of weeks, depending on the responsiveness of the tailor you choose. Keep in mind that if you’re ordering bridesmaid dresses from one of the popular manufacturers, you’ll have to start ordering your bridesmaid dresses around 8 months before your wedding date, anyway, so you can actually save time by doing things in Thailand.

Adjust Your Expectations

If you’ve picked a good tailor and a good design and made sure your bridesmaids have measured properly, the bridesmaid dresses are going to fit well and look great, but they may not look exactly as you wanted them to. The sash might be a little long, or the straps a little thinner than you’d envisioned. These problems are less likely to occur if you have gone in person or are sending a sample dress but if you are the type who is going to be really upset but minor issues, you’re probably better off buying your bridesmaid dresses in person.

How Much Will You Save?

Depending on the design and the tailor, you can find tailors who will make your bridesmaid dresses for anywhere from 1,000 baht ($30) and up though many good tailors will charge twice that. When you factor in fabric costs, expect to pay anywhere from $75 per dress and up. If everything works out, you’ll also save on alterations, which are almost always required on off the rack dresses and can run as high as $100 per dress. If you can buy a similar dress for $100, it probably doesn’t make sense to have your dresses custom made. It makes a lot of sense if you’re in love with the look of that Monique Lhuillier bridesmaid dress but don’t want to ask your girlfriends to spend $400 each.

Do the Math

After you’ve added up the cost of fabric plus the time and energy involved in overseeing everything, ask yourself whether it makes sense to have your bridesmaid dresses custom made in Thailand. You’re saving money for your bridesmaids, who customarily pay for their own dresses and their own alterations, and while that’s a laudable thing, if the net savings per bridesmaid is small, and you’re already busy with other wedding planning stuff, it might not make sense in the bigger picture. Of course, if you have your heart set on a particular style dress that would otherwise be unaffordable, or you want something very unique, then it’s worth the effort.

Don’t Forget about the Flower Girl!

All of the information above applies to dresses for flower girls, too. Luckily, most flower girl dresses are less fitted and complicated than dresses for grownup women, so if you measure well the first time you probably won’t need any alterations.

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