How does it all work?
We specialise in quality handcrafted couture wedding dresses that are handmade in our Adelaide studio by the best in-house dressmakers. You’ll be given the best styling advice from our head designer Penny, to truly bring your vision to life at an accessible price.
ACCESSIBLE COUTURE IN 4 STEPS
Choose Your Silhouette + Customise
Option to Customise
We believe in giving you options when choosing your wedding dress, but first we need to understand your unique style and vision. Before your appointment, we recommend having inspiration images ready for us to build or use our Dress Builder below to build a dress that you love.
During The Appointment
You’ll have the chance to work with Penny, our head designer, to bring your vision to life by mixing and matching our ARA Modulars on your body. Your private one-on-one appointment with us is 90 minutes long, ensuring you’re not rushed through the journey of finding ‘the one’. Penny will also be there to provide guidance and make recommendations on fabrics, lace options, answer any questions you may have and finalise any further details until you’re ready to say yes to the dress!
We will end the appointment with a 5-minute measuring session and a custom quote. To begin the patternmaking process and secure your spot in our production timeline, we will require a 50% deposit upfront.
Your First Look
How exciting! We’ve finalised your silhouette and are close to finalising the fabric and embroidery options for your wedding dress. During your first fit appointment with us, you’ll be trying on a toile of your dress, commonly made in calico (beige cotton) or your lining fabric, and we will be using this time to confirm every detail about your dress before it is cut in its final form.
Changes and Alterations
Think of your calico dress as your opportunity to confirm your dress before it’s made. At this point, major changes to your wedding dress are still possible. You will be shown a final fabric stack up of your dress before you go, as well as seeing a draft placement of any lace or embroidery you have requested on your dress. By the end of this appointment, you should feel confident with the fit and style of your wedding dress.
After This Appointment
Approximately 4 to 6 weeks after your calico fitting, you will be sent progress pictures to approve the lace placement and the overall style of your wedding dress before our next fitting. At this point, we will also require another 25% payment on your dress order.
Additional Calico Fittings
Extra charges may apply if major changes have been requested to your dress silhouette. These extra appointments can cost between $100 and $250 and depend on the complexity of the changes that have been requested.
This cost includes the patternmaking, cutting and sewing costs to create your new silhouette, as well as the time it will take to have our fitting and apply alterations to your pattern before we cut it out in its final fabric.
Wedding Dress Fitting
Before Your Appointment
Kindly have your undergarments and shoes (or similar) ready for this appointment.
We've Been Waiting For This Moment!
This is the appointment that you’ve been waiting for! You will finally get to see yourself in your wedding dress, one that we’ve spent months building, drafting and finalising… Once your dress is on, we will spend this appointment making final adjustments to the fit of your dress. Dress elements like the skirt hem, the fit of your sleeves, the placement of any lace or embroidery we’ve applied will be finalised during this appointment as well.
For your peace of mind, we can offer extra fit appointments for an additional $200 per appointment. These appointments are not necessary but recommended
After The Appointment
We also request that your wedding dress is paid in full before your final fitting with us, and that you do your best to keep your body shape from this appointment until your wedding day to avoid additional alteration costs.
Additional Wedding Dress Fittings
For your peace of mind, we can offer extra fit appointments for an additional $200 per appointment. These appointments are not necessary but recommended if your wedding is more than 3 months away from this appointment date.
Final Dress Fitting
The Countdown Is On!
You are welcome to invite up to 5 of your bestest and closest to this appointment. Bubbly will be popped and ready for all of us to celebrate your last days as a single lady! Feel free to come to this appointment alone if you wish to save the surprise for the big day, the choice is completely up to you!
During this appointment, you can look forward to a curtain reveal of your dress on a mannequin. We’ll clink our glass to all the hard work that’s been put into bringing your dream dress to life before we get you dressed one final time in our showroom. We will spend some time applying final touches to your wedding outfit and making sure that your dress is perfect before we send you off with your custom-made wedding dress.
Before We Send You Off
You bet that we’ll be savouring every last moment with you as our bride and we wish you all the love, hugs and luck we can give you for the big day! We’ll be eager to hear how it all went and be available for any assistance you may need leading up to or after your big day.
We would LOVE for you to tag us in any pictures of your wedding day on social media or please send your favourite from your wedding gallery to [email protected] for a chance to be featured on our blog.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Absolutely not! We deliver exactly the same experience to our interstate brides, the only difference is that our appointments are held in a hotel suite rather than our studio in Adelaide!
ARA’s mission is to bring affordable couture to everyone across Australia and we pride ourselves on delievering the same experience to everyone!
Currently 20% of our brides are from interstate and we have not had any issues that we could not solve (even though COVID tried it’s very best to ruin things!)
We believe that our interstate brides should get exactly the same experience as our Adelaide brides do! That is why we conduct all of our fittings in private hotel suites, or private apartment buildings. These are typically in the CBD or on the outskirts to allow for our brides to get to us easily.
By doing this, it allows us to offer all of our brides complete privacy when deciding on their wedding dress, and all subsequent fittings.
Typically our process takes between 6 – 9 months but in some circumstances we are able to complete rush orders for brides that are having their wedding in under 6 months.
For any order within 6 months, we won’t be able to guarantee that we can do our full 3 fittings in person as it depends on our trunk show schedule. Instead, we will conduct our calico fitting online over Zoom (we have successfully done this many times throughout COVID). All we need to do is send your calico dress to you along with some pins and a tape measure, then we guide you through the process… it’s like we are really there!
Every other fitting will still be in person to guarantee that the dress will fit you perfectly. If there is any reason why we can’t be there in person, and the dress doesn’t fit perfectly, we will reimburse you for any alteration costs that you may incur.
If you need to cancel one of your fitting appointments, please let us know ASAP. We are normally in each city for a few days so hopefully we can reschedule while we are still in your city.
If this isn’t possible, we won’t be able to guarantee a perfect fit as we will need to move through to the next step in our process. We will be able to schedule you in for your next fitting as soon as we can but this depends on when we are planning on visiting your city again.
It is completely normal to have more questions, buying a wedding dress is a big commitment.
Please feel free to reach out to us via Facebook or Instagram DM. We can chat about your vision, your ideas and even any concerns you may have with the custom made process. We’re a friendly bunch with only one mission in mind, and that is to help our brides build their dream dress and have it custom made at an accessible price. Get in touch, we don’t bite!