Brides Want to Know: Southern California Custom Wedding Dresses

edited by Jolene Rae Harrington, Director of Creative Content

Dear Here Comes The Guide:
When I’m gown shopping, I find that most of what I like, I don’t LOVE. For example, I like the bodice, but don’t like the fullness, or the skirt is “too trumpet,” etc. What would be really great is to find an affordable custom wedding dress from a reputable designer. Do you have any suggestions in LA or in Orange County? Please let me know!

—Allison G., Los Angeles

Hi Allison,

Oh, the agonies and ecstasies of shopping for “the Dress!”

Sometimes to get what you really love, custom is the only way to go. Now, you use the term “affordable,” which means different things to different people. As with most wedding gowns, the price for custom design depends on elements like fabric and detailing—do you envision a lot of beading and lace, for instance? The more you want, the more it costs. That said, most custom designers will try to work with your budget, within reason. (Save yourself some embarrassment: It’s not reasonable to expect a custom-designed wedding dress for under $1000!)

Daniel James Cantu CouturetA couple of my favorite Los Angeles custom wedding designers are Daniel James Cantu and David Tupaz.

Daniel’s popular with celebrities (when I visited his studio, he was working on a dress for Halle Berry!). His dresses aren’t cheap, but if you want something simple and elegant, he might be able to work with your budget. David Tupaz Couture David Tupaz Couture draws his inspiration from the glamour of classic Hollywood. He’s especially talented with veils and lace.

Marie Antoinette CoutureIn Orange County’s Newport Beach, I adore the romantic gowns of Marie Antoinette Couture. Designer Antwanet Bedros is one of the sweetest ladies I know, and she really cares about helping you get what you want. Her background is in European dressmaking, and what’s nice is you might be able to “mix and match” parts of dresses she already has.

By the way, there’s a wonderful designer in Santa Monica who has branched out into bridal. Choose one of Hanna Hartnell’s designs, and she’ll have your gown made specifically for your measurements and in your choice of color. She’s very popular with MOBs, so your mom might enjoy a visit to her studio, too, as Hanna’s dresses are elegant and stylish.

Judy Lee Designs in Beverly Hills also has gowns made to order, with a few customizations, and I’ve been surprised how affordable her modern styles (most in luxurious silks) can be.

I hope this helps…and please send us a picture of what you end up with!!

Northern California brides: There are custom wedding dresses for you, too! Read Design Divas: Dreamweavers for Bay Area Brides.

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