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Photo by Alea Lovely for Vivian Luk on The Wedding Notebook

Once you find something you like, the next question is where to get it. Most international brand collections arrive in Asia about six months later, so right after you’ve viewed something online, find out who the local stockists are for the designer. That is why you need to know what you like – it helps you to narrow down the list of places that you need to visit.

#01 Boutiques
If you can find a dress that you like off the rack, go for it. No point having it custom made if you can afford it. Fabric is one of the keys. A simple dress can look elegant with a nice cut and the right fabric. Sometimes it is a better fit and cheaper to get something off the rack than to have it custom made. There’s nothing like trying on the real thing. Don’t be afraid to visit boutiques that don’t just cater to weddings. Just be careful that what you choose isn’t something that your guests might pick up too.

#02 Local Designers
If you can’t decide what you like, go meet a local designer that is within your budget. There are a few great designers in our region that are worth checking out. Share with them what you like, and let them come up with something for you. If you trust them enough, ask them to create something they know will look good on you.

#03 Overseas
If a gown you like is not available in your country, check to see if you can afford it, and find out where the nearest stockist is. Plan ahead – you could always shop while on a business trip or a holiday.

#04 Online
For something simple, consider purchasing it online. Make sure you get your gown from a trusted portal so that what you see is what you get. The possibilities are endless, and you will be surprised at what you can find. If necessary, alter locally.

#05 Seamstresses
Go to a seamstress only for something simple, and if you know exactly what you want and you just can’t find it. Don’t go to one because you want a cheaper alternative to what you like, as you will never get it. When you purchase a designer gown, you are paying for the style, fabrics and workmanship. That being said, there are some experienced seamstresses out there who are extremely good at what they do. In fact, some young designers will never be able to give you the kind of perfect fit that a great seamstress can.