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Dress Alterations/Custom Dress Recommendations

My fiance and I are both really eclectic artists/designers and our wedding is going to be very DIY in a barn in Lancaster. I'm having a hard time finding a dress that I really like and that fits my personality. I've found a few that are close, but not quite right.

I really like David's Bridal Style T9861, but I would prefer something calf length with a much simpler skirt - no bustle, no train, etc. When I spoke to the alterations department at David's, they said that there is no way for them to alter that dress without ruining its "shape."

I have two questions:

1) Is it better to buy a dress, take it to a bridal alterations specialist, and have it restyled or is it cheaper to start from scratch and have a gown custom made?

2) Can anyone recommend a good bridal alterations specialist or custom dress maker in the greater Philadelphia area?

Re: Dress Alterations/Custom Dress Recommendations

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    I can't answer your questions but have you looked at bridesmaid dresses? Many come in white and ivory, maybe a little less formal and MUCH cheaper!
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    Casablanca dresses can be custom ordered. They redesigned the neckline of my dress for about $150.
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    If you want to put your own dress together like I did, then I would highly recommend http://www.mybigfatbeautifulwedding.com .  She designed a dress just for me and it truly looks like I spent thousands on it.  She's located in Michigan, but she can do amazing things with sketches, emails and the telephone.  Ask for Janet, she is the head designer.
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