Hermione de Paula FAQs
The Bridal Journey – What To Expect…
Everything created by Hermione de Paula’s studio is made through the hand, heart and aptitude of our highly skilled team. This is an organic process using natural fabrics and human endeavour so please be aware minor differences of shade, finish or final conception are part of the unique journey. The more bespoke or couture your gown the more you will need to trust us since we are fashioning a work of art from a carte blanche. Whilst we promise in a Panglossian sense to create you the ‘perfect’ dress it can be a complicated and demanding but inevitably hugely rewarding experience for both sides.
We understand how stressful and all-encompassing your magical day can be so if this is too nebulous we recommend you consider our Made To Order program. As Milton wrote ‘the mind is its own place and in itself can make a Heaven out of Hell, a Hell of Heaven’ so if you prefer to know exactly how things will look and when they will be completed this offers a much more tangible vision and timeline from start to finish.
To help you make this decision and understand the processes involved we have collected together answers to some of the most frequently asked questions with regards to this bridal journey.
- Couture. One of a kind wearable art created for you and unique in the world. We offer an intense personal design collaboration with Hermione de Paula to develop a couture gown exclusively with you. This will include creation of new artworks, working with different colour spectrums and developing bespoke beading techniques. Provisional budget: £15k+.
- Bespoke. This programme enables each bride to customise elements of Hermione de Paula’s silhouettes and designs and offers the opportunity to work with the team on tailoring embroideries and techniques to your unique vision. It also involves an extensive investment in fitting and pattern cutting to insure your gown fits perfectly and the artwork is engineered to your unique specifications. Provisional budget: £7-13k.
- Made To Order. Hermione de Paula has worked incredibly hard to create an evolving collection of core artworks and silhouettes now available in sizes 6-14. Your dress will still be made uniquely for you but options and opportunities for adaptations and alterations are limited within fixed parameters so you will have a clear vision of your final gown and budget. If final alterations after the gown is made are necessary they will be charged as an additional fee on an hourly rate. Design and embellishment cannot be tailored to your unique specifications so the artwork will reflect this. If you want or need a more personalised service we recommend the Bespoke option. Provisional budget: £3-6k.
Each bride’s vision and creative journey is totally unique. As such pricing varies from gown to gown and with the couture and bespoke programs can evolve during the course of the journey. We will be able to discuss pricing with you at the consultation but it is important to have a provisional budget in mind. It is also important to understand even within the bespoke process there is a finite amount of design time we can allocate and budget for each gown and important deadlines we need to have decisions agreed by in order to make your dress in time for the one deadline which cannot be changed. Email communication is part of the design time allocated to each gown so please be mindful of this.
For the Couture and Bespoke programs we recommend you allow up to 20% on top of your initial estimate as a reserve against design and budget revisions. In our experience as the creative process evolves both sides can get more excited and involved with complicated embroideries and techniques which can push timelines and costs. We need to be aware of this and be aware your estimated budgets need to be considered as just this – an estimate. Whilst we will never fail to deliver your gown, if during the course of the development it becomes apparent the process is going over the initial budget because the design has evolved beyond the original vision we will talk to you about this and discuss the best solution.
Availability and Communication
We are a very small, very busy team dedicated to creating dreamlike gowns for all our brides. We are also contacted by a significant number of brides and have a long waiting list so are unfortunately unable to see everyone or always respond to emails or calls as quickly as you might like. Please feel free to keep calling us if we have not responded and it is urgent but also please trust we are working incredibly hard to make sure each bride is given the priority they need.
Timeline and Deadlines
- This varies considerably between projects for obvious reasons. However we need at least 8 months to complete a bespoke gown so please make sure you leave enough time. We also need a minimum of 120 days from final design sign off to make your dress and complete final fittings. If you want or require a veil and / or personalised robe please leave at least 60 days for this. Any alterations either to the artwork or design after this sign off deadline will necessarily incur additional charges and priority fees. Please keep this in mind with regards to choosing your final underwear and shoe heel height.
- After the initial consultation we will send a design proposal for your gown. This proposal will be accompanied by our Bridal Agreement which you will need to agree to, along with payment of a deposit as detailed below.
- Our aim is to have the gown ready around 1 month prior to your final collection day for final fittings and adjustments. We can then store the gown ready for you to collect at a convenient time.
- Please be aware however with bespoke and especially couture projects this one month window is highly variable since by definition we will be making alterations and improvements both to the fittings and embellishment up to and often including the last minute. We understand the final final deadline to be the day before your stated final collection so you will have to trust us if this date is fast approaching.
The Initial Consultation
- Our studio is on Hanbury Street and is just an eight minute walk from the nearest tube stations: Aldgate, Whitechapel and Liverpool Street. Our bridal consultations are generally held on Friday and Saturday although weekday and evening appointments may be possible subject to availability.
- Please arrive on time for your appointment - we have a strict schedule of consultations with brides throughout the day. If you do arrive late this will reduce your consultation time and may incur additional charges. To avoid transport delays, we advise that you arrive ten minutes early. When you do arrive at the studio please ring the bell and someone will greet you at the door.
- Friends and family are welcome to consultations although we ask that you let us know prior to your appointment and we advise bringing no more than 3 guests to make sure you maximise the consultation time.
- There may be a chance during your consultation for you to try on some of our in-house samples although as our samples are often used in the press this is subject to availability. Our embroidered samples are usually a size 8-10 but we also have a size range of plain styles which can be tried on for fit and shape together with an extensive collection of embroidery swatches. Our samples are very delicate so fittings need to be strictly to size. Please do not be offended if a style is not available for you to try on because the size is incorrect.
- We advise that you wear nude underwear. If you already have your wedding shoes, or shoes of a similar height, please bring these along. In the Couture and Bespoke programs we need to know the heel height early in the design process to accommodate the embroidery and create our signature artworks engineered to your specifications. Any last minute alterations to this height will incur significant additional charges since they affect the entire design process.
- We understand that capturing photographs of your consultation may help you to make a decision about your gown design. However we take pride in our creative process and in order to maintain the integrity, confidentiality and mystery of our bridal process please do not share your photographs on social media or in any other publicly available way.
The nature of our gowns means that we use tulle which can provide very sheer coverage, even with embroidery. As such you should ensure your underwear works with the gown design you choose and you will feel comfortable on the day wearing it. We do not make underwear for the gowns but can direct you to options we recommend including a bespoke option starting at £500. Please remember you should feel comfortable during your wedding day. The underwear you choose to wear under your gown is integral to this and should be chosen in tandem with your selection of the gown.
Payment and Deposits
- In order to secure your gown order in our production calendar we will need an initial deposit of £1800 (£1500 + VAT). So we can cover our creative costs this deposit is unfortunately non-refundable. A 2nd deposit is then due after your final design details and budget are agreed for the balance totalling 50% of your estimated final budget. Depending on your budget we will then agree a series of instalments at key stages throughout the process.
- The balance of the amount due, including any additional costs incurred during the design process must be paid 14 days prior to collection.
- All payments and invoices are in GBP. Please be aware of this if you are transferring from a foreign bank account or foreign currency. Any exchange rate shortfalls will be invoiced as a separate final balance invoice and will need to be paid prior to collection. This can easily be paid with a credit card on-site. Please blame your bank for this not us.
- Any subsequent costs incurred from the balance payment date to the gown collection date must be paid and cleared before the gown is collected.
Measurements and Weight Loss
- Gowns within the Hermione de Paula range are embroidery-heavy and tailored. Any weight fluctuations therefore have a significant impact on the design process. As such if you plan on any weight loss our experience has shown it is sensible to wait until you are ‘body ready’ before trying on sample size styles or taking measurements to begin your gown process.
- Depending on the date of your wedding and which tier of design process you are working with us on we will need to agree a measurement deadline to provide our team within enough time to create your gown. On or shortly after this deadline you will be invited back into the studio where a member of our pattern cutting team will take a full set of measurements. After each fitting we will share and agree with you your measurements which enables all of us to keep an eye on those measurements in between fittings. If you encounter significant weight gain or loss after this agreed measurement deadline please note that we may need to make adjustments to your gown which will be charged on an hourly basis.
- Please notify us if you have been unwell, if you are on your period or if there is anything else which might affect your weight and measurements when coming in to be measured or during your fitting. This will help to avoid any false measurements being taken which would necessitate a second appointment and a potential additional cost to you.
Transporting Your Gown
- We pack your gown into a gown bag and bridal box that is compact and suitable for carry-on luggage with most major airlines. This is the ‘Packing & Handling’ fee we add to each invoice in addition to the agreed dress cost. We pack the gown carefully to reduce creases and ensure there is no damage to the embroidery so would encourage you not to take it out until you reach the final destination. For smaller veils and robes we pack each in bespoke presentation boxes.
- We advise our brides to buy a handheld steamer as hanging your gown will not get out all the creases. Our recommendation is to put a clean white sport sock over the nozzle of the handheld steamer to collect the water drops which may mark the fabric.
Ownership Of Designs
Please note that all creative work is owned exclusively by Hermione de Paula.