bridal couture terms information

Terms & Information


All designs, images and content on this site are copyright to Designs By Melanie Ford. Reproduction in whole or part of any designs or images or breach of copyright will be brought to the attention of our legal team for further action. We work extremely hard and offer a specialised service to our clients that we do not want tarnished. In accessing this site and any information on it you are accepting this notice and are bound to comply with the terms of this notice, and any information and conditions outlined in this site.

If you would like images for editorial reasons please contact us on

General Information

Please note that all products listed are in Australian dollar currency and include GST.

Online Order Information

For all online customer service and product enquiries, please email us on, emails will normally be responded to within the week.

We give you all the product information we believe you require to understand your purchase and options clearly.

For all online wedding gown orders we will verbally confirm with you the order, delivery date & any other information required to fulfil the order.

At this time we will only accept direct debit payment for all international orders.

If for some reason an item purchased is not available, we will notify you by email as soon as possible & you will receive an immediate refund.

Mix and Match Designs

We offer split sizing for you to choose from, and individualising your design pieces using our separates pieces which you can also request to have made all joined as one gown. If you select split sizing or individual requests we will contact you to confirm your choices. If you require help or advice with your choices please email or call.

If there are two gown shapes you would like to combine or swap detail from one gown onto another shape please feel free to ask and email or call us to confirm it is possible.

If you need any more help or information, please do not hesitate to ask, as our gowns and clients are important to us and want to give you the best service we possibly can, so please email for styling & fit advice, or you can call or text us on 0420306950.

Sizing and Measurements

Please ensure you visit the Size chart and measuring guidance page before ordering to ensure the closest size possible is ordered. Ensuring you measure your natural shape, not loosely and not firmly! Our designs are created to be tight where needed and loose where needed in regards to your real body measurements. We offer split sizing but this does not guarantee a perfect fit. Our designs are still created from patterns we believe to be shaped for clientele from research over the years of the most common figure proportion and length. We understand that there is technically no “common figure shape” and that is why you may need alterations. If you lose weight or change shape after measuring your figure for your order it is likely the dress will require greater alterations. Different shaped designs will differ in the way they fit.

Delivery Information

It is extremely important you fill out all of your contact details correctly.

Please include a daytime phone number and email address so we can contact you if we need to.

Wedding date & required delivery date need to be filled out in the comments section before confirming your order.

Your wedding gown order will be delivered boxed with a garment bag and hanger included. Please take the wedding gown out of the box when it arrives and hang it up high on the hanger provided, covered in the garment bag. Any creases should drop out of the gown prior to wearing the gown. We suggest carefully opening the zip of the bag the day before the wedding and lifting the bottom of the gown out of the bag to hang free so that the train can breathe a little, and it is likely the creases will fall out over night. If not please follow the ironing instructions that accompanied your gown or email us for more information.

Accessories and small items will be delivered boxed and in registered post express bag. These should be unwrapped, checked and laid or hung out.


Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and Direct Debit payments are accepted.

If paying direct debit we will email you an Invoice with the payment and bank details. Please email us when the payment has been made and label the payment with your full name. Once the payment clears, your order will be processed for sending or to start production.

In House Bookings

When booking into Designs by Melanie Ford we request an email be sent to acknowledge you are happy to book your gown with us, and that you have read the information below and understand our terms and conditions.

In booking in to have a gown Designed by Melanie Ford you are commissioning a design, and this will remain unique to the DBMF design style.

A 10% deposit is required for us to hold your position for your wedding date. This deposit is also used to confirm you wanting to commission the design and construction of your gown and allows us to start office work and time liaising with fabric suppliers for your gown.

The 10% deposit is non-refundable unless under extraordinary circumstances which will be at the discretion of Designs by Melanie Ford.

Couture Payments

Payments for the balance of your Couture gown are split evenly into your five fitting appointments. These payments need to be paid before or at each appointment. Payments can be paid via direct deposit, or we also have Eftpos facilities if you want to pay at the appointment, accepting most cards, but not American express. Cheques are accepted, but final payments by cheques must be cleared prior to collection of your product.

If you have any financial questions please feel free to contact us, as you can request to talk to Trish, our accountant.

Made-to-Order and Demi-Couture Bookings

For In house Ready-to-wear or Demi-couture bookings the balance for the gown is paid in thirds, one 3rd at the measurements appointment or when the fabrics arrive (depending on what comes first), one 3rd 1/2 way through production (a date will be offered for this) and the last 3rd just before or at collection.

Any work or fabric ordering for the gown will start to come out of these payments, at any time for any reason should you not want to continue with the booking of the gown, a cost of fabric and time spent on the booking and gown to date will be worked out at the discretion of Designs By Melanie Ford, and any outstanding amount to equal that amount needs to be paid within 7 days. Any payment that has been paid above that amount will be refunded.

The gown is made to the closest standard dress size to your first measurements (we offer split sizing). And varied fit will reflect the difference between the clients measurements and the standard sizing. Weight loss between the date of taking measurements and the final collection of the gown can also change the fit of the gown, and we take no responsibility to alter the gown without extra charges by the hour for alterations. If we have time to offer our services to alter the gown we charge $60/hr when altering gowns, however, if we do not have time in our workroom or if you would like the contact details for other ladies that work independently from me and who know how to alter my gowns beautifully, then I am more than happy to supply you with those details.

If you are choosing a Demi-Couture option for your ordered gown, you will receive one fitting throughout the process which will include hemming the gown and altering it to fit better if needed, and if individual designing is required this is also a process we check at this appointment. This is normally charged at $300 and is a flat rate unless stated otherwise, and even though it ensures a better fitted gown at collection time, if you have changed shape since the Demi-Couture fitting, then more altering may be required at extra charges that will be at the discretion of Designs By Melanie Ford. If you do not have shoes for your Demi-Couture appointment then you will be charged extra for an extra fitting to hem the gown.

Payments can be paid via direct deposit and we also have Eftpos facilities if you want to pay at the appointment, accepting most cards, but not American express. Cheques are accepted, but final payments by cheques must be cleared prior to collection of your product.

If you have any financial questions please feel free to contact us, as you can request to talk to Trish, our accountant.


We like to book your appointments in across the whole four-six month process, but we are more than happy to work appointment to appointment for clients who have rosters and shift work.

The appointments are always tentative appointments and may need re-scheduling at times. This is normally due to either -

- me or my staff being ill can hold up the amount of hours we may have needed during that week to work on your gown.
- any last minute hours we may need to spend on clients that need last minute weight loss alterations and finishing ( which we offer to all couture clients the week leading up to their wedding date, allowing for that beautiful fit, and who ever has their wedding that week takes priority over the workload in the studio.)
- my family or myself becoming unwell, not allowing me to be in the studio on the day of your appointment my result in rescheduling your appointment.

Because our workload and fittings are strategically planned out from week to week, it is rare, but can sometimes take up to a fortnight to get you rescheduled in. The earlier on in your timeline, the more flexible it is on our end.

Please feel free to make last minute changes to your appointments also, but please keep in mind, it is easier to push the appointment backwards rather than bring it forward. In our busiest months, we are often working on your gown up until the day before the appointment, and sometimes to the hour of the appointment.

My team of amazing staff that work along side of me all have experience at the highest levels in their expertise, and that is why they are trusted by me to help with designing and constructing your gown, and on the rare occasion do a fitting, which is fantastic if I am unable to do the fitting at the last minute.

Fittings and your Design

Please turn up to your appointments on time, this will stop appointments from running overtime and impacting on others scheduled appointments. You may be requested to return at another time to finish the appointment if your appointment is running too long into the next clients’ appointment time.

Please do not turn up with fake tan on. Make-up can also mark the gowns, so please ensure you turn up to your fittings with clean skin. Perfumes, some deodorant and oily moisturisers can stain the fabric or leave a scent in the fabric, so please consider wearing scents to your fittings that compliment your desired perfume you will be wearing on the wedding day.

Please ensure you have everything you need for your fitting with you so another fitting is not needed to be scheduled or charged to you. Our appointments and fittings are designed to ensure you are approving the designing of the gown at each step, so please make sure you are happy with the decisions we are making at each appointment, as changes to the design that have "NOT" already been discussed will be charged to you and will be at the discretion of DBMF.

If changes are not in respect to the DBMF design style they may not be suitable and this will be at the discretion of DBMF. In booking in to have a gown designed by DBMF you are commissioning a design, and this will remain unique to the DBMF design style.

Contact Us
0420 306 950

Any questions or appointment changes or general contact you want with us is best done by text or email. If you are contacting us, please understand we spend many hours cutting, sewing and designing the gowns, and getting to the computer and phone is often after all the important work is done. You can talk to my staff in the studio regarding your questions and appointments, however, if you have emailed or text and are waiting on a response directly from me, please feel free to text after a few days if you have not heard from me.

The studio in the Hunter Region is now in Warners Bay and appointments are available only by appointment. I make evening appointments one night a week, and this alternates depending on my clients and family needs. I normally don't take appointments in Warners Bay all day on Tuesdays, or Friday evenings, and we are closed on Sunday's.

Gown Construction

Our gowns are made with as much strength as possible considering the extremely delicate and fine fabrics we are using, so that you may enjoy your wedding day with as much excitement and dancing, or photos of the groom throwing you around and even over his shoulder on the rare occasions. Understandably this can cause injuries to the gown. We are happy to help out with small repairs, but this can take up to a year for available time in the workload. Larger repair will be charged at an hourly rate.

We can recommend drycleaners to you (below) but take no responsibility for any part of the gown that may be damaged after the gown leaves the DBMF studio.

All of our gowns are supplied with a label and recommended dry cleaning instructions, on the rare occasion the label and care instruction may be missing for reasons if it would show through to the outside of the gown or if they have been removed during alterations. If your gown does not have a label or care instructions for any reason the drycleaners should request one prior to treating the gown.

Any damage to your dress and fabrics during dry cleaning is not our responsibility to fix, however at times when the studio is not busy, we may offer to help you with mending and fixing any damage that may have occurred. This will be charged at an hourly rate. DBMF use high quality silks and laces from reputable companies.

Moral Rights

It is important to understand the rights DBMF have on the distribution of pictures of a DBMF Couture and Demi-Couture gown. The following information has been provided by the Australian Copyright Council. You should bring this to the attention of your photographer.

Moral Rights - Creators of copyright works have moral rights in their creations. These are separate to copyright and are personal to the creator. (You will retain the moral rights in your creation, even if copyright in your creation belongs to someone else).

Moral rights comprise the right to be attributed as creator of the work, the right not to have the work falsely attributed and the right not to have the work treated in a derogatory way (that is, in a way that is prejudicial to your honour or reputation). Attribution must be clear and reasonably prominent. This means that someone seeing the work would be aware of the creator’s name.

However, a failure to attribute the creator, or a derogatory treatment of copyright work, does not infringe the creator’s rights if it is “reasonable” to do so in the circumstances. What is reasonable will depend on factors such as the type of work it is, the purpose, manner and context in which it is used, and relevant industry practice. Also, creators can consent to an infringement of their moral rights (for example, there may be circumstances in which you consent not to be attributed as the creator of a work)./p>

Moral rights are relevant to your situation in two ways:

1. if others wish to copy, publish, exhibit or communicate your gown, you have a right to be attributed as creator of the gown (as well as not to have the gown falsely attributed and not to have the gown treated in a derogatory manner). This means that any photographs of your gown that appear in the media or elsewhere should be accompanied by an attribution that credits you as the creator/designer of the gown. These rights are separate and in addition to any rights you may have as a copyright owner of the gown; and

2. If you want to use photographs taken by third parties for your own purposes, in addition to seeking relevant copyright permissions, you will need to attribute the relevant photographers.

Changing your Design or Cancelling your Booking

If you wish to make changes to your design, an email and an extra design consultation may be needed. Any important changes to the design need to be brought to our attention prior to starting the first toile fitting, which may require changes to the initial quote.

Changes requested by you after the first toile fitting may incur extra charges due to structural and fabric allocation that have already been made.

Some changes may not require re-quoting or extra charges and are at the discretion of the DBMF studio.

Changes to the design must be relative to my design style and will be at the discretion of DBMF.

The 10% deposit is non-refundable unless under extraordinary circumstances which will be at the discretion of Designs by Melanie Ford.

If you decide to cancel your booking with DBMF, an email is required to confirm your cancellation.

Any refund of payments made up to that date will be at the discretion of DBMF.

Any outstanding moneys required for work done or fabrics purchased will be worked out and need to be paid to DBMF within 1 week of cancelling your order.

Any fabrics and lace purchased and paid for by you belong to you and will need to be collected within three months of cancellation. If you would like to consider not receiving product already paid for then an arrangement will be sorted out at that time.

We run a fair business and will take into consideration each client cancellation individually.


When looking for shoes, it is important to know that some gowns are cut in a certain way that will restrict the length available. Please let me know if you are considering purchasing a heel that is quite high, as cutting the fabric in a different way may be needed, but may alter the look of the skirt and the original costing if we need to cut the fabric differently. When you have your appointments for the real fabric, please understand that fake tan, heavy moisturizers and make-up can mark the fabrics easily.

When choosing underwear, flesh colour is important, seamless, and if you are using normal underwear or the Nancy Gance underwear, try using larger sizes so they don't cut into your body, they will just smooth the shape instead. The skirt shape smoothing undergarments are great, but the short shape can help minimize sweat during the hotter months. Also there are smoothing footless hosiery I have seen that are a great option if you really feel you need to smooth your shape. Shape smoothing undergarments are not necessary and you can discuss this with me at your fittings.

We design veils, head pieces and wrist cuffs to suit our gowns if you would like that service. These products do not respond well to cleaning or ironing.

Figure Re-shaping

When starting your fittings, we need to check about the way your weight might fluctuate or change on a monthly cycle, or any plans to change your level of exercise and diet. We can make sure we remain very strategic in each fitting if we are expecting any changes to your body shape.

One very important tip when exercising is at the couture clients forth fitting (normally about 8-10 weeks before the wedding) or the demi-couture fitting, we are taking the positioning for the back closing, and if you continue to do too much muscle toning for your back after this appointment you may strengthen the muscle which will quite often make the back look slightly too tight at the end. Some girls are trying to work on their arms, but are using movements that strengthen your back at the same time, so please talk to an instructor or trainer about some more appropriate exercises to stop any bulking of the back muscles.

Dry Cleaning

My preferred drycleaners are -
in Sydney, Silver Service drycleaners
in Hunter Region, Charlestown Hilltop plaza drycleaners