Wedding Dress Designer Career and Salary

Explore the career requirements for wedding dress designers. Get the facts about education requirements, salary, and potential job growth to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Fashion Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Wedding Dress Designer?

Wedding dress designers use a range of technical skill and talent to craft dresses and gowns for brides. They may begin by sketching by hand or using a computer to develop a design. These designers often bear in mind current fashion trends and desired styles as they create their dresses. Once they have a design, wedding dress designers will select the fabrics and materials required to create their piece. They may oversee the construction of their dress or do it by hand. Sometimes the details in a wedding dress require hand-made stitches and more. Some wedding dress designers may create large collections of dresses to sell to retailers, while others may make custom dresses sold directly to the buyer. Learn about the education and training you'd need for a career in wedding dress design using this table:

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Fashion design
Key Skills Garment construction, creativity, fashion sense
Job Growth (2014-2024) 3% for all fashion designers*
Average Salary (2015) $73,180 for all fashion designers*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Kind of Education Do I Need to be a Wedding Dress Designer?

Wedding dress design often demands a high level of skill, leading some aspiring designers to pursue postsecondary credentials. Several universities schools offer 4-year design programs. The curricula in these programs usually include general education requirements as well as courses that emphasize the design process. Courses in design will often allow you to pursue independent projects, emphasizing the framework rather than the product itself.

In addition to university settings, many private arts and technical institutions have fashion design programs that offer 4-year degree programs. Degree programs often emphasize the technical aspects of the field and may allow you to focus on studio artwork.

Do I Need Experience?

As an aspiring wedding dress designer and a fashion designer in general, you'll often pursue internships. These opportunities provide experience in the business side of the industry, as well as technical experience working with materials, customers and deadlines. Internships potentially provide networking opportunities as well.

Where Can I Work?

You may work independently or within a major fashion design firm. Independent fashion designers may work irregular hours according to the volume and demands of their businesses, but salaried designers at major firms may experience more regular hours and responsibilities. Independent designers are generally responsible for the cost of a space for their business, as well as production tools and materials.

What Kind of Skills Do I Need?

Because you must be up to date on current trends, you should have an avid interest in the fashion industry and a willingness to participate in its community. Creativity and a sense of color, shape and form will also be useful skills for aspiring wedding dress designers.

What Kind of Salary Might I Expect?

In May 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the average annual salary of fashion designers, including wedding dress designers, was $73,180 ( Positions in this field are highly competitive.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

A few related positions that require a bachelor's degree include art directors, industrial designers and buyers and purchasing agents. Art directors may work for movie productions, magazines and more to create and maintain a particular visual style. Industrial designers create the designs and concepts for a wide range of products, from toys to appliances. On the other hand, buyers and purchasing agents work for organizations to acquire products and/or services for the organization to sell.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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  • Michigan State University

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