Most of my major quilts have been custom quilted because they are displayed in shops and exhibitions and undergo quite a lot of scrutiny! Ladies often ask me if it is necessary to have their Jane Austen quilts custom quilted, which can be expensive and include a long delay while waiting for the quilter to reach your turn in the queue.
A number of ladies have opted to have their Jane Austen's quilted in an edge to edge quilting design. They look fantastic. I think it is a very viable option. Make sure you choose a quilting design that has an old fashioned appearance such as continuous baptist fans or clam shells or a decorative pattern that has fairly even and consistently sized quilting shapes over the whole surface. This will not detract from all of your applique.
Here is Kerrie's "Rosings" which was quilted in an edge to edge pattern by Leanne Valiukas of LoVe It Quilting. Looks so sensational. Leanne has quilted a continuous feather design on the quilt.