Stop Bashing The Wedding Industry: A Bridal Retailer Perspective

mirror mirror bridal

Again, Stylist magazine, the publication that suggested brides give fake id information at wedding exhibitions in order to bag freebies, (an article now withdrawn,) has published another casual little dig article claiming that the wedding industry “slaps a premium” on everything.

Where did the notion come from that if a price is discounted it must reflect a fair and ethical company policy focused on bringing the client great value for money?  If any wedding related good or service is fairly priced someone has clearly racked it up, “because, y’know…wedding”

Discount retail chains survive on picking up liquidated stock and having staff on zero hours contracts.

Discount chains have huge venture capitalist backers.

Discount policies rely on ‘price establishment weeks’ to artificially inflate prices.

stylist magazine

From the latest issue of Stylist Magazine (7 June 2018), Author Lucy Mangan

Has anyone bought a sofa in DFS that wasn’t in a sale? They are selling you finance and the sofa is your free gift.

Black Friday, ASOS and Amazon, hell even Hello Fresh, have utterly changed the way of shopping for basic goods. I, however, see the same drivers deliver to my work address at 8am and my home address at 8pm. Convenience online shopping still has a high social price, these working practises are illegal; the working days are too long and unsafe. “But, y’know… cheap”

As consumers we know the culture of cheapness has a social, economic and environmental price and soon the landscapes of the High Streets will look very different.

In my tiny part of retail,  in my tiny niche boutique, that punches above its weight in terms of opinion, our economic model goes beyond considerations of supply and demand. As I often have been quoted as saying, no one needs anything I sell. Yet my relationships with my clients go far beyond the transactional exchange of money for goods. Sensitive, emotional and empathetic relationships go hand in hand with simply having fun and celebrating our inner dressing up queen.

Still though in my environment and those of my peers, can one woman really stand in front of another artisan woman, in bridal design or any other part of the wedding industry, and say “your skill is not worth a fair wage.”

Should anyone facing a wedding they want with an inadequate budget blame the artisans? Would you stage a sit-in in a Michelin star restaurant and demand to be paying £10 per head?

Not being able to afford something – a gourmet meal or a wedding is not the responsibility of the chef or artisan. Wanting a gourmet meal or a wedding is the proviso of the consumer. Appreciating the worth or an exquisite meal or a life defining moment is where the client and the vendor should come together.

In this respect, with regards to bridal retail, brides need to know that there are not that many of you. Even if you rounded up every bride that was going to spend more than £2000 on a dress that would be far less than the 80,000 applicants for Love Island and a third of the applicants for university places.  The unique made to order process of bridal gowns means that none of ‘us’ in the trade can negotiate discount prices. Even a 20,000 unit order – if you all had the same style – is tiny in terms of global garment manufacture. The US jeans market is 450million units per annum alone.

I can promise, faithfully, that nothing close to ripping off, swindling, conning or generally profiteering happens in bridal retail. It is also close to being the most ethical way of producing garments – on demand.

In a country where we pride ourselves on our individuality, especially when it borders on eccentricity, where we celebrate our diversity would you really like us, in the bridal trade to negotiate a job-lot of generic dresses to keep the costs down?

I am happy to answer questions with absolute clarity for Love My Dress readers on any aspect of bridal retail, costs, budgets and finance.

There is no such thing as a wedding industrial complex.

Within our own businesses we know our clients appreciate our worth and we love our clients.

How is this message so consistently skewed by the press?



Main image via Mirror Mirror Couture

Emma Marshall

Emma Marshall View all Emma's articles

Emma Marshall is MD of one of the UKs oldest and most respected British bridal boutiques, Miss Bush. Emma has supported and championed independent design, ethical sourcing and has lead the way in revolutionising experiential bridal shopping. Married in her late 40s, advocate for fit over size, Emma is a passionate campaigner and writer, bringing strong opinions to both the bridal trade and consumer.

3 thoughts on “Stop Bashing The Wedding Industry: A Bridal Retailer Perspective

  1. Bravo. Every time I read someone saying they can get an artisan item cheaper from an online store sell g an illegal shoddy copy part of my soul withers. I haven’t a huge budget but have still been able to buy individual handmade items which I treasure from artisans whom I have developed a relationship with and who I know really care. What is wrong with beautiful handmade items? When did cheapest become best? I would rather buy an item made with pride and skill for the most special of moments not one made in a sweat shop style factory by children paid next to nothing. Perhaps Style magazine should be pointing the focus gaze in that that direction instead of tugging down skilled, hardworking and talented artisans.

  2. Yes! Totally agree – quality fabrics and service are what count in this industry. Always said that buying a dress should be an amazing experience and not just a purchase! Most brides understand that for quality there is a cost attached, especially when you are referring to gowns that are bespoke and ethically made in the UK.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *