Over the last year, we’ve spent a lot of time talking with brides and one of the things that we talk about a lot has to the THE dress. How does wedding dress shopping work with restrictions in place?
Will it still feel special? Is there time to order the dress that you’ve been coveting and what’s the process right now? With lockdown easing, we know that so many brides are kickstarting their planning and for many, that means wedding dress shopping (or wedding trousers/bridal separates/whatever takes your fancy!). If you’ve got an upcoming appointment at a bridal boutique or a consultation with a bridal designer, we have some great advice for you in this feature. Six brilliant UK bridal designers have given us their thoughts and insight – we hope that you’ll find reassurance in their wise words.
Katy Britton Bridal
“Try to keep your mind open when looking for your dress, a blank canvas is always a more successful consultation.”
“It’s a good idea to have ideas as a starting point, but it can be disappointing when you try those ideas on and they aren’t right for you.”
“Be receptive to styles you haven’t considered before, I find that brides very often surprise themselves.”
Felicity Abekah, Felisiti Greis Bridal Couture
“As a bespoke bride, the design of your dream wedding dress should be a beautiful collaboration between you and your bridalwear designer. Creating your dream dress has never been easier.”
“So many designers I know, myself included are offering virtual appointments and accommodating short lead times to help our brides start or continue their wedding dress journey. Know that regardless of our new ‘normal’, transforming your bridal dreams into couture reality is still 100% possible and thanks to the advancement in technology, it has never been easier.”
“My vision as a designer, is and always will be to create pieces that not only celebrates your individuality, but also is everything you dreamed it will be. A bespoke bridal gown is one-of-a-kind because it’s made with just you and your vision in mind.”
Laura Ironside, Laura Ironside Bridal
“Think about what things are the most important to you both and make these a priority.”
“You may still be working within restrictions or having to do without some things in the lead up or on the day, so invest in what you can have, the elements of your wedding that mean the most to you rather than what you feel you should be focusing on or what’s traditionally done.”
The designer herself on her wedding day in a dress she made
Image by Caro Weiss
Charlotte Wilden, Wilden London
“The experience for brides visiting me hasn’t changed much, it’s just that we’re wearing masks and washing our hands. Most brides who come to see me for a bespoke design actually don’t often bring guests with them, so I can indulge fully with their creative ideas without distraction.”
“This is quite a unique time for brides, a chance to burst onto the bridal fashion scene with something completely new and surprising and fabulous and lead the way for brides coming up in the years to come.”
“After a year with little “real bride” fashion, 2021 and 2022 brides will be the trend setters, the eagerly awaited debutantes, that’s quite an exciting place to be for all the brides who love fashion.”
Image by Damien Milan
Hebe, Miss He Bridal
“You are my friends, not just customers. We don’t just sell wedding gowns, we make memories. We encourage all our brides to get involved in the designing process.”
“We love creating bespoke, handmade wedding dresses for our beautiful brides, bringing their dream dresses to life and making their day extra special.”
Finding Ways to Enjoy the Experience
Cynthia, Cynthia Grafton-Holt Couture
“Research, research, research! Entering the world of a wedding dress designer can be a little scary and every new bride worries that they won’t know the right words or will make the wrong choices. The best way to overcome this is be as prepared as possible and here are my tips for doing just that.”
- Find out as much as possible about the work, experience and skills of the designer and how it connects with your vision. Check out work they have done before for inspiration – a collar here, the detail of a sleeve there, the fit of a particular gown – all this helps to build an idea of what you can achieve together.
- Concerns over Covid will continue to haunt us all for a long time to come and so maintaining safety whilst shopping for a wedding dress is where bespoke wedding dress designers excel. Knowing that no-one else will be trying on your bespoke gown plus having exclusive use of the entire bridal studio is so reassuring for our brides.
- Have a quick chat over the phone prior to arranging your first appointment. We simply love chatting to our brides as there is nothing that can replace the human connection – we are people after all and first impressions count.
- Arrange a time to meet. One of the best developments of the last year is the ability to meet instantaneously online and we will continue to do this for the benefits of our brides. Whether early morning, lunch break or a supper appointment, the initial consultation is held online and is focused on getting to know each other. We are finding that brides-to-be are so much more relaxed, dressed in PJs and hugging a coffee! This has proved to be a huge success as we both get to understand and know each other.
- Online consultations are also great as they really cut out any feeling of being pressured. Brides are able to learn and increase their knowledge of the experience without feeling the expectation of having to purchase a dress if things don’t work out at this point.
- Send your designer all of your images ahead of meeting. This helps them to prepare for meeting you and have an outline of your expectations and goals.
- How many people can you invite to your appointment? We encourage our brides to invite their extended families and friends to attend their first face-to-face consultation via Zoom. It is great way for families and even relatives abroad to be part of the brides experience. With our cameras set up to maximize their viewing experience, they have the best seat in the house and can see all the details just as it they were there.
All of the exceptional designers in this feature can be found in our wonderful wedding directory.
Credits & Thanks
- Main Image - Miss He Bridal