Thursday, 5 September 2013

Putting your own stamp on your wedding dress

Recently a bride and her group of helpers visited my shop to try on wedding dresses. After I introduced myself, the very first thing she asked me was whether I had an exclusivity policy in my shop.  She wanted to know if all our dresses were ‘one-offs’ and asked if she bought her dress in my shop, would that mean that my sample would be taken off the rails and not sold to anyone else.
I suggested to her that perhaps she was visiting the wrong type of retailer.  My business wouldn't survive for much longer if I introduced such a policy, so I couldn't even if I wanted to!!  Most bridal boutiques, including my own, sell dresses from their chosen designers’ collections, and not only do we normally sell more than one of each style, but most of the styles we have can be found in bridal boutiques in several other shops in the country, and we have no control over what they sell and to whom.  I suggested that she might be better off visiting a dress designer to have a bespoke dress designed if exclusivity was very important to her (and I pointed out that the price ticket will be much, much higher that she would pay for a dress from a designer’s collection!!  In fact, a one-off designer dress would most likely swallow up the entire wedding budget - at the very least!)

However, there were things we could do to try to help her if she didn't want to pay to get a bespoke dress designed to make her feel more at ease, and we were soon trying on a selection of dresses from the 90+ styles we have in store and feeling more relaxed about the whole thing.  The first thing I told her is that if she had any friends or family that were getting married, then to let us know.  I always joke that I am not psychic and don’t have a crystal ball, so I need to know if Mary Jane is your cousin or that you sit beside Emmy Lou at work (and if they have got their dress with us).  If I get a heads up, I will make sure they don’t buy the same dress as you.  (I have reluctantly broken several girls hearts in the past by refusing to sell them a dress when such a situation did arise)  I never assume that physical proximity means that people are acquainted or if they even know each other.  Two girls that live in the same town may not cross paths in their lives, but two girls who live 40 miles apart may be future sister-in-laws!  Or their mums might be next door neighbours!  And yes – these are things we have encountered!!  So whilst we do not guarantee exclusivity, if we get a heads up that people are closely connected, we wouldn't sell  the same dress to both brides  (although we cannot stop them going and ordering it in another shop... and yes – this is another  situation we have encountered and had no control over whatsoever!!)

I always think that every bride looks different on her big day anyway.  The dress is one part of the look.  There’s the hairstyle, the head dress, the veil, the bouquet  flowers, the bridesmaids standing by her side (and the groom of course!).  The dress is one part of the picture.  And I love it when a bride decides to customise her dress!!  Our seamstresses are always busy making modifications to the dresses (within reason!) – little lace boleros with high necklines that totally transform a strapless dress..... sparkly belts beaded with Swarovski crystals that draw the eye to the waistline.... dainty cap sleeves that drape off the shoulder.... cute little satin cut-away jackets.... lace and beaded appliqués added to plain satin dresses.. a flowered shoulder strap with little beads cascading from silk rosebuds....  there are so many ways to put your stamp on your wedding dress and give it that bespoke feeling for a fraction of the price of a bespoke dress.  Here are a few examples of things that you can do to customise your dress – I hope this inspires you!!!!  And remember, than when you have a consultation at our shop, we can spend time helping you to make your dress your own and help you to to make a little more exclusive if that's something that you are looking for.

Here's the Maggie Sotttero Sabelle  (a strapless dress) shown with cap sleeves and also with a lace jacket - both available to order in our shop. 

These are two of my favourite jackets which can also be purchased separately.  Team these up with a strapless dress and you get a totally different look.

Belts come in a whole variety of different colours with beading, flowers and appliqués.  These can change the whole look of a dress.  We have loads from the likes Maggie Sottero, Essense of Australia and Linzi Jay.
Divina by Maggie Sottero with two different belts.... or maybe you don't want to go the belt at all!!

I love this flowered belt my Maggie Sottero!  Totally transforms this dress!!
Shoulder detail which can change the whole look of a dress...

I hope this blog will help you think outside the box and help you with ideas if you want to make your dress more unique.  Please feel free to add any of your own ideas or pictures!  Ciara.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Top tips for getting the most of out of a one-day wedding dress sale.

Well, it's that time of the year again.  One-day sale time, and this year it is happening on Thursday 26th September from 12 noon until 8pm.

In October, there are going to be big changes at our shop, with a new layout to incorporate our current seamstress's new alteration shop which will take up a big section of our second unit.  (More about that in our blog later this month!)

To get me ready for the new layout (and to take on my next collection) I am having a MASSIVE clearance sale.  It won't be just the usual discontinued lines, but also we will be adding dresses from the current collection which will be reduced for 1 day only.  Some of these dresses will be reduced by as much as £1000, so this is an event not to be missed!

All Discontinued dresses will be £395 or less

Many current collection dresses will be reduced to £495 for the one day only.

People always ask me about sale days and what advice I would give anyone looking to come to one, so here's a list of top tips that I've put together which should help you to on your quest to find a dream dress at a bargain price!

Top tips for attending a sample sale..

1. Get out beforehand and try dresses on.
Don’t make a sample sale your first bridal shopping trip.  The girls who come prepared with ideas from trying on beforehand are the girls who have the most success at getting a bargain.  If the sale day is busy, you will be restricted to the number of dresses you can try on to make it fair for people waiting to use the changing rooms, so you won't have the chance of spending over an hour having a private consultation (as you normally would in a bridal appointment) to try and figure out what shapes and styles you prefer and which ones flatter your figure.  When you come to a bridal sample sale, you should already have a good idea of what style you are looking for, what size you need,  and what suits your shape.

2. Bring a friend

Don’t bring a whole entourage, but bring someone who will be brutally honest. Weddings are expensive and any discount you can get, especially if it’s on your dress, is well worth it - but only if you will be happy with it. Brief your friend to be brutally honest and listen to  her (or him!)  And remember that on a 1 day sale,  you can't go for a look and come back again another day.  So if you need your friend/sister/mum with you to help you make the final decision, then make sure she comes with you to the one day sale event. 
3. Wear the right underwear
This is a wedding dress appointment necessity regardless, but make sure you wear the right undies! You need to do everything you can to see how the dress will fit you.  Also, if it is busy, the dressing rooms will not necessarily be 100% private.  So don't wear skimpy underwear unless you are happy to be seen in them!!
4. Bring your purse!!!!!!!!!!!
You'd be surprised at how many people don't think about this one - remember, it's a one day sale, and we don't hold items over.  So bring your purse (we accept all major credit/debit cards) so that if you do find 'the one' then you can actually buy it!!!
5.  Ask the sales assistants about sizing.
Bridal sizes are generally a bit smaller than high street sizes, so when you are looking, bear that in mind.  But also, don't be afraid of looking at dresses which are a little bit bigger as they can always be taken in.  If in doubt, ask one of our sales assistants for guidance on the sizes.  All dresses will be grouped in sizes to make it easier.