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.