Category Archives: Bridal

Dress of the Month ~ September 2014

My current favourite dress this month is a recent arrival – the incredible Francine by Sottero and Midgley.  This dress is ultra glam and totally glitzy.  Think old Hollywood glamour, the kind Greta Garbo exuded!

Sottero and Midgley, Bridal Gown, Francine

The gown actually comes in two parts, a slinky satin slip and a lace layer that goes over it. The slip has two options, one with a super low back and another with a higher version.  This is a fabulous idea, allowing those girls who want to show off their backs to do so but also letting girls with heavier busts, who need more support or coverage for their bra, to wear this style too.

Sottero and Midgley, Bridal Gown, Francine

Monroe slip dress with dramatic low back

Sottero and Midgley, bridal gown, Francine

Raised back satin slip dress

I absolutely adore the twinkle and gleam of this dress – unfortunately the designers photography shows only the light gold version where ours is the ivory, and I genuinely think the image doesn’t convey the intricacy of detail and sparkle.  This is one of those dresses that has to be seen to be truly appreciated.

Article by Catherine Massey

Catherine has been writing Bi-Weekly Article for us since the 8th May 2012 and is our very talented Bridal Specialist. Catherine is a Bridal Stylist for their family Bridal Boutique, Cathedral Gowns. Find them onlineat http://www.cathedralgowns.com or on Facebook.

Any questions, email catherine@thebeautycloud.co.uk

Becoming a Bridal Consultant

I’ve been writing this blog for two years now, but I’ve only just realised that I’ve barely introduced myself! I reckon it is about time that I told you about myself, my background and explain why I’m qualified to write all these articles about wedding dresses! My name is Catherine Massey, and I am 32 years old.  I have been running the family bridal boutique for the last nine years, and just so you know ‘bridal’ was never my plan!

Catherine Massey, Cathedral Gowns

My mum and aunt decided to open the boutique when I was 18 and in the midst of my A-level exams.  To tell you the truth, I barely even noticed. I took myself off to university in England and four years later, after completing my degree (BSc Hons Communications & Society from the University of Leicester), I moved home with the plan to get a job in PR in Belfast. It was the middle of August aka bridal mad season, and mum was run off her feet and needed a hand, so I went to work with her. That was 9 years ago!

Cathedral Gowns, shop front

Somehow I got the bug for bridal and it turned out that I was actually pretty good at it. It’s bizarre to think how this all came about by pure accident, but somehow everything I had studied had somehow led me to be doing this.

My favourite subject at school was history of art and I can hardly believe now how much that prepared me for what I am doing – I reference something I learned there nearly every day. And as for my degree… I use it all the time, especially my marketing and PR skills.  However, more than anything, it was the film studies portion of my degree that informs my decisions regarding looks, details and accessories the most. If you’ve ever had an appointment with me you’ve probably heard me get excitedly geeky about ‘old hollywood’ and the imagery of ‘film noir’. Even just today I told a girl how her look in a particular dress was very ‘Veronica Lake’ and described the kind of way she should wear her hair.

Cathedral Gowns, wedding dresses on a rack

Sometimes it feels like fate brought me here. One of my first bridal clients was a girl I went to primary school with, her name is Katrina. During her time visiting us she told me how she’d always known that this is what I would be doing when I grew up.  Apparently all I ever did at school was draw dresses – if I wasn’t going to be a designer she was sure I was at least going to be doing something in the fashion realm!

I started out as a bridal consultant, but as time has progressed, mum passed on more and more responsibility on to me and now I am running the boutique and take care of everything except the accounts. I get to go to trade shows, meet the designers and buy our dresses.  Whilst I enjoy all those adventures the part I love the most is meeting brides and introducing them to their dream dress!  There is nothing quite like the buzz of suggesting a dress to a girl, and watching her fall in love with it. I never thought a job could be so fulfilling but I genuinely leave the boutique every day with a smile on my face, and I never dread having to go to work!

Article by Catherine Massey

Catherine has been writing Bi-Weekly Article for us since the 8th May 2012 and is our very talented Bridal Specialist. Catherine is a Bridal Stylist for their family Bridal Boutique, Cathedral Gowns. Find them onlineat http://www.cathedralgowns.com or on Facebook.

Any questions, email catherine@thebeautycloud.co.uk

Dress of the Month ~ July 2014

Alyssa Wedding Dress by Allure Bridals

Right now my favourite of all of our Bridal Gowns is the fabulous Alyssa by Allure Bridals (Style 8955). It really is such a fun wedding dress, with its funky frills and gorgeous embellishment it definitely stands out from the crowd!

This romantic ballgown is created from layers of soft organza. The bodice features a sweetheart neckline with lace, while the waistline has a satin band with a sparkling appliqué.

We recently showcased this beautiful gown in a fashion show and it was the dress that everyone was talking about afterwards.  This is definitely the dress for the girl who wants to make an impact on her wedding day!

Article by Catherine Massey

Catherine has been writing Bi-Weekly Article for us since the 8th May 2012 and is our very talented Bridal Specialist. Catherine is a Bridal Stylist for their family Bridal Boutique, Cathedral Gowns. Find them onlineat http://www.cathedralgowns.com or on Facebook.

Any questions, email catherine@thebeautycloud.co.uk

The Perfect Wedding Dress Myth Exposed

This month I wanted to write about something that I’m sure might ruffle a few feathers and that the wedding magazine industry probably won’t like. I want to dispel this myth, and the associated pressure, of there being ‘the one’ perfect wedding dress and a ‘magical’ moment when you find it!  I’ve noticed it a lot in bridal magazines – they like to talk about how you’ll ‘just know’ when you find your wedding dress, but in my experience this doesn’t happen very often, and creating and pushing this expectation is unrealistic, unfair and dangerous.

Trying to find the perfect wedding dress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve succumbed to it myself – I’m sure past adverts on our website have referred to it, but after nine years in the industry I can see that it is kind of bullsh*t. The whole bridal industry is centred around trying to help girls track down the elusive, heaven sent, perfect dress! But in reality there are any number of gowns that would be brilliant options for each bride, it really is just about coming to the point where you feel like you’ve seen enough options and are happy to purchase the one you’re standing in.

Fairytale wedding dress

There isn’t any other garment so over analysed as the wedding dress, so describing that moment of finding it in fairytale-esque terms just puts even more pressure on what should be a fun and easy process. It’s kind of ridiculous if you think about it.  I have witnessed this fallacy ruin the bridal shopping experience for so many girls. It frustrates me so much to see a girl stand in a dress staring at her reflection, clearly loving what she sees, who then decides that this dress cannot possibly be ‘the one’ because her mum hasn’t cried and she doesn’t have butterflies!

Butterflies in your stomach moment

Now don’t get me wrong, plenty of girls have that exact reaction but they are few and far between. And for those girls who haven’t and won’t have it, hearing about it just makes them feel like there is something wrong with them or that they haven’t fully had a bridal experience, that somehow they’ve been short-changed. Can you imagine how it must feel to be trying on wedding dresses and waiting for this fabled moment where the heavens will open and the angels sing! Wedding dresses aren’t magical, and waiting for one to make you cry or feel like a bride is one of the most unfair pressures to put on yourself. I’ve witnessed friends – rational sensible girls – crumble under this ridiculous pressure and ultimately taint their experience of trying on pretty dresses.

So please girls, as part of your preparation to try on wedding dresses, take a step back and see that the only important thing about wedding dresses is that you like it! I really want to see girls approach wedding dress shopping with way less pressure – don’t let the ‘perfect wedding’ bullies ruin it for you.

Article by Catherine Massey

Catherine has been writing Bi-Weekly Article for us since the 8th May 2012 and is our very talented Bridal Specialist. Catherine is a Bridal Stylist for their family Bridal Boutique, Cathedral Gowns. Find them onlineat http://www.cathedralgowns.com or on Facebook.

Any questions, email catherine@thebeautycloud.co.uk

Dress of the Month ~ June 2014

My favourite dress of the moment is the absolutely beautiful Tabitha by Charlotte Balbier!

Charlotte Balbier 'Tabitha' fitted lace gown with beautiful beadwork and a V neckline.

A gorgeous fitted lace gown with beautiful beadwork and a V neckline. Tabitha is one of Charlotte’s ‘Hall of Fame’ dresses, which means she is a bridal best seller. Charlotte designed this beautiful dress a few years ago and brides continue to love it!

Charlotte Balbier 'Tabitha' fitted lace gown with beautiful beadwork and a V neckline.

Since we haven’t been stocking Charlotte’s collection for very long Tabitha is brand new to us, but she was definitely one of the dresses that were on our ‘must have’ list when we visited Charlotte’s showroom last year.

Charlotte Balbier 'Tabitha' fitted lace gown with beautiful beadwork and a V neckline.

I love everything about this dress but mostly how soft and light the lace is! So many of our lace gowns are much heavier and sometimes even a little bulky, but this dress is the complete opposite and really means it could be the perfect option for a wedding abroad!

For more information about Charlotte Balbier dresses click here.

Article by Catherine Massey

Catherine has been writing Bi-Weekly Article for us since the 8th May 2012 and is our very talented Bridal Specialist. Catherine is a Bridal Stylist for their family Bridal Boutique, Cathedral Gowns. Find them onlineat http://www.cathedralgowns.com or on Facebook.

Any questions, email catherine@thebeautycloud.co.uk

The Secret Cost of Bridal Gown ‘Bargains’

Picture the scene; a two hour in depth bridal consultation where I successfully find the most perfect dress for a bride to be. I ask a lot of questions.  I get her to feel relaxed. She tries on lots of dress options and I give my expert advice.  Then, we find it – the dress she loves and wants to wear it for her wedding day!

But, she doesn’t order the dress that day.

Instead I get a phone call a week later from the bride to tell me that she has phoned every other stockist of the dress in the country and one of them is willing to sell the dress for £100 less than us! Now you may be thinking ‘good for her for finding a better deal’ or  ‘how can the other shop manage to sell it for less’, but let me tell you what I’m thinking from my perspective:

‘BRIDAL GOWN SHOPS ARE NOT ALL CREATED EQUAL!’

I occasionally hear from girls that a particular shop sells a brand of wedding dresses slightly cheaper than us, but it’s important to understand that it is not just a wedding dress that you are buying when you are purchasing from a “proper” bridal boutique. There are certain things that accompany a wedding dress that will be included in the price of the gown in some shops but not others – some will charge extra, and sometimes disproportionately so.

Bridal Gown HangerLet me give you some examples. In my boutique we include all kinds of things in the dress price, basic things like a hanger and a gown cover, the use of the changing room for as many try ons and alteration appointments as you need, storage of your dress, steaming it, organising and liaising with the seamstress on your behalf, subsidised on the day dressing… the list could go on!

Bridal alterations, seamstressI know of particular boutiques that charge £20 per week to store your gown so that you don’t have to bring it home. If your arrives ten weeks before your wedding that can be a BIG expense! When it comes to steaming, I know of bridal boutiques who don’t even own a steamer and others that charge £70 to press your dress. Alterations can be another big cost – we make sure that the seamstress we work with charges a fair amount for the work involved and doesn’t rip you off.  Alterations are, for us, an important part of the after care that we offer.  We make sure it happens on site so that you don’t feel like your own with a massive list of seamstresses to contact, some of whom might not even be familiar with handling bridal gowns.

Amazing bridal boutique environmentsAnother thing to think about is the environment in which you are buying your dress. Operating a gorgeous boutique in a town centre location obviously costs a fair bit more than a shop operating from someone’s garage or shed. If you are happy to negotiate country lanes and the smells of someone’s kitchen when you go to buy your dress then by all means try to save that £100, but most brides I’ve met expect a little more glamour and grandeur when they’re standing in a £2000 gown.

We also have to make sure we are selling dresses at a price that will ensure we can continue to be a sustainable business. I’m not talking about eeking out lots of profit from every bride (you’d be surprised how little we get to keep after paying the designer and vat man!) but making sure that we’re still here when it comes to the time for your dress to be delivered. Lots of you will remember the case of the two bridal shops who went bust a few years ago leaving lots of brides without their dresses and having to deal with police and TV news crews in order to get something back! And that’s exactly the risk you take when you go to a shop that has to undercut the recommended retail price in order to get any customers.

Nice people kick ass.

The vast majority of girls who find their dress with us but then ‘price-shop’ end up coming back to us in the end in order to buy it.  They always tell me that it’s because they’d far rather deal with us because we are nice! That is something else to consider – buying your wedding dress isn’t a mechanical transaction, it’s an emotional one. So it’s really important that you like and trust your boutique and their ability to contribute to your big day.

I don’t want this to come across as a rant or a huff, but I do hope that it makes you ask your bridal boutique what is included in the price. If you feel the need to call around a hundred other stockists to make sure you’re getting a fair deal then absolutely do it – that is your right – but just make sure you’re comparing apples to apples, not to brussel sprouts!

Article by Catherine Massey

Catherine has been writing Bi-Weekly Article for us since the 8th May 2012 and is our very talented Bridal Specialist. Catherine is a Bridal Stylist for their family Bridal Boutique, Cathedral Gowns. Find them online at http://www.cathedralgowns.com or on Facebook.

Any questions, email catherine@thebeautycloud.co.uk

 

 

Dress of the Month ~ May 2014

My favourite dress in May only arrived a few weeks ago and already has me so distracted! The stunning Rosa is an exquisite beaded lace fishtail gown with a beautiful neckline and capped sleeves.

Allure-Bridals-C207-Wedding-Dresses_2 (1), DOTM, beaded lace fishtail gown , Dress of the month, capped sleeves, Swarovski crystals , gold, rosa, cathedral gowns, downpatrick, northern ireland

Every element of this dress is gorgeous and of such amazing quality, it really is a beautifully made dress – the inner corset ensures the fit of the dress is fabulous, the Swarovski crystals twinkle, and the lace detailing is impeccably finished. But what makes this dress stand out so much for me is the amazing pale gold colour!

Allure-Bridals-C207-Wedding-Dresses_2 (1), DOTM, beaded lace fishtail gown , Dress of the month, capped sleeves, Swarovski crystals , gold, rosa, cathedral gowns, downpatrick, northern ireland

In a shop full of ivory gowns, of course it’s going to stand out, but there is something just delicious about this shade – it is mega flattering against Irish skin! Somehow it works as well on dark haired girls as it does on blondes. I cannot wait to see which bride buys her first!

Allure-Bridals-C207-Wedding-Dresses_2 (1), DOTM, beaded lace fishtail gown , Dress of the month, capped sleeves, Swarovski crystals , gold, rosa, cathedral gowns, downpatrick, northern ireland

Allure-Bridals-C207-Wedding-Dresses_2 (1), DOTM, beaded lace fishtail gown , Dress of the month, capped sleeves, Swarovski crystals , gold, rosa, cathedral gowns, downpatrick, northern ireland

For more information about this dress or to try it for yourself, please contact Catherine at Cathedral Gowns (Tel: 028 4461 2532)