Tag Archives: bridal

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

 

 

Idea Shopping VS. Securing Your Dream Wedding Dress

Cathedral Gowns Bridal

I hear the same question from brides-to-be several times a week – “how soon should I go shopping for my wedding dress?” And my answer is always the same, “only when you’re ready!”

My main reason for this answer is because I hate to see a girl fall in love with a dress, not buy it, and then come back to me months later only to be met with the news that the dress is no longer available.  I’ve encountered far too many sobbing girls in my years to encourage shopping before you’re ready to buy. I don’t know where it came from but there seems to be a misconception that you should go shopping for ‘ideas’ in advance of going shopping for a dress.  I have to fight the urge to say that I don’t sell ideas!

When you make an appointment in a bridal shop, you should be prepared to find the dress that you will wear when you get married – why else are you there? That doesn’t mean to say that you have to buy it there and then, in fact I often encourage our girls to sleep on it, but don’t walk away from your dream dress!

I’ve sometimes heard Mums and Aunties reassure brides that ‘what’s for you won’t go past you’ and similar clichés but I genuinely think this is dangerous territory. Having to be the big bad b*tch who has to break the bad news that “your” dress was sold yesterday has definitely taught me this much. Every time it happens I am wracked with guilt, but I’m also sometimes tempted to say ‘I told you so’!

The stock in a bridal boutique can change frequently, new gowns arrive, some dresses are discontinued and dresses can be sold from stock at any time. So definitely don’t think that the dress you try on in February will still be there in September. If you’re lucky it might still be available to order so you won’t miss out on your dream dress, but if it’s discontinued then sadly you’ll have to say goodbye to the dream and start your search again.

So before you leave the bridal boutique I urge you to ask yourself one question –”How would I feel if I came back tomorrow and the dress was gone? Could I happily choose another one or would I be gutted?

Written by Catherine Massey, our Bridal Expert from Cathedral Gowns.  You can find our more about Cathedral Gowns online http://www.cathedralgowns.com or on Facebook.

Any questions, email catherine@thebeautycloud.co.uk

 

Stocking Up on Sottero and Midgley

We are just back from our first buying trip of 2014 – and it was amazing! Usually we visit all of our designers in one location, a large exhibition centre, but this year some designers have decided to break away and do their own thing and I am all for it as it means we can focus on one collection at a time with no rushing around.  Plus their hospitality is fantastic.

This weekend we visited Sottero and Midgley, in their UK base of Chester. We were put up in a gorgeous hotel, taxied about at their expense, were treated to an amazing dinner with a free bar and live entertainment… did we mention the incredible catwalk show?!  Needless to say, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves – we could get used to being wined and dined.  

Sottero and Midgley Wedding Dress Spring 14

The catwalk show itself was spectacular, the production was so slick and professional, and the dresses themselves were incredible. We saw 35 stunning gowns sashay down the catwalk, each one more stunning than the last. If we had had an unlimited budget, we would’ve ordered them all.

Sottero and Midgley Wedding Dress Spring 14

To be considered a stockist of a particular label we are expected to buy a ‘minimum’ number of dresses from each designer each season, with two seasons per year. This time we had to buy five dresses, but we genuinely struggled to narrow down our choices since they were all so beautiful – we ended up buying seven. At this point, I feel it’s important to tell you that yes bridal businesses buy every dress, and no we don’t get discounts. There are a considerable number of our customers who believe that we get our stock for free – I wish. So buying seven dresses is a considerable investment – thousands of pounds.

 Sottero and Midgley Spring 2014

We went in armed with a list of what we wanted – more back detail, straps, sparkly lace, and also what fabrics and sizes we felt we were missing in our collection. So we knew what we were looking for, but in all honesty that went out the window as soon as the catwalk show began.

We ended up picking a real mixture of dresses – the only theme that stands out is that we’ve chosen warmer tones (champagne, antique gold, blush etc) with lace, sparkle and back detail.  At the catwalk the dresses were not what we were expecting – they were even better and I just know our girls are going to love them!

Dress of the Month ~ February 2014

This month’s dress might just be my favourite dress… ever! Sarah, by Charlotte Balbier, is the only dress I’ve ever actually hugged.  It is THAT pretty.

Sarah Wedding Dress, Charlotte Balbier

When we visited Charlotte’s showroom back in summer 2013 this gorgeous dress kept grabbing my attention from right across the room, we just had to buy her. Now that she has arrived into our boutique I think she is my ideal wedding dress. She combines so many elements of gorgeous detail and design that she is just about perfect!

Spotted tulle, textured flowers and lace applique sounds like it should be too much on one dress but I promise you that the result is soft, subtle and delightful.

The silhouette is a super flattering dropped waist ballgown with a shallow sweetheart neckline and a fabulous corseted bodice.

A true princess dress. I love her!