Tag Archives: Downpatrick

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)

Ultimate Wedding Dress Tip’s

When chosing your wedding dress and having it altered, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Here are my ultimate Wedding Dress tip’s:

  1. Your dress should be gorgeous! Obviously you aren’t going to pick an ugly wedding dress, but some designers do produce some questionable gowns that are definitely best avoided.
  2. Your wedding dress should flatter you in all the right places and balance your figure proportions – a wedding dress should ultimately result in an hourglass silhouette and make your waist look significantly smaller than your bust and hips, even if it isn’t like that in reality. Figure concerns and issues can easily be addressed by paying careful attention to your choice of gown silhouette.
  3. 2514HYour wedding dress has to fit well. It should not gape or pinch anywhere around your torso, no-one should be able to see down your cleavage or see a space between your chest and the dress. Neither should it be tight enough to cause ‘back cleavage’ or have your bust spilling over the top. Bear in mind though that it does need to start off as a very tight fit as once your body heats it up the fabric will soften and loosen slightly. A good fit is best judged after fifteen to twenty minutes of wear.
  4. It needs to be the perfect length. Too long and you’ll look clumsy and will struggle to walk. Too short and you might look like you borrowed someone else’s dress! When you are standing still it should look like your hem is resting on the ground, but your hem should be high enough so that when you walk your shoes won’t catch on your inside hem and cause you to trip. This is something that will be tweaked and perfected during the alterations process, every time your seamstress asks you to take a little walk she’ll be checking that you can manage the length and look elegant.

    Hem length is crucial in ensuring your dress is comfortable and easy to wear.

    Hem length is crucial in ensuring your dress is comfortable and easy to wear.

  5. Be location and climate appropriate.  You need to look comfortable in your dress especially if you are getting married in either extremely warm or very cold weather. Not only will you look and be cold in a slither of a gown in the winter but you also run the risk of looking silly and out of context. Likewise a cumbersome gown will look odd at a beach wedding and you’ll also most likely be roasting and very uncomfortable.
  6. Your dress should not scratch your skin or make you itchy. If it does there are lots of little tricks we use to overcome the issue, no one wants to see a bride with sore red skin from sharp beads tearing at your inner arms and you definitely don’t want to be the girl who feels the need to change out of her wedding dress half way through her reception.
  7. Be interesting from the waist up. In my experience most of your guests won’t take full length pics of you, instead they’ll focus on your face and the top half of your dress. So the more information you can convey in the top area the better. This is one of the reasons I love dresses with straps and interesting necklines.PHOEBE D.O ASM3605_front
  8. Be elegant and classy. No one wants to see a slutty bride. So aim for a classic and timeless sophisticated wedding look and if you opt for a dress with cleavage then make sure your back is covered and vice versa.
  9. Represent your style. Your wedding dress is the single most important garment you will ever chose so make sure you are happy with it and happy with what it says about you. It will sum up your personal style in one statement, so decide what you want to say! Are you funky, classic, girlie or vampy? Strangers will judge you based on your choice of dress and your wedding pics are likely to be the only photographs your great grandchildren will keep of you, so you’ll definitely want to make an accurate statement.
  10. Most importantly your wedding dress should make you smile! If you aren’t at least a little bit excited to wear it then it’s the wrong dress for you!HAPPY BRIDE 2

Dress of the Month ~ March

My favourite dress this month is actually three dresses! All are versions of the same dress – Adorae by Sottero & Midgley, and the reason I love each of them are that no matter your shape or size this dress will look fantastic! Adorae is the strapless sweetheart neck, Adorae Louise is a v-neck and Adorae Rose has one shoulder strap, but from the ribcage down these gowns are exactly the same.

Adorae Louise by Sottero & Midgley

Adorae Louise by Sottero & Midgley

It is the silhouette of the Adoraes’ that make them so flattering – a very figure hugging fit and flare gown that curves over the hips and through the thighs to really exaggerate your silhouette and make you look mega curvy. Its not too fitted though, there is still plenty of circumference on the inside around your knees and thighs, so walking, kneeling and sitting down won’t be a problem. It flares out gently from just above the knee to create a gorgeous fishtail shape and an amazingly full train. The gown is made from a really soft and silky pleated stretch demir satin that means it holds firm where it needs to but is also flexible and will move with you. The fabric gives the gown a really luxurious feel and a beautiful sheen, which photographs beautifully. For a slim girl this gown can really exaggerate and even add curves, whilst a fuller figured girl can be confident that the corset fit of this gown will do wonders for her figure, it can hold in a tummy like magic!

Adorae by Sottero & Midgley

Adorae by Sottero & Midgley

I’m so glad that Sottero & Midgley have three versions of this gown since it works so well for such a variety of sizes and body types! We have Adorae Rose in a size 8, the Adorae Louise in a 14 and Adorae in an 18, which just demonstrates how flattering this dress is! It is also a very versatile style and can be styled in a variety of ways. The Adorae Louise for example feels very classic to me and looks amazing with a full length ribbon edged veil, whereas the Adorae Rose can be more funky and looks brilliant with a millinery net face veil.

Adorae Rose by Sottero & Midgley

Adorae Rose by Sottero & Midgley

One of the most wonderful things about this dress right now though is that the designer have made two of the versions (the Adorae and the Adorae Louise) ‘Priority Gowns’ which means that we can get them much quicker than usual. This is an absolute blessing for us since so many girls are leaving it very late to order their gowns and don’t realise how long it can take for dresses to be made. So if your wedding is early next summer and you haven’t ordered your wedding dress yet then this dress could easily be the one for you! 

Going Going Gown! How to shop the sales – bridal style!


Wedding Gown Sale

Wedding dress boutiques are just like any other clothing retailer – they have end of season sales!  Buying a wedding dress in the sale means that you can bag yourself an absolute bargain, as gowns are usually discounted by hundreds of pounds!

What you should know about bridal gown sales.

Save Wedding Money

The gowns that are on sale will either be ex-samples or cancelled orders; they are not second hand, faulty or undesirable gowns. Those that have been used as samples might show signs of wear and tear such as loose beads or sticky zips and maybe the occasional stain, but these things are fixable and the discounted price means even after repairing the problems you’ll still have saved yourself a fortune. You really can find a great deal at these sales; we’ve recently reduced a gorgeous full skirted designer gown from just over £1500 to £650!

Know that sales usually only last a day or two so get in there quick to have the widest choice.

There’ll only be a proportion of the shops stock in the sale, and certainly none of the brand new gowns.


Dresses will be one of a kind. Very rarely will a bridal boutique keep stock of more than one of each style.

A sale price will not include things like storage, steaming, cleaning, repairs or alterations. So make sure to factor in these costs and practicalities.

Be prepared to alter a dress to make it how you want. If you’ve fallen for a dress that you wish had straps, don’t despair as these can be added to virtually any dress.

If the dress you like doesn’t fit bear in mind that they can be altered and re-sized. Most gowns can go up two sizes and down by four or five.

Dry-cleaning your purchase will be your responsibility. This can cost from £50 to £100 on average. However, in my experience very few bridal gowns require much more than a gentle spot clean.

Know your rights – you aren’t automatically entitled a refund if you change your mind, only if the item is faulty. But if you buy the dress at a discount having seen the faults and accepted them then you can’t later request a refund based on them.  Most of the time the reduced price reflects any wear and tear or damage to the gown, so before you hand over the cash take a few minutes to cast your eye over the gown to inspect it for any problems.

Top tips for shopping in a wedding dress sale!


Be prepared to buy on the day. You’ll be expected to pay in full and take the dress away with you.

Make sure you’ve tried on bridal gowns before and know what you are looking for. If you’ve identified a silhouette that you prefer then limit the trying on to just these types of gowns. Your trying on time is likely to be limited on a sale day, so don’t waste any of it by trying on dresses that are not the style you want or are more money than you are prepared to spend.

get there earlyGet there early. There is no shame in being first in the queue! It might even be worth asking the shop in question if they have any preview appointments available. Not all shops do this, but some will have the sale stock out and ready a few hours before opening or even the day before.

Bring an empty, clean, double duvet cover. Not all stores provide gown covers. Some include them free of charge, and others might charge around £15 for one, but if you are trying to stick to a budget an empty duvet cover makes the perfect gown transport.

Some sales require communal changes, so don’t be alarmed if the room you are ushered into is already filled with other brides to be. It’s a good idea to wear undies that you are happy to be seen in.

DecisionBring the key decision makers with you. If you absolutely must have your mum with you when you choose your wedding dress then bring her with you, and if she can’t make it, make sure you have her permission to go ahead and purchase without her.

Bear in mind that most gowns will need alteration of some kind to make it fit. For the vast majority of girls I see they need either a nip at the bust or waist and a hem. So try to see past an imperfect fit and imagine how perfect it could be with the help of a seamstress.

Be prepared to lose the dress you love if you walk away. It breaks my heart when I see girls return to the shop the day after sale day to buy the dress they love, as all too often it sold to one of the brides who visited after her. If you love it buy it, unless you’re prepared to lose it. I’ve often heard girls comment that if it’s meant for her it’ll still be there when she comes back – don’t fall into this trap unless you’re ready some sobbing.

Why Alterations to your Wedding Dress are so Important …

Since I described in my last blog how wedding dresses are sized, I thought you might like to know more about how your wedding dress will be made to fit you perfectly. Almost every single bride I meet needs at least a minor tweak on a standard fit to make it fit close to her body and flatter her to the max. It’s very rare that a wedding dress won’t need to be altered, at the very least on the hem length. The vast majority of girls only need a little tweak to the bust-line to make it sit completely flush against her skin and to not gape or pinch, and lots of girls benefit from a little extra cinching at the waist to really showcase her curves. For the vast majority of brides and bridal boutiques the most effective way to carry out these amendments to fit are through a process called ‘Alterations’, carried out by an experienced bridal seamstress.

The reason most dresses will need these minor alterations is because they are made to standard size charts and by someone who has never seen your figure, and the handmade nature of the garment means that there will always be variations in the fit and finish as its nearly impossible to cut and sew two dresses in exactly the same way. It isn’t practical or economical to send it back and forth to the designer to make these tweaks, therefore most bridal shops will have an experiences bridal alterations specialist on hand to carry out the work in a much more efficient and effective way. It’s obviously much better for the person making the alterations to be the same person who sees you in the dress.

Some of our designers offer a made to measure couture service but as the dress will be handmade by someone who has never seen you or your figure the fit will not be exact without a calico – but this is a much more arduous and time consuming process and adds a considerable amount to the price of a gown. But even with a made-to-measure gown there is a possibility that alterations might still be required, as even an eighth of an inch difference on a seam might mean that the gown pinches or gapes. In many cases it is much more practical and less time consuming to simply order your gown in a stand size and have the fit tailored by a seamstress, only if you are a non standard fit (eg. very pear shaped) will it be worthwhile to go down the made to measure route.

Alterations are carried out quite close to your wedding day to make sure that the fit is as perfect as possible. If you are planning on losing weight for your wedding it is even more important that your alterations be carried out really close to your wedding day, as there is no point having to have your dress taken in multiple times as your figure shrinks – and your seamstress won’t be impressed at having to redo the work.

The price of alterations can vary significantly depending on who carries them out and when they are done. I’ve heard of some seamstresses charging a rush fee for last minute work. But expect to pay anywhere from £30 to £100 for a hem to be shortened – multiple layers, chiffon and lace hems are much more difficult to work with and are obviously more expensive than a straightforward single layer satin gown. Bodice work will start at around £20 and the price will depend on boning, fabric and bead-work. On average most brides pay around £70 to have their gown tailored to fit them. However, every person needs different amounts of alterations, therefore it’s not fair for a shop to set a standard price for alterations or to include them in the price of the gown – what if the bodice fits perfectly and you only need a hem – you wouldn’t be happy to pay for a job that wasn’t required.

It is really important that you take that final step and opt to have your gown tailored exactly to your body – no matter how expensive your dress, it’ll look terrible and possibly even cheap if it digs in or gapes and exposes too much of your cleavage. No bride wants her guests commenting that she should have had the dress fitted to her.  Investing in the final fit of your dress is vital and I promise you won’t regret it!


Wedding Dress Sizes Explained!

Following on from last month’s blog about how bridal boutiques operate differently to normal shops, I want to address the issue of sizing in bridal gowns.

Most of the brides-to-be I meet are already made aware by sisters and friends that are already married, that the size on the label of their wedding dress can be a completely different number to the size they wear in everyday clothes. But knowing in advance that the size 12 you are used to wearing might suddenly be a size 20, doesn’t make it easier to live with, so I thought I’d explain a bit about why your size will be different.

It is really important to know that wedding dresses are made according to size charts that are very different to normal clothing. Some of the size charts are the same as they were in the 1950’s when the exaggerated hourglass figure reigned supreme! This means that most wedding dresses expect a fairly curvy figure, with a waist that is significantly smaller than the bust and hips. In reality most of us are either thicker in the waist, smaller busted or pear shaped, meaning that you do not fit into the pre-set mould of the designers size chart. It also means that your wedding dress is probably going to need alterations to achieve a perfect fit. Most of us will fall between a few sizes on a size chart and might find that one particular measurement might put us in a much larger size than we usually wear. So if you usually wear a 14 but find that your wedding dress needs to be an 18 so that it fits your waist, don’t be upset or annoyed, it doesn’t mean the same thing as a high street 18, and no-one else needs to know.

These designers don’t understand how delicate us girls are about this number – they’d make us feel so much better by making the sizes incomparable to normal clothing size labels. I often think they shouldn’t even be sized by number, calling the sizes by letters would make much more sense and wouldn’t cause half as much upset or confusion. I’ll never forget the bride who stormed out of our shop after discovering the dress of her dreams would need to be ordered in a size 20 – she was disgusted at the number the designers size chart was telling her she needed. We tried to get her to focus on the measurements, and explained that this size 20 was the same as a size 14 from Next, but the number 20 was not something she was prepared to tolerate on her wedding dress, and in the end she walked away from her dream dress simply because of the number on a label that no-one else needed to see.

After all its only a number!