Tag Archives: gown

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

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 ~ March 2014

Right now I am slightly obsessed with our beautiful Boadicea gown from Charlotte Balbier! This is definitely not a typical wedding dress – this dress is super glamorous, sophisticated and very very sexy.

Boadacea

 

She features a very pretty sheer lace bateau neckline which lots of our brides are loving right now.  However, instead of being a full lace look this gown features a fluid and luxurious satin skirt.

Boadicea

 

She is simply beautiful. But the most surprising part of this dress is the stunning sheer lace back! It makes a statement and is definitely a fabulous choice for a confident bride.

Boadicea

Why does it take so long to buy a Wedding Dress?

I’ve noticed a huge trend recently for girls to leave bridal gown shopping until it’s almost too late! I hear lots of different reasons; some girls simply have only just gotten engaged, some girls have been dreading and putting off shopping, some haven’t had the money until now and others have been enjoying shopping too much and don’t want it to end!

The unfortunate reality of the wedding dress process is that they take quite a long time to be made and delivered to the bridal boutique. So when you leave it too late you really do limit your dress choices and options, and choosing a dress is hard enough!

Wedding Dress, Shopping, Order, Make time, Delivery Time, Cathedral Gowns

A wedding dress is typically made for the specific bride who buys it and orders it through a bridal boutique. The dress doesn’t exist until you order it, which is why it takes so long to be delivered. Bridal designers don’t operate like Marks and Spencers with epic warehouses filled to the rafters of spare stock, they might have twenty or so of their bestselling dresses available but the vast majority of dresses are made to order.

The time it takes to manufacture and deliver a wedding dress can vary. It will depend on how elaborate it is, whether the fabric is readily available, if appliqué and beading needs to be sourced etc. Contrary to popular fantasy, bridal gowns are not created by magical fairies! They are made by very talented seamstresses either in ateliers (high end designers) or factories (mainstream designers). The delivery time will obviously depend on where the dress is being manufactured, and how much the designer is willing to spend on shipping.  The whole chain of manufacture and distribution is longer, more complicated and long winded than you’d ever imagine!

Wedding Dress, Shopping, Order, Make time, Delivery Time, Cathedral Gowns

Most bridal gowns can be delivered to us within five and a half months of placing the order with the designer, but certain gowns and certain designers take much longer. I prefer a minimum of 7 months as it means that even if the dress takes six and half months to arrive we still have two weeks to organise fittings and the final prep and steaming of your dress. I do always encourage girls to order sooner though, just to make sure that the process is as stress free as possible.

Since a lot of girls don’t have the luxury of so much time, standard delivery isn’t an option, so what do you do when you are faced with this predicament? The most common option is the ‘rush cut’, where the designer can prioritise your order over all the other brides who have already ordered their dresses. Obviously since this equates to you bumping the queue and will require extra work behind the scenes for both the designer and the boutique, you will incur extra costs. Most rush cuts will be at least an additional £100 on top of the dress price, but can easily be more especially if you are really short on time. If the designer has to organise expedited shipping to get the dress to the shop as quick as possible, this can easily cost more than £100 alone. If you opt for the rush cut option be aware that any delivery dates will be approximate and the dress might only arrive with the shop days before your wedding.

Since a lot of bridal designers have noticed the trend for more and more ‘last minute brides’, they are trying to keep a lot of their most popular styles and sizes in stock, ready for immediate dispatch. But like I said before, they don’t have vast warehouses full of dresses, more like a few racks in a room next to their accounts office, so they may only have 20 or so dresses available. We are lucky that some of our designers will email us every few weeks with a list of what they have available, so you might be lucky and find that the dream dress you want is already made and ready to be posted!

Wedding Dress, Shopping, Order, Make time, Delivery Time, Cathedral Gowns

If the designer doesn’t have a dress in stock, and a rush cut is not an option or sounds like way too much stress, you will find that buying a dress ‘off the rack’ is your best option. Lots of bridal boutiques keep a clearance rail of dresses that they are willing to sell from stock, but your choices will obviously be very limited. On occasion the boutique might be willing to sell off the rail from their full price stock, but be aware that since these dresses are current the shop might not want to sell you their stock dress. Popular dresses are very valuable to a bridal boutique and to be without their best dress for several months could cost a bridal boutique a lot of customers, especially in peak busy season. If you are lucky enough to be allowed to buy the stock dress, don’t expect a discount. Be aware that the shop are doing you a favour by letting you have their dress. I know of shops that actually charge you more since it’s such an inconvenience for them to lose a top dress. So if you must have it, be nice to the girls in the shop and they’ll be more inclined to help you out.

So now that you know the options, I encourage you to book your appointments and to make sure to tell the girls how soon your wedding is. If I know my next appointment has a very close wedding date, I’ll call our suppliers to find out which dresses I can get in time for you, since there’s no point in me letting you fall in love with a dress that you cannot have. I’m not that mean!

Dress of the Month ~ December 2013 (A little late, we know, but gorgeous none-the-less!)

This month my favourite dress is the beautiful ‘Betty’, who we’ve had in store at Cathedral Gowns for quite a while! It’s funny how a dress can hang on our rails with little attention for a year and then all of a sudden everyone loves her! I guess some bridal looks just hit the boutiques before brides are ready for them.

DOTM, Cathedral Gowns, allure bridal, wedding dress, gown

This dress features a gorgeous fifties inspired silhouette with a dramatic nipped in waist and full skirt. The shape of this dress will flatter a lot of body types but tends to work best on broader shouldered girls since the width of the skirt will really flatter their proportions.

The neckline is a deep curved sweetheart which can be super flattering on more petite girls since the dip helps create extra length between the chin and chest which can definitely make you look taller. The pleated bodice also works well as a figure flattering tool since the way the pleats are formed draws the eye towards your waist. There are all kinds of optical illusions in this dress!

DOTM, Cathedral Gowns, allure bridal, wedding dress, gown

The fabric is a gorgeous lustrous satin which holds a really nice full shape in the skirt, but the addition of a two hooped petticoat works fantastically to really exaggerate the soft fullness of the skirt. Another benefit of a petticoat is that it can help distribute the weight of the dress and make it a lot easier to walk in.

This dress features a beautiful button detail which goes right down the train, after every third button there is a gorgeous little beaded design.

DOTM, Cathedral Gowns, allure bridal, wedding dress, gown

But what makes the biggest statement about this dress is the elaborate Swarovski beaded waistband! It is stunning both from a distance and up close.

I love ‘Betty’ so much I’ve made her our feature dress in our Christmas window display! Pairing her with a faux fur cape and muff definitely transforms this dress into the perfect snow queen wedding gown!

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

Dress of the Month ~ November 2013

My current favourite dress is the amazing Leonora by Charlotte Balbier. I love her! It features a gorgeous dropped waist silhouette with a full aline skirt, which is so flattering on lots of figures, but especially on curvier girls.

Charlotte Balbier Wedding Dress Lace

The bodice features amazing corsetry which really pulls in the waist and flattens a tummy, and holds a fuller bust in place. The benefit of the lace up back really helps to achieve a gorgeous fit. It does a really good job of lifting your bust and really showcasing your waist, so it is the perfect dress choice if you are heavy in the bust department. Another reason this dress is perfect for bustier ladies is the fact the beautiful scalloped lace detail offers extra cleavage coverage.

Charlotte Balbier Wedding Dress Lace

The skirt of the dress is a soft full aline in tulle with a beautiful lace hem detail which definitely edges towards princessy. I feel like this dress is super girlie as well as super flattering.

I love pairing her with a beaded belt at the waist and a lace edged veil.

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