How to choose your perfect wedding dress

When you start on your list of things to do for your wedding then make sure that high on your list of priorities is an action plan on how to choose your perfect wedding dress.

Clearly, finding the venue and saving the date will be number one on your list. But what comes next?

Well I think it’s fair to say that the wedding dress that you choose, no matter what style you go for, will play a major part in all the styling decisions that you make thereafter. The venue and the bride’s dress really will set the tone for the whole occasion.

With this in mind, how do you go about this task and make the most of the experience without overwhelming yourself?

Make a plan.

Start by having a look on line just to see what styles are drawing you in. Nowadays, brides are so lucky as there is so much information available out there. For example; the brand new “Wedding Style Collective” has launched and this does so much of the work for you. Take a look at

Wedding boutiques and wedding dresses at your fingertips. It couldn’t be easier to get started.

My advice would be to start as close to home as possible. When it comes closer to the date of your wedding you will be so glad to have your dress fittings and to be able to collect your dress somewhere locally. It’s all about minimising the workload and making life as easy as possible.

Two or three well-chosen boutiques should do the job although maybe not all in one day.

Make a bit of a day of it and take along your nearest and dearest and plan a nice relaxing lunch. I would recommend one morning appointment and one in the afternoon as you will get tired and you will have a lot of information to digest.

When choosing who to take along with you to choose your wedding dress, its always a bit risky to take an entourage. Of course, it’s always nice to get someone else’s opinion but remember to “dress to impress yourself”. If you are going to choose a dress with the help of a judging panel, you will undoubtedly find it all very confusing.

Remember to ask questions. For example: How long does the dress take to order? Do you have an in- house alteration service? How much will this cost?

Even if you do have an idea of what you like, keep an open mind. I can guarantee that you will be surprised. You learn a lot about yourself when you try on wedding dresses and it’s always a bit of a revelation. Try on a good cross section of styles too.  The bridal consultant should help you with this. Start with the more fitted styles and work up to an A-line and then something fuller. This will help you keep focus on what suits you and what doesn’t.

Look for balance in your dress. Do you love the whole look? Neckline, waistline and hemline? Do you like the detail? Can the boutique offer bespoke changes to the dress to make it more to your personal preference?

Concentrate on the dress and don’t get too fixated on accessories at this point. When you bond with a dress and you think it could be a contender, then ask to try on some veils etc. If you try on accessories with every dress, you will use up all your time: time that you need for the actual dresses.

If you like the very first dress you tried on, then go back to it at the end of the session. The first dress is always a tough one to gauge as at that point you have nothing to compare it to.

Remember, buying a wedding dress is an emotional purchase. If a dress excites you and makes you feel sensational, then what else are you looking for? Go with that feeling. Trust your instincts and you will find it a whole lot easier to say, “yes to the dress”.

Good luck! 😊


Stress bust your way to a perfect wedding

A topic that is very relevant and receiving a lot of press currently, is combating stress and anxiety. This comes from a variety of issues but one area is obviously of particular interest. Your wedding. How can you stress bust your way to a perfect wedding?

I am always mildly amused when I hear from my brides after the big day and they say that they are so relieved that ‘it’s all over’. Many, in fact most of them, say to me “it’s so nice to have my weekends back and get my life back to normal!!! What’s that all about? Well it’s because planning a wedding, no matter where or how big or small, can be, and is, rather stressful. It’s such a shame as it doesn’t have to be. So why is it?

You can imagine, in over 20 years of working in the bridal industry, I have spoken to literally thousands of brides (yes, I did say thousands, and lots of grooms too) and have gained a massive amount of perspective all based on their stories and their experiences. It really saddens me when I hear them relay their tales and hear about some of the anxiety they have gone through. I’ve been witness to a few tears and tantrums in my time as project “for better or for worse” can take a wrong turn. The main issues tend to be around time restraints. Too much to do and so little time. The whole wedding journey puts a strain on your time, your finances and ultimately your relationship (if you’re not careful) which kind of defeats the object right?

Over the years my customers have told me how they have found it incredibly hard to juggle all the arrangements whilst managing the cost of the whole shebang and finding time for each other. On top of that, how many couples do you think are doing their best to get into shape just for the occasion?

How many times have you heard someone say, ‘it’s just one day’? Well, yes, it is just one day but in actual fact the planning should form part of your overall wedding experience, shouldn’t it? Making every moment special and creating lasting memories. Happy ones??

How do you plan the “perfect” wedding and minimise the stress and all that comes with it?
Now let’s focus on the positive and how easy it is to avoid all this negativity. You will be pleased to know that there is a way of combating the potential stress, making time for each other and getting into shape. Happy and healthy, that’s the aim.

When you start making a list of things to do for your wedding, make sure that at the very top of that list you write: PRIORITY #1 – Date night/Date day, eat together (healthily), exercise, social time.
If you do this then you will balance out the more stressful stuff as you will undoubtedly feel more empowered to deal with it.

Talk about your concerns with each other and any of the wedding vendors that are helping to make your day special. Don’t keep it all bottled up. When a problem or potential problem arises, tackle it head on and do it together. You should expect great customer service from each of the vendors hired to make your day amazing. Set the bench mark high and communicate this from the very start. Be realistic in your goals but also make it clear what you would like and how you would like it.

If you can exercise together then what better way to blow of some steam and spend quality time together and at the same time getting into shape both physically and mentally for the big day.
Togetherness. That’s the key.

Take a deep breath. This is your wedding and IT WILL BE AMAZING!!!

Dress to impress yourself

Before you start your search for your dream wedding dress; ask yourself one very important question.

“Who do I want to impress when I say yes to the dress”?

You might find this to be a strange question to consider but trust me, as your journey in the search for the perfect gown progresses, you will understand exactly what I mean. In the twenty plus years that I have been dressing brides, it never fails to surprise me just how much pressure people put on themselves to meet the expectations of others.

How do I find a dress that everyone will like? When you say it out loud, it sounds impossible doesn’t it? Well of course it is. The only person that you need to impress is yourself. Dress to impress yourself always! A dress that suits your body shape, fits well and that you feel amazing in. That is all you need! If you can tick all those boxes, then you will radiate confidence and that will show in all your wedding photos and you won’t fail to impress.

Imagine the alternative. You wear a dress on one of the most important days of your life that you like but you don’t love. It’s the dress that got the most votes when you were trying on, but you never really felt that it was the one. Now we can all stand back and tell a bride how we think they look in a dress but the one thing that we cannot do is tell that person how they feel in it.

Inevitably, when your friends and family go with you to look at wedding dresses, they will be drawn to styles that suit their taste. That’s only human. But as sure as some people like marmite and some don’t, it all comes down to our own taste.

On this occasion, more than any other, you need to be sure that it is your taste that is satisfied and nobody else. If you look and feel great, then you will get the thumbs up. Once you have chosen your dress and you show it off for the first time, people are generally looking at it from your perspective then rather than their own.

This is your wedding day. This is your wedding dress.

Go with your instinct. If it feels right for you then it is right for you.

“To wear a veil or not to wear a veil, that is the question”


As a bridal consultant I am constantly asked for my advice as to what accessories brides are going for these days and my answer is always the same. It depends on the bride and what suits her.

Choosing a veil is very much like choosing a hat. Some people suit hats and others don’t.

First and foremost, the dress is the showstopper. Or should I say, the bride in her dress is the show stopper. The dress will make the statement on the day, not the accessories. Having said that, the right accessories can add to and compliment the look but what you want to avoid is for them to take over (unless you are a Royal bride and have a fabulous 5 metre- long veil of course)!

Ask to try on a good range of veils. Start with a single tier, very simple finger tip length veil and then go to 2 tier. Add to that some lace or sparkle and then go on to try the longer length veils. Try to keep some focus on what you are trying and your first impression to each one. First impressions are usually the right ones when it comes to bridalwear.

Longer veils are all the rage currently, thanks to the lovely Duchess of Sussex, and I must agree that they do frame a dress beautifully and can dress up a plainer train.

If you are not very traditional and haven’t considered wearing a two -tier veil, then have a go and see what the “blush” layer looks like when it covers your face. You might decide that this is your one time to be traditional and it may well surprise you.

A two- tier veil can also offer more volume and a little drama even if you decide not to be the blushing bride and wear the second layer over your face.

Of course, veils can look very different, depending on how you wear your hair. Most up-do’s will require you to wear the veil at the back of your head and quite low which gives a very soft look. The higher the comb is positioned on your head, the more the veil will sit over your shoulders. That in itself can give some brides a little more confidence as you get that little cuddle from your veil when you walk down the aisle.

Maybe a bespoke veil is more your thing. Ask if you can have matching detail added to the veil. This could be by way of some beading or some matching lace. This will incur a bit more cost, but you will get a unique look and you’ll get exactly what you want.

Decide on whether to wear a veil or not to wear a veil and then look at what you want to wear in your hair. My advice is always dress, veil, headdress (tiara, comb, flowers for example) and then the jewellery, in that order.

Overall though, remember that a veil, tiara and jewellery are all accessories and they shouldn’t make or break the look. They are there to accompany and compliment your stunning wedding dress. Don’t let them steal the show.

Why support your local bridal shop?

When it comes to choosing a wedding gown, really, where do you start?

There is an ocean of information on line and a plethora of stunning gowns to be amazed by so how do you decide where to start?

Back in the day, and I mean almost twenty years ago, the internet had little impact on our beloved industry and you were lucky if you had a bridal shop in or near to your local area. Of course, now we have the whole world available to see online and dozens of places to try on dresses.

Long gone are those days when we would make at least a dozen brides very happy every weekend and selling a wedding dress was as easy as getting out of bed in the morning (well for some anyway)!

Nowadays it’s a question of surfing the net until you are blue in the face and then taking your pick as to where to visit first. It’s almost a lucky dip. Now don’t get me wrong, the internet plays a big part in getting us the business and we need it to get the word out there on how great we are and what amazing service we offer, but, (and you knew that there was a “but” coming right?) should you rely on the internet to seduce you into making a decision?

The one thing I have always stood by is the fact that a computer cannot take away the job of a bridal consultant. Although the internet has certainly made the job harder, “IT” cannot replace being helped into a wedding dress and cannot give advice on whether the dress shape may or may not be the right one for you.

Part of your wedding day experience is in the planning. So that it’s not all about “one day”. Making the right choices at the beginning will help to make each moment special for you and thus become part of your memories overall.

Choosing where to go to choose a wedding gown is as important as choosing who you take with you and has the ability to shape your whole experience thereafter.

Give your local bridal shop a chance. At the very least it will help you to bench mark your expectations, for better or for worse.

Why buy from a boutique rather than “off the peg”?

It’s probably quite well known by now, or at least suspected, that a large majority of wedding gowns are produced in the far east. Regardless of price tag, it is very likely that the origin of your dress is China. Now this does not diminish or in any way tarnish your wedding gown, in fact quite the opposite. The people that produce these garments are experts in their field and have a wealth of experience. That said, as with anything, there are some rogue manufacturers out there that will claim to be the real deal and sadly disappoint.

So how do you protect yourself from choosing a dress that might not measure up in the quality stakes?

Your local boutique will have gone to extreme lengths to source and supply the best in quality and value. Their reputation depends on it.  Hours and hours spent and mile upon mile travelled to attend all the latest wedding shows and exhibitions in order to secure the latest styles. And all on your behalf. We do the leg work, so you don’t have to.

Working in a bridal boutique is a vocation. It is a passion that is in your blood.  After over two decades in this job I can honestly say that I still get goose bumps when my brides find “the one”, it never gets dull. I remember their names, their wedding venues, their proposals, their bridesmaids, the whole kit and caboodle because I love it. And they remember me. That’s priceless.

You can order a dress on line or go to one of the many chains opening that offer “off the peg” but where is the fun in that? What memories will you treasure from that experience?

The time, the passion, the want to please is all wrapped up in your local boutique. You owe it to yourself to enjoy being pampered, understood and listened to. It’s your time and you deserve it. Don’t compromise. Make the right choice and make every moment special.

Why your wedding dress fittings are so important


For most brides finding the dream wedding dress is no doubt one of the highlights of planning a wedding. So much thought and effort go into the search and once the dress is found, then all the finer details for the big day will start to fall in to place.

One element of the planning that is often underestimated is the fitting of the gown. Of course, it’s wonderful to wear a beautiful gown but if the shape and fit is wrong then you won’t enjoy wearing it and you certainly won’t get the admiration that you are looking for.

It’s not that difficult really. First and foremost, make sure that you buy a dress that suits your body shape. If you must change anything about yourself to suit the dress, then it’s not the one for you.

Look for balance when you are deciding what dress most suits you. Do you look at the whole silhouette and think “yes I love that, and I feel great”? OR is your eye being drawn to a certain area of your body.? For example, does your bust look particularly top heavy or do your shoulders look broad?

None of these things should be a problem. Look at the neckline, waistline and hemline and see if you are happy with what you see. Do you see a balanced silhouette and are you enjoying the whole look?

Once you have that nailed then the next thing to tackle will be your actual dress fittings which ideally will start 6-8 weeks before the date of your wedding.

You will need to have your wedding shoes for each of the fittings so that the length can be fitted accurately. Each layer of the dress will need to be altered precisely so that you can walk easily without any part of the hem (including the lining) curling under or catching on your shoes.

Make sure that you walk around (head held high, no slouching) with the shoes on to make sure that you are happy with the length. Ideally, the hem should just hover slightly about the ground.

If your dress is fitted around the hip (i.e. fit and flare) then ask to sit down in the dress and make sure that you are comfortable sitting for more than just a moment. You won’t want to eat your wedding dinner standing up! Avoid asking for the dress to be fitted tighter because you think that it looks better. Be realistic. You want to wear it all day and ultimately not want to take it off. If it’s too tight it will restrict your movement and you will more than likely feel that you cannot wait to take it off.

If you buy a dress that is too big for you (i.e. a sample dress) then ask if it can be altered to fit. Generally speaking, a dress can be taken in by one dress size. Of course, each fitting will be assessed individually but as a rule of thumb, more than one dress size could result in problems for you.

Also remember that your dress is made from fabric and is not a suit or armour. It may ripple or ruffle when you move. The thing to look out for at your dress fitting is that there are no ripples or ruffles when you are stood still. If you are wearing a fitted dress, then it should not ripple across your thighs. If it does, then it is too tight.

Another one to look out for is the bust.  If you are top heavy, then your bridal consultant and the fitter should advise you on what type of bra/body to wear that will compliment both your shape and the dress. It may take a couple of attempts to get this right so a visit to a reputable bra fitter will be invaluable. Avoid high neck dresses if you are fuller busted as this will definitely make your bust look bigger. If you are on the smaller side, then ask for bust pads to be fitted (or shoulder pads for boobs as we like to call them)!  Make sure that when you lean forward, there is no gaping. You won’t want to give your guests an eyeful!

If your dress has a train, then ask your fitter for a bustle. This will depend on the type of fabric and the length and shape of the train, so some may be a little more complicated than others, but you will be so glad that you had this added when it comes to your first dance. Take your Mum or your bridesmaid to your final fitting so that they can see how the bustle is attached and have a practice. That way there are no last-minute panics.

A wedding dress won’t transform you. It should allow you to be the best of you. A well fitted dress will do that for you and show you at your best. This in itself with give you such confidence and will almost guarantee that you have the day that you deserve.