Following my post on the dramas of dress shopping yesterday I thought it might be helpful to post some info on bridal boutiques. When I was dress shopping I went to a wide variety of shops to try on dresses. Some were delightful, some were awful.
Wedding dress shopping is a very strange experience and it’s not necessarily going to be what you are expecting. We put so much pressure on ourselves these days, in this era of social media, and online sharing, that even this personal experience feels like it must be a mind blowing moment, and indeed “share worthy”. This can lead to very high expectations of what events should be like.
Given we are all chasing that “this is the one” moment when it comes to a dress (almost as much as a partner). And given that many people are disappointed with the process, how do we navigate our way to a happy experience and how important is the roll of the Bridal boutique in that process?
Like all wedding dresses are different so are all wedding dress shops, some are simply shops, they contain dresses and you are left to your own devices and maybe offered a sponge to put down your back should the sample size be too big, but this is it. It’s not special, it’s not flattering and it’s a bit daunting. The only plus is that you might get some kind of discount but even that is not a given.
On the other hand there are many Bridal Boutiques that offer a much nicer experience than this. A better setting, better lighting, a friendlier face and maybe a bull dog clip as an upgrade to the sponge. These stores are just lovely and they will tick many boxes when it comes to Bridal shopping.
However, there is a new breed of Bridal Boutiques showing the rest how it’s done, these trendsetters understand how daunting trying on a wedding dress can be, how you might not know what kind of Bride you are, and know that just because you’re getting married you don’t want to compromise your normal style for what you think you should be wearing. Or get fussed into a ball gown when you were after laid back or vice versa. They hire staff trained in fashion and textiles, they have great relationships with designers and they offer you more than dresses. They offer you an opinion, insight and a vision of the wedding beyond the dress. Not a sponge in sight.
Part of the reason for there insight is, they also ‘get’ the new social world we live in, where we have access to more information than we need and it is possible to become overwhelmed before you even step into a shop. Even when your dress is bought and paid for you still have access to these wonderful (usually) women and they are more than happy to help with consistent instagram and Facebook inspiration and fashion events as exciting as any mainline brand launch. Plus they are usually much friendlier, they get you.
I was lucky enough to visit a boutique with these service level goals this weekend. The White Closet in West Didsbury is every cool brides dream. Stocking amazing collections from the ever popular but non-the-less stylish Jenny Packham, every romantic brides dream Claire Pettibone and vintage expert and cool girl favourite Charlie Brear, The White Closet know their bride.
The staff are warm, friendly and incredibly well trained, each has a background in textiles and or fashion. They know their designer collections back to front and can advise with confidence and style what dresses and accessories might suit your brief (even admitting to me they have on more than one occasion happily advised on groom attire and flowers to compliment the bride). The boutique itself is beautiful with spacious areas to change and feel comfortable. Their instagram account is as stylish as their collections offering wedding inspiration and light relief to keep their brides happy up to and beyond your big day. The White Closet, and boutiques like them, offer not just a wedding dress shop but a lifestyle brand many would be happy to interact with any day of the week. And they do it all because they genuinely love it.
The wedding industry is constantly evolving and this new breed of boutiques is just one of the ways we are creating weddings that reflect our lives and passions.
If you are looking for a boutique like The White Closet in your area stay tuned for our featured supplier list coming over the next few months. If you can’t wait until then my top tips would be:
- Do your research, word of mouth is a great way to find a dress shop.
- Just because you’ve seen a high end designer dress you love, the stockist might not be so high end. I tried on Jenny Packham dresses with manky sponges down my back, I didn’t buy it!
- Check out instagram, if they have a good account with beautiful images they probably take as much pride in their boutique.
- Look for staff who know their stuff, fashion and or textiles experience and passion should be a must, not just sales people.
- Look for boutiques that know who their bride is, collections should work together, offering variety without trying to appeal to every bride.
xx Katie xx
If you own a bridal boutique or are a wedding industry supplier/vendor and would like to discuss your business on Bestdayeverbridal.com please get in touch at contact us, we would love to hear from you.
All images via The White Closet, 204 Burton Rd, West Didsbury, M20 2LW
Opening Tues-Thurs times on the website www.thewhitecloset.co.uk