Buying Your Wedding Dress: Tips From Suppliers- Part One

When you get married one of the most exciting things is buying your wedding dress! But it can also be one of the scariest and daunting parts of planning your big day!  At the end of the day it is supposed a happy occasion and shouldn’t cause you stress. There seems to be all these traditions and rules about buying your dress. So….we know quite a lot about weddings but when it comes to your dress we decided to ask the experts. Thanks to some ladies on our Lush List we managed to pop these jewels of information together and hope that they help you out. 

Who should you bring to your bridal appointment?


Rachel Burgess Bridal BoutiqueThere are no rules whatsoever about how many people you should take with you when trying on dresses. Here in the Boutique I meet Brides who prefer to look at dresses on their own, and other Brides who like to bring key members of their family and closest friends with them – I’ve even had Brides who have brought their husband to-be with them to help make the decision.

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My advice would be to trust your instinct and take people along to help make that decision who know you well. This is your time to try on as many dresses as you like – but stay true to who you are and find a dress that represents that perfectly, so that when you look back at your photos you think ‘yes, I totally did that my way’. If a dress makes you emotional and you fall in love with it – trust those tears! If you can’t stop thinking about a particular dress then that too speaks volumes!  My biggest tip would be to – HAVE FUN! This is such an exciting time and don’t ever feel any pressure to make a rushed decision!

photo-12-10-2016-16-25-58Photos Courtesy of Rachel Burgess Bridal Boutique

Dress alterations and fittings.


CocoMio Bridal BoutiqueThere is huge celebration when you find your dress. Then the important question arises of what size and how will the dress fit to me?

We are very experienced and we will always measure your bust, waist, hips and length. We will also measure your arms if the dress has a sleeve. We will check all designer sizing charts and will choose the size based on the largest measurement in accordance with the dress style and knowing our expertise in this field. We make all brides aware that alterations are required with every dress and we recommend a seamstress so brides can book in with advance notice for two months before the wedding. Some of our designers will allow customisation with a heavy fee but if you change size wise then you are again paying double so most brides stick to the size being ordered and then get the dress altered after.

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Alterations can cost anywhere between £80-£250 and again it may cost more if the dress has more work in it or heavily beaded. The alterations cost in Wales is only a fraction of some cities like London where it can cost up to £500 to alter an evening gown, no mind a wedding dress so don’t fret over the charges as it could be worse. We get many brides who travel from London and the surrounding areas to see our collection and use the work of a skilled seamstress here because it is cheaper to travel and gives the girls a road trip to look forward to.

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So what happens at the seamstress? Well it is usually set out over 2-3 fittings. First one is trying on the dress and letting the experienced seamstress pin and tuck the dress in the correct places to ensure it fits and looks perfect. You leave your dress with them over a few weeks while they carry out the work and then you go back for your second fitting. The dress should be perfect at this fitting and if you are unhappy with anything then you should speak now so it can be sorted and a third appointment arranged. The dress will be steamed and ready to go for the wedding and placed back in the gown bag. If a bride wants to use their own seamstress then that is perfect. We have no obligation to our seamstress but we will always recommend a professional.

cocomioPhotos Courtesy of CocoMio Bridal Boutique

Why is it important to book an appointment?


One1 BridalA brides search for her gown can be a roller-coaster of emotions. There is the excitement for finding her dream dress, combined with a few nerves of the unknown when trying bridal gowns for the first time! Your consultant should consider your overall big day style, budget and body shape when guiding you towards the perfect gowns to try.

Since bridal gowns are generally grander than anything you will have tried before so our consultant is on hand to assist you in getting into them! The second step is pinning the gown as required so that you have the best idea of how you will look when the size is correct. Our samples range from a size 10-18 but with some insider tricks we can make most of our sample gowns fit all! Once duly accessorised you are ready for your big reveal to your nearest and dearest. Knowing you are the only bride in the store and receiving our undivided care and attention definitely gives you that luxurious experience you have always dreamed of!

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It can take a surprising amount of work to organise a visit to a bridal store, rallying your entourage to find a day and time when they are all available. It would be extremely disappointing to go to all of that effort and arrive at a store only to find that there are no available appointments. By booking your appointment in advance you can relax and look forward to the wonderful experience that awaits you!

If you plan on visiting a few stores in the same day having appointments booked and a schedule in mind means everyone will know where they should be at what time and you can even schedule in a little lunch/dinner or some cheeky cocktails!

We always recommend booking an appointment although we are not strictly appointment only, so of course if a bride arrives and we are available we happily offer her the full ONE1 Bridal experience.

one1weddingdressescardiffPhotos Courtesy of One1 Bridal

I hope that these have helped! Make sure you check back over the next few weeks to get the next installment of Buying Your Wedding Dress.

Sponsored Post- CocoMio Bridal Boutique

Good morning Cwtchers!

Today on the blog we have our fabulous Lush Listers CocoMio Bridal Boutique, Cardiff who firstly let us know what they do that is a bit different and also their top ten tips for you lovely brides-to-be when choosing THE DRESS. Grab a cup of tea, sit down and enjoy!

Three Aspects that Make CocoMio Bridal Boutique Different to Other Stores?

When it comes to getting married, your wedding dress is the most important dress that you will buy in your life and when it is the correct one then you will want to cherish it and have any excuse to put it back on again afterwards. Your bridal gown should be an extended view of you as a person and every girl wants to surprise their teary loved ones while looking absolutely gorgeous when walking up the aisle.

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Photography by Prendergast & Wilson

In our bridal boutique we work closely with brides to help them choose a beautiful wedding dress and to provide that personal service so they get to go away smiling after enjoying their shopping experience.

We offer a large selection of dresses in different fabrics from fishtail to slinky, trumpet to drop-waist, a-line to princess gowns and each dress has a different neckline, beading, detailed design and will also have a modern or vintage feel to each dress.

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Photography by Prendergast & Wilson

So there are a lot of bridal dress shops and what makes us different to other stores?

  1. Appointments to Suit You!

CocoMio Bridal supplies flexible hours which is the core of our success. We work late five evenings a week, open every afternoon and mid week morning appointments are available on request. We are also open Saturdays 9am-6pm but at times we work late until 8pm due to the demand and accommodating each customer is key to success. We are open Sunday 10am-2pm and only close this day when we attend wedding shows to meet & greet with new and existing customers.

Weekends are always our busiest time so we highly recommend booking in advance as we don’t allow bridal parties who have not made a booking to browse while an appointment is taking place. We pride ourselves on giving a personal experience and the same applies to every bride so we won’t permit another bridal party into the store when you are enjoying your time in the private appointment.

For us, the starting point is our customers and the reason we have gained a great reputation is because our excellent service and hours are wanted by the customer.

  1. Privacy & Facilities

The bridal store is broken down into four main areas and two private staff areas.

The main showroom hosts some of the best designer bridal dresses and this is a shared space when you walk into the store. Designers include:

  • Rosa Clara- Aire Barcelona,
  • Rosa Clara- Adriana Alier,
  • Pronovias- San Patrick
  • Phoenix Gowns- Danielle Couture
  • Jasmine Bridal
  • Jasmine Bridesmaids

The private bridal suite is the main, private room which accommodates first time appointments. This room has a beautiful settee, floor to ceiling mirrors, pedestal and the changing room is kitted out with shoes, hoop and veils to make the experience effortless.

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Photo By Prendergast & Wilson

The second bridal suite is an open plan room which accommodates retry appointments, collections and bridesmaid appointments. The beauty of this room is that the bride and/or bridesmaids can use the whole showroom to walk up and down the store in the dresses. This reinforces different light on the dress, seeing the train glide across the floor and also the comfort factor.

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Photo by: Prendergast & Wilson

In February 2016, we will be renovating this room to make it similar to the main suite. This room is completely private to the main room as damask, heavy, curtains blocks off the entry point. Yes you can hear the excitement from the other room which brings a rush of joy to others in the store but visually privacy is the main key here as not every bride wants to show off her gown before the big day.

Toilets are the next aspect which many people complain are not offered in other stores. We provide a tea service for bridal fittings and we believe toilets are a necessity as part of the service.

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Photo by: Prendergast & Wilson

  1. Knowledge

I run the business sole heartedly and my knowledge for the industry, styles, fabrics and what works is down to four years experience in a previous bridal store in Ireland where we won awards for customer service. I am hands on to ensure every customer is happy during their appointment time and I know my collection inside out. Frequently, I get asked if I try on the dresses when nobody is in the store and the answer is no I don’t because I would be creating a biased opinion based on my taste and my shape. I get my friends to visit the shop when new styles arrive into store and they act as guinea pigs. In return, this allows me to  take a bird’s eye, unbiased view to see what works and how can a dress transform with the use of accessories including hoop, belts, jackets, veils etc. Many girls love the sample dresses as they are intended and others may want to make a dress unique to them.

I am quite open and honest to my customers on when I go choose my new collection and when those dresses will be in store so brides can have so many options at their fingertips.

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Photo by: Prendergast & Wilson

The most important thing for us is to help bride’s find their dream wedding dress and in the process offer an excellent service so if they find a dress elsewhere then they will have no problem highly recommending us to their friends and family. To date, we have only received positive feedback and our social media rating is at five stars. Of course if any bride has any feedback to help us improve then we will also take this on board also. Being involved hands on can sometimes allow customers to see something we may miss so please if you have something to add then you can contact us directly.

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Photo by: Prendergast & Wilson

We measure our success on feedback, social media reviews and of course the hugs and tears when a bride finds her dress with us. We have just completed year one and it has been a success for us as we got awarded Best New Wedding Business East Wales and Best New Wedding Business in all of Wales 2015. The plan for 2016 is to expand with the second room and have staff working at CocoMio Bridal. Tune into our Facebook page if you would like to see when the recruitment opportunities arise.

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Photo by: Prendergast & Wilson


Aoife’s Top Ten Tips for Brides


 My job is to put every single lady immediately at ease but for those of you that really are wondering how to prep ahead then read my tips below

1.   Book Early: If you want a particular time slot on a particular day then book weeks in. In certain periods of the year the demand for Saturdays, Sundays and evening slots is higher than the rest of the year because everybody is starting to shop or everybody is ready to buy and wants to retry. Do not just walk in on a whim as you may be told there are no appointments available and may feel deflated being turned away.

2.  Inspiration: Many brides search styles and get inspiration from Pinterest and other sources of media before shopping. This may narrow down your search but may not suit your shape. Do not narrow it down to the stage where you will find shopping difficult. Keep an open mind as you may surprise yourself and that one wild card you refused at the start could be your wedding dress waiting to be tried on.

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Photo by: Prendergast & Wilson

3.  Makeup & Tan: Girls of course wear makeup but don’t overdo it. Go natural and don’t wear tan. Most dresses are showcased in champagne, ivory or white and if you put tan on a dress the shop can ask you to pay for it due to the damage. You don’t need tan on you as the dresses will show off your skin colour naturally.

4.  Clothes: Wear comfortable clothes that are easy to get in and out of. Wear your hair in a style similar to what you would like on the day so you can see the look better. Example: up-style, half up, half down or fully down. Bring a bag of essentials with you. Bobbles, deodorant, shoes and if you are borrowing an item like a veil or hoop bring this also. Showing up without these items can leave you frustrated during or after the appointment as you may need it with you to help with the look. Bridal shopping can be a quick and tiring process so keep fresh with basic essentials

5.  Budget: Set your budget. Again many stores won’t ask if you are on a set budget but they will emphasise the price range of their dresses. If you don’t speak out then the store assistants be inspired to know what you are thinking. It doesn’t help if you choose one of the most expensive dresses in the store which leaves you upset as you can’t afford it. The designers set the prices for the dresses so the store usually cannot move on price but may be able to help with add-ons such as veil or hoop. Again be prepared a lace dress or sparkle dress will be more expensive than a simple one and also a lace veil will always be more expensive. Be realistic as you may want the champagne dream but you may be on a lemonade budget and may need decide the dress is important and something else can be cut back to get the dream.

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Photo by: Prendergast & Wilson

6.  Who? Avoid bringing bridesmaids and added people with you on your first trip. Make the focus about you as the bride rather than showing up and everybody getting excited to try on dresses. You can always discuss bridesmaid’s colours, styles and prices with staff in future appointments but doing two appointments at the same time will ruin your experience and put the attention on them. Concentrate on one aspect which is your wedding dress & experience.

7.  How many appointments? Try not to do more than two bridal boutiques in one day. Brides suffer from what I like to call “dress blindness”. This is where they can’t remember their first dress from the last they tried on. Eliminate dresses down to maximum of two favourites per store. Remember these dresses as many stores have a no photograph policy. Revisit the favourites and then make a decision.

8.  Opinions: Give your friends and family a strict warning to not give their opinion before you give yours. Honesty is the best policy but sometimes it may not be the best circumstance if you really love the dress. You will have to decide if you want to take their opinion on board or tell them where to go.

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Photo by: Prendergast & Wilson

9.  Movements & action in your dress: Take a walk in the dress. Standing on the pedestal is fabulous but a walk with a hoop underneath will give you a feel for the dress and will allow you to see the dress in different lights and envisage what it will be like to wear throughout your wedding day. Also take the seat test and dancing test so you can go away smiling that every aspect is perfect.

10,  Love Your Dress!! Remember, the most important opinion is your own. Everybody will always have a different opinion on favourites, styles and different aspects but that is what makes us all unique. You can take advice but you have to be happy. You have to feel amazing, love your dress and be comfortable.

To find out more about CocoMio Bridal  then take a look at our website www.cocomiobridal.com or book your appointment on 02921670482