Bride to be Diaries: Our Maid in Honour is helping to find The Dress!

Hello Cwtchers!

We have the beautiful Gwen back today, your very own ‘Maid In Wales’, with her second instalment on her Maid of Honour journey.

Alys the bride (and also Gwens twin sister) have been busy shopping for The Dress….

B2B Maid In Wales Banner

Maid In Wales My MOH proposal

The Dress

On the morning of my wedding, as a thank you for all the help and support she had given me as my Maid of Honour, I gave my sister Alys a present and card. In the card I wrote that I was ‘officially handing the Bride-to-be baton on to her’.

She has since taken that baton and run with it.

I have been seriously impressed with her efforts so far and she has been very proactive with setting a date, securing a venue, booking vendors and sending out save the dates (I would have expected nothing less!). In fact, she’s been so on the ball with everything that my involvement has been very limited up until now, when the wedding dress shopping (the fun bit) began.

MIW Save the date arrives!

Over the last couple of weekends I have made several journeys from Devon to Wales (including some seriously early starts for which I should definitely earn some bridesmaids points) to help Alys find ‘The Dress’.

We gathered the troops – the Wedding Team made up of our parents, Alys’ mother-in-law-to-be and me – and hit the shops.

MIW The Wedding Team

Following a wedding fair research trip a couple of weeks earlier we had booked in several appointments and scouted out some of the best wedding dress shops South Wales had to offer! We started off close to home in Usk with a visit to the very lovely Bridal Lane, followed by up a couple of trips up the valleys, and finally hitting a few shops in the Cardiff area, including Laura May and High Society.

MIW Me and Alys outside Laura May

I was really excited about this bit – getting to look at all the pretty dresses and sip the complementary prosecco whilst Alys catwalk modelled all sorts of different gowns –  although I think I underestimated how tricky it would be sitting on the other side of the table when wedding dress shopping. It became almost like a game of poker, trying to give an opinion on a dress without giving too much a way in case I didn’t like one that Alys thought was absolutely wonderful, or vice versa. (Thankfully there were only a couple of occasions where Alys and The Wedding Team disagreed on things and most of the time we were all on the same page.)

MIW Wedding dress shopping!

Having started out with an open mind, each shop helped Alys to firm up her ideas on what she did and didn’t want out of a wedding dress – what shapes flattered her figure most and what designers suited her best. And yet ‘The Dress’ remained elusive.

We found many dresses that had elements of what she was looking for. The dress with the beautiful train. The dress with the lovely neckline. The dress with the most gorgeous lace. But like Goldilocks and the three bears, Alys just couldn’t find a dress that was just perfect. The dress that gives you butterflies.

Then, one day, after many hours of internet research, Alys stumbled upon a shop in Bath called Perfect Princess which had just the kind of dresses she was looking for. So Alys and the Wedding Team headed to Bath during the Easter holidays to hunt down the perfect dress. Sadly I was unable to make the trip as I was stuck in work that day, however the team kept me in the loop with constant text and Whatsapp updates.

MIW Alys outside Perfect Princess

And there it was – the dress that gives you goosebumps. As sad as I am to have missed being there for that moment in person, I am reliably informed that this was the dress Alys fell in love with almost instantly, and I couldn’t be happier. She is going to look incredible. Phil really is a lucky guy.

In other news, I also got to take part in the envious task of a taster event with Alys’ chosen wedding caterer – Prickly Pear.

MIW Me and Alys at the catering event

This was a very hard task, which involved a family trip (both sets of parents and the groom-to-be) on a rainy Sunday afternoon to a local village hall to sample the delights of Prickly Pear’s North African inspired dishes and to test out their hosting skills.

MIW Prickly Pear food

Although this isn’t the exact menu Alys and Phil will be having served for their first meal as man and wife, I can confirm that the food was delicious and the catering staff were excellent. I am very much looking forward to eating their food again next April.

It’s a hard life being a bridesmaid.

Bride to Be Diaries: The Sporty Bride is having Wedding Dress Isues

Hello you lovely lot

We are very happy to have our gorgeous Sporty Bride back for her second instalment, and this time, she is having wedding dress issues!

Find out why, over to you Natalie….

B2B Sporty Banner

Sporty Couple July

 

The athletic figure vs the wedding dress!

Hello all!

So…with 397 days to go it’s getting closer to the 12 months-to-go mark. Having booked my wedding two years before the date to give myself time to pay for it there have been times it has certainly seemed impossibly far away. I can’t wait to get to that ‘Year to go!’ milestone. It’ll certainly help H2B get more excited as it’s just to far in the future for his attention span! I’ve also booked a lot of my vendors and small details well in advance. Too organised one might say!

Sporty 397 Days

At least I’ve had the rugby, a holiday and a trip to California to keep me occupied…

Sporty Holiday July

Buying the dress was one of the activities I was most excited about. Being sporty and a bit tomboy-ish means that I don’t always feel all that feminine. I was looking forward to sharing the experience with my mam and closest family in the ultimate girly experience (up to this point in my life at least)- buying my wedding dress!

In my head I imagined walking into a dress shop, being treated like a princess and leaving with the perfect dress. As usual though… it wasn’t all plain sailing!

The first dress shop we popped into was more of a exploratory mission- it was off the cuff on a Sunday afternoon in Cardiff…no appointment. It was lovely to try on some beautiful dresses and I found that what I thought I wanted was really nothing like I expected!

Being tall and slim; I had an image in my mind of a slim fit dress. Most of friends and family would say that’s what they saw me in. However, when trying on these dresses I found they didn’t suit my ‘pear’ shape created by my small waist and broad hips (If I hear the term ‘child-baring hips’ one more time….). I was convinced by my mother to try on a ‘princess style dress’ and funnily enough the way the dress style sat on my hips really emphasized my waist and made me feel less self-conscious about my wide hips. It was a revelation! Still nothing I tried on there really made me feel like it was the dress. The dress assistant was really friendly and even though we had made it clear we didn’t want to buy anything that day she was really helpful and patient.

A few weeks later, I saw an advert on facebook for a dress shop near to where I live in Swansea. I booked an evening appointment and went with my Mam and Auntie. Cue the beginning of a painful experience. The shop assistant asked me to go around and pick out the dresses I liked. I didn’t really know what I was looking for and found this really difficult. I asked for some help and was told that she wouldn’t know what I liked so ‘how could she possibly pick anything for me?’. Luckily my mam is quite good at diffusing awkward silences and jumped in to help me choose some pretty dresses. Everything I tried on was a disaster. Whilst everything looked beautiful on the hanger it really didn’t suit me at all. The shop assistant tutted (yes she did!) at everything I wore and even commented on my ‘boxy’ figure and how not many dresses would suit me. In fact, the only dress she went into raptures over was one of her own design- funnily enough- until I asked if I could have a different lace…she wasn’t impressed.

I left feeling pretty unconfident about ever finding a dress that gave me that feeling and made me feel less ‘boxy’. I had no idea what would suit me. It put me off looking and I took a break for a couple of months.

Cue Sharon and Tracey at Wedding Belles in Pyle, Bridgend. My auntie recommended I go because that was where she had got her wedding dress.

Sporty Wedding Belles

My mam, auntie and mother in law to be came along for moral support. The ladies there instantly put me at ease by suggesting dress styles they thought would suit my figure and pulling out some dresses for me to look at. Nothing was too much trouble. The best piece of advice they gave me was to throw away all my pre-conceptions and just try things on. So I did! Though I had begun nervously, by fifteen minutes in I was starting to feel excited and special- like a bride! My mam carefully combed the rails and picked out her favourites and I was happy to let her do so. Mother’s know best they say…

Sporty July And she certainly did. It was about the 18th dress I had tried on that day but as soon as I put it on I loved everything about it. The neckline, the skirt, the back. It made me feel beautiful and all the things I thought I wouldn’t feel. It was the one! I’ve recently been back to see it when my order came in and I’m so pleased with it still.

The biggest things I have learned so far;

  1. Picking out my groom’s suit was easy because he was so sure of what he wanted (For once).
  2. I have absolutely no clue what 90% of fashion terms mean. I always thought ‘boning’ meant something completely different…
  3. Having an athletic figure does not mean you won’t look absolutely beautiful in the right dress. Sporty girls can be girly too!
  4. Customer service isn’t always the priority in some wedding shops but is key to the experience.

In summary, to those of you about to buy your big day dresses. I do recommend going to multiple shops but thoroughly researching what others have said to avoid bad experiences. Don’t go too late just in case you don’t find your dream dress right away. Most of all, leave all your preconceptions at the door and be open minded!

To those about to shop, I salute you!

Speak Soon,

Natalie x

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.

cocomio

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.

cocomio

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.

Bridal Sample Sale

If you haven’t chosen your dream dress yet, then make sure you put SUNDAY 3rd AUGUST in your diary.

Emma Philips Bridal Studio (based in Carmarthen) and White Bride (from Narberth) have joined forces for one day to host what we can only describe as a HUGE bridal sample sale.  

Amazing designer gowns such as Ian Stuart, Justin Alexander, Jenny Packham and many more! with up to 70% off! First come first serve! xx 

Where & When?

This joint BRIDAL SAMPLE SALE will take place on Sunday 3rd August 10am-3pm at the Ivy Bush Royal Hotel ,Carmarthen

Bridal sale

We have a feeling this is going to be VERY busy and suggest you get there early. Happy dress shopping! xxx