As a wedding photographer I have the pleasure of working with many other highly-skilled vendors and The Bridal Shop is certainly another one of those that fits this bill.
With over fifteen years in the business of wedding planning and outfit sales, their team provide professional advice and services relating to Bridal Gowns, Bridesmaid’s dresses, men’s outfit hire and all manner of shoes and accessories.
Their experts can cater for every style of wedding, providing top quality garments for the occasion.
To find out more I went to speak with KJ the owner, to gain some further insights:
How did you get started in bridal wear?
KJ: “I originally had a history in sales & administration which I was able to transfer to this line of business. When we opened the shop it originally offered wedding planning services, which although we still have the experience to advise on, our main focus now is the wedding outfits.”
What would you say is your style and approach to bridal wear?
KJ: “Unlike a lot of other wedding garment retailers, at The Bridal Shop, Helensburgh, we try to offer a wide & diverse range of bridal designs & styles, from Ronald Joyce (a top UK designer since the 1950’s), to Pronovias a leading designer in Spain. We involve different age groups in our buying process which I think contributes towards being able to offer a diverse range of styles, rather than just the one particular style. In the end though I believe the dress should reflect the personality of the bride and so this makes the process of selection quite a personal one. This also dictates the need to provide choice.”
What is your ideal client?
KJ: “To be honest I don’t really have an ideal client. Rather what I‘ve discovered over the years is that we are here for them – whatever shape, size, colour or creed – to meet their needs as individuals! When they come to us it’s more like a blank canvas … almost a jigsaw where we are trying to find the pieces that fit the individual. Particularly with wedding dresses, I almost think – You don’t choose the dress, the dress chooses you! … and so if you are sparkly & bubbly your dress will match that sparkle, or if you are more plain and elegant, your dress will match that elegance! ”
What has been your favourite moment so far in wedding planning?
KJ: “Probably providing a wedding dress for a more mature bride, who had found love in her autumn years, at the grand age of 76. Her original plan was to simply wear evening dress throughout the day but we had other ideas. She was a very elegant lady and so we had her trying on a wide range of designs, including bridal gowns. When she eventually found the gown for her, feeling like ‘a million dollars’, she suddenly became the blushing bride, almost as if she had been transported back fifty years.”
“Another very rewarding experience I was involved in resulted from having supplied a wedding dress for a rather curvy girl. Although also beautiful, with a lovely personality, she had almost felt she was the unwanted guest at her own wedding, simply because of her size. Also because of this she had made the decision not to have any photos taken of her wedding day … Well three years later, a remarkable seven stone lighter we met again. An altogether happier and more confident girl now, I felt it wasn’t right that she had no photographic memories of her special day to look back on… and so I got together with a number of vendors from the area, including Fairytales Photography, and we organised a special day for her at the Rosslea Hall Hotel, Rhu so that she could get some celebratory photos taken, in honour of her wedding day 3years prior. The icing on the cake was when Ronald Joyce himself presented her with a newly designed wedding dress to honour the new woman this girl had become!”
Why do you think it’s important for a bride to use a professional bridal dress outfitter for their wedding gown?
KJ: “For a while the internet sparked a bit of a revolution, and brides-to-be thought they could easily find a bargain shopping in this way. However I think people have come to realise that this is usually false economy and what you usually get is a ‘rip-off’, with little resemblance to the original, and where they then need to fork out additional costs on having these copies fixed, altered & boned! Using a professional such as ourselves, not only are you getting a real experience, that’s not to be missed, but also the bride knows that the dress will be well built, will do the best her figure (to make her feel like that ‘million dollars’) & has the quality to survive the day & beyond!”
“The Bridal Shop has a dedicated wedding gown consultant who can help guide the process, whether it be styles or colours … we only advise that brides-to-be come with an open mind and have some FUN!”
At what stage of the wedding planning process should the bride be thinking about shopping for a wedding gown?
KJ: “The gown & bridesmaid’s dresses are part of the beginning of the process and usually comes after the booking of the venue. The fear is sometimes that if purchased to early the dress may have gone out of fashion but this isn’t really an industry where that need be a concern. In the majority of cases about a year before the wedding date will be about the right time. Any time after this may leave it a little late for you to be able to work with your consultant, as the manufacturing of the dress can be quite lengthy. If dress sizing is at all an issue we try our utmost to work with brides on this, knowing that many brides are working hard to look their best on the day. Uniquely we have an in-house tailoress, with 35 years experience, who is able to make alterations! As an added bonus, dresses may also be stored at the Bridal Shop premises right up to the wedding day and there is also a dress-the-bride service on offer!”