When it comes to weddings and bridal wear, there aren’t many people who are much more qualified to talk about bridal trends than the owner of a bridal boutique. Luckily, we found the perfect one!
The dedicated and hardworking owner of Essex based boutique Bellissima Weddings, Laura Daly, has kindly taken the time to talk to us about owning a bridal store, her predictions on upcoming trends, and her best tips when it comes to buying your wedding dress!
How did you get into running your own bridal boutique?
I used to model bridal gowns when I lived in Italy, and have always had a love for fashion. When I returned to the UK 19 years ago, many bridal shops in the UK were dated and old fashioned. I started to import and sell Italian Bridal jewellery and realised that I could bring a bit of Italian flair to the UK Bridal market.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The customers without a doubt!
Being part of the run-up to and the special day itself is an absolute privilege. I see people at their most happy, but also most vulnerable and fragile, and it’s so rewarding to see a nervous bride blossom into a confident force to be reckoned with! Never underestimate the power of a good frock!
Which styles of wedding dress do you think will be the most popular for 2020?
We are gradually seeing a move away from the very fancy laces that have been popular. Sleeker, plainer styles are starting to sell, but always with a twist – sometimes a high neckline and a very plunging back, or a low plunge front and sleeves. silhouettes are polarising, customers are asking for either very fitted gowns or huge ball gowns!
What are your favourite wedding trends at the moment?
I love the ‘outside-in’ look – where greenery and fake trees are used to create a feeling of being outside. Twinkly fairy lights and candles are added into the trees to add to the feeling of being in a clearing of an enchanted forest.
What is one past bridal wear trend that you hope comes back into fashion?
Corset backed dresses. With better corsetry, everyone can have the figure they always wanted. The current trend for more unstructured dresses means more holding in of tummies is required!
Which are your favourite wedding dress designers and why?
I would have to say, Ian Stuart. Current more deconstructed trends don’t really embody his signature look, but his dresses are works of art and work with a female form to make everyone who wears them feel amazing. I also love Wendy Makin, an Australian designer whose gowns are just so feminine and easy to wear.
Which celebrity wedding dress is your favourite of all time?
It would have to be Grace Kelly – those pictures of her on her wedding day never date!
What’s your favourite story of a bride who found her ideal wedding dress in your boutique?
Wow, that’s a hard one as there are so many I could fill a book. We have had over 9,000 bridal gowns since we opened and every bride has a story. However, I do currently have a bride who has been tracking a certain Wendy Makin gown for the past 5 years. It’s an iconic style that has been heavily featured on Instagram in Australia, and she never thought she’d find it in the UK. However, after much searching, she found us and although it wasn’t a style we usually carry (it’s nearly £5K) we were able to get a sample sent in for her to see. Needless to say, she purchased it and as the silk is hand-painted, she will also be the last bride to have this gown, as the fabric is no longer being produced. I love how much she loves her gown – the look on her face every time she puts it on is priceless.
What are your best tips for any future brides who are just starting to look for their perfect wedding dress?
Do a bit of research before you book appointments. Ask your friends where they shopped, where they had a good time and where they didn’t. As they are your friends, chances are that you’ll have similar tastes and expectations. Bridal shops differ hugely in their prices, styles and approach to customer service, so buy your gown where you feel happy spending your money.
Remember that cheapest isn’t always the best. A shop that is way cheaper on the same styles as all the other shops you’ve visited should ring alarm bells. It may be tempting to grab a fab deal, but you do want to make sure that the shop is trading viably and not just grabbing a sale from you to put money through their till, with no intention of placing your order. As dresses can take up to 6 months to arrive once ordered, you want your bridal shop to actually still be there when you return. Make sure you’re buying from a shop that is a member of a bridal trade organisation. The RBA, Retail Bridalwear Association, is a very good one for example, as the members are regularly credit checked and adhere to a code of conduct.
As far as actual dresses – go open-minded and try EVERYTHING. Even the ones you’re not sure of and even the one your Mum says to try ‘just for her’. Go with your heart and with the dress that makes you feel like you never want to take it off. Don’t panic if you don’t cry when you find The One – not everyone does! Be honest with your consultant as to your budget, you don’t want to fall in love with a dress that means your going to have a sell a kidney to afford it! A good reputable bridal shop will want to find you your dream dress within your budget, and shouldn’t push you into a decision you’ll later regret.
Take only a couple of trusted friends or your Mum when you first go shopping – taking a large group with you means lots of opinions and trying to please everyone is near impossible. Say yes to the dress is made for the TV so of course, large groups make better TV viewing. They don’t, however, help in real life!
Thank you, Laura!
If you’d like to find more about Bellissima Weddings and their award-winning team of bridal consultants, please visit their website at https://www.bellissimaweddings.co.uk/