At Savvy Cinderella Bridal Studio’s, we have 100’s of wedding dresses for your to try on. As we are based in March, the heart of the Cambridgeshire Fens, Brides travel long distances to get to us, and we want you to enjoy your time here with us, and to help you make the most of your experience.
Family and friends often come with Brides for their initial bridal consultation. On most occasions these are supportive, helpful. and fun appointments, and everyone enjoys helping the Bride choose her gown, and it is a wonderful, emotional and hopefully successful visit. But sometimes, the atmosphere is not so jolly or supportive, and you have to ask who exactly is wearing the trousers – or in this case, The Gown!
An ideal appointment is when everyone excitedly arrives, eager to see the Bride in lots of dresses, offering her their support, input and advice, in a loving, laughing and joyous way. The Bride is able to speak freely about what she loves in a dress, and what she wants for her wedding day. The result is the Bride leaves here with her dream dress, and everyone is excited with her choice, or they at least feel they are a step closer to finding the style they want.
The reality is not always so perfect. Although most appointments are fun and happy events, sometimes you can feel the tension before they walk through the door, and you realise there are issues that are running deep, and have nothing to do with Wedding Dress shopping. Mothers in particular can cause a huge amount of stress for the Bride. Although they may not mean to be the source of so much tension, the Bride can feel her Mother to be very critical of her rather than the dress, and the Mother can sometimes be tense because her style is very different to her daughter’s style. The vision a Bride has of herself on her wedding day, and the vision a Mother has of her daughter on her wedding day can often be poles apart.
As a Consultant, nothing is more saddening than to see a Bride light up with excitement as she tries on a dress, only to walk out to her waiting entourage, full of anticipation, to be faced with negative and sometimes angry faces, and the comment ‘hate it’. Often this happens instantly, before everyone has even had a chance to see the bride in the dress fully. Sometimes there can be too many strong and opinionated people in the group, who have their own ideas of how the Bride should look, indeed what sort of wedding she should have. These opinions although valuable, should not be forced on the Bride, or each other, and definitely not before the Bride has had a chance to take it all in. In an appointment with 5 or 6 people, there can be 5 or 6 wildly different tastes.
The most important thing to remember about choosing a wedding dress is who is going the wear it. That person is obviously the Bride, and it is her thoughts, feelings and style need to be concentrated on first and foremost. Over the years we have seen many Brides who have said they feel they were forced to choose a dress to please their Mum, Mother-in-Law, Nana etc., rather than have the dress they really wanted. That is not only very sad, it is incredibly selfish of the forceful member of the family to push their own opinions on the Bride. The Wedding Day is about the Bride and Groom only. It’s not about the Mother, or Mother of the Groom, and it’s not about appeasing other people. That is not to say that the Bride doesn’t value the input and advise of her loved ones, but there are ways of delivering your thoughts, that don’t devastate the Bride, hurt her feelings or knock her confidence.
I remember one appointment where every dress the Bride tried, the Mother would say ‘its your money – don’t ask me to pay for it”. The Bride would beg her Mum to say she looked pretty in the dress, and the Mum would say “its only a dress, not a miracle” or “if you think you look pretty, then that’s your opinion, you don’t need mine” As a Mother myself, I found it incredibly difficult to be part of, as my focus is always on the Bride and how she feels. To watch someone beg for approval from her Mum was so uncomfortable, and to see a Mother be so unloving was just torture. After a very tense hour, I suggested that the Bride pick her three top dresses, and come back for an appointment on her own, or with a friend, to try them on again, with fresh eyes and a clear head. It was obvious that the Mother was never going to give her the approval she wanted, and we needed to put an end to the negativity. The Bride did come back with a friend, who loved all three of the dresses, and was able to give the Bride the confidence to go with her heart. She looked beautiful and more importantly felt beautiful. She sent me a wonderful note after her wedding, saying how she never imagined she could feel like a princess, but she did and her day was perfect. The photograph she attached showed a smiling gorgeous Bride and her beaming Groom, the Father of the Bride was glowing with pride, and her Mum had a face like she’d been hit with a wet fish. To me that said it all. She was never going to be happy for her daughter, and we will never know why, but the smiling faces in the photograph, and the joyous letter full of love and excitement for her marriage showed me that the Bride was happy and in love, and didn’t let her Mum spoil her day.
Thankfully these situations are rare, but if as a Bride, you know you have a difficult relationship with family members, or friends, then it may be wise to book initial consultations on your own first or with trusted friends, to get an idea of what you really do love in a gown, and to enjoy the experience. Because choosing your dress should be a wonderful experience. Our customer is the Bride, and it is her that we want to help find her dress, regardless of who pays the bill, our focus is always on the Bride, and we make no apologies for that. For one day, a girl gets to be the Bride she wants to be, and its our job to help her find her dream dress.
Finding your dress is like finding a husband, you may think you have found the one, only to find after spending time together, its not quite right, you may know instantly its not right for you, but have fun trying it on anyway, and you might see one and its love at first sight. A dress can look amazing on one person, and dreadful on someone else. It doesn’t mean the dress is not beautiful, or the bride isn’t stunning, it is a case of pairing up the right dress with the right Bride. We have had situations where everyone in the Bridal party loves a dress, but the Bride just does not feel it. In these cases, it is the wrong dress. You can’t get a dress because everyone else likes it, you have to love it yourself. The photo’s are with your forever!
Happily most appointments are fun and informative, and even if you don’t find your dress, you can come away with a clearer understanding of what you want. But the most important thing to remember, is that the only person who can make the final decision is the Bride. As a friend, or family member you can give your opinion, you can offer your advice, but your role is to support the Bride in her decision. As with her husband to be, he may not be your choice of a man, you may not want to marry him yourself, and you can scratch your head as to what she sees in him, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want her to be happy.
As a Bridal store, we do understand that people can feel very intimidated. They may expect a hard sell, so they put up a wall before they get here, to protect the Bride from being ‘sold’ a dress, rather that choose one. Budgets are also an issue, and no-one wants to be embarrassed when it comes to the cost. So in order to get the most out of your time with us, you need to be clear on a few things. Have a budget that you are comfortable with, but also have a budget in mind that is the maximum you can go to. Your consultant will work to keep you in your budget. Also have a realistic timescale, if you are getting married in 3 months time, then you need to make this clear, so the dresses you try on will be available in time. It takes 16 weeks for a dress to be made to order. But most of all, come with an open mind, people you trust and value their opinion, and come to have fun.
Top 10 things to consider when Wedding Dress Shopping.
1. Have a open mind on styles, and colours.
2. Have a budget that you are comfortable with and start with that, but also have an absolute maximum budget that you can push to if you find a dress over your initial budget.
3. Don’t discount dresses in the Sale! Sale dresses can be absolute bargains, and be perfect for you.
4. Bring people you know will support you and want the best for you, and if there is tension in some relationships, then have a chat before the appointment as to what you expect from the people you are with.
5. Be on time. If you have an hour or a 2 hour appointment time, you don’t want to feel hurried, but if you are half an hour late, that cuts into your time, you can’t expect to take time from someone else’s appointment.
6. Be prepared for the unexpected. You may think it will take you forever to find a dress, and then find ‘the one’ that is a sample or has been discontinued. Those dresses will need paying for in full, so make sure you have funds available, as when they are gone, they are gone.
7. Consider your venue, and the space you have around you. Is there room to have a long train, or is your venue more suited to a smaller train?
8. Read the terms and conditions before you visit a store. Most Bridal shops have a policy of the dress being non returnable and a deposit is non refundable. You generally can not change your mind on your dress once it has been ordered. Wedding Dresses are not the same as buying a top from M&S. They are made to order, or purchased from stock, as seen, and can not usually be refunded if you change your mind on the dress, or on the wedding. You pay a 50% deposit when you order a dress and the balance is paid when it is delivered to the store. Sale or sample Dresses need to be paid in full.
9. Allow time for fittings. A dress needs to be fitted approx 1 month before the wedding for a perfect fit. Alterations are not normally included in the cost of the dress.
10. Don’t put pressure on yourself to find the dream dress. Be open and relaxed, and enjoy the experience.
Weddings are fun – Enjoy the build up, enjoy the day, and enjoy each other.
Savvy Cinderella – 5a Renewal Park, Foundry Way, March, Cambs, PE15 0WR
Tel 01354 655588 www.savvycinderella.co.uk