In my previous blog post, I described my awful dress shopping experience. Now, having secured my dream dress, I'm hoping to help other brides-to-be escape the same ordeal and to prove that, once you know where to look, shopping for a gown can be a pleasure - not a chore.
From 1920s-inspired flapper dresses to vintage Oxfam gems, there are myriad places you can find a unique wedding dress these days. With that in mind, here's my pick of the top 10 bridal boutiques to help you in your search for 'the one'.
Belinda at Beyond Bridal, who worked as Vivienne Westwood’s specialist corsetiere for over two decades, is making my beautiful dress. There are some really exquisite and unique dress designs in her collection and her workshop is in the Hornsey Town Hall Arts Centre, so you can prance around in the old Mayors office pretending you’re in a 1930’s film.
Joanne Fleming Design
Based in Brighton, Joanne’s designs are very dramatic. Think gold brocade, fine French lace and lots of intricate, delicate beading. If Beyond Bridal hadn’t already seduced me, I would have definitely gone for one of these dresses.
Heart Aflutter Bridal
This small East London bridal boutique has curated a small but great selection of independent designers including Ivy & Astor and Heidi Elnora. All of their designers hand-make their romantic and vintage-inspired dresses in their studios, ensuring each and every dress is unique.
Elizabeth has an absolutely stunning array of genuine original vintage dresses. Book an appointment to try them on the equally vintage setting of her Georgian studio in Greenwich.
Fur Coat No Knickers
With a mix of original vintage and vintage inspired dresses (up to size 22), the owners of this London boutique who previously worked as West End theatre costume supervisors, certainly know how to make anyone look like a star (knickers optional).
Nothing to be sniffed at, Oxfam have a website completely dedicated to wedding dresses. For brides on a budget, this service is excellent and can provide some truly vintage gems without the hefty price tag.
House of Mooshki
One of the great things about this boutique based in both County Durham and London is their turn around time. Aside from their vintage/gothic vibe, they are able to turn a dress round in 1 month as opposed to the usual 4-6 months, a God send if you’ve had to move the date forward or just want to get married ASAP.
Lindsay Fleming Couture
Designer duo Grace Lindsay and David Lindsay are based in Scotland, but they do exhibit at various wedding fairs and shows if Scotland is just that bit too far. Specialising in vintage style (especially 1920s) dresses, they also have a Celtic collection inspired by the fashions of medieval Britain if you’re after a more Game of Thrones inspired gown.
Vivien of Holloway
These 50’s style dresses are well made and very flattering especially for those of us who have a curvier figure. They are also a total bargain. Pop along to the shop on Holloway Road and if you don’t find your dress here, you may well find the bridesmaids dresses…
If you’re after something a little more traditional and timeless but still unique, Sally Lacock is your woman. Her designs are really delicate and fresh and you can work with her to create the dress you really want.