Welcome to the wedding supplier Q&A series where every Wednesday & Sunday afternoon we’ll be speaking to a London based wedding supplier and uncovering information to make planning your wedding easier. Each supplier has been hand picked because of their awesome personality, love they have for their couples and knowledge of their industry. I’ve also tried to find suppliers that are unique to give you a taste of what’s possible.
This week we’ll be speaking to Charlotte from the London bespoke wedding dress designer Wilden Brides. Coming from a background in fashion and with a special talent for creating dresses to match the bride’s personality, Charlotte seemed the perfect person to offer some insight into the wedding dress industry. If you’re wondering about the difference between buying a dress off the shelf or getting a bespoke design, read on.
1. Tell us a bit about the story behind Wilden Brides & why you became a bespoke wedding dress designer?
I studied theatrical costume making, so I guess I was always drawn to dramatic and whimisical dress styling, and though I appreciated costume and the historical studies, and can still reference my learnings in my work today, theatre and film wasn’t for me.
I began working at a small couturier in London, and from there moved on to work at several global fashion houses both in London and in New York.I was always being asked to make a wedding dress by a friend or a friend of a friend, and so I decided to set up a small websiet to see what might happen. After a while I was getting too many orders to be able to hold onto both jobs, and one of them had to give, and I chose to create my own path.
Working with brides is really lovely because they are so invested in the dress. You get a lot of encouragement from them and get to share their excitement. I love hearing about the whole styling of the day too, from shoes, to hair and make-up and flowers!
2. What are your Top-Tips for a bride booking a bespoke wedding dress designer?
Trust your own judgement. For example if I was shopping for something, if one of my friends or mother said to me “Oh I hate those shoes”, I wouldn’t care as long as I liked them. If you don’t trust yourself find someone’s opinion who you do trust. Make sure you get something that YOU want.
Ask about lead times. Each designer will have different lead times (time taken from initial contact to when the dress is ready for collection). This covers things like designing time, factory time, transport time, time for refittings etc. For me, a bespoke dress maker, it really depends.
Sometimes more time is too much time, because there are so many new shows and styles and inspirations to bamboozle and confuse you. By all means look for your inspirations, but be aware that your ideas are likely to change if you choose too far in advance, if you choose an extra long engagement. I find a year before the wedding to be the perfect amount of time start the process.
When looking for inspiration don’t just look for the finished article. You could look for any element of a dress that you see and like, whether it be the bodice or neck shape or a particular pattern. I’ve even had someone come to me with a music album cover which had shades of light on it she really liked. If the perfect dress was already out there, fully formed, for you then you wouldn’t necessarily need a bespoke dress made.
3. I love quotes, do you have any favourites?
Well, I’m a not so secret Kylie fan (sorry) and one of her’s is:
“If in doubt add more glitter” – Kylie Minogue
There’s another one I really like which I was told only last night at my ballet class. It came from Roger Tully, a well-known English ballet dancer:
“Dance is not a doing, but a happening” – Roger Tully
It made me think that this kind of applies to everything in life, including your wedding day. You’re not just doing it, you’re making it happen. Looking at it this way makes it feel more magical to me.