This is the beginning of a series of blogposts written with you in mind, dear future brides & grooms. I am inviting wedding suppliers local to Herefordshire to share their wisdom and speak from experience about all things wedding related. They are masters in their chosen field with a long list of glowing testimonials from their clients. They are people I have worked with and whose work I have appreciated greatly. We will be talking about:
- how you can find the perfect suppliers for your wedding
- how to make the best of your collaboration with them
- tips on how to be clever with your budget
- Do’s and Don’ts that will help you plan a great wedding for yourselves and not loose your mind in the process
- and many more!
Today’s guest supplier is Stephanie Kyles, a Bridal Wear Designer, Dressmaker and Seamstress based in Herefordshire, UK.
Hi Stephanie, thank you very much for accepting my invitation! To start with, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
“My Granny was a dressmaker and encouraged me to start sewing at the age of 6. Creating a garment that I cut out myself and put together from a piece of fabric, I fell in love with it instantly! My love for weddings started after being a flower girl several times myself and seeing granny making dresses for each occasion. I first started working in bridal boutiques as a wedding dress adviser at the age of 15. After doing a BA(Hons) degree in Fashion design I moved onto doing bridal fittings and alterations. Stephanie Kyles Bridal was later established in 2012, working exclusively with my clients creating Bespoke Bridal and Occasion wear and specialising in Bridal alterations.”
How to choose a wedding dress that suits you down to the ground?
“Your final choice about what wedding dress you are going to wear on your wedding day is a very big decision. First I would say keep an open mind. What you think you might like at first and what you actually go for in most cases end up being completely different things. You may see a few models of dresses you love in magazines or online on designer websites. I always recommend going to try these on in the shop or dress maker’s studio and not rely on ordering online without first trying. Make a fun day out of it, BUT don’t intend on buying your dress there and then! Try lots of different styles on, even that style you thought you definitely didn’t want, just to make sure. You may be surprised by styles you never thought of, really complimenting your figure. After you’ve had fun trying different styles on, take a step back and think for a while… this is the time to be picky. This is most likely to be the most expensive dress you’ve ever owned and you will have photos of it to look back at for years to come. So this dress needs to be the right dress for you. Think of the practical aspects first: did the dresses you tried on compliment your figure? Which designs did you feel most comfortable in? Which suited your personality and your venue? Was there one particular one that you felt completely special in, even though it wasn’t fitting perfectly? If after these questions you still haven’t found your perfect dress, here’s what to do: think about what parts of each dress you liked the most, or which parts you didn’t like and consider having a bespoke dress made. I have lots of brides who like different parts of several dresses, or have found a style they liked but not the fabric it was in. I will create a new design keeping all these factors in mind, making the perfect wedding dress just for you and you only.”
Finding the perfect wedding dress in a shop vs working with a designer dress maker
“Getting your wedding dress experience should be a fully enjoyable time. Wedding Dress shops are a good experience for most brides. In a shop you get to see what different styles there are around. However once you start trying on you may find that you like different parts of different dresses and then struggle to find the perfect dress, or if you know what you want and just don’t want to go around the shops until you find it you might then look at having a bespoke dress made.
Having a bespoke wedding dress made for you is a truly unique journey. When you work with a bridal designer you can bring your own vision to life. Together you can choose your fabrics, lace and style to create a special dress that is designed just for you. Or you could give full freedom to your designer to suggest what they think would compliment your figure and personality and surprise you with a design you may have never thought of! If you have a particular budget to stick to, your designer will be able to advise on which fabrics and designs will work for you. I love being creative with my brides’ ideas. I can show them how to bring their visions together and elevate them. We can play around with different concepts as the dress begins to take shape. The design I will make will be for you and you alone and I will fit it perfectly to you. From sketch to fittings to the wedding day, it will be a journey you will enjoy and love.”
What advice do you have for brides who find their dream dress in a shop, but at some point after, for one reason or another, they become unsure of their choice?
“It is very common for brides to fall out of love with their dress and this usually happens because the dress isn’t fitting correctly. If your dress is not sitting right on you, it is normal to feel that you don’t love your dress anymore. Please don’t worry! I recommend going to see your seamstress as soon as possible, just to talk through your alterations. Once you know what will be done to your dress, how it can be fitted or just the advice of perhaps adding something like some bead work or a satin belt will help you see the final vision. Your dress will not be the perfect dress until you have finished all your fittings. If your seamstress says “there’s nothing that can be done to make it better”, then you have the wrong seamstress!!”
Should a bride choose to have a bespoke wedding dress made, what would be the bride’s journey from booking a specialist bridal wear seamstress to her wedding day?
“If you decide to have a bespoke dress made we would normally start your journey about 9-12 months before the big day. I will ask you to bring pictures or ideas that you like and we will get to know each other a little bit. We will then sketch different designs, and look through fabrics, to then finalise a design. This may take several consultations. I will then take measurements, order the fabrics and start making up the dress ready for you to try on. Following this, we will start fittings 12 weeks before the big day, leading into another 3 fittings before finishing approximately 2 weeks before.
Most brides collect their dresses the week of their wedding when I have pressed and steamed the dresses ready to wear fresh on the big day. Alternatively, I do offer a dressing on the day service. I kept coming across brides who were worried about their dress being done up incorrectly, even after I had taught the bridesmaids or mothers how to do it up. I was asked one day to come to help on the wedding day and since then so many brides have taken this service. The week of the wedding can be quite hectic for the bridal party so, to save them from worrying about collecting their dress, I bring them with me on the morning of the wedding to where they are getting ready. I will hang and steam them fresh on the day, and then when the bride is ready to get changed I will help her into her dress and make sure it is perfectly done up and ready to go. This is an added detail to their special day to make sure it goes as smoothly and relaxing as possible saving bridesmaids and mothers perfectly painted nails and nervous hands.”
Things to consider when working with a specialist bridal wear seamstress
“Start your journey as early as possible. Close fittings won’t take place until approx 12 weeks before hand. As a bride you need to have a bit of time to get to know your dressmaker/seamstress, so 9-12 months is the perfect time. For bridesmaids and mothers of the bride/groom, I recommend they get in touch ideally 6-9 months before the wedding day. As parents of the couple are helping with the wedding preparations until the last minute, they don’t tend to prioritise getting an outfit sorted out for themselves until weeks to go, leaving it too late. My biggest advise is to get you mum(s) to think about their dress at the same time as your bridesmaids.”
Is there a final thought or piece of advice that you would like to share with future brides and grooms to be reading this blog post?
“Your wedding should be completely enjoyable from the start of planning all through to the honeymoon. You need to have a good connection with your suppliers. A good connection will mean they will understand your vision for the whole day. You can then give them the freedom to get on with the job and take all the pressure off your hands.”
Note: all dresses featured in this blogpost have either been created or altered by Stephanie for her brides, bridesmaids and flower girls. I have had the opportunity to photograph Steph’s creations several times over the past few years, at real weddings and styled photoshoots, while working with the following suppliers whose work you can also see in the photos: