Beautiful Day Bridal Cottage Blog

By C DUDDY 13 Dec, 2017
I remember a wise person once told me that there are four things you need to get right when it comes to planning your wedding, and if you get these right, you won't have any regrets.  The first one is to make sure you've got the right partner!!!  That's the most important thing!  The second is that you will have your rings for the rest of your life, so make sure you get good quality ones that will last!  (My grandmothers ring is over 80 years old and I've been wearing it for the past 17 years and it still looks like new!!)  Thirdly, have lovely photographs to capture the memories.  You'll treasure these forever and you can't go back in time and re-capture moments of the day that you wished you had.  And the fourth one is to have a wedding dress that made you feel the most beautiful you've ever felt in your life! You'll want to look back in fifty years time at those photos and never regret what you wore and you'll (hopefully) be telling your grandchildren that you felt amazing and maybe you'll even let your little granddaughters or great nieces try on your treasured wedding dress if you still have it!!

One of the first things you will do when you decide to set a date for your wedding is to set a realistic budget for your wedding day.   Most people will look at what they already have in their wedding savings account (if they have one!!) and then will try to work out how much they can realistically save from that date until the wedding and they will come up with an idea of how much they can afford to spend. They may have three years to work towards that big, lavish wedding with 250 guests in an exclusive hotel resort, or it may be a more intimate affair with a handful of close family and friends and the date may only set a few months in advance. Either way, you should always set out a budget for your wedding - and you should try your hardest to stick to it.   You don't want to be approaching your wedding day and feeling sick to the stomach about how you are going to afford to pay the hotel bill!!

As a general rule, most brides will spend about 5% of their budget on their wedding dress. But this isn't set in stone. For example, some brides put a much bigger emphasis on their wedding attire and go much higher than the current £1350 average as they feel it's one of the most important things about their wedding day, but she may place less importance on having an expensive honeymoon or expensive cars to ferry her around. Another bride who is very musical may decide that a 6 piece band is more important than the dress and she will spend over £2500 on music for her ceremony and reception music to entertain her guests and is happy to wear a £400 wedding dress that she found in a sample sale (and still felt fab in!!!)   So every bride is different and every bride's budget will vary depending on what her priorities are.

Whatever your budget is, make sure you tell the bridal consultant at the very beginning of the appointment.  We get brides who come in to our shop who are happy to spend £1700 (and they can pretty much have any dress in the shop) and it means your consultant can pull out any dress at all and won't be worrying about putting the bride in that awkward scenario of falling in love with a dress that she can't afford.  If a bride comes in with a £700 budget, it means that she can still have a beautiful wedding dress, but she may need to look at off-the peg styles for example or plainer styles.  The key is to be honest and up front and your bridal consultant will work with you.

At Beautiful Day, we always keep a selection of wedding dresses for the budget-conscious bride that we can show her - these are normally discontinued gowns and are reduced by at least 50%.  The we have sample sales once or twice a year.  Here, you not only get all the discontinued dresses at a bargain price, but you also get many of the newer current 
gowns reduced to half price too.  These dresses go back to full price the following day, so it's a brilliant opportunity to get an extra picking choice at knock down prices!

One area where you need to be careful is when it comes to buying online.  There is a lot of counterfeiting going on in the bridal industry and I've lost count of the many horror stories that I've heard (and seen) over the years where brides have been duped by a price that seemed to good to be true.  What you get is not what you see in the picture (which will have been stolen from a genuine bridal designer's website), so be careful and buy something that you can see in the flesh so that you know exactly what you're getting for you money.

Just remember, that they key thing is to feel beautiful in your wedding dress.  Be careful not to just buy a dress because you love the price more than the dress, but when you feel beautiful in a dress and you get it on sale, it just makes it feel even better!!  And if you do have to go over your budget to get your dress, remember to pull back on some other things so that it doesn't mess up your overall budget.   Best of luck with organising our wedding, and hope to see you down looking at dresses with us in the future!!   Ciara xx

By C DUDDY 13 Dec, 2017

People always ask me about sale days and what advice I would give anyone looking to come to one, so here's a list of top tips that I've put together which should help you to on your quest to find a dream dress at a bargain price!

Top tips for attending a sample sale..

1. Get out beforehand and try dresses on.
Try not to make a sample sale your first bridal shopping trip.  The girls who come prepared with ideas from trying on beforehand are the girls who have the most success at getting a bargain.  You will be restricted to the number of dresses you can try on (4 or 5 at most in your allocated time slot!!)  so you don't get the normal private consultation to try and figure out what shapes and styles you prefer and which ones flatter your figure.  When you come to a bridal sample sale, you should already have a good idea of what style you are looking for, what size you need and what suits your shape.

2. Bring a friend

Don’t bring a huge entourage, but bring someone who will be honest. Weddings are expensive and any discount you can get, especially if it’s on your dress, is well worth it - but only if you will be happy with it. Brief your friend to be  honest and listen to her (or him!)  And remember that on a 1 day sale,  you can't go for a look and come back again the next week.   So if you need your friend/sister/mum with you to help you make the final decision, then make sure she comes with you to the sale event.

3. Wear the right underwear
This is a wedding dress appointment necessity regardless, but make sure you wear the right undies! You need to do everything you can to see how the dress will fit you.  A strapless bra and big knickers are often good choices to wear.  Plus, we ask for no fake tan, and that only light make-up be worn.

4. Bring your purse!!!!!!!!!!!

You'd be surprised at how many people don't think about this one - remember,  it's a one day sale, and we don't hold items over .  So bring your purse (we accept all major credit/debit cards) so that if you do find 'the one' then you can actually buy it!!! (and remember that about half of the dresses will be reverting to full price after the event).

5.  Ask the sales assistants about sizing.

Bridal sizes are generally a bit smaller than high street sizes, so when you are looking, bear that in mind.  But also, don't be afraid of looking at dresses which are a little bit bigger as they can always be taken in.  If in doubt, ask one of our sales assistants for guidance on the sizes when you are looking through the dresses.   All dresses will be grouped in sizes to make it easier from size 10 to 26.   The majority of dresses will be in sizes 12, 14 and 16, but we still have a good selection of smaller and larger dresses (it just means that the 12-16 bride will have a better picking choice!)

Please note that the vast majority of dresses will be ex-sample dresses, which means that they have been tried on in our shop and/or have been worn in fashion photo shoots/catwalk shows.  They may have minor issues that need addressed, for example, some may need dry cleaned or spot cleaned or may have a few missing beads or buttons, and we have priced each dress accordingly to take this into account.   You are getting a genuine designer dresses for a fraction of the full retail price and are able to see them and try them on , unlike shopping online where many of the 'bargains' are in fact poorly made copies of designer dresses, made with inferior materials.  

Happy Sale shopping!!!

Ciara  xx

Beautiful Day Bridal Cottage, Greysteel, Co Derry -  Tel 028718 13682

By C DUDDY 13 Dec, 2017
Attention all bargain hunters!!  It's here!!!!!!   Our January sale - *for one day only!!  Thursday 4th January 2017.  

Over 100 wedding dresses, reduced by at least 50% (up to 75% off).  A mixture of ex-sample dresses and current season dresses reduced just for the day, by designers such as Mori Lee, Maggie Sottero, Essense of Australia and Special Day.
Sizes 10 - 26 available (if you are smaller than a 10, remember than most dresses can be altered by up to two sizes).

In order to avoid queues for changing rooms (and general chaos!)  we operate an appointment system for our sale days, so make sure you reserve your slot!!  

*As a bonus for early birds, we'll be doing a special 'VIP first look preview evening' on the evening of Wednesday 3rd January.   We are just taking a limited number of appointments the evening before the sale day, and each early bird bride will get a longer appointment that the brides who come in on Wednesday (1 hr as apposed to 45 mins) an additional 10% off her sale wedding dress and a glass of bubbly for her entourage (up to 5 per group).  And of course, she'll get first pick of the sale wedding dresses!!!    We only have 4 of these appointments available and they will be booked in on a first come, first served basis, so book ASAP if you want  to secure your slot! 
By C DUDDY 13 Sep, 2017

When it comes to your wedding day, we understand the importance of ensuring everything is perfect. We also know that as every couple wants to get married, each bride and groom will have their own ideas for their big day and that ultimately, every wedding day is unique. 

Organising weddings can be stressful, in the beginning it may seem exciting, but the planning can soon take its toll and become part of your daily panicking about whether you’ve forgotten something important. It’s important that you try to relax and enjoy the process of planning your wedding, after all it will be one of the most significant days of your life. 

Anyway, not to worry, we have you covered, simply look at these top tips to help you make sure you don’t miss anything! 


Timing plays a big role when it comes to your wedding, this includes the planning process, leading up to the big day and the event itself.  From booking your wedding venue in the beginning, through to knowing the time the wedding ceremony will begin.  

Should you have a close network of friends and family, this can be helpful as they can assist with the organising. People who have planned a wedding before are also great as they can use their experiences to help you make decisions. 


When it comes to your appearance, it’s one of the biggest things when it comes to getting married, especially for the bride. From deciding how to have your hair and make-up, to your dress, it all has a huge role in wedding preparations. This also adds extra pressure aside from the usual pressures of getting married.  

It’s always important to prepare yourself well in advance, especially if you really care about the way you look. It’s challenging but, joining the gym early is always a wise idea if you are looking to lose weight.  This will also give you enough time to get in shape and make sure you feel good about yourself.  

Another important part of your special day is your wedding dress , for a bride, finding the right wedding dress for the big day is vital. With a large selection of dresses to choose from, finding the one to suit your style and you day can be a big task, involving lots of test runs and trying on a number of outfits. After you’ve chosen the dress, there’s also the accessories to consider -  your shoes, jewellery and whether you’d like a veil or head piece. There are a variety of wedding dress shops out there, solely dedicated to helping you look great on your big day, most wedding shops  will have a team of helpful staff who can assist and make all your wedding dress dreams come true! 


Once you’ve sat down and sorted out your guest list with your other half, you will have decided on who you’d like to invite to your wedding and your invitations have been sent out. You may have had responses or you may not have, some people are unorganised and forgetful, so they may have not saved the date like you wished. However, just because someone hasn’t responded, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t coming, they may just have forgotten to reply. 

A good idea is to contact your guests before the wedding day, a fortnight before is probably about right, as it’s a close enough time that they shouldn’t forget their plans and be able to move them around should they be otherwise engaged. Those who are attending may require a reminder of the times, transport, location, colour schemes or important roles. 


Another crucial part of your big day is your wedding transport, how you arrive at your wedding is one of the most significant points. A great idea is to compare the different types of wedding transport early. There’s plenty of wedding car hire  companies out there, so by planning ahead you can book early in order to get the best deals for the transport that suits your wedding and budget.  

The earlier you book your wedding transport, the more organised you can be. This makes for a much smoother, hassle-free planning process than if you were to leave things until the last minute. 


By C DUDDY 05 Sep, 2017

We are recruiting!! 

At Beautiful Day Bridal Cottage in Greysteel, we are looking for a Saturday Sales assistant to join our small close-knit family run team and provide the exceptional, personalised and genuine service that we are known for.

The position will suit an enthusiastic, self-motivated and hardworking applicant, preferably with previous retail experience. A dedication and love for high-end customer service and bridal is a must.

The role will see you working hands-on with our brides to provide tailored services as they search for the dress of their dreams. This suits well presented applicants with a flair for fashion and eye for detail and who can build an instant rapport with our customers and put them at ease. You'll also be expected to answer the phone and deal with queries and taking bookings as well as helping with keeping the shop tidy.

Applicants should be available for Saturdays from 9.30am until at least 5.30pm (with occasional additional hours to help with holiday cover and occasional Sunday wedding fayres once or twice per year)

In order to be considered please APPLY NOW with the following:

Your CV, a cover letter showing us why you are our match made in heaven and your availability. Please send these to our shop at Unit 10 Vale Centre Business Park, Greysteel, BT47 3GE or email to   

Closing date: Friday 15th September at 4pm.

(For decency reasons and the fact that the job involves working with brides who will be in a undressed state, we can only accept female applicants for this post. This ruling is exempt from the equality act 2010)

By C DUDDY 01 Sep, 2017
Some tips and points for those who have booked appointments to come and visit us!!!  Please note that we normally allocate a 75 minute slot for each bride for a first visit, and we normally have to stick strictly to this as we'll have other brides booked in to accommodate.  

Getting yourself prepared: 

- bring a strapless bra if you have one .  Alternatively, a white or nude bra if you can.  We will have to come into the fitting room with you, so just a heads up too on that in case you'd be embarrassed in skimpy underwear and would feel more comfortable in your big knickers!! 

- please keep make-up to a minimum .  Heavy foundation, lipstick and rub-off fake tan often stain our dresses, and you'll probably be trying on thousands of pounds worth of gowns which we want to keep clean.  Some light make up is fine though (we all feel a little better with a bit on!!)  but just keep it light! 

- bring photos of dresses that you like with you - you can save them on your phone and show us them at the start of the appointment  to give us a good idea of what you are liking.  Have a browse on our website and Facebook page for some inspiration!! 

- bring some helpers if you need them .  We have seating for three people (4 at a push - it can get really crowed and hot in our bridal room with too many bodies getting in each others' way!) and remember to bring people with you who are good at seeing things from your point of view and will help guide you in a positive way.   We won't turn your entourage away if you bring more than 4 people, but remember that quality is better than quantity (and remember that old saying about too many cooks!!!!)  Make sure your helpers are positive, reassuring .. and helpful!!!!   Bringing negative people with very different opinions to you on what you should wear can really make the whole process more difficult!

- we welcome babies and children in our shop, but find that in general that it's a long sit for younger children and toddlers and they often get bored and want to go exploring around the shop.  We have a toy box which will keep them entertained for a while, but we often find that trying to run around a bridal shop trying to keep an active young child in tow can be stressful for the bride and for her helpers and is often distracting.  If you can, try to get a baby sitter - you'll feel more relaxed and focused if you do, and it just makes it a nicer experience! (but if you can't, don't be worrying!!) 

- if you can't make it  (for any reason, whether you found your dress elsewhere, or you're ill or something has come up) just remember to get in touch by phone, email or Facebook messenger and let us know that you can't make it.  We often have other brides looking for last minute appointments, so it always nice to know in advance if someone can't come to their allocated slot.

- don't forget your purse as you'll need to put down a deposit if you find your dress.  We accept all major credit and debit cards.

And remember to keep positive!!!!   Almost half of  brides-to-be  find their dress in their first shop - it's a lot more common than you think!!!  The vast majority will find their dress within the first three shops, but even if you've visited more shops than this, don't get disheartened and keep looking until you find one that you feel beautiful in!!  I firmly believe that everyone will find a dress that makes them feel amazing and when you find it, you'll know!!    And remember that we offer payment plans which we can discuss with you should you find your dress to help you spread cost of the deposit and the dress itself (subject to time frames!) 

                                                             Looking forward to seeing you and helping you find your dress!!

By C DUDDY 01 Sep, 2017

Firstly, about 99% of wedding dresses will need some sort of alteration to get a perfect fit. Very few people conform to the exact measurements that are on the designer's charts, so the dress will normally need tweaked a bit to fit perfectly. For example, if a pear shaped bride was buying a fishtail wedding dress and measured a 14 on her hips, a 12 on her waist and just over a size 10 on her bust, she will need to buy a size 14 dress and have the waist and bust area tightened to get a snug fit.

Many brides will also need their hems adjusted to make sure they aren't tripping on their dress, and the vast majority of brides with trains will want the seamstress to add a hands-free bustle so that the train can be lifted up out of the way in the evening when the dancing starts. Then there are those brides who lose weight, or want small changes such as adding straps to a strapless gown or having extra beading put on their dress, or sewing in bust cups or a bra.   And in exactly the same way that you would book your make-up artist, your hairdresser and your photographer, a bridal seamstress will often need booked in advance, especially for the busy summer months!  So make this your priority as it can be very difficult to get a good bridal seamstress on short notice!! (a good bridal seamstress can make a big difference to stress levels leading up to the big day, and there's a big difference between someone who can turn up trousers and an experienced bridal seamstress)

At Beautiful Day Bridal Cottage, we have several seamstresses that we highly recommend to carry out work to our customers dresses, and when each bride orders her dress, we always tell them to book the seamstress right away. Lorraine and Elaine who do most of our customers' alterations are often booked up for months and months in advance, so get your name on their list, even if your wedding is still a good bit away! (contact our shop for their contact details!)

Your seamstress will probably need you to come for your first fitting approximately 8 weeks before your wedding.  It's very important that you bring your shoes with you to all fittings as well as the correct underwear. Different bras can make a big difference to how your bust will sit in a dress, so bring the one you'll be wearing on the day, as well as any special undergarments or a hoop/petticoat if you are wearing one. You'll probably need 3 fittings in total, but some brides get away with 2 - and some need more depending on what needs done.

It's really important that you don't wear any make-up or fake tan to your fittings in case you get any on your dress, and make sure you let the seamstress know if your weight has recently fluctuated or if you think it will in the weeks running up to the wedding and she will chat to you in more detail about your options.

It's vitally important to come to your fittings on time - there are days where the seamstresses do blocks of fittings and they can have up to 7 or 8 fittings on one day - if everyone started running late, it throws her schedule off big time!! And if you can't make a fitting, always let her know that you can't come and she can re-schedule with you.

Most seamstresses will bill you on time spent with you and your dress on her premises , so it's in your best interests not to be making into a girlie day out with a group of friends spending more time than you need to. The seamstress will have things like pins and scissors out too, so try to get babysitters if you can as a bridal fitting isn't the best place to have toddlers and young children running about.   They'll get bored easily too sitting watching a bride in a dress getting pinned!!  Not the most entertaining for them!! 

Be careful too with your jewellery - you don't  want to be catching a bracelet on your dress and leaving a big pull on the fabric, so it's best to either leave things like that at home or take them off before your fittings.   Remember too that decision-making involving  trying on multiple items of jewellery or veils or shoes is not something that the seamstress will be accounting for time wise when booking you in for a fitting.  You can make those decisions in the bridal shop before you have your fitting to keep things moving swiftly along, and if you need to spend a little extra time in your dress to try in jewellery or a veil, then let the seamstress know in advance so she can allow for a little extra time.

It's also important to bring someone with you (this ideally should be a bridesmaid) to see how to put on the dress and how to tie up your bustle.  They may have been shown how to do this in the bridal shop already, but it's always good to get a look again at the final fitting so it will be nice and fresh in their minds.  

One other thing is the cost.  When our brides try on their actual wedding dresses in our shop, we can often give them a rough idea if it's going to be an expensive job or not.  Some dresses are heavily beaded with intricate lace hems, and if dresses like these need adjusted, it's going to cost more than a plain dress with a straight hem.  Basically, the more time consuming it is, the more expensive it will be and if you're wondering roughly how much a dress will cost to alter, your seamstress can give you a rough idea.  This may go up if you decide on additions as you go along (eg. extra beading) or if your weight fluctuates on the run up to the wedding and it needs re-adjusted, but a rough estimate will give you an indication of how much money to put aside.  It's a very highly skilled job and can be very time consuming to alter a wedding dress, and some brides forget to factor paying their seamstress for their time into their wedding dress budget, so it's good to get a heads up on what to expect.  

And finally, please remember that seamstresses are not magicians!  If a bride gains weight and puts on a dress size or two (or if a bride orders a smaller dress that she hasn't slimmed into!!) then don't expect miracles.  There's only so much that can be done with a dress, which is why I try to persuade brides not to set themselves unrealistic targets so that they don't end up in a whole pickle when they visit their seamstress to start the alterations.  It's so much easier to take a dress in than it is to make a dress fit when it's too tight!  

By C DUDDY 20 Jul, 2017
When I was a young teenager, when lots of the other girls my age were discovering make up, boys and discos, I was reading and writing choose your own adventure books and dreaming of being a female version of Indiana Jones.  My poor family were subjected to repeat viewings of the movies and my brother Frank still believes that I would be able to write the entire script of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom from memory.  The story of the Holy Grail really captured my imagination, and I loved the story of how Dr Jones and his father went on an adventure in 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade' to find the missing cup that was immortalised in the story of the Last Supper.  Fascinating stuff!!  (for me anyway!!)

'What's this got to do with finding your wedding dress?' I hear you say ..... and a wannabe female Indiana Jones owning a bridal shop? That's a strange one alright (but I must be doing something right for the past 13 years as lots of our past brides will testify!!)

I worry that many brides are eaten up by the quest to find the 'perfect dress'.  So much so, that they find themselves being obsessive - getting so bogged down in a sea of taffeta and lace that they can't see the way forward.  I've had brides who've told me they've visited up to 25, 30 and even 40 shops - yes 40!!!    (bearing in mind that 45% of brides buy in the first shop!!) So that's thousands of dresses on show, and they were so confused that it turned into a bit of a nightmare!!  Too many dresses and too much choice for them can be one of the most overwhelming things when shopping for a bridal gown and can often lead to brides over-analysing and second guessing themselves.  For other brides, they come in with a set idea of what they want and they won't give up until they find it.  They have their blinkers on and won't entertain anything else until they find a very specific style.  And even if they do find this 'perfect dress' hanging on a rail in a bridal shop (which may take a long time!) who's to say they are going to even like it when it's on - or will they even suit it?

1:   Keep an open mind -  take off those blinkers and keep your mind open to lots of options.  Try on that ballgown or that strapless dress and don't rule them out because they are not what you imagined you'd like!  I was stuck on an idea of a rather medieval looking white dress with an a-line skirt and long bell sleeves when I got married.  Did I feel and look amazing in it?  Not remotely!!! The skirt and sleeves drowned me and the drop waist cut me in half.  And white certainly was not my colour.  What I ended up with was pretty much the opposite of what I wanted.  Short sleeves, champagne/gold and mermaid shaped.  And I felt bloody amazing in it!!!  I see this happen all the time in my shop, and I find that the brides who find their dress with ease are the open minded ones.  It's all about trial and error and finding out what feels good on.  And it's not necessarily the dresses you liked on the models in pictures online or in magazines.

2: Leave negativity at the front door of the shop -  negativity is not your friend and it will pull you down into a dark, dark place and take the fun out of wedding dress shopping.  I'll let you into a secret - none of us are perfect!  Even supermodels aren't perfect -  Kate Moss had a rounded tummy in her sheath wedding dress, but she looked like she hadn't a care in the world and looked radiant on her wedding day.  She looked super confident, and she looked amazing! I have a mummy tummy, white patches of skin with my vitiligo, goosebumpy skin on my arms,  droopy eyelids - buy hey, we've all got our bits that we don't like, but we've all got much, much more to be positive about!!   So focus on what you feel positive about and remember that when your partner popped the question, it was because he (or she!) loves you just the way you are.  And the most important thing is that you feel amazing in your wedding dress.  The same too goes for negative so-called helpers that can be part of your shopping entourage.  Leave the negative Nancys at home if you are worried they are going to pull you into a pool of body image negativity.  Or else have a good talk to them before you bring them along.  No one wants to have it broadcast through the bridal boutique that their mother or sister thinks they are 'too fat' or' too skinny' to wear a certain dress and it certainly won't make it a nice experience for the bride.

3: When you find the right dress, stop looking! -  and if you feel the urge to keep looking, then ask yourself why. When your fiance popped the question, did you say 'hold that thought. I'll get back to you on that - I just want to go and hook up with a few more potential partners here to see if there's someone better'?  I bet you didn't!!!  You said yes!  You knew  (and if you're reading this and disagreeing with me, you need to ask yourself some serious questions as a bride-to-be!)   It's like that with a wedding dress.  Like a man - or anyone for that matter - there's no one dress that is 'perfect' for you.  There's loads of potential dresses out for you, just like there are loads of potential partners.  But when you find one that you love, you don't care about all the other potential ones.  You stop looking.
A bride sent me photos this morning of her recent wedding and told me she felt like a million dollars and that she didn't want to take her dress off.  It was the third dress she had tried on.  Yes, she could have looked at 50 more dresses, but she didn't want to.  She found herself having that feeling as soon as she saw herself in that dress.  Most people are lucky and get that feeling quite soon in their first shop - sometimes it's even the first dress!  For some people, it takes a little longer.  And for those who do visit lots of shops, they will often tell me that they ended up getting confused and have several 'favourites' and then that's when they start overthinking things.  And it's when you overthink things that you start getting overwhelmed and worrying too much.  There's always the temptation to keep looking for more.  The thought that there could be more amazing dresses out there (which there are!) and that you're missing out.  You'll know when you love a dress.  It's when you feel amazing and beautiful in it and you don't want to take it off!  Just like when you found your partner and didn't want him going and getting himself another woman!! 

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By C DUDDY 06 Apr, 2017
We'll be taking our summer break early this year and we're reducing our opening hours this Easter to work around holiday plans!!  We'll be closed from Friday the 14th April for a full week, re-opening on Saturday the 22nd of April (this is already fully booked).   We'll also be closing on Tuesday the 25th April and reopening on Wed 26th April. 

If you'd like to leave a message or request an appointment, leave a voicemail on our answering machine whilst we're away (02871 813682) and we'll be in touch as soon as it's picked up.  You can also email us on, but please note that we'll have automated replies on our emails until the 29th April, so please ring the shop if you need a reply sooner than that.    

Please note that I'll be turning off Facebook messenger on our Facebook page also whilst I'm away on holidays! (just in case anyone thinks it's not working)  Ciara xx

By C DUDDY 06 Dec, 2016
You've just got engaged and one of the first things on your mind is the wedding dress.  Questions race through your mind - what silhouette will I wear?  What neckline will mine be?  Will it be a modern style dress? Will it be vintage inspired?  When will I start shopping?  Who will I bring with me? Where will I go to look?  What is my budget?   How much research do I do before I go shopping?

There are so many questions and so many ways to go wrong when it comes to picking your dress. I've got to see these over the 12 years I've had my shop (Beautiful Day Bridal Cottage) and I hope to address some of these questions and help you steer away from making some of the mistakes that many brides make which will help you on your quest to find that perfect dress!!  And if you're having trouble choosing the one, it might be a good idea to take a look at this list and 
you may well find out where you are going wrong.

  1. Don't go looking too early.   You really shouldn't go shopping until at least 12 - 18 months before your wedding . Couples tend to have longer engagements these days and the temptation is there to go looking as soon as you get the ring on your finger.  I've had requests for appointments to look at dresses 3 or 4 years before the wedding day!!  If you go too early, you run the risk of over-thinking things and seeing styles that will be gone or discontinued by the time you are ready to buy.  New styles are always coming along, and if you buy 2 or 3 years before your wedding and a new trend comes along 12 months before your wedding, you may find yourself getting tempted to change your dress - a very costly thing to do!!  And as wedding dresses are made to order, there's no exchange policy in bridal shops if you change your mind!!!!   So go shopping when you feel it's time to start properly looking for a dress to wear for your wedding .  For some ladies, this time may be 9 months before, for others, it's 13 or 14 months before - each bride feels ready in their own time.   The key point is to go only when you are ready. This might sound logical, but we get numerous 'out for ideas' appointments where the bride isn't focused and ends up getting overwhelmed and more confused.   Plus, she may go back months later to see a dress she loved when it was too early for her to commit and find that it's been sold or has went discontinued. Don't assume that if you see one you love that it will be still there later on for you to come back to.
  2. Don't go too late .  Wedding dresses have to be made to order, so if you leave it too late either, you will be at a huge disadvantage as you will have a very limited choice (ie. whatever the shop has in the size you are).  As a rule, most dresses need to be ordered about 7 months in advance (although some can be ordered a bit closer than that) so you will be cutting down your choices substantially if you leave it past this.    There is also a risk of 'panic-buying' your dress if you leave it too close to your wedding and you may pick a dress which you may regret!
  3. Choose your helpers wisely .   I have a whole blog post dedicated to this one!!  My advice is to bring one or two helpers with you, and to make sure that they are on the same wave-length as you.  If your mother or sister or best friend is very opinionated and is always pushing ideas on you, then leave her at home and bring her along to see your dress once you've picked it.   Remember the saying about too many cooks?!    I sometimes get brides who bring four, five or six 'helpers' and they are getting various opinions thrown at them before they even get to look in the mirror and end up feeling deflated if negative things are being said about how the dresses looks  (eg. 'that makes your bum look huge', 'you've got back fat in that one', 'you can't carry that style off', 'your shoulders are too broad to wear that neckline'.)  More of a hindrance that a help!!! - so choose wisely!!   Often your helpers will think they are giving constructive criticism, but what you find is that the whole experience just highlights your insecurities and turns into a bit of a nightmare of negativity.  
  4. Don't have tunnel vision .    Many brides spend hours online looking at 6ft tall models who are size 6 or 8 and who's figures are perfectly proportioned, and choose their type of dress based on what they see in these pictures.  They come to visit a shop and won't look at other styles, therefore limiting them to a style that may not be all that flattering compared to a different style of dress.  Try different shapes on and see which one works best on you!  It pays to keep an open mind when coming shopping, and don't forget that the staff in the shops have seen all the dresses on and will often be able to guide you to things that will be really flattering on.
  5. Picking a dress to please someone else.   This one follows on from point number 3.  All brides will want to get opinions from friends, and/or family members - I can count on one hand how many have bought in my shop in the past twelve years without bringing along a helper. However, she should be careful when it comes to taking opinions on board. Well-meaning friends may influence a bride to go for a dress that she doesn't really love.  Up until she asks people for opinions, a bride may be over the moon with the dress that she has been considering , but if the negative comments follow, she may decide to choose something else based on the lack of enthusiasm from her helpers and she could end up with a dress that doesn't make her as happy, or as I call it, a 'compromise dress'. Expecting others to refrain from voicing their opinions isn't realistic. Asking people for recommendations and advice is one thing, but asking them to give their verdicts about a specific dress is another.  In the end, the wedding dress only needs to please one person: the bride.  As long as she is happy with it, everything else should fall into place.
  6. Trying on too many wedding dresses.   If you end up trying on dozens of dresses, they all tend to blur together in your mind, and what happens is that looking back and trying to remember  a single one can be just about impossible. If you try on too many dresses, you are a lot less likely to experience that magical moment of discovering the perfect dress when you try on one after another - after another after another  over a period of several months. (back to point one in the first tip - this often happens when you start looking to early!!)  If possible, try to limit yourself to about 12 dresses at most  (unless the 12 are horrible and you need to keep trying to find one that you look good in!) You should only keep trying on more dress when you find that the ones you've been trying aren't the right dresses for you. In some cases, a bride-to-be may be tempted to keep trying on different styles because she just isn't ready to commit to a single one. This kind of thinking is dangerous and can lead to a lot of wasted time and confusion.  If a bride tries on too many dresses, she's far more likely to second-guess herself as well and later doubt her decision.   Don't fall into that trap!!  I did two surveys recently and found out that over 40% of brides found their dress in the first shop, so don't be assuming that something is wrong if you haven't visited 7 shops!!! That isn't the norm - far from it!  84% of brides buy their dress after visiting three shops or less, with the first shop being the most popular shop to buy in
  7. Trying on dresses that are way over your budget.   If you have a strict budget of £850, don't be tempted to try on a £1700 dress if there is no way that you can afford it.  It will only leave you feeling down in the dumps if you fall in love with it and can't re-work your budget to suit.   You will always look at the dress you end up buying and feel like it's second best and that you loved the price more than the dress.   I had a very depressed bride in recently who made the mistake of trying on and falling in love with a £5000 dress in another bridal shop which was four times her budget.  She was very frustrated trying to find one that lived up to this dress.  Always let the sales team know your budget and they will always help to guide you - they might even have a discontinued dress in the store room that would be perfect for you.
  8. Waiting for 'that reaction'   Some brides have been told that you will get a certain reaction when you find 'the one'.  Some people tell you that you should cry.  Others reckon you need to be jumping up and down with excitement.  The truth is, neither of these are common reactions and I can never predict how an individual will react when she finds her dress.  Some brides are more dramatic in general than others and they will have a different reaction compared to a more placid or easy-going bride.   If you find yourself saying that you really like a dress, but feel that you still need to keep looking, then it probably isn't the one and you're best to rule it out.  Some brides tell me when they visit my shop that they have a potential dress picked out in another shop but that it's not ordered, and I always remind them that they wouldn't be out trying more dresses on in my shop if it was 'the one.'  When you find 'the one', you won't be interested in any other dresses.  I often compare it to finding your partner - I ask brides if they felt they needed to kiss all the men in their town to be sure that their fiancé was the one for them.   They all tell me that they fell in love and didn't need to kiss any more frogs to know . Finding your wedding dress is a bit like that and you shouldn't put yourself under any more pressure when you find one that you love to keep trying on more and more dresses to try and get some sort of stronger reaction.  When you fall in love, stop looking!!!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

The dress you will pick has to do one thing to you. It has to make you feel beautiful. You should look in the mirror and feel amazing!!!   For some, it's simply feeling like a million dollars.  For others, it's butterflies in their tummy or feeling their heart skip a beat.  For many it is feeling excited about your fiancé seeing you walking up the aisle in the dress you are standing in.  The earth won't move.  The tears may not flow, and you won't pass out with excitement, but you will will say  'I love this dress!!'   and the thought that for one reason or another you couldn't have that dress would probably make you feel gutted.                
Best of luck with the wedding dress shopping!!!     xx Ciara          
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