This was the coldest photo shoot of my career so far, but it's still one of my favourites. It was recently featured in VOW magazine and I'm so happy to see it in print.
Send them your pictures!
All the suppliers I know seriously value getting copies of your images to use in their marketing and on their website. We've worked hard getting your wedding to look as beautiful as we can, and the terribly lit pictures we took ourselves on our phones are absolutely rubbish for promoting what we do. So a really good way to say thank you is to let us have a few pictures of your big day (even as few as 6! although personally I can't have too many) to use. This does mean sending them via email/google drive/whatsapp/dropbox because Facebook quality isn't even good enough for a professional Instagram.
Write them a review!
Having good testimonials was probably one of the reasons you chose your supplier in the first place, and we want to keep them as up to date as possible. It does not have to be an essay, just a few words that you think future brides would want to hear about the value for money/quality of service/quality of work that your supplier has provided. Pop it on their Facebook page, and then they can copy it over into their website.
Recommend them to your friends!
If you liked working with a supplier the chances are they liked working for you and are looking for more brides LIKE you. Many of us also have incentives so if you recommend us to your friends, you might get an anniversary bouquet from your florist, or a thank-you cupcake from your cake maker.
Submit your wedding to blogs!
This is slightly more of a time commitment, and not everyone wants to see their weddings in print or online, but nothing brings us customers quite like it. If you used a blog to help plan your wedding, check out their submission guidelines. Or if you have no idea where to start, ask your photographer to submit it for you. Blogs and magazines love real weddings, and they generally only use the 20 very best photos of your day.
Vote for us in this year's wedding industry awards!
Every vote counts, and NOTHING says thank you quite like a big shiny award. If you got married in one of my wedding dresses since the end of October last year you're eligible to vote! Click here to vote for me for dressmaker of the year in the South West.
This is something that comes up quite a lot when I'm talking to brides and designing their wedding dresses, and I think it's something that's worth talking about in relation to the whole wedding. Bridal magazines and blogs talk about trends quite a lot and there seem to be two camps of brides- brides who are really committed to a modern and trendy wedding, and brides who can't imagine anything worse. I think this trend-aversion is often inherited from mothers who got married in the 80s in huge, princess Diana sleeves. The theory I hear a lot, from brides and mothers of the bride, is that if you go "timeless" when you look back at the photos you won't have any regrets.
A 'trend', in it's purest form, is when a large group of people decide they don't like something and try to go about it in a different way. Designers soak up popular culture like a big sponge and produce work and then it sort of looks like other designers work and the media thinks "ah ha!! a TREND". Certainly, when I design I don't go hunting for what's tipped to be in, I think more about what Jenna Coleman was wearing on the last season of Victoria and the cute sleeve detail I saw there and turn it into something modern and fresh feeling. For example, I designed my bridal separates watching the scene of Much Ado About Nothing where they're all getting dressed and I loved the simplicity of the skirts and the way the tops went on like T-shirts.
One good example of how this happens is if you look at how wedding photography has changed over the last 10 years. In the early 00s, almost all wedding photography was the stiff, formal type we'd been seeing since photographs were invented. Then 'reportage' photography emerged, where photographers did minimal posing and portraits, and opted for a more organic snapshots and brides jumped on the opportunity not to have to spend 2 hours smiling awkwardly in a "the Three Mrs Smith" photo on their special day. Suddenly, every photographer was shooting in this candid style and it was the trendy, modern way of having your wedding photographed. This is slowly changing as brides want more posed bridal portraits for their social media and wedding albums, but that is a story for another day.
The problem really with trying for "timeless" is that it doesn't really exist. As I'm reminded every time 'the 100 years of bridal fashion' video pops up on my newsfeed, fashions change dramatically in about a 10 year cycle. So how do you navigate this quagmire of bridal trends?
My advice is this- make you wedding, and your wedding dress, as honest a reflection of you as individuals as you can. You don't know what's going to feel odd and old fashioned in a few years- I remember vehemently refusing to wear jeans that weren't low rise and being revolted by natural waist. I remember being revolted by skinnies. Then I remember thinking I would ONLY wear natural waist jeans for the rest of my life, and then boyfriend cut came in. All you can do is get to a place where you can look back at what you were wearing in the pictures and think, "oh my gosh, I loved those purple tights, I felt completely myself and so cool in them." Don't follow trends blindly, but lean into the ones you love and do them in a way that feels authentic and comfortable to you.
It's really difficult to put an exact start date on my business- it's not like I woke up one day and thought "That's it! Today's the day!" and knuckled down to building a brand. It was more gradual than that, so for the sake of ease I generally count from the day I did my first photo shoot. Obviously, several months of work went into that shoot and creating the dresses for it, but that's the day I started to be able to see a real direction and start really marketing. By this measurement, my business is just over a year old, so I thought it was about time I told the story of why and how I started it.
My sister bought a wedding dress in 2013, and absolutely hated dress shopping. She wasn't being super picky, she just wanted something empire line and with sleeves, and she could not seem to find one anywhere. We were living about an hour north of Glasgow at the time, and we did a miniature tour of Scotland hunting for dresses, but everywhere seemed to sell the same strapless corseted dresses. I was about to move to India for 6 months, so I couldn't make her one, and she ended up with a high street dress that she loved. But I knew from her experience that there was a group of brides not being catered for in the UK.
My first collection was very focused on being the sorts of dresses my sisters would like to wear, and through that I found my signature style almost by accident. I've been very lucky that the fine art wedding movement is slowly making it's way over from America, and that my dresses suit it and are gaining popularity. This year will be my first busy wedding season, and I'm so excited to show you what I've been working on.
What I've learned
1) Build your own website for the first year.
2) Do the reading
3) Don't undersell yourself.
4) Think twice before you spend money.
This week I was extremely excited to see an absolutely amazing selection of these images on Magnolia Rouge this week. These pictures launched my bridal lingerie collection, which mimics the vintage, romantic style of my wedding dresses.
The photos show off my photography friend Rachel's unique style along with my lingerie collection. We were also lucky enough to collaborate with some of my favourite suppliers again, including Wildflower florist and Emma Hill Bridal Hair, and to have Sarah Brown Jewelry collaborating and giving us some absolutely stunning rings.
I love veils. Maybe it's my millinery training, but I think veils finish the bridal look perfectly. They look amazing in the ceremony and in photos, and it's the only time in your life you'll ever get a chance to wear one so it feels so special. If you're having something a bit unusual and modern, it's a great way of making sure you still look like a bride, and if you're having something traditional it finishes the look perfectly.
Having said that, I know a lot of people either haven't considered it or aren't sure how to wear it. So here are a few frequently asked questions about veils answered.
What length veil should I have?
Veil length is going to depend on your dress, the style of your wedding and your own personal preference. I would say always go at least elbow length for a classic look, and if you're having a train I would seriously recommend you match your veil length to it.
2. How do I keep it on my head?
Normally, a veil will be bound onto a comb. If you're having your hair up, it should slide into the top of the style really easily and feel pretty secure. Have someone else help you take it out to avoid messing up your hair.
3. how much will it cost me?
Like the dress, the cost of the veil will depend on how complex it is and how much material goes into it. My simple veils start at around £150, but if you're adding a lace trim that has to be done by hand and can add a lot to the cost of making it. If the budget is tight, consider borrowing one from a friend as your "something borrowed".
Attire Bridal recently got in touch with me to interview me about my first bridal collection
Q. How long have you been in the bridal business?
I studied fashion at University and spent my summers working for bespoke milliners like William Chambers, so my transition into the wedding industry was a gradual one. While we made a lot of our hats for horse racing fans, my favourite clients were always the mothers of the brides. My sister got married in 2014 and that was my first experience working with a bride, and from then I knew that I wanted to build my own business. As soon as I had this realisation, I wanted to learn as much as possible from as many industry professionals as I could, which led to working for Joyce Young in Glasgow, before setting up my own label in January 2016.
Q. What do you think defines your own collection?
I am inspired by the fine art wedding movement, and I try to embed nostalgic, romantic vibes into all of my work, using soft and beautiful high quality fabrics. The aim, within all of my designs, is to weave historical artistic references throughout the collection to create a timeless atmosphere while still feeling fresh and contemporary. Q. What makes your designs stand out from other bridal labels?
As a small, independent label, my brand has the agility to react quickly to changes in bridal trends - which often means I can get slightly ahead of the curve. Almost everything I produce is a bespoke, one-off piece for particular brides, which means I spend a lot of time with my clients and have a very unique relationship with them. My timeless style appeals to refined, sophisticated brides planning beautifully styled weddings.
Q. What influences have played a major part in your first bridal collection?
My first bridal collection was heavily influenced by a trip to Florence around the time that I started designing. The soft champagne tones, draped silks and delicate silhouettes all feel like they could be in a painting by my favourite renaissance artist, Botticelli. I tried to blend these pattern-like drapes into the collection in a pragmatic, contemporary manner.
Q. Tell us a bit about the construction techniques that you’ve used?
One of the things that is very important to me is that the dresses are comfortable to wear. I want brides to be able to dance, eat and enjoy the most special day of their lives, so much of my construction is centred around how to minimise bulky linings, tight corseting and heavy underskirts and still have the dress feel really special and bridal. I also use fake button-up backs and hidden zips so the dresses are as easy as possible to slip in and out of, 100% silk linings that feel great against your skin, and cuts and silhouettes that don't require heavy structure to look great on the day.
Q. Do you have a favourite gown, and why?
It's really difficult to pick just one out of the collection, and some of the big favourites have been unexpected like the Billie Separates, which were my best seller for 2016. I love the movement from the dove-grey chiffon skirt on the Elin, but my personal favourite is the Maymie regency-inspired lace dress, which reminds me of Jane Austen novels and my sisters.
Q. Have you won any awards for your designs?
At the end of last year, I won The Wedding Industry Awards "Best Newcomer" award for the South West, and I was on the shortlist for the national award, alongside finishing runner-up in the South West category for Best Dressmaker/Designer, only beaten by an industry veteran, which I feel vindicates the hard work I've put in over the last twelve months. I'm also going to the finals of the South West Wedding Awards, for their "Best Newcomer" category. Of course the best prize is when brides are really pleased with their finished dress, and bring me thank-you chocolates.
Q. Where can people get a glimpse of your gowns?
The best place to see galleries of my dresses is on my website. You can see all of the dresses expertly photographed by the super-talented Rachel Rose Photography on my "collection" pages, and I update new photo galleries in the blog every Wednesday. I'm also a big Instagram fan, so the a great way to see what I'm up to is to follow me at @ailsamunrodressmaker.
Q. Where do you see the business in five years?
I would love for my dresses and style to be more widely available, and to grow my business to have a ready-towear line available in bridal boutiques or online. The core of my business however will always be about providing my clients with the best possible personal service and making them feel incredibly special on their wedding day
It seems that the trend for strapless wedding dresses is slowly leaving us, opening up the bridal industry to a whole range of possibilities for dresses with sleeves. I love to make sleeved wedding dresses, so today I've rounded up some of my favourite sleeve designs from my inspiration collection.
One of my favourite options for a subtle wedding sleeve, this is a delicate alternative to cap sleeves. It covers your shoulders and the tops of your arms and adds a sweet detail to a simple wedding bodice. You could cover it with lace or combine with a scallop hem for more detail, or keep it simple like the Billie Separates.
2. Poet sleeves
With a slightly 70's Victorian vibe, these sleeves are a bold, fashionable choice. Super sheer silk organza keeps them feeling pretty and bridal, with the pearl button detailed cuff. I love these sleeves for a spring bride, they keep just a hint of the cold off.
3. cape sleeves
These cape sleeves are a dainty addition to the Maymie wedding dress. It's a style you don't see often in mainstream fashion, so it's a definite must-try. The shape narrows your shoulders and hides the tops of your arms (which lots of brides are conscious of). The hem of this lace sleeve is hand pieced to create a soft edge.
4. Elbow length sleeves
These sleeves balance out the fullness of the skirt and are a modest way of covering your shoulders on your wedding day. I love this length sleeve, it's flattering and easy to wear. Choose fine soft silks in summer or thicker fabric in colder months.