Brides Up North

Cheshire Chic! Supplier Showcase: LOVE Bridal Boutique

September 26th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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Chelsea Shoesmith

.Launch event images credit: Chelsea Shoesmith

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This afternoon I am thrilled to introduce a very special couple – brand new Brides Up North Featured Suppliers Emma & Jonny Draper – and their gorgeous new Cheshire wedding dress boutique, the fabulous LOVE Bridal!  Let’s get straight down to the fabulousity…

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With images by Jonny Draper Photography unless otherwise credited

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When did LOVE Bridal Boutique open and what is your ethos?

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LOVE Bridal Boutique was set up by myself, Emma Draper, & my husband Jonny Draper and is Cheshire’s newest and most exclusive bridal experience! My passion for all things wedding stems from my experience as a professional bridal make-up artist, my role as studio director in Jonny’s wedding photography business, and having been boutique manager at a renowned south Manchester bridal boutique for the last couple of years. Jonny is a long-established international wedding photographer so together we have lots of bridal experience and completely live and breathe weddings! I have always loved being a part of my brides’ journey to their big day so we couldn’t think of a better way to develop our family business by adding the bridal boutique to our portfolio.

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LOVE Bridal Boutique by Jonny Draper Photography

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Cheshire Bridal Boutique by Jonny Draper Photography

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Jonny Draper Photography

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We first opened the doors to LOVE Bridal boutique on 1st August 2012 with a launch event for all our industry friends and family. We really wanted to celebrate our launch with all the people who have influenced our vision for the boutique as it is so important to us to work collaboratively with and build a strong rapport with other like-minded wedding businesses. This is at the heart of what we do and is something we love sharing with all our brides and grooms both through LOVE Bridal Boutique and Jonny Draper Photography.

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Chelsea Shoesmith

.Launch event images credit: Chelsea Shoesmith

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Chelsea Shoesmith

.Launch event images credit: Chelsea Shoesmith

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Chelsea Shoesmith

.Launch event images credit: Chelsea Shoesmith

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Chelsea Shoesmith

.Launch event images credit: Chelsea Shoesmith

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What lines of wedding gowns do you stock?

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We have carefully selected four dress designers who we feel really reflect our brand and have the same vision and working ethos as we do. We drew up our shortlist and prayed that they would all still be available – and thank goodness they all were!

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Jonny Draper Photography

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Intuzuri were our first designer on board and we had no doubt in our mind that they would be a hit for us. We were completely utterly blown away by their gowns constructed from the finest Chantilly laces, duchess satins and silk taffetas combined with intricate lace appliqués, hand-beading and intricate bodice detail. Their collection includes some classic shapes from full A-line skirts and long dreamy trains to figure-hugging fishtails. They also come at a really affordable price point too which our brides are just loving (the proof is in the pudding as we’ve already sold two of their gowns within our first three weeks of trading!) We were also so impressed with the service from the Intuzuri team who have been truly fabulous throughout the process and in helping us make our selection.

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Jonny Draper Photography

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Our second designer was a bit of a no brainer for us… the Heritage collection by Balbier Wyatt (click here to see a special preview of this collection on Brides Up North). This collection has been created by three generations and renowned industry experts – Alan Wyatt, Amanda Wyatt and Charlotte Balbier (grandfather, daughter and granddaughter no less!). Having worked closely with and built great friendships with Amanda and Charlotte over the last few years, and Jonny having taken lots of photos for and of Charlotte (including her engagement shoot!), when they told us about this new collection we immediately said ‘yes please’! We knew it would be right for us even before we saw the dresses! There’s a real mix of shapes and styles in this collection perfect for all body shapes, synonymous with Amanda and Charlotte’s signature styles but still a significantly different collection. Everything from full lace fitted gowns, to slinkier chiffon low-backs and fabulous sparkle bodiced A-line full skirted gowns. A lot of the dresses in this collection are perfect for destination weddings too, which is why a lot of the gowns have fabulous names such as Barbados and Costa Rica! To complement these gowns, we have a range of accessories from Amanda Wyatt in stock too.

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Jonny Draper Photography

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Our third designer, Mia Mia is a relatively new collection from the long established Alan Hannah Bridalwear. We first met up with Alan and Marguerite at their fabulous showroom and were so spoilt for choice by the collection that we knew instantly that they were perfect for LOVE (we hadn’t even seen the 2013 collection at this point either!) A great mix of youthful, light, pretty dresses with some very classic styles and shapes in the collection, we knew that with our branding we would definitely be attracting the right kind of bride for these dresses. We eventually picked our shortlist and have since added more to this when we previewed the amazing 2013 collection at The White Gallery in London in May.

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Jonny Draper Photography

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The final piece of our jigsaw was Terry Fox, a designer who made us really stop in our tracks and take note of every single last embellishment, intricate embroidery, drape and beautiful silks on each and every dress. Her studio down in Suffolk is a complete treasure trove and just how every girl’s dream bedroom would look! Terry lives and breathes dresses and fabrics and that completely comes across with each dress she produces. Each gown can be tailor-made to a brides requirements with a vast colour selection of silks to choose from. One of her gowns ‘Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love’ can even be personalised as the gown name is embroidered onto ribbon detail of the dress, but this can equally be changed for the bride and groom’s names and date of their wedding or perhaps a quote that is very personal to them. This collection is definitely for the bride who wants something a bit different and to make a statement! We have also chosen a gorgeous selection of matching Terry Fox accessories to finish off the look.

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What lines of accessories do you stock?

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Once we’d agreed on our dresses, we had just as much fun choosing the perfect accompanying accessories. I pulled together my wish list and then The White Gallery was our first port of call praying that all the headpieces we wanted all looked as fabulous in real life as they did in brochures and online. They were even better than that! We were overwhelmed by the selection on offer from a variety of designers but kept each and every dress in mind before making our final decision.

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We are now proud to be stockists of the very gorgeous Harriet Wilde shoes (with a particular fave of mine being her Sakura style with decorative cherry blossom detail and silver leaves cascading down the heel – just stunning!) There’s a shoe in her collection to suit all of our dresses and she does a great range of heel heights too, including some beautiful lace ballet pumps with Swarovski crystals around the heel. Most of her shoes can also be dyed so they can be matched up to bridesmaid dresses or even for after the wedding.

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Jonny Draper Photography

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It was important to us to pick a couple of really great headpiece designers to complement our dresses so we have chosen two highly acclaimed designers whose designs were just so beautiful and different to any we’d seen before.

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I’ve long since been a fan of Halo & Co designs, each piece handmade to order, so it was just a matter of choosing our selection really. The Halo & Co team were on hand to give great advice and I tried every last piece on (just because I could!) We chose a mix of designs from collections including their Timeless Classics and Vintage Lace ranges. Some pieces are just pure unadulterated sparkle, others incorporating Swarovski crystals, cultured pearls, ornate filigree and lace too. We have selected a mix of side headpiece styles, more traditional tiara styles and a selection of silver and gold pieces.

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Our second collection of headpieces comes from British milliner Vivien Sheriff whom we chose as her designs were just so unusual and modern, yet with a traditional twist, and even the lovely Kate Middleton has been spotted in a few of her creations! Our selection includes fabulous birdcage veils in dusky pink shades such as the Rainflower birdcage, and more sparkley combs such as the stunning ‘Hearts Entwined’ comb, forehead bands, feather clips and headbands combining a mix of pearls, crystals etc.

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I’m delighted to announce that we have just confirmed that we will be the first north-west stockist of the very wonderful Hermione Harbutt whose selection of jewellery and headpieces are nothing short of wow! Hermione’s pieces are stocked by prestigious and international designers and she has even been commissioned by the likes of Suzanne Neville and Stephanie Allin to create headdresses to complement their dresses. We have selected a stunning collection of her jewellery and some more elaborate headpieces from her collection, all of which work beautifully with our gowns.

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Jonny Draper Photography

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Where are you located?

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We are located in Bowdon, Altrincham, Cheshire and we are perfectly located just off the M6, M56 and M60 motorways.

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Can you give Brides Up North an idea on price?

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Our dress collection starts from around the £1000 price point up to around £3000, with most of our dresses sitting comfortably under the £2000 mark.

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Jonny Draper Photography

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Do Brides Up North need an appointment?

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Yes, we are appointment only and this is really to avoid disappointment as we pride ourselves on having just the one dressing room for brides to enjoy complete privacy during their appointments.

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Jonny Draper Photography

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What can Brides Up North expect when they come in for an appointment?

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Our dream and vision for LOVE Bridal Boutique was to create a brand and a personality that comes across as soon as a bride comes into contact with the boutique, whether that be from stepping through our door, visiting our website or enjoying our facebook and twitter pages and ultimately wearing one of our dresses. That personality is one of individuality, warmth, helpfulness and understanding, completely ‘getting’ every bride that walks through our door and having knowledge about venues and suppliers so that we can make recommendations to our brides if they need it.

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When a bride arrives at LOVE Bridal Boutique, aside from complete privacy by having a whole floor of the boutique to themselves, they will feel relaxed and at ease and will never be rushed during their appointment as we allocate at least an hour and a half for a first appointment giving brides the opportunity to try a good selection of gowns. We know that choosing your dream dress can be a tough decision so they will have my undivided attention throughout their appointment to offer help and advice and if that means trying that favourite dress on again (and again) then so be it! Refreshments will also be offered to a bride and her family and friends in the comfort of our dressing/sitting room with inspirational books to flick through whilst they are eagerly awaiting for that next dress to be put on. And what happens when they find the dress of their dreams with us? Well, there’ll be a big celebration of course!

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Jonny Draper Photography

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What is your current favourite gown that you stock and why?

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Now this is an extremely tough question, and anybody who has ever worked in a bridal shop will tell you that their "favourite gown" can change daily if not hourly! It might be that you’ve just put a dress on a bride and it has looked amazing or it might be a new dress that’s just arrived and you’d forgotten how gorgeous it was since you ordered it (it can take a few months for them to arrive so this often happens!) My current favourite of the hour has to be Georgia by Heritage Bridal as she has just arrived into the boutique and I’ve just put her in the window, finished off with the gorgeous sparkly Halo & Co "Lacey’ headpiece.

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Jonny Draper Photography

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Is there a particular style of dress that is popular with your brides at the moment?

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I’d definitely say that in the few weeks we have been open, lace has been a resounding hit and brides are still loving a good A-line dress with a hint of sparkle, for example our ‘Adelphi’ gown by Intuzuri which has been a clear winner with brides. You know the dress that you’ve always dreamed about since you were a little girl…well Adelphi is definitely that dress! Another very popular shape is the fishtail gown – brides are loving having the combination of a fuller train whilst still being able to show off their figure. Brides are also still really loving their straps.

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Jonny Draper Photography

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How does LOVE Bridal Boutique provide a superior experience to other wedding dress boutiques?

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We will always strive to provide a high level of service to every bride that comes through our door – from simple things like offering our brides and their guests tea or home-made coffee from our lovely new coffee machine and brownies and cupcakes from our favourite baker, And The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon. We really do choose the best for our brides whether it be from our Cowshed products for freshening up in the bathroom to little things like having a hair clip on hand or shoes in the right size. Things that unfortunately not all bridal shops think about, and considering that buying a wedding dress is probably the most expensive item of clothing that most brides will ever wear and one of the most emotional shopping experiences they’ll ever have, it’s hard to believe that service and experience doesn’t always match up to this.

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As I’ve already mentioned, every bride has the boutique to herself for her appointment which helps them to focus on our dresses and what they are looking for, with the help of friends and family. This is a point which has come up time and time again in the past with brides I have worked with, how multiple appointments taking place at the same time can really take away from their experience. No bride is going to appreciate their mum and friends being distracted by another bride when it’s their time to take centre stage after all!

We also pride ourselves on our little black book of suppliers. We don’t just recommend any supplier that gets in touch with us – after all how can we recommend something that we’ve never experienced? So any supplier that we will ever mention to our brides is tried and tested and is usually somebody that Jonny or I have worked with in the past and they know us well too. You’ll notice this from our ‘friends’ page on our website, as it’s so important to us it had to have a place on our website. We’re proud of the relationships we have built and we love to collaborate with them regularly to ensure that we’re always evolving and staying ahead of the game.

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So overall, a personal, knowledgeable one-to-one bridal experience with lots of love and emotion added in too (I will most definitely cry if you do!).

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Jonny Draper Photography

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Who would be an LOVE Bridal Boutique bride?

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A LOVE bride would be somebody who appreciates a fabulous experience and stunning dresses! She doesn’t have to know what she wants when she walks through the door, but she will by the time she leaves!

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Jonny Draper Photography

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Are you married?

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I am indeed married! I wore a gown by Kate Sherford, I had always dreamed about wearing a dress with a lovely full skirt and that’s exactly what I went for – a combination of lace and lots of tulle and I knew from the minute I put it on that it was the one for me (and I couldn’t stop smiling!).

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Sam Clayton

Image credit: Sam Clayton

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How can Brides Up North get in touch with you/ find out more?

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Brides can contact me either over email at emma@lovebridalboutique.co.uk or alternatively they can call me for a chat on 0161 941 6446. We’ve also got an extremely active facebook page where they can keep up to date with all our news, events, photoshoots and just indulge in pics of gorgeous dresses and pretty accessories!

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Anything else that Brides Up North should know?

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If you need a photographer then I know a great one

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  – Images © 2012 Jonny Draper Photography/ Chelsea Shoesmith (as credited)/ Sam Clayton (as credited)

LOVE Bridal Boutique is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier, and this is a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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about the author

Julia Braime
Former lawyer and bride to be Julia founded Brides Up North in 2010 with a chip on her shoulder. Frustrated by the poor Northern presence in glossy bridal magazines and online, she decided to do something about it herself. Astounded by the rapid growth of her blog and brand, Julia now manages Brides Up North’s online content alongside their busy wedding exhibition season, industry events and related commissions. And she’s always, always, got a new project on the go…

learn more about Julia Braime