Best Man and Ushers

Wedding Dress Wonderland! Supplier Showcase: Award Winning Confetti & Lace

11th June 2012 | Julia Braime

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This morning I am thrilled to welcome Abbi Lewis from Award Winning Confetti & Lace and Brides of Harrogate to the silver swirly pages of the wedding blog.  I first met Abbi when we shared a table at the Bridal Buyer Awards back in 2011 and was struck by how lovely she was then – it turns out that I am a great judge of character!

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Abbi has been generous enough to sponsor our current headline competition here at Brides Up North: the chance to win not only your wedding dress but your bridesmaid dresses and menswear too, to the value of £2,000!  We do like to spoil you. 

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There is not long left to enter so make sure to click here for the chance to win this fabulous prize.  All you have to do is leave a comment on the original competition post (or register at one of the Brides Up North Spring wedding showcases) and you are in in to win it.  What are you waiting for?  The competition closes at midnight on 26th June 2012. 

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Meanwhile, lets meet Abbi. 

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Award Winning Confetti & Lace

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When did Award Winning Confetti & Lace open and what is your background?

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I opened Confetti and Lace nearly seven years ago on October 15th 2005 after working as a bridal shop manager.  I grasped the opportunity to run my own bridal business doing the job I love with both hands! I started up with two part-time ladies (previous work colleagues) and a seamstress and now we have twenty two staff across four branches so I feel very lucky!

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I expanded our bridal shop after a couple of years and then found that our brides were having difficulties sourcing menswear so opened up Yorkshire Menswear in Rodley, Leeds in April 2009 and our second bridal branch, Brides of Harrogate exactly four years to the day I opened Confetti.   Six months later we launched our second menswear branch in Harrogate and have never looked back!

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What lines of wedding gowns do you stock?

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We have so many designers and have built up great trust and great relationship over the years that we only stock dresses we know are best in class, value for money, constructed well and where the quality and fit is superb: designers such as Alfred Angelo, Mori Lee, Justin Alexander and Benjamin Roberts.  We are also the premier stockists for Pronovias in the North of England and have one of the largest collections outside of Harrods and their London Flagship Store! I very much enjoy going to Barcelona each year to see their latest collections and bring them back to the UK.

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Impression Bridal are a great label from the US and English designer White Rose is one of my favourites with great boning, design and fabulous fabrics such as sumptuous silks and taffeta’s. Essence is a fabulous Australian designer and offers such a flattering fit.  The list goes on and on and we carry over 200 designs in sizes 6-32 in each bridal store.

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What lines of accessories do you stock?

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We are a major stockist for Rainbow Club where we can dye handbags and shoes to match any outfit. We have hundreds of tiaras, veils and bridal accessories including ring cushions, garters, hairpins etc. and if we don’t do it (very rarely) we know someone who does!

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Award Winning Confetti & Lace

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Where are you located?

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Award Winning Confetti & Lace is situated between Leeds and Bradford near M&S/ASDA at Owlcotes, Pudsey.  We also have one of the largest bridal showrooms in the North of England, Brides of Harrogate, close to Betty’s Tea Rooms with over 6,000 square feet of bridal, bridesmaids, mother of the bride/groom, menswear and accessories.

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Can you give Brides Up North an idea on price?

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Bridal gowns range from just £450 upwards and we have payment plans to help brides budget for their whole wedding outfits if need be.  Many are taking advantage of this easy monthly instalment plan with no hidden charges or extra costs.   Some top designers such as Pronovias carry a £1400+ price tag but most of our stock is around £800 – £900 on average. We always carry several sale items which are ready to wear and can be up to 75% off so we truly believe we cater for all tastes and budgets.

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Do Brides Up North need an appointment?

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We would recommend that brides make an appointment as we want to allocate a dedicated, experienced member of staff to help and a changing room to get changed in.  We have between seven and eight changing rooms in each bridal store so we can usually help even if you’re calling in on the off-chance although appointments take priority of course. 

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

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You can expect a warm and friendly welcome, expert, knowledgeable and down-to-earth staff who are there to help you. We like to put you (and your guests) at ease and we serve bubbly/ bucks fizz/ tea and coffee as it can take anywhere between one to two hours to try on different styles. In our Leeds store we open seven days, two evenings a week for our customers’ convenience and in our Harrogate store we have huge private changing rooms for both the bride and their parties. 

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Award Winning Confetti & Lace

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

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I have so many favourites!  In our Harrogate store I love a gown called Benicarlo by Pronovias and it has a lovely sweetheart neckline which is tastefully covered in feathers! It has a full romantic skirt which is high-waisted so very flattering. In our Stanningley Store my favourite is a dress named after me, Abbi by Phil Collins Bridal and is a beautiful princess line gown in matt duchess satin with a georgette (chiffon) overlay across the bust and scattered crystals all over the gown, concentrating on the neckline. It has a flattering ‘ruched’ waist effect, a detailed train and a lace up corseted bodice. It comes in white or ivory, is flattering in any size and is £900.  With all that detail and work, I think it’s excellent value for money.

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

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Lace is a particular favourite at the minute and vintage themes have been very popular. We are getting asked for gowns with straps, sleeves or higher necklines and as we are dress-makers can offer this service on most of our dresses.  We also have in store a large range of jackets, boleros, shrugs and stoles to compliment all of our gowns.

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How does Confetti & Lace provide a superior experience to other wedding dress boutiques?

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I think a lot of other bridal retailers do a sterling job, especially faced with internet sellers and as mentioned before I think the service and quality of the dresses plus a full and comprehensive alterations service means we can offer much more than taking a big risk on the most important dress of your life!

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We have seen an huge influx the last few years of cheap copies and substandard gowns, often with little or no boning, cheap glued on crystals and no lining!

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Our customers can expect top class service from wedding professionals who are fully insured (we are members of the British Bridal Retailers Association, BBRA and the Retail Bridal Association RBA) who guarantee that you are covered in case of theft, loss or damage.

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We’ve also won most of the major bridal accolades and awards over the years, most recently we we’re runners up in the Best Bridal Retailer 2012 and also UK Menswear Retailer of The Year, plus finalists in the Wedding Industry Awards and Wedding Idea’s Magazine 2012 – these are voted for by customers, peers and industry professionals so we’re very proud!

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Check our Google reviews and ask around, we have many recommendations and see a lot of our past brides and bridesmaids coming in with friends and family who are now getting married. You can’t ask for better than that.

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Do you stock Bridesmaid Dresses?

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We have a huge range of bridesmaids dresses with dedicated bridesmaids’ departments in both stores. We have Dessy, Mori Lee, Alfred Sung, Lela Rose in our Harrogate store and Alfred Angelo and Impression maids at both with the whole Kelsey Rose range in our Stanningley branch. Over 200 styles that come in sizes 0 to 30 plus and in up to 255 colour combinations!

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What about Menswear?

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Yorkshire Menswear.com provide suit hire by Cameron Ross who themselves are recipients of Best Groomsmen Supplier UK Awards 2010, 2011 and 2012. We can cater from age 2 to size 60" chest and even though it’s hire wear the quality is superb with up to a 37" inside leg (most retailers only go to a 33), extra long sleeved shirts and waistcoats can come as standard too.

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Our suit packages are mainly £99 which includes any jacket, trousers (in lots of styles and colours), new shirt, waistcoat (over 60 to choose from), tie, hanky and cufflinks. One in five suits is FREE and we offer a free UK wide measure and collection service for those in the party outside of Yorkshire in any one of over 180 outlets. Our suits normally come in at least a week before the wedding also which is pretty unheard of in suit hire. We do Highland Wear (one of my favourites!), dinner suits, lounge jackets, Prince Edwards and Tailcoats so if you need a suit for a wedding, black tie, cruise, the races, prom or special event, we’re on hand to help…and fast!

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Are you married? What did you wear on your wedding day?

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I got married last year in February to Martin (who can be found in Yorkshire Menswear!) and I wore a dress by Ellis Bridal with straps, crystal detail on the shoulders, dropped waist, delicate crystal bodice modesty panel and buttoned back.  As it wasn’t my first marriage and I’m now in my 40’s and a size 14 I felt comfortable in it and it was appropriate for me.  I teamed it with a silk bolero jacket because of the time of year and I looked and felt my best – I had lots of lovely comments and that was brilliant. Looking back on my photographs I was really pleased with my choice too – after all you have one chance to capture the day and there is no time for regrets!

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

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You can ring Leeds 0113 2360652 (7 days a week) or Brides of Harrogate 01423 500010, visit our website at www.confettiandlaceweddings.co.uk or email us at info@confettiandlaceweddings.co.uk

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Anything else that Brides Up North should know?

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ITV are currently making a documentary film about us and our brides and grooms called The Wedding Shop to be aired in the Autumn/Winter at the prime 9pm timeslot (date to be confirmed) so we’re very excited and we hope you enjoy the programme!

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We’re already slightly famous after appearing on BBC’s Don’t Tell The Bride and we had beaten several other shops in the UK for this programme to go ahead – we like to think of it as an upmarket My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and we are happy to be a Yorkshire business representing the UK wedding industry!
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  – Images © 2012 supplied by Award Winning Confetti & Lace 

Award Winning Confetti & Lace is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier

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