Bride

Girls World: Dotty Bridal

20th July 2021 | Sarah Symonds

Gorgeous Holmfirth-based boutique Dotty Bridal is the UNVEILED Network Member boutique being featured under our glowing members spotlight today, and we’re almost as excited for you to find the gown here as you are!

Shannon of Dotty Bridal is the experienced and friendly face that you want when you’re starting out on your journey to finding your own dream dress for your own big day. We’ve caught up with her this week, despite her very busy schedule, to chat all things bridal fashion, find out how the boutique came to be and why she knows she’s found her calling with Dotty and her team.

Shannon walks us through what it means to be a Dotty bride, what her customers love best about their experience and why a smaller boutique means a more personal and special experience for what is perhaps the most important shopping trip of your life! We’ve also covered how important it is to support local businesses, something we’ve been particularly focussed on with our #ShopSupportSuppliers & #CampaignShopIndpendent initiatives to promote local suppliers and businesses through the pandemic. A cause that’s never been closer to our hearts!

Over to you, Shannon!

Images provided by Dotty Bridal.

Hey there!

Hi, I am Shannon. Dotty Bridal is my multi-award-winning boutique with a homely and welcoming vibe. I opened Dotty as a tiny boutique with one fitting room in 2015, gradually expanded year on year and now have a business partner, Beth, an amazing team of eight girls and a gorgeous boutique housing four fitting rooms and our very own gin bar!

Our aim in all we do is to welcome our brides, make them feel instantly at ease, giving them the best experience on this incredible journey. The Dotty experience is one we are so proud of, and we want it to be a memorable part of your wedding story.

Where did your passion for bridal fashion begin?

My passion first began back in 2013, when I got married. I loved everything about planning my wedding and all things bridal. Having worked in retail since the age of 16 I knew that I had the background and the skills needed to open my own boutique. When we were lucky enough to acquire the bridal kingpin that is Pronovias, I knew that I just had to go for it and open my very own boutique.

Tell us about what makes your boutique special?

We wanted the brides to feel immediately at home and relaxed in our boutique. We know and understand how daunting and overwhelming it can feel to be shopping for your wedding dress, but also how excited you will feel when you find your gown. So we aimed for relaxed, and welcoming, with a very fashion forward and luxury feel throughout.

Each suite within the boutique is totally unique, offering our brides a private fitting room that is suited to their style and taste. We have the cutesie, feminine and relaxed Bloom rooms, the sophisticated and glamorous Oyster suite, and the luxurious, chic, yet calm and tranquil Cloud Suite with its additional and separate fitting room. This allows for our brides to make a real entrance to their guests! All of our rooms are special, luxurious, and perfect for the bride wanting to find her dream dress.

Does the boutique have a signature style of gown?

We wouldn’t say signature, what we would say is bride-focused; we do our research each year, we follow bridal trends through social media, designer campaigns, and our sales trends to see what brides are loving, what they feel amazing in, and we go from there. Our boutique is stocked with dresses that we believe cater to all brides’ needs when it comes to finding a dress.

Which labels do you stock and why did you choose them?

We currently stock eight labels including our own label, Nori Ivy. Each one was chosen for their own reasons, and we are lucky to work with such amazing labels that really want to help bring the bride’s vision to life as much as we do.

Designers include Pronovias, Madison James, Abella, Madi Lane, Evie Young, Justin Alexander, Nori Ivy by Dotty and Willowby by Watters.

What sizes do you carry?

We stock a wide range of dress sizes from a Size 4 – Size 20. Our aim is for every bride to feel amazing! We understand how bridal sizing can throw brides and so we aim to emphasise this through our social media support; particularly our new ‘Your Size’ campaign, where we cover aspects that all women worry about prior to dress shopping. We discuss and talk about worries and concerns, reassuring them that bridal sizing and high street sizing is so different, discussing apprehensions they may have before coming to the shop. We hope to put general worries to bed and reiterate one of our key messages; that, with us at Dotty Bridal, we will do everything we can to make our brides feel confident and beautiful.

What sort of price point are your gowns?

Our gowns tailor for budgets of around £1300 – £3000, with the option to add custom changes to gowns should the bride want to make something bespoke to her and her vision. The average price of a gown in the boutique usually sits around £1700 – £2000.

Where would you advise couples to look for inspiration when beginning the dress hunt?

We would always say to start with Pinterest and Instagram. They are now just the best catalogue for brides to search through. Do your research into the styles and types you love, what are you drawn to, what you envisage wearing on your wedding day and follow that when browsing. Once you have a style in mind, make a note of designers and then look for stockists. Go with an open mind to your appointments, but also be confident in your choices. You’ve waited for this day for a long time, let your feelings guide you to finding that dream dress, you may feel like you have no clue but we promise you do!

How do you approach each appointment?

Each appointment to us is individual and special. Just like each one of our brides! More often than not we have built a relationship with them prior to their appointment, via socials. We adapt to each bride’s needs, guiding them through their appointments as much as they need us to. Allowing them to really explore their vision, which a lot of them have been thinking about from being a little girl. We get the bride to really go with what she is drawn to when browsing the gowns, and then we spend the time with them in our private fitting rooms trying them on and finding the one, ensuring she feels comfortable and her best throughout the entire appointment – it is this feeling we focus on, the feeling of “this is my dress and I can see myself getting married in this” is what we always strive for! We want it to be a memorable experience she will never forget.

Tell us about the fittings and alterations process?

We offer in house alterations to our brides. We have four seamstresses that work alongside us to fit each of our made to order gowns, ensuring the most perfect fit on their wedding day.

Why should brides shop in independent, local boutiques?

We really have a ‘support local’ ethos at Dotty Bridal, we absolutely love supporting our fellow suppliers and industry friends. We are always recommending suppliers to our brides within our appointments as, more often than not, they still have lots to do when it comes to planning, so we can help with that as well. We also feel that the experience we have, and the fact a few of us are current brides-to-be or have been married, and we all have a love for the bridal experience, makes it so special when you find your gown with a local boutique.

The journey doesn’t stop when you find your gown at Dotty, it is just the beginning. Every bride to us is special, and we invest in their journey as much as they do with us. We love to be a part of them saying I do, a one off day that deserves a showstopper gown to match, however ‘showstopper’ may look for them!

What do your brides love about your service?

We often ask for feedback from our brides, as we love to be moving with the times, adapting where we need to, and tweaking things if that’s what the bride wants. But what we find is the most common feedback we get from our brides is about our amazing team. Every single one of our team loves our brides as if they were a friend. The welcoming environment that comes with Dotty Bridal is one off, it’s something we pride ourselves on, and it is this that time and time again comes up as being one thing that makes Dotty stand out. The dresses are amazing, but the team will go above and beyond to ensure that your dress shopping experience is like no other.

What are your top 3 tips for the wedding dress hunt?

Our best advice for our brides is to do your research – use our Instagram, visit our website and really envisage your day and think about how you want your wedding to feel and look.

We would also recommend choosing up to three people whose opinion you value the most! As we know how overwhelming it can be and if there are too many opinions this can add pressure/worry/concern, and we don’t want our brides to feel stressed at all. This also links in to something we get asked a lot regarding visiting shops as well, and how many they should visit.

Bridal shopping is totally different to high street shopping, and brides may feel like they need to shop around, but actually this will only add stress and confusion to your experience. Find a range of gowns you are drawn to, find a stockist, gather those people that mean the most to you, and go and have the best day finding your dream dress. Make that experience one you will never forget. Wedding dress shopping shouldn’t be and needn’t be stressful.

And your no nos?

We would say not to try and be anything that doesn’t sit comfortable with you, stick to your style and what you know you love and feel your best in. Push boundaries absolutely, but also listen to what your head/heart and gut is telling you. You will know, you’ll get a feeling. If you don’t cry, that is ok! Not many do! It is all about the feeling which you won’t be able to replace once you are in YOUR gown.

We would also say to be confident in your own choices, it can be so overwhelming for brides if they have multiple guests with them as they can become confused with opinions and views. Your family and friends will adore you in whatever you choose, go with that thought and know whichever dress you love is the right one! Once you have found your gown, we would also recommend trying to limit looking at photos, we know how hard this is, but we promise when you are back in your gown on the day all of those feelings will come flooding back and the excitement will take over.

What trends do you see emerging in bridal fashion for 2021 and beyond?

We have seen a rise in demand for square necklines and also puff sleeves. It seems that the 80’s is making a comeback!!

Second dresses are now more popular than ever with brides bringing a bit of sparkle and glam to their evening receptions! We’re also loving the simple lines and effortless gowns.

And what about accessories?

We stock quite a few accessories. We love for our brides to be able to envisage the whole look, from veils and belts, down to earrings and hair pins. We stock different designers of accessories including Richard Designs, Twilight Designs, Les Accessories, and our newest addition is Bobby Pin, so we’ve got a wide selection for our brides to choose from when accessorizing their bridal vision.

Have you got any special events or trunk shows coming up?

We do indeed, we have trunk shows for all designers we stock. This usually falls when they are due to launch a new collection. This is a great way for the bride to find her dress amongst gowns brand new to market, offering that exclusivity, and often with a limited discount applied.

Trunk show dates:

Evie Young: 30th July – 1st August including the Bank Holiday Monday

Pronovias: 24 – 26th September

Is there anything else that you would like to tell us about?

We have some super exciting things happening at Dotty bridal over the coming months and we can’t wait to tell you all about them. One of them being Vera Wang Bridal coming to Dotty! Vera Wang Bridal will be with us in September and we can’t wait for this stunning collection. Keep your eyes peeled for our next announcement!

Pick a fave

Dress for 2021? Madi Lane – Brielle

Trend for 2021? Square necklines and definitely capes!

First dance track? Take That – Million Love Songs

Iconic wedding dress of all time? Princess Eugenie’s evening dress.

Celebrity you would most want to dress? Irina Shayk

How can couples get in touch with you and book an appointment?

Our brides often book their appointment through our online booking system, which is easy to access via www.dottybridal.co.uk or pop us a message through our Instagram @dottybridal or on our Facebook page and we will help you in whatever way we can!

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