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Changing the game plan





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For more information contact Michele O’Neill email: or call: 0845 838 1041


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HARROGATE STARS, P26 Rainbow Club showcase their Limited Edition range... too hot to trot in our opinion: stock them fast!

W H AT ’ S

WHE R E 13

TA LKING P OINT The latest headlines and need-to-know news stories within the bridal world





WHAT NIC KI D I D N E X T The delightful Nicki Macfarlane shares with us the journey thus far and her dreams for Macfarlane London...

HA RROGATE STAR S Ones to watch: spotlight on the latest labels 56 S IX O F T HE B EST. . . P R I N T S to dazzle at Harrogate Fabulously flocked and dazzlingly detailed... dresses in a kaleidoscope of colourful prints 30 A HEAD OF TH E CU RV E Enticing and exciting: lovely lingerie never 61 M AIDS M AT T E R looked so good... True Bride on success and staying power in the world of bridesmaids 34 CATCH UP W ITH CAR R IE A getting-to-know-you cup of tea with our 64 S ECO ND O PINI O N new Deputy Editor Enhance your business with add-on services and stand out from the crowd 38 YPOS Nightmare customers in your boutique? Our 66 MAN, THAT’S HOT! guide to showing them the door... One for the boys: top trend predictions and this season’s sizzling-hot style tips 42 UN D E R COVER D R ES S S H OPPI N G 70 T HE M O U T HS O F Some surprising insights shadowing a bride ( B R IDAL ) BAB ES for 24 hours on the boutique trail... Brides share their dress-shopping experiences (it makes for an interesting read...) 46 A MARRIAGE OF M INDS Exciting new collaboartion... Justin 80 MONEY TALKS Alexander and Savannah Miller Tax need not be taxing! All the low-down for your business from the experts


WI NNING WAYS What I’m really thinking... the thoughts of those who’ve just won the coveted awards!

J U ST FIS HING Make mine a mermaid: our guide to the most fabulous fishtail dresses




Ed’s Letter

Editor Susi Rogol

Take a look at the new best sellers at Harrogate, check out the new title holders in the Bridal Buyer Awards, get inspired by new thoughts on ways to broaden your business offering, and meet our new Deputy Editor, the lovely Carrie Marsden. Now I have two right hands – my own…. and Carrie. She’s a busybody, a questioner, a challenger, and she’ll be demanding when it comes to gathering information. You have been warned! This issue is focused on all things new – that’s what keeps our industry alive – but it’s not simply style trends and fabrics I’m talking about, but rather ideas, opinions and clear thinking. We all have a mammoth task ahead in these unquestionably difficult times; working together and sharing insights is what will make us stronger. I‘d love your thoughts on our latest edition – thumbs up and thumbs down – as well as a shopping list of things you’d like us to look at EDITOR going forwards. SUSI ROGOL-GOODKIND TEAM TALK


Carrie Marsden Deputy Editor “Am I allowed to say how much fun it was interviewing myself?!” (p34). And catching up with Nicki Macfarlane.” (p52) Andy Allen Art Director “Hearing about award winners’ reactions when they hear their name announced is always heart-warming.” (p22)





Nardene Smith Advertising Sales Consultant SERVICE “Slinky fishtails are so Hollywood glamour and I enjoyed seeing the best of the best from the big brands.” (p48) ENTER THE NEW-AGE BOYS’ ZONE


Changing the game plan





Cover image: Ronald Joyce WT10 Cover 3aa.indd 1

Martha Cook Sales Executive “The more retailers can up their offering the better. The advice about working with other suppliers makes sense.” (p64)

CONTRIBUTORS Stephanie Allin, Laura Cable, Michael Cahill, Anna Cirignaco, Graham Connell, Sharon Cousans, Laura Daly, Christine Dando, Laura Devine, Kimberley Fairfowl, Nikki Flynn, Rosanna Garden, Sharon Goode, Martine Harris, Sassi Holford, Veni Infantino, Vicky Lamb, Helen Lord, Melanie Metcalfe, Nicki MacFarlane, Maria Musgrove-Wethey, Abigail Neill, Jemma Palmer, Maureen Ryder, Nicola Russill-Roy, Simon Ryan, Ellie Sanderson, Jeanette Stevens, Ian Stuart, Nicola Swain, Justin Warshaw

09/10/2018 13:40

Deputy Editor Carrie Marsden

Art Director Andy Allen

Advertising Sales Consultant Nardene Smith Mobile: 07957 372276

Sales Executive Martha Cooke Mobile: 07877 449122

@WeddingTraderUK @WeddingTraderMag @weddingtrader


Wedding Trader magazine is distributed to hundreds of the best bridal retailers all over the UK. Designed and created by the makers of Love Our Wedding magazine and, Wedding Trader is a new trade string to the otherwise consumer bow of Meant To Be Media Ltd.

MEANT TO BE MEDIA Wedding Trader is published by: Meant To Be Media Ltd, 68a Oldham Road, Manchester M4 5EE. Tel: 0161 236 6712 Meant To Be Media Ltd also publish: F IND YOUR




Affordable luxury for every bride

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T res C hic B ridal W ear . com

TAL KING POINT The latest news in the wedding world, right here, right now

WATCH OUT FOR... LOIS WILD Jane Hancock and Christine Wilke, the talented design duo who brought you LouLou and Louise Bentley have turned their attention, 100%, to a new label, Lois Wild, a contemporary twist on vintage that the team are best known for. There are three collections: Mode centres on clean lines and romantic details. Soft tulles, lace appliqués and silk organza feature, as well as crisp mikado, and deluxe satin. RRP is pegged at £1,000 to £1,400.

Lavish is a boutique collection of exquisitely beaded dresses embellished with colour-enhanced embroidery and textured with flowers and pearls. Prices here go from £1,200 to £2,000. Vivacious is designed for the curvy bride, where wellstructured bodices with extra boning play up the positives. The size range is 18-34 and price range is £1,000-£1,700. The girls opened a dozen new accounts at Harrogate. +44 (0)20 3432 5703

N OT TO B E M I S S E D La Poésie Bridal is a new label and one with huge promise. French Levers lace, embroidered silk organza, silk chiffon and a lush heavy silk crepe feature in the latest collection dressed with appliqued flowers and 3-d shimmer. The brand was launched just over a year ago during New York Bridal Week and attracted an instant network of stockists from the US, Asia and Europe. The collection is proudly made here in the UK – in design-trendy East London and can be viewed at the company’s atelier. Monika Kashimbaya is the talent behind the brand and she is as cool as the gowns she creates. +44 (0)20 8533 5520

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SAY I T WITH F LOWE RS Award-winning designer Veni Infantino wanted to produce a real show stopper for Spring 19. She told us: “Spring means flowers, new life and new beginnings, and for brides it is no different. I wanted to create a floral dress full of vibrant, yet delicate 3D flowers and foliage - which are very on trend now! The gown – Celestina – is made up of layers of tulle and soft

net with embroidery and is lovely and bouncy when worn. I really can’t wait to see it on real brides! Since the gown was launched at The Harrogate Bridal show it has been all over Instagram!” Celestina is also available in ivory or white, but hey, the colour is just gorgeous... a great window piece! +44 (0)1636 700 889

ALLURE BRIDALS US firm Allure Bridals contacted its stockists in the UK last week (4 October) with the surprise announcement that its relationship with its distributors here had been terminated. However, while the UK, Ireland and Europe will be serviced by Allure itself ongoing, questions relating to existing orders should be directed through SB’s offices. We will provide more information as it becomes available. Future Allure contact details are: Lindsay Bradshaw US: +1 901 384 2817 Roberto Fissore Italy: +39 34 62 279066 Spain: +34 66 36 19031

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Simple says it all. This elegant little number from The House of Nicholas relies on streamline cut, and just a hint of detail, to make a huge style statement. This is what chic is all about but then after 60 years of making beautiful bridal gowns, you’d expect the very best from this maker. +44 (0)20 8802 1399

FROM I N S I D E O U T Bianco Evento is one of those companies that never fails to delight. It starts with undies –shape-making bras, waist-cinchers and petticoats – moves on to a brilliant selection of dresses and separates, and then adds all the right finishing touches from shoes, under its Avalia label, to hair accessories, jewellery and veils. The latest line up of gowns offers some gorgeous boho styles with softly flowing skirts and fine cotton lace highlights; elegant, underplayed body-skimming gowns with boat necklines or off-theshoulder sleeves, and this the new season’s have-tohave… jump suits. Check out more at

Demetrios does it again Graceful and chic, subtle and daring, those are the key messages from Demetrios, the brand that believes that fashionable and fierce can be conveyed with charm. The new collection from Illissa Fashion Group has all of those attributes and they come together in sleek, beautifully structured lines, sumptuous fabrics, and layers of

intricate detailing. We love this mermaid gown (clever to shoot it at sea!) where the finely-worked cascades of layered wisps of tulle give the impression of a flurry of feathers. Check out all the other goodies in the Grace Chic collection. or email eleni@

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PRINTS CHARMING We feature ‘Six of the Best Prints’ on page 56 of this issue but of course we were running ahead of ourselves and have come up with more amazing stories of pattern and colour since we pressed the ‘go’ button. Flowers and graphics are big news – not together, of course – and few designers do it better that Olvi’s, which has been one of our very favourite labels for many a year. Signature stretchy French lace really does do slenderising magic, but it is the sheer detail bravado that makes every dress stand out. The new collection makes a point of being different, combining layers and textures, prints and plains, and a wild range of colours. Call Roger at Well-Connected Agent, to be further impressed. +44 (0)7809 870561

AL L TO G E THER NOW Victoria Kay Gowns is very much a collection of collections, with a selection of labels in its portfolio that represent all the newest looks. With flowers and prints and ballgowns featuring on many current wishlists, this dress from the Signature range – it is style 1739 for those who want instant info – combines them all. The fine top layer of ivory tulle floats over the pink flower print (which also comes in a soft blue) and the sweetheart neckline is cut to flatter. Retailing at just £899, we reckon brides in search of the ultra-feminine will fall in love at first try on. +44 (0)1424 439165

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Top Toes New for 2019, Rainbow Club has partnered with awardwinning designer Ivory & Co to create a range of gorgeous accessories. The collaboration features an exclusive wedding shoe and shoe clips, each made to match Ivory & Co’s stunning headdresses and tiaras. Take a look at Willow (a classic ivory satin court in sizes 3-8 and retailing at £149) as a beautiful example. +44 (0)1392 207030

For the very welldressed blokes With grooms becoming evermore fashion conscious, it was inevitable that trend-setting brands would introduce seasonal style stories. Benetti has focused on colour and texture (think tweeds), and plains and checks to create a small, tightly-coordinated collection. The cut is slim, jackets are shorter, and linings are the hidden treasures. Think blue. +44 (0)1622 873434 harpersmenswear2@

ATTENTION GETTER S We asked award-winning Essense of Australia, what they found was most in demand at Harrogate in September from their leading collections. From Stella York, far right, it was style 6758 in matte mikado, RRP £1,199; from the Martina Liana collection, the star number was style 1078, right, a lace and tulle fit-and-flare gown with an RRP of £2,599; and from Essense of Australia style D2752, a lovely lace and tulle strapless A-line, RRP £1,599. We’ve seen the whole collection and there are many more winners waiting for you. +44 0800 961140 N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 8 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ 17

t lie Ju

In my opinion To those suppliers who have somehow missed the memo again, here’s a gentle reminder from none other than Wedding Trader’s Laura Daly that it’s never too late to cross over from the dark side


or many years now, we, the vast majority of UK bridal retailers (being of sound mind* and business practice) have been adhering to pricing formulas that more or less allow us to cover our operating costs and settle our invoices. On a really good month, we may even generate a profit. We don’t all use the same formula and we don’t all have the same overheads but if, after the past few years, we are still here and trading, then please understand that we have worked out what we need to take and what we need to make in order to keep solvent. Even for long-established businesses with admirable reputations, independent bridal retailing is hard work for a modest return, and I doubt there are many who would claim to anything much more than simply keeping solvent. We understand that, occasionally, wholesale prices will rise. Obviously, if the cost of raw materials and manpower increases, then so does that of the end product and this needs to be reflected in the retail price. If next season’s designs are going to cost more to produce, please don’t suggest we adjust our margins downward in order to maintain your product’s appeal to the consumer. Our mark-up formula has to remain the same. Ultimately, of course, the consumer will decide whether or not

any product is worth the price tag. In the meantime, the retailer needs to decide if there is any likelihood of the product selling at the correct mark-up and if the investment is a risk worth taking. If we decide against investing because we think it is unlikely to sell at the price we would need to set, then we understand that you may wish to offer it elsewhere. However, we should not be threatened with the prospect of all outstanding dress orders being delivered and invoiced together or much earlier than would otherwise have been the case.

If you really want to help your retailers, please stop producing 40+ dresses twice a year and insisting on minimum orders. Why on earth is there any need for more than one collection a year? I guess it can only be to boost sample sales but I’d be happy to hear any alternative arguments in favour. It would be very helpful also to better synchronise discontinuations with the buying season and allow us to know what’s becoming obsolete before we need to buy our new stock. Issuing a long discontinuation list a month after the biggest buying date in the UK calendar is not only extremely frustrating but also mind-bogglingly Please stop producing thoughtless. It leads to an imbalance 40-plus dresses twice a of styles and sizes on our rails. You will make more money from us if you help year and insisting on us to service our brides correctly. There are some great suppliers minimum orders out there; working with, rather than If our trading history with you against, retailers, listening to our has been good, kindly allow us the opinions and being genuinely helpful. common courtesy of continuing to take If there’s a problem, they want to hear delivery of the outstanding gowns as about it. If something’s not working, and when they are ready, and to settle they want to know why, and what they our invoices in the normal time frame. can do to improve it. They don’t just When it comes to the bottom line, open another account in a shop up the we have very little wiggle room. If you road and hope that’ll turn out better. choose to change your procedures They’re the good guys. Make sure and start sending out gowns you’re one of the good guys. Come unchecked and unpressed, please on… it’s not too late… you can do it! bear in mind that we need to factor in time and staff to do those jobs. Extra *’sound mind’ may be something of a costs to add to the price of each gown. moot point...

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WI N NING WAYS The 2018 Bridal Buyer Awards programme saw some repeat performances from companies and individuals with a collection of trophies already on their shelves. Well done to them... and to those getting up on stage for the first time! Sassi Holford “I am always immensely proud of this award because it is voted for by the industry. Best British Bridalwear Designer is such a strong category because we have amazing talent in the bridal industry in Britain. It has always been a pleasure to work in this industry alongside designers with whom I have formed longstanding friendships. I think this award represents not only design, but it is a reflection of consistency, exceptional customer service and loyalty.” Best British Bridalwear Designer 2018

Enzoani “Seriously lost for words winning this prestigious and coveted award not only three times in a row, but four times in total over the five years we entered! How did we do that? Surely we could not win it again, and up against so many fabulous, equally deserving manufacturers! Just like each and every year, time stands still for that moment, holding your breath, and then disbelief, goosebumps and that rush of emotions feeling both so privileged and lucky and oh-so proud to be able to work with such an incredible team, our Enzoani family. Best feeling ever!” Jeanette Stevens, Enzoani Best Bridalwear Manufacturer

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Veni Infantino “It’s such a huge achievement to be appreciated and recognised by the industry. So much time and effort goes into the collection, even to be in the final three is surreal… and to win is remarkable.” Veni Infantino, Ronald Joyce Best Mother of the Bride Collection

Ellie Wilde for Mon Cheri “After winning IPA Retailers Choice Awards for Prom Manufacturer of the Year for Ellie Wilde in Atlanta in August, we are absolutely delighted to have won a prestigious Bridal Buyer Award for Best Prom Collection. Many congratulations to our fabulous designer Evelyn Jia, very well deserved.” Nicole Swain, Dom Bridals for Ellie Wilde of Mon Cheri Best Prom Collection of the Year

Ellie Sanderson Boutique “I was utterly delighted to win this award for the second time – so much time and love was poured into our site to ensure our brides have the right online experience.” Ellie Sanderson Ellie Sanderson Boutique Retailer Website of the Year

JUSTI N ALEX AN DE R “We design with real women in mind, and our ‘Be You’ campaign with Iskra Lawrence inspired brides no matter their size, shape, or style. We’re honoured to be recognised by the industry and awarded Best Plus Size Collection this year.” Justin Warshaw, President and Co-Creative Director, Justin Alexander Best Plus Size Collection

Ian Stuart “Ambiance, atmosphere and interior design are all key ingredients to providing the customer with a fabulous shopping experience! We were absolutely delighted, honoured and thrilled to win the Bridal Buyer Award.” Pete added: “Well done, Sir Christopher Wren!” Ian Stuart, Ian Stuart Blewcoat Best In-Store Design

Laura May Bridal “We are so proud to be honoured with such an award among other well-known boutiques. My overall feeling was one of pride in our team and what we have achieved so far.” Laura Cable, Laura May Bridal Bridalwear Retailer of the Year – Wales

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Chimney Formal Menswear

Motee Maids

“We were overwhelmed and the award was so unexpected! Absolutely delighted to win and it feels amazing that all our hard work has paid off; it means so much to everyone at Motee.” Rosanna Garden, Motee Maids Best Bridesmaid Manufacturer

““I am still very much on Cloud Nine. We are so delighted that we have received this prestigious national award. As a small independent retailer, we feel that receiving the Bridal Buyer Best Men’s Formalwear Retailer Award is an acknowledgement of the standard of service and commitment that we provide and this will give our future customers the confidence to know that they have made the right choice in asking the team at Chimney to help them style their wedding suits. We still cannot really believe that we have won; it is so amazing to be chosen as the best.” Sharon Cousans, Chimney Formal Menswear Best Mens’ Formalwear Retailer

Essense of Australia “Creating gowns that brides continue to love is a dream come true, and we could not be more humbled or grateful to receive this honour for a second straight year.” Martine Harris Essense of Australia Wedding Dress of the Year

Miranda Templeton “It’s a totally overwhelming feeling. I almost didn’t recognise our own name and it seemed to take forever to react and actually get to my feet. Claire was shaking with emotion and even Tony came to the stage, which he’s always said he wouldn’t do. I’m so very proud of our little team; it was a moment of pure, unadulterated happiness and one we will never forget.” Melanie Metcalfe, Miranda Templeton Best Headdress Collection of the Year

LULU BROWNS “When our name was announced it was pure relief if I’m honest! Relief that all our hard work and commitment to Lulu’s and our fabulous industry was recognised by people we respect; our peers and fellow bridal experts! A truly wonderful moment and one we’ll treasure for years to come!” Helen Lord, Lulu Browns Long-Standing Retailer of the Year

Sophie Grace Bridal “We were so surprised and delighted! Our brides have given us the most outstanding thank you, we’re overwhelmed. We are so proud of our staff for the service that they provide.” Maureen Ryder, Sophie Grace Bridal Retailer Customer Service of the Year 24 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 8

Abigail Neil

Catherine Parry “We’re absolutely thrilled to be recognised with this award, above some of the very biggest brands in the industry. There are lots of beautiful dresses on the market, but great customer service is an increasingly important factor for retailers and something that we believe sets Catherine Parry apart. We really value our retailer partners and this ethos has undoubtedly been key to our success.” Simon Ryan, Catherine Parry, Supplier Customer Service of the Year

Halo & Wren

“I was over the moon and so thankful that Halo & Wren is recognised as a leader for the modern bride and a supporter of independent design. And I was proud to be in the category alongside such incredible boutiques. Also, I am proud to be known for not being afraid to be different, unique, non-traditional and non-obligated in such a traditional industry.” Jemma Palmer, Halo & Wren New Bridalwear Retailer of the Year

“It was literally one of the best moments! It may sound over the top, but to hear our name announced was absolutely incredible! I remember sitting there at my first ever Bridal Buyer Awards ceremony many years ago and dreaming; one day I hope that we’ll win that title. And this year we did it! The feeling of pride and achievement was quite overwhelming – it was really, really emotional.” Abigail Neill, Abigail’s Collection & The Groom’s Room Bridalwear Retailer of the Year – England

Eleganza Sposa “We are all thrilled to have won! It was an honour to be a finalist in a category with other Scottish retailers whom I admire and respect. While we all work hard at Eleganza to provide the best retail experience that we can for our brides, I was still very surprised – and obviously delighted – when they announced our boutique as the winner.” Anna Cirignaco, Eleganza Sposa Bridalwear, Retailer of the Year – Scotland

Eden Bridal

“Winning two years in a row was not something I thought possible for us in a retailer category. We are stunned, yet overjoyed, to share this recognition and success with the teams of people we work with and, of course, with our brides-to-be and even the past brides we’ve served. So many have commented and congratulated us. With hearts to serve and to the highest standard, it’s great for all involved to bask in this win.” Kimberley Fairfowl, Eden Bridal Boutique, Bridalwear Retailer of the Year – Ireland N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 8 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ 25

Harrogate Best Sellers

STAR NUMBERS It’s always good to know the best sellers in any collection. We ask some of our favourite houses which of their new styles look like being next season’s winners


In a collection that’s packed with great numbers, and comes from one of the biggest names in the business, that style 88003 was grabbed by stockists everywhere comes as no real surprise and should give you serious food for thought. If you missed it for any reason, get back in there for this gorgeous A-line gown in chiffon and Chantilly lace with its sheer bodice beaded with cascades of tiny pearls and crystals. Your brides get to pick from ivory/ nude, or ivory/ivory. RRP is £1,629. +44 (0)1908 615599



FOX B R I DA L While Now & Again, a style that’s been carried over due to its huge success, (and got onto 90% of stockists’ forward orders), it’s the brand new, sleek, and red-carpet little number, Fallen Angel, that is hitting the big time for Oz label, Jean Fox. It’s a body hugger, in an embossed fabric, with a deep, deep V-neck and cut-away shoulders that form a halter. Sexy – yes, and very very stylish. Size 10, in ivory, clocked up the orders. The RRP is £1,495. +44 (0)121 733 7309

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One of the key names from the Netherlands, and in the bridal business for more than five decades (how’s that for a success story?), Tres Chic has a big collection that buyers snapped up. No less than 75% of stockists zeroed in on style 9377TC, a gorgeously grown-up ballgown with a sweetheart neckline beneath the see-through lace-appliquéd longsleeve bodice. Tulle and lace with added shimmer from pearl and silver beading. RRP £1,150-£1,250. +44 (0)7935 156275



There’s always a big buzz around the Veromia stand – the choice of dresses means there really is something for everyone. And what everyone wanted this time round was VRK61808, a sparkling new gown in sequinned tulle and lace. The best-selling size was 14 and it will sell for under £1,000... that’s music to many an ear. +44 (0)20 8502 2257

Curves count! The best-selling size of Sonsie’s lovely new 91806 was 22, which is useful to know if you are thinking of stocking a plus-size collection but haven’t got round to it yet. This particular label has won its fair share of awards – it has its cut, fit and support act totally together. Stockists loved the wide V-neck on this gown, +44 (0)20 8502 2257

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T R U E B R I D ES M A I D S As bridesmaids themselves get more demanding and want standout, fashion-forward dresses rather than the traditional background numbers, retailers are looking for collections with a bit of WOW about them. Hence the success of True Bridesmaids M404. This slim-line chiffon dress proved to be a star at Harrogate. And with a RRP of £289, it’s a great buy. +44 (0)1273 728637

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The majority of stockists who carry this label, bought into 119120 – and size 12 was first choice for many. A fusion of exquisite corded lace, tulle and beading features, and the plunging sweetheart neckline shows female curves off to best advantage. This slinky gown is available in diamond white, or diamond white with oyster pearl and retails for just £630, while looking every bit a million dollars. +44 (0)1954 232102

B E LOVED BY CASA B LA NCA B R I DA L A number – and a name – it’s BL281, Stella, from the Vows in Valencia collection. Starry lace, starry name, so perfect for our star numbers story. The lace is exclusive to this superb US label and the detailing comes together perfectly, from the spaghetti straps to the beaded belt, to the cascading back and sequinned tulle layered skirt. You hardy need more convincing, but the detail matching veil does it for us! +44 (0)7759 226220

L I N Z I JAY From the all-together-now-in-oneportfolio of show-stopping accessories, comes the brand new and just gorgeous Linzi Jay’s multicoloured floral hairvine, style LP716, that can be twisted and twirled in countless different directions. Retailing at £49, it is irresistible. And if the bride doesn’t pick it for herself, her attendants will certainly want it. The veil in the collection – LA963 that brought in brilliant business, is a long (size 7) single-tier job with lace motifs all round the edges. +44 (0)1254 665104

RA INB OW CLU B Margot is a shining example of the great-looking styles from Rainbow’s all-new Limited Edition range, where only 250 pairs of any style are available – so a touch of the exclusives here. Retailing at an incredibly reasonable £125, it comes in ivory satin dressed up with glittering detail. +44 (0)1392 207030



Feet First

P E R F ECT B R I DA L S H O ES A cute little kitten heel is one of the signature selling points of style Tegan, but this pointy-toe sling back has a lot more going for it than merely heel height. A generous bit of crystalencrusting on the strap, for example, plus a curvy vamp, and a neat little bow... It is dyeable, too, which makes it a fave with mums and party-goers as well as brides. Just £95 RRP. +44 (0)1455 823814

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Ahead of the curve...

IN LOVE W I T H LI NG E R I E Spotlight on sexiness: For the 2018/2019 season – and in our favourite sort of exposé – we uncover the hottest way to cater for curves...

BENMARK With everything a girl could possibly need for her wedding day and honeymoon, including strapless bras, basques, body suits and slinky nightwear, Benmark has brides covered (albeit briefly. Well, covered in briefs at least), specialises in lingerie that combines the feminine with the temptress, and caters for women up to bra size 46I. Labels include Spanish brand Ivette and Dominique and Elila from the US. Ladies will love: Ivette’s backless body, cut incredibly low... You’ll love: Ivette’s collection, Heritage, which brings out a new range every year to complement en vogue dress fashions, and keeping you, (ahem), abreast of the latest trends. Top tip: “Depending on the type of dresses you stock, have underwear that accommodates different cuts and necklines ready for brides to try.” +44 (0)20 8908 2690

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PAT R I C I A E V E Patricia Eve started life as a onewoman agency in 1977 and has since, over the past 35 years, developed into a family business distributing lingerie, swimwear and nightwear throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland. Owners Pat and Mike specialise in selling to independent retailers as well as the lingerie/ swimwear departments of larger stores including Harrods, Littlewoods and Freemans. The expanded brand became Patricia Eve Partners (P.E.P), and the nation’s curves have been well and truly in safe hands ever since! Patricia Eve’s shapewear collection continues to contour and shape British brides, with biggestselling lingerie items including the ever-popular waist cincher from Miraclesuit. When it comes to ordering stock for your boutique, Pat and Mike have some sage advice: “The sheer scope of lingerie on offer would swamp a bridal retail outlet but there’s no need to carry huge stock on the premises; Patricia Eve’s continuity brochure tailors the needs of individual boutiques and means bridal shops can order only what they need, with items being shipped the same day.” Ladies will love: Patricia Eve’s Secret Weapons Accessories (including the Va Va Voom Cleavage bra and Twinkle Toes Stiletto Stoppers – perfect for brides’ heels on a marquee lawn). You’ll love: Patricia Eve’s Spanish line offers a great size range (shapewear can run from a size S right up to a size 5XL), and they also offer continuity items that can be replenished throughout the year, giving retailers flexibility and beautiful seasonal offerings too! Top Tip: Patricia Eve’s Edgies briefs are amazing and feature a silicon gripper designed to offer “no ride, and no lines” under garments. Today’s brides are an adventurous lot - we say stock them pronto. +44 (0) 1423 885374

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JUPON AND J U P O N P E T T I C OAT S Peek inside the dazzling lingerie portfolio of label Poirier at Jupon and you’ll find 16 styles of beautiful bras; 28 styles of A-line, fishtail, and ballgown petticoats; plentiful decorative bustiers, as well as both short and long tantalising torsalettes (you are not alone if you had to look up a torsalette…). With 27 years of experience under their perfectly immaculate (suspender) belts, Jupon’s lingerie, with all its sophisticated sass and sexiness, has captivated UK brides along with upwards of 300 British retailers. (In addition, Jupon’s petticoats are stocked by approximately 1,500 retailers!). Brides continue to be besotted by the best-selling Poirier Torselette 423 for its push-up cleavage effect with deep décolleté. Ladies will love: The varied knicker range including T-string, thong, hipster and French knicker. You’ll love: Being able to offer petticoats that can be ordered in any size and as bespoke as the bride likes (Jupon made a purple and green fishtail petticoat this year!). Top tip: “The ideal mix of items for a retailer is ten top pieces, including the Poirier Torselette 423, as it offers the best figure correcting. We do a starter pack for retailers – around £600 – and this covers 70% of bridal bra sizes. You use the samples to fit brides and just replenish stock when you order. All you need is a rail 12” long and the starter pack!” +44 (0) 1753 622922

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From pints to Pinterest to proactivity, we share a gettingto-know-you cup of tea with new Deputy Editor, Carrie Marsden...


n my first day in my new role I asked the lovely Editor, Susi, who she wanted me to quiz for our Q and A feature. “Let’s do you!” she said, “you can introduce yourself”. And so it is with something approaching trepidation that my first interview for Wedding Trader is with this slightly strange, clearly excitable, and – let’s be honest here – now middle-aged woman. She sits before me with remnants of this morning’s breakfast about her personage (courtesy of a well-timed fling from her four year old) and most certainly last night’s hair. Let us hope she behaves herself. Carrie! You’re positively buzzing! Why so? I am indeed Carrie, and it’s not just because I’ve recently dropped off the kids… I now have this fabulous new job working at Wedding Trader! This means I get to think creatively about how best to capture and convey the burning issues currently facing the wedding industry, and, through in-depth interviews and pertinent, well-researched features, share with our readers candid, practical and informative ways in which all retailers can improve and enhance their business. How awesome is that?! Awesome indeed! No wonder you’re all fired up. What will be the most important aspect of your job? I’d really like to get to know the readers. I believe that Wedding Trader carries a huge weight of responsibility in both helping to shape and reflect current trends in the wedding industry and I feel that responsibility keenly. I think that being in tune with this profession’s unique challenges stems from listening to those in the know, and this places us at the magazine in a better position to respond to these challenges by generating honest debate and canvassing – then sharing – opinion. I sincerely hope our readers will feel free to contact me and let me know what’s on their mind! We notice you’re rocking a wedding ring yourself there Carrie; can you

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world indeed. I think about how my daughters’ wedding experiences will contrast with my own and that’s what makes working at Wedding Trader so relevant, exciting and important. Wowzers that’s deep, man. What exactly do you mean though? Well, I guess I mean that those in the wedding industry are constantly responding and adapting to the curveballs that get thrown their way every day in such a fast-paced and transient industry (I’m thinking in particular of the challenges, and opportunities, that the explosion of social media and Pinterest etc has presented), whilst at the same time having to remain anchored and true to a simple, unalterable fact: that little Let’s dress up girls still, and always, dream big and Yep, just your with a passion for their wedding day. average get-up for That’s a tough gig for our retailers; a trip to Morrisons. to be up to date whilst never losing those authentic, romantic roots. But I tell us something a little more think that challenge is achievable and personal please – an insight into YOU also reassuring: simple human nature so to speak? means people will always fall in love I’ve been married for 14 years although and look to celebrate big! would you believe I was only ‘awarded’ My wedding dress shopping (as my husband says) my wedding experience 14 years ago will be hugely ring last year?! Something was said at different from Elle’s and Indie’s (let’s the time by yours truly in a throwaway hope in many many years to come) comment about my engagement ring but we’ll share in common that same being ‘enough’, although come on now excitement. I’m looking forward to Mr Marsden, please. No woman can be being a part of Wedding Trader and held to account by that sort of thing. the discussion on how best to cater for a whole new wave of grown-up little Absolutely. I second that by the way, girls who once ago dreamed big. Carrie. And children? Judging from the photos, yes, or did you borrow Elle and Indie will not be getting them for the occasion? married Carrie (or so says Mr I have three of the little darlings Marsden who’s just walked in). What (they are always darlings when they do you think the future holds for are away at school). My youngest those in the wedding industry? talks of wedding dresses constantly I think challenges will continue to (see us above playing dress up: me present themselves apace with the in my wedding dress and her in her ever-changing landscape our beautiful bridesmaid dress. Not at the same brides have to negotiate when they wedding, mind). start planning their weddings. In fact, right there in that simple, I believe it’s absolutely essential that timeless fact – that there will always we stay committed to their experience be little girls captivated and enthralled – however much that may now differ by the thought of their wedding day to our own memories of getting – makes for all of us who work in the married– as well as anticipating world of weddings, a very special potential hurdles they are currently

facing in order to stay proactive about meeting their needs. I have shadowed a newly-engaged bride, for example (see p.42) and this proved illuminating and afforded much food for thought. Working alongside Love Our Wedding gives Wedding Trader a unique ‘in’ as a conduit between the brides and retailers, as well as a platform for genuine dialogue. Thanks Carrie! I’d definitely just take a look at that hair before you think about leaving the building, and, er, you didn’t just drink pints on your wedding day did you? Absolutely! Abbey Ales all the way! Please do get in touch with Carrie at

Maid up My gorgeous ‘maid Meg. Check out some exciting new childrenswear news on page 52.

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Delivering what the industry needs

12-14 MAY 2019

As we all know, the market is facing greater challenges than ever before and it is crucial, therefore, that suppliers and retailers work together to achieve the best possible results. The all-new event, UK Bridal Week, 12-19 May, provides the perfect platform


harp thinking and an uncluttered vision for tomorrow are the starting point for strategic planning and paving the way forward. For suppliers and retailers alike, timing has proved to be one of the major influencers, which is why United Fairs, organisers of the

new Birmingham show at the NEC – UK Bridal Week – researched wants and needs across the market before selecting mid-May as ideal. It is not simply that production cycles have become increasing complex – and competitive – or that there is no longer a real

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wedding season. Just as important is the move by many suppliers to follow designer-driven brands and create a core, once-a-year collection – with mid-season topups, rather than two collections each year of equal importance. All of this makes UK Bridal Week a very special proposition, and one



that investigates and incorporates new opportunities to the market, for both the single collection brands and those who plan in midseason additions to increase their offering to their network of existing and new stockists. Feedback from retailers is very clear when it comes to analysing the shopping habits of today’s brides. They are very different to those of yesterday, and increasingly they are choosing to marry aboard, often in search of the sun during the winter months. They want choice, they demand options, they want the availability of customisation, they are savvy... and they are dedicated to shopping around. Getting deliveries at the right time is vital to the health and well being of a bridal boutique in today’s environment and being able to spread them over the

months means that brides-to-be on their second and even third visit to a particular boutique will always be wow’ed by a selection’s new – and as yet unseen – pieces. And UK Bridal Week will certainly be focused on all things new, with the latest collections from many of the top names in the business – brands that are ready to support their stockists with area exclusivity, promotional material, social media add-ons, and that allimportant customer service. One of the retailer concerns that United’s research highlighted was the number of copycat companies operating today and exhibiting at various events, who can fool even the canniest of buyers at first sight, only to prove their lack of quality and originality when their goods arrive. It is excellent news, therefore, that UK Bridal Week is taking

a rigid approach to accepting exhibitors – only established, bona fide labels will be allowed to show, which means that retailers can be assured of brand authenticity. There will, of course, be those emerging brands exhibiting – new today but destined to lead the pack in the future – but these, too, will have been vetted with care. Labels such as Justin Alexander, Enzoani, Lilly Bridal, Diane Legrand, Demetrios, Callista and Jenny Packham Bridesmaids are clear indicators of the quality you can expect at UK Bridal Week. Add to that the convenience of the NEC, and that all-important timing, and you know this will be next year’s winner. For further information contact: Gary Barbe +44 (0)7908 653364

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Mob-handed they descend on you, turning what should be a bride’s wonderful experience into a boutique-owner’s greatest nightmare. So how best to cope…


YO U R P R O B L E M S O UR S O LU T I O N S “Bride has made first appointment, by email, via my website and has been promised a one-and-a-half to two-hour appointment. She arrives on time, not just with Mum, Sister, and Best Friend but with an entourage of eight, including Best Man, and a very unhappy baby. They’re loud, rude, aggressive and demanding – wanting everything from “a big glass of shampoo” to “a beer for the boy”. Two of the so-called friends also want to try dresses on and so, it seems, does the mum. The baby needs changing and its mother wants to do it there and then on my white leather sofa. My sales consultant is on the verge of hysteria; my displays are being interfered with, and It doesn’t help that the mother opens her bag to show off wads of notes, saying, “you look after us and we’ll look after you.” In situations like this – it’s never happened to me before but presumably others have had similar experiences – how does one get them out of the shop? I don’t need to deal with groups like this.”


Helen Lord Lulu Browns Whalley, Lancashire

Ok, first things first, this is your shop. Your shop, your rules and you need to keep repeating this to yourself. Without stating the obvious, you need to know what your rules are. Do you allow children in your store? Do you set a limit on how many guests a bride

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can bring? Have you made it clear to her about what she can expect from her appointment with you? Knowing the answer to these three questions will already eradicate half, if not most, of the problems listed above. When a bride is booking her appointment you need to make it crystal

clear what she can expect from your store. For example: “We are delighted to offer you a private, two-hour appointment, where you can chose up to X number of gowns to try. Our boutique has space for you and X number of guests. Sadly, due to our health and safety

policy, we are not able to accommodate children over the age of X”. Already, you are making it clear you have rules, designed with her in mind to ensure she has the most wonderful, and memorable experience with you. The question of her


There are only two outcomes for every bridal appointment – sale or no sale. I would make it clear at the outset that I will not tolerate rude and/or abusive behaviour within my showrooms. However, this scenario appears to be one of ‘differing social mores’. Loud, rude and seemingly aggressive behaviour, may be the way the family interact and communicate. I have experience of many family groups of this ilk and have completed successful sales and then have sold to their wider families. They have come back saying, “My cousin bought a dress from you and you looked after her so we will all come to you”.

friends trying gowns on should be met with: “We’d be absolutely delighted to welcome you (said friend) back to our boutique to help you find your gown; we’ll arrange an appointment once we’ve found a gown for your friend.” For the sake of your sanity,

do not let her friends try on. It will descend into chaos rapidly and you will lose control of your appointment and your store. Training your staff on this exact scenario will be so beneficial. Practising how to be assertive and not rude, is one of the most valuable

My chosen outcome would be a sale. An appointment with this many guests takes two to manage. Whilst the bridal consultant is concentrating on the bride and the gowns, I would take care of the guests with humour. Engage the mum and family in conversation, making them feel welcome, whilst managing their behaviour – it is better for you, your consultant and the outcome of the appointment. I would give them all a Bucks Fizz and explain that we do not stock beer but are happy to make a coffee. Families often have another member getting married and they all want to try on bridal gowns – take charge and respectfully,

with a light touch, explain that the appointment is for “the bride who has booked and let’s give her our full concentration and support.” Good old Health and Safety can be evoked if displays are being interfered with. “Please be careful of the displays they are for visual purposes only – I do not want anyone to get hurt,” works for me. A baby in the showroom is a fact of modern day life. Many of our customers have babies and babies need changing. Once again this is where I step in and direct the mother to a suitable place to change the baby. I have no issue with being shown wads of cash – as long as the notes are real!


Ian Stuart Blewcoat Westminster, London

Firstly we make it quite clear before the appointment takes place that there can be three guests maximum. If they turn up en masse, we would ask the bride to select three members of her party whose opinion she especially values… the remaining guests can then take the baby, go and have a drink elsewhere, whilst the appointment is taking place. If the bride doesn’t

accept our suggestion, we would cancel the appointment there and then and kindly ask them to leave. If they then become aggressive and intimidating, and refused to leave the shop, we would at that point call the police. The ‘wads of cash’ are not worth tolerating the stress, anxiety, and the rude, disrespectful behaviour. We should all be able to control the characters in

sales techniques there is (in my humble opinion!). Finally, you will always get the nightmare group, possibly weekly! That’s working with the public for you and the reason gin and chocolate were invented.

Christine Dando Confetti & Lace Thurrock, Essex

Appointments like these can either turn into a nightmare or a sale. I would turn it into a sale - but it does take two key elements… management and humour.

our appointments... not vice versa! It’s better not to take their money, because if they are going to act like that in the first appointment, believe you me, they are going to be trouble all the way through the shopping process and follow up appointments.

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4 Vicky Lamb Victoria’s Bridal Boutique Orpingdon, Kent


Thankfully, we’ve never been in a situation like this before but quite often these days we come across brides who arrive with an entourage. We all know it’s virtually impossible to sell a dress in this way so I make sure I take control of the room by showing the guests to their seats and taking just the bride through the dresses. I will suggest she picks between three and

First: Wow! What a situation to be in! We would start by offering everyone seats and a drink (that’s the norm for us). We would explain to the friends and mum that this appointment is booked for the bride and if they would like to try on dresses we would happily book them in on another occasion. If the baby needs changing we will point them in the direction

of the bathroom available. Hopefully this would settle everyone. We would focus on the bride suggesting she pulls out five to six dresses to try and then let us do our job and make suggestions of those we think would be perfect. We have had many similar situations in the past and we manage them – sometimes bringing in another member of staff to help with the

five and in the changing room, I’d explain that having so many guests is really overwhelming and it’s best for her just to try on a few gowns now and to come back with fewer people on another day when she is more serious about finding her dress. If we were to have such an incident, I would continue to carry on with the appointment but would make sure I was in charge at all times. There’s nothing to say that just because you have a rowdy bunch, the

sales assistant in Pretty Woman. I need to kill them with kindness and resist the urge to actually kill them. The ‘Positive No’ card needs to keep being played here. I hate babies in the shop but I know that if I go gaga over baby then I’ve won over half of the group. Maria Musgrove-Wethey I’ll show Mum and baby to an The Pantiles Bride area where she can change Royal Tunbridge Wells the nappy without ‘eau de Why do I feel as if I’ve poo’ permeating the shop for the next half an hour and just wandered onto marking my white sofa for the set of a Jeremy the next half a century. Kyle show? My challenge Next up is the demand for here is to keep my cool alcohol. Easily sorted with and control them without this phrase: “We pop the appearing like the snooty


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bride won’t come back on a separate occasion to buy the dress. The more people who attend the appointment, the more people you have to appease and so long as they leave my boutique feeling they have had a good experience and the bride has felt amazing in my dresses, then that’s all I care about! When it comes to the baby and the entourage wanting to try on dresses, I would politely direct the mum to the bathroom and

Champagne to celebrate when your daughter has bought her dress so the sooner she finds it the sooner we can get the party started!” Note, again, I haven’t said “no” and I’ve used a NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) technique called an embedded command, which is talking to the unconscious mind and planting the seed that she will be buying from me. Similarly, the entourage wanting to have a ‘gangbang-trying-on session’ – no way José, but again I use an embedded command and

appointment and keeping the guests chatting and under control. We do not turn away brides no matter how big the party is; it’s an exciting time and everyone wants to be involved. We would much rather it this way than have a bride turn up alone.

Stephanie Allin London and Mumbles make sure they all knew that today was about the bride and if they wish to try on dresses then they’d have to make a separate appointment.

say: “Once the bride has found her dress and you’ve paid for it then it’s party time”. My view is that the bride needs a dress so if I change my mindset from “Where is Graham Norton’s Ejectabunny Red Chair” to “She needs a dress, Mum has a wonga of cash and Maria the Manipulator will get it from her bag to my bank account”, then I’ll look after them and they’ll look after me. Easy, isn’t it, when that badly-behaved tribe isn’t in your face, wearing out your carpet, soiling your sofa and potentially wasting your time!

alt Cob

W W W. S O P H I AT O L L I . C O . U K

An engagement with the newly-engaged UND ER COV E R D RES S S H O P P I N G W I T H A B R I DE-TO - B E 42 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 8

Carrie Marsden shadows one bride’s first dress-shopping experience and shares some surprising feedback...


or most people – bridal boutique owners and staff definitely excluded – waking up on a lazy Saturday morning brings with it

the joy of knowing that stretching and the brides themselves, the luxuriusly ahead of them, is nothing onus is on us to step inside these more taxing than the promise of ladies’ sky-scraping T-bar shoes, some excellent hearty fodder; and to really empathise with their perhaps a spot of light and relaxed thoroughly modern experiences. shopping; time to read the paper A day with Lily was exhausting, from cover to cover, and perhaps exhilarating, illuminating, indulging in all 327 minutes of Pride infuriating, deeply moving, and Prejudice. and mostly conducted at nearWell my last Saturday – and starvation point. mirroring, I suspect, something like But fortune favours the brave, your every single Saturday – was a dear reader: if you are open to little different. Because I spent last some surprising and unexpected Saturday – an adrenaline-packed, feedback, read on… fast and furious, “you can’t sit down now” and “lunch is for wimps, “That’s a guideline, not a rule, Carrie”, 24 whole hours – with my Carrie…” Lily had read to avoid friend, The Recently Engaged (let arranging too many bridal us call her Lily). appointments in one day. The To be clear: Lily is pure delicious- advice given was one booking ness in female form and I love for the morning and a second her to bits. But Lily represents appointment in the afternoon, with that unique demographic of lunch in between for a debrief womankind who has but one on the morning appointment. thing on their mind: My. Wedding. Obviously – and I think you get To. Plan. the measure of the woman by Lily came over for dinner the now – Lily did no such thing. We Friday night before. After the had six appointments lined up that meal she pulled out two DVDs Saturday. And apparently no lunch. from her bag Lily had read to book no – Bridesmaids Hmmm… and Father of more than two appointments interesting. the Bride – and Your brides asked which in one day. She did no such will be one I wanted to exhausted. thing, however... we visited six Bear in mind watch. “Lily, you complete loon,” they’ve different boutiques! I said, “it’s 10pm probably – have you totally lost your mind? just come from another boutique, (Sigh). Oh, go on then: Bridesmaids.” which means your shop is being I was somewhat unnerved by her drawn into sharp contrast with response: “No, I mean which one possibly many others they’ve do you want to watch first...?” seen that day. In addition, I fully Five hours’ sleep later, and recognise that you’d need a the next day brought a vortex of double-first in psychology to indescribable activity. It’s been navigate the minefield of a almost a week now and I still can’t bride’s emotions. shake the experience (or the slight The first appointment we went twitch). But perspective is key and to, Lily was an upbeat ball of fiery from this vantage – a day in the life excitement, but the one before of the newly engaged – there were lunch was dreadful. She could some wonderful insights to share have tried on a dress that instantly with our readers at Wedding Trader. transformed her into the goddess Lest an ever-widening chasm Aphrodite and still she would have should exist between those of been thoroughly glum, nit-picky us who cater for today’s brides and tetchy. She was HUNGRY!

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To everyone’s benefit, I wonder if Hmmm… interesting. It is easy to boutiques would be best advised forget that many of these women not to schedule any lunchtime have never tried on a dress of this appointments with brides, magnitude or scale before. especially Their shopping if they are Not knowing ‘the process’ experiences first-time will be online in a boutique made Lily feel or high-street customers… in significant nervous. She assumed she and “I have ways, a bridal literally NO would be able to ‘browse’ like boutique seeks frame of to distance itself she does in Topshop...! reference!” from both of During an these. ever-so-slightly tense moment But how clear is it to the brides early on (I think I’d foolishly that they can, and should, expect suggested that Lily perhaps ought something totally different? Not to just carry her six-inch stilettos knowing the ‘process’ made my around rather than wearing them friend Lily feel nervous and under boutique to boutique), Lily began confident. I wonder if this needs to look a little lost. a bit of explaining, perhaps on Instinct told her to wander round a retailer’s website, to prepare the boutiques and ‘browse’ (“I brides in advance. Similarly, should thought it would be, you know, a bit websites state how many people like Topshop…”), and she was taken is appropriate to accompany aback when the bridal consultant the bride? Lily’s newly-engaged reassured her that she would do friend Rachel (“who thinks she’s the leg work, handle the initial Beyonce”) anticipates bringing selection of dresses, and present eight other women along… if this Lilly with a hand-picked choice. is some brides’ expectations, but

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perhaps not every boutique’s ideal, should that also be made clear? “Oh dear God, am I a Sultry Temptress or a Grecian Goddess?” The conversation went like this and I kid you not: Lily (increasingly panicked) “Do I want to be a princess or a bohemian bride? There are so many styles, how do I know what will look good? What if I’m a Sultry Temptress and I just never knew? I could be denying my inner Sultry Temptress, Carrie, why aren’t you more concerned about this?!” On her first bridal-shopping experience, Lily was overwhelmed by the choice available. Hmmm… interesting. One of the boutiques really stood out that Saturday. I cannot tell you the difference it made to Lily’s sense of equilibrium to have a professional team of consultants, clearly wellversed in current bridal styles and fashions, who listened to Lily’s hopes, fears and dreams, and then made her experience as tailormade as possible. This particular


boutique asked Lily about what dresses she had at home and what she had previously chosen to wear to friends’ weddings. We both thought this was an inspired touch. Again, I truly marvel at the psychology involved here; this afforded an excellent starting-off point and it helped Lily find her bridal ‘home’ in the shop very quickly.

of brides’ visits? (the debate continues in the next issue...)

you’re going to look stunning in this dress here…”. Lily later told me she’d never been quite so appraised for how she looked. It was a revelation to see just how intimidating dressshopping is for some women from the bride’s perspective. All of Lily’s experiences that day have this in common: the best boutiques were consistently the ones that worked hard to put themselves in Lily’s shoes, and then to put her at her ease.

“Do you think they’ll think I look like a bride?” Finally, Lily was nervous about what YOU would think of her. She was worried you would judge her. Should she wear make up? Would the boutiques think her a slob for not having had a manicure? In a whisper, she confided to one boutique owner “But how would I have known that she didn’t happen to look like that?” In a truly beautiful boutique, any of the women from Pronovias we had a truly awful moment. Lily in wedding dresses… After Lily left, my 12-yeartried on a dress the likes of which old daughter the word ‘sumptuous’ cannot even Hmmm… Lily was nervous about what wandered in begin to cover. She was glowing. interesting. with a blanket YOU, the bridal owners, She was a vision. She fell in love. This particular on her head for We were told the price and her brilliant would think of her. She was a veil, asking if face crumpled: it was leaps and boutique we could watch worried staff would bounds beyond her price limit. owner Father of the She felt understandably dejected consoled Bride… Ultimately, judge her and a little confused. Why hadn’t a tired and it is these brilliant the website listed the prices of the emotional Lily brides – and the dresses? with the following: “Well no, lovely, future ones – who fuel our industry. none of us look like that. Those Shadowing Lily afforded a muchHmmm… interesting. What are the are seriously edited images - and needed prism through which to pros and cons of making prices edited images of models. You and I view the bridal industry. It was an available in advance and ahead are actual human women, and absolute privilege!

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MATC H POIN T When an internationally respected, multi-award-winning manufacturer meets up with an uber-talented designer with an already-successful own-name brand, the relationship that results promises to be amazing. We talked to Justin Warshaw of Justin Alexander about his new love... none other than Savannah Miller

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United Kingdom and United States will be key markets – certainly for the first season. So will existing Justin Alexander stockists get first choice when it comes to exclusivity? Savannah Miller has a different market positioning to that of Justin Alexander, but we definitely have current stockists on the target list; it’s all down to whether the fit is right.

Savannah Miller – how did that come about – what attracted you to her label/look? Savannah is such an untapped talent whose contemporary, bohemian designs are exactly what brides are looking for today. We were connected through a mutual friend and the partnership evolved from there.

With the multitude of problems the industry is facing with the onslaught of high street threats – here in the UK specifically with mass retailers like Wed2B – do you see independent bridal boutiques introducing top designer names as the way forward to safeguard their future? I think there are several paths to take in our changing industry, and focus on designer and brand is one of them. Many brides are looking for a name and a brand that embodies a certain lifestyle, and not just a low price.

How have you pegged the Savannah Miller collection, in terms of market positioning and price? This is very much a top-end designer label and it will find its niche alongside When will you be launching the new creatively driven brands in exclusive Savannah Miller stores where label? What’s the plan? Will you simply be luxury and In this changing market, We have just manufacturing her line or will the JA individuality many brides are looking for introduced the are integral to name play part of the story? the offering. Of We will certainly be leveraging a name and a brand that collection – during New York Bridal course, prices Justin Alexander’s decades of bridal embodies a certain lifestyle, Fashion Week in industry expertise into all areas of the will depend October – to all very much on Savannah Miller business, including and not just a low price global customers. the complexity production, sales, distribution, We are delighted: it of specific marketing, and customer service. met with rapturous applause. pieces, but I expect the majority will We are confident we can grow fall within the $2,000 to $4,000 range. the Savannah Miller brand into an This is so exciting and something international bridal resource. that will refresh the market. Tell us Do you and your team have any a bit about the collection please – You have Viktor&Rolf already – does involvement in the actual design fabrics, silhouettes, colours and, of of the Savannah Miller line? this signal a whole new era with course, the overall signature. Savannah Miller is the designer and an involvement with top designer The collection features lightweight the brand’s creative director, and we names and their collections? flowing styles, bias-cut gowns, and will be providing input into design We are pleased with the success of while layering in production and sales delicate details. There’s a mix of our Viktor&Rolf business, and we charmeuse, tulle and lace; most expertise. see licensing as a good opportunity styles are ivory, but there are a few for growing our global business, but nude pieces. All in all, it offers a nice we’re very calculated in our approach Which countries feature in your variety of dresses, jumpsuits, and marketing/distribution plan? to bringing more brands into our We see this as a global brand, but the special accessories. Justin Alexander Luxury Group.

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Fabulous fishtails

Sleek, sexy, sensational and a bride’s opportunity to look every inch the star. Fishtails lead the way, not least because they flatter every size and shape. Here are our new season’s faves…

ROMANTICA OF DEVON Style: Annabelle Fabric: Lace with 3D flower details Size range: UK 6-32 SRP: £835 T: +44 (0)1823 674 412 E: W:

DIANE LEGRAND Style: 7505 Fabric: Tulle with sparkling embellishments Size range: UK 6-30 RRP: £1,799 T: +44 (0)7931 370425 E: W:

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MIKAELLA BRIDAL Style: 2215 Fabric: Lace with tulle lining Size range: US 2-22 RRP: £1,665 T: +1 416 235 0585 E: W:

MORILEE Style: 2031 Penelope Fabric: Satin, pearl, lace Size range: US 2-30 RRP: £1,500 T: +44 (0)1636 593482 E: W:

ELLA ROSA Style: BE489 Fabric: Embroidered cotton lace/crepe Size range: US 2-28 RRP: Approx £1,730 T: +44 (0)1765 530282 E: W:

ELIZA JANE HOWELL Style: Turin Fabric: French net, pearls Size range: UK 6-18 RRP: £2,775 T: +44 (0)207 436 2992 E: W:

JASMINE BRIDAL Style: F201053 Fabric: Italian satin Size range: US 2-36 RRP: £1,000 T: +44 (0)1707 240068 E: W:

BRIAN CHEN Style: 17290 Fabric: Organza and Chantilly lace Size range: Eur 32-60 RRP: $2,480 – $7,280 T: + 886 2 2893158 E:

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CASABLANCA Style: Blakely Fabric: Basketweave lace, chantilly lace, beaded lace appliques, tulle Size range: All T: +1 714 758 8888 E: W:

KENNETH WINSTON Style: 1820 (with detachable train) Fabric: Embroidered cotton lace/Chantilly lace/stretch satin Size range: US 2-28 RRP: Approx £1,450 T: +44 (0)1765 530282 E: W:

SASSI HOLFORD Style: Tallulah Fabric: Soft lace over silk crepe RRP: £2,470 Size range: Made to measure T: +44 (0)20 7584 1532 E: W:

RONALD JOYCE Style: 69415 ‘Carlotta’ Fabric: Lace and Jersey Size range: UK 6-30 RRP: £1,500 T: +44 (0)1636 593483 E: W:

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HOUSE OF NICHOLAS Style: 2325 Fabric: Crepe Size range: UK 8–30 RRP: £1,099 T: +44 (0)20 8802 1399 E: W:

GEMY MAALOUF Style: W195748 Fabric: Crepe Size range: 2-14 RRP: £4,220 T: +96 1 1689 503 E: W:

ELLIS BRIDAL Style: 12300 Fabric: Lace and tulle Size range: UK 6-28 RRP: £1,899 T: +44 (0)20 8888 8833 E: W:

PALOMA BLANCA Style: 4801 Fabric: Paloma Satin Size range: US 2-22 RRP: £1,680 T: +1 416 235 0585 E: W:

NOVA BELLA Style: 30211 Fabric: Soft Lace Size range: UK 6-30 RRP: £1,499 T: +44 (0)7931 370425 E: W:

PHOENIX GOWNS Style: PH5033 Fabric: Lace Size range: UK 8-32 RRP: From £1,100 T: +44 (0)7792 466656 E: W:

MARK LESLEY Style: 7343 Fabric: Crepe and lace Size range: UK 6–30 RRP: POA T: +44 (0)1621 784 784 E: W:

IVORY & CO Style: Moonrise Star Fabric: Silk crepe de chine, lace Size range: Made to measure RRP: £1,925 T: +44 (0)1684 592030 E: W:

ELBETH GILLIS Style: Chloe top and Scarlet

QUIETLY CONTEMPLATIVE Don’t be fooled: Nicki is a ‘let’s be having you’, entrepreneurial force of nature!

What Nicki Did Next... Time for tiaras and to be guided by your gut. The delightful Nicki Macfarlane shares her journey thus far and her dreams for Macfarlane London...


f there’s one woman who embodies the indefatigable, entrepreneurial, and sheer sparkling creativity of the wedding-industry spirit, it is surely captured in this wonderful woman, Nicki Macfarlane. Her eponymous British childrenswear label dazzled and delighted even royalty itself (Nicki dressed four little girls for the Duchess of Cambridge at that wedding). And so it was with a deep sense of shock and real loss reverberating across the entire wedding world, that in October 2017, Nicki’s home-grown

British company went into liquidation. But you can’t keep a good woman down for long. And this woman is one of the industry’s best. We spend a delightful afternoon with Nicki, and are now sharing with you her warmth, her wisdom and her wit. Read on and find out what the inimitable Nicki did next… Nicki, thank you so much for sharing your wonderfully inspiring story with us. What exactly happened to the Nicki Macfarlane brand? The company was hit by a perfect storm. We had been exporting the

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vast majority of our dresses abroad – to over 20 countries, in fact – and rising costs and uncertainties in this market eventually meant we just couldn’t keep our heads above water. Any economic or political wobbles in these countries had an effect and made the trading landscape unstable and unknown. As a ‘high end’ childrenswear brand we also faced commercial competitiveness on an unprecedented scale. Those were the long-term factors but at the time, it really just hit us hard as something of an overnight shock. It was absolutely dreadful for us and everyone who worked for us. That sounds utterly heartbreaking. What has happened to the Nicki Macfarlane brand? The brand has been bought by a manufacturer who is based between

SWING ME SWEET Macfarlane London’s take on the quintessentially British bridesmaid

So, tell us about what Nicki decided about Macfarlane London and how stockists can work with you… to do next… We remain committed to the very I regrouped and listened to my gut. best of British design. Many brides I always had a vision for designing still crave elements of the uberstonkingly good designer British traditional, classic, and formal in their dresses without compromise, and I bridesmaids’ dresses, but also want a started drawing again from scratch shimmy of glamour, or a cleaner, more and staying true to that guiding modern look to accompany the many philosophy. weddings that now My whole experience these I regrouped and listened take place abroad. We are working past few years has to my gut... I realised just with floaty, ethereal been a journey of that can introspection and, how much I had lost of fabrics accommodate actually, a rather Nicki, you’re our hero. We can see that now as a movie scene. What has useful exercise; I the true, authentic ‘me’ embellishments and adornments, as well life been like since you walked away realised how much I in this process as our classic and had lost of the true, from the business? unique take on the authentic ‘me’, and Thrilling and daunting! Initially I felt immaculately-dressed bridesmaid. as though my oxygen mask had been how far I had inadvertently steered We want to offer stockists a flexible away from myself. removed. I was so used to having a and bespoke service that gives the I decided to step back from the ‘to do’ list that went three times round retailer more scope at the micro level; corporate side of a business and the block and I remember thinking: instead of having to stock specific focus instead on delivering a hands“Gosh, what shall I do now?” styles, for example, we’d happily work But designing for this industry is my on approach, full of the tailored, with requests for different necklines or personal touch, and with brilliant lifelong passion and it’s in my DNA: my grandfather started a toy company customer service to boot. So I created sleeve styles etc. For everyone involved, there is so Macfarlane London! from scratch and my brother was the much joyfulness in dressing little girls CEO of a ski company. I heard them and I can’t see that ever changing or How incredibly exciting and we’re saying to me, “Come on girl! This is in going away. I very often have girls thrilled to bits for you! Tell us the blood and this is what we do!” Italy and India. Initially, I was going to stay with the company but I soon realised that my vision for the future was on a different trajectory and one very much based around my commitment to, and passion for, British design. I had a revelatory, ‘be true to yourself’ moment in a meeting one day: my quintessentially British roots must have suddenly kicked in – so I wished everyone good luck, picked up my handbag, and left.

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TAKE A BOW We love the romance of this cascading skirt teamed with an oversized bow

come for a fitting and confidently declaring, “Nicki, I don’t do dresses”, and I’d think well that’s a good start! And by the time they leave they’re begging for an extra three petticoats and possibly a tiara thrown in for good measure! Precisely! We are all of us little princesses at heart. We hope Kate’s little bridesmaids didn’t give you a hard time… Oh no! And Catherine is an absolute sweetheart. It was such a warm and beautiful family wedding – just in rather grand surroundings! We were living in such a bubble; the whole thing had to be kept a giant secret, even from our family, and I don’t think we fully woke up until about three days after the event. We had to be at Clarence House by six am that day and we really hadn’t seen everything together – the bridesmaids’ dresses next to Kate’s dress etc – and so we were all just thoroughly frightened. It wasn’t until all the girls and Kate walked up the aisle that we knew we’d got it right. And we gather there was the odd

porky pie or two surrounding your involvement with the big day… Yes! After the wedding, some of the people in our village were reporting that they had seen stretch limo after stretch limo coming to my house to pick up the bridesmaids’ dresses and whisk them away to London. The truth is that I bounced up and down the M4 with the dresses in tow in my beatenup little Ford Focus! Nicki, what have the past few years taught you that you can pass on? I’ve learned that success can be double-edged. We had built ourselves on our intuition and ‘feel’ for the dresses but as the company grew, we either stopped listening to that or were unable to be guided by it. Ultimately, we had less control. I wonder if now is not the time for huge expansion. Lulu Guinness once advised me never to be swayed by fashion fads or tempted by other designers’ looks. To stick to what I am known for has worked for me, albeit with a nod to current trends. To reinvent with anything other than your personal look, however, is always unsuccessful

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and I am pretty sure Lulu was right! The wedding industry is facing a climate of uncertainty, but I’d also like to say how unique this industry is – and how incredibly lucky we are. I know designers who are in direct competition with one another who are also the best of friends! The industry has to be unique in that respect and I have personally felt its effects; I have been overwhelmed by the support I have received. It has been this support that has enabled me to say to myself, “Pick yourself up and get going Nicola!” Lastly – tell us about the true meaning behind Macfarlane London’s tiara logo? Sassi Holford and I had a brainstorming, cosy night in over a bottle of wine and I have her to thank for the idea. It looks like a crown but it’s actually a tiara with a secret message: whenever I have any doubts, I say to myself: “it’s time to put on your invisible tiara, Nicki, and go get ‘em”. It’s my confidence tiara! See the full range of beautiful designs at

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Getting into print Here’s a bunch of the best... flower-sprigged, daisy-fresh and introducing a whole bouquet of detail, dappled with colour or embroidered with motifs to create the right impression SOPHIA TOLLI AUS TR A L I A Style: Obsidian RRP: £2,535 +44 (0)1954 2321027 If a bride is looking to make a statement, this could be the dress for her… It’s lace that forms the print-effect because of the contrast – black over French ivory. The detachable train is included, too.

SASSI HO L FO R D Style: Matilda RRP: £2,995 +44 (0)1823 256100 It’s A-line, it’s so, so pretty, and the randomly placed floral appliqués on the printed organza add an extra dimension of texture. This is Sassi at her very best, and a dress every bride will want.

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ST E P HA NIE A L L IN Style: Alexa RRP: £3,500 +44 (0)1792 361477 Swirly, twirly and gorgeously girly, we love this laser-cut embroidered print gown in the softest of shadings. Want all ivory? Just say the word.

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SHARO N BOW END RYDE N Style: Starburst Lily RRP: £1,700 +44 (0)7801446985 Amazing – as it always is from this designer whose work verges on the art form. This jumpsuit with palazzo pants is in silk chiffon, with Sharon’s signature beading and embroidery forming a print of its own.

NICO L A A NNE Style: Intense, RRP: £1,345 +44 (0)1455 250151, This spectacular ballgown in pink and rose gold duchess satin has a low back fastened with satin buttons, but it is the stunning skirt, overlaid with sequinned embroidery, that takes your breath away.

RO M A NT ICA O F DE VO N Style: Lily, RRP: £995 +44 (0)1823 674 412 Feminine little A-line in a soft floral printed organza sprinkled with deliciously old-fashioned pinky petals and country-garden green leaves. The beaded belt is an extra treat.

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Styled by Steam

WWW.CATHERINEPARRYBRIDAL.COM Visit the website to view the latest styles and to find your nearest stockist. Find us on facebook at or twitter @CParryBridal

Owner Nicki Flynn A double dose of determination and dazzling designs continues to drive Nicki’s philosophy

True to Form

TURNING 18 T HIS YE AR, SU CC ESS AN D STAYING POWER DE FIN ES TR U E BRI DE ’S CO M IN G-OF-AG E STORY… From just one label and a handful of stockists as a start-up brand in 2005, to Finalists in the 2018 Bridal Buyer Awards for Best Bridesmaid Collection of the Year, we reflect on True Bride’s journey so far, what the future for maids’ dresses may hold, and the true meaning of success... N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 8 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ 61

industry,” says Nicki, “and it became clear to me that ‘big isn’t always beautiful’; large turnover was not – and still isn’t – our goal.” Beautiful, commercial designs, coupled with a strong team focused on customer service and quality, remains True Bride’s guiding philosophy.

PASTEL PERFECTION Delicate, ephemeral, and with something of the ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ about this frock...


offer were quite basic – almost as if the bridesmaid was an afterthought. Nicki felt that there was the gap in the market: brides and maids themselves were looking for a more fashion-led selection of dresses, with the focus on attention to detail, hand embellishments, and fresher colour palettes. “The silhouettes needed a touch of glam but designs had to suit all sizes,” says Nicki. “This was our little niche and we’ve built on this Maid for the journey… concept year on year.” Fresh out of university, Nicki began The initial years were certainly working at Next HQ as a womenswear a challenge. Quite a few obstacles buyer and never left the impulse for were thrown Nicki’s way in the form cutting-edge fashion behind. Back in of a previous business relationship, 2005, the UK bridesmaid market was but as a brand, True Bride stuck to its rather limited; it followed US trends; focused on colours that weren’t really principles and goals. “I’d worked for large wholesale businesses in our fashionable, and the silhouettes on rue Bride turned 18 this year and what a comingof-age party she has had! With four brilliant bridesmaids’ collections this has become one of the most sought-after maids’ brands on the market – an incredible success story after owner Nicki Flynn took that initial plunge and went it alone back in 2005.

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’Tis a popular philosophy… Working hard to give the girls what they want, True Brides’ collections have consistently proved a hit and are now stocked in 190 UK stores. Designing six months ahead allows True Bride to react quickly to any emerging trends as well as offering customers a new collection twice a year. The collections have a very clear sense of self that speaks to, and caters for, different brides and their budgets. True Bridesmaids is the label’s highest repeating collection, aimed at the mid-to-high-end market (retailing from £175-£315). The Luna Collection is ultra-glam and red-carpet worthy (we love the 1920s-inspired beaded dresses!), starting from £200. The Essentials Collection is True Bride’s price-savvy label (although with no compromise on design), and generally retails at under £200 per gown. Finally, True Curves is the brand’s dedicated plus-size collection and now in its second season. Future-proofing the Maids market… The bridesmaids’ market faces challenges apace with the bridal industry as a whole as traditional boutiques struggle to respond to, and accommodate, brides’ online and high-street dress-shopping habits. Do designers, too, feel the strain? “Online retailers such as ASOS and any form of copying, whether it’s overseas manufacturers or even closer to home, continue to make life difficult,” says Nicki. True Bride invests money in photography and its website so it remains extremely frustrating when copycats use True Brides’ images to promote their own services. But Nicki remains confident that retailers and suppliers alike can fight

CATWALK READY True Bride celebrate their success at Harrogate for both bridal and bridesmaids’ collections

the onslaught of high-street giants by staying ahead of the trends. “I think we all need to stay on our toes here,” she says. “Clever use of social media and establishing a channel of communication with your target audience helps build a community of followers. We need to evolve; we need to challenge our preconceptions on designs, marketing, prices, and delivery, and we certainly need to listen carefully to the brides.” And True Bride does just that. In the credit crunch of 2008, for example, it launched the Essentials Collection offering more affordable dresses. Similarly, with the current uncertainties surrounding Brexit, True Bride has integrated its two bridal labels, removing minimum orders for the more luxury collection, Nicki Flynn. “We’re listening to stockists and hoping to accommodate their business growth by removing barriers and recognising and responding to the challenges they face,” says Nicki. Stockists take note…! Offering a selection of bridesmaids’ dresses in your boutique helps brides visualise the ‘whole packet’; giving them an holistic, panoramic view of

SLICK SOPHISTICATION Form fitting and fabulous, we love this slinky little number with added sleeve intrigue...

their day simply makes good business sense. Following True Bride’s success at Harrogate, this should certainly give stockists food for thought: the Essentials Collection starter packs sold out almost immediately – offering stockists six dresses plus belts for just £375, all retailing at under £200!

And finally, here’s our top tip for this coming season: True Bride’s Brighton Belle T-length dresses are going to be big… True Bride +44 (0)1273 728637 /

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Second opinion Right now, anything a bridalwear retailer can do to underpin their reputation, enhance their offering and stand out as a specialist, can only be good news. We suggest you say ‘I do’ to the possibility of add-on services


icola Russill-Roy, whose company Propose PR has worked across all sectors of the bridal industry, is the first to support our idea that retailers should build relationships with other services, not only to round off their own operation but also to show brides the value of dealing with experts. “Life is too short to plan a

wedding on your own,” is Nicola’s mantra. “For couples who want the perfect wedding planner, the usual route is to ask for referrals, check out some wedding blogs, and scour through magazines or reach out and settle up that consultation to get the very crucial face-to-face session.” Time consuming? Yes; frustrating? Often. So how about you, the bridal boutique owner, and often the first

DRESS THE PART Staging an instore event? The right props enhance the message

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port of call for the newly-engaged, providing a sort of one-stop-shop for all the wedding needs and being a fount of all knowledge when it comes to planners, venues, local photographers and florists...? You have all the plus points For starters, no one knows better than you what services are on offer nearby, and the quality of those providers. And no one will find it easier to make contact and talk shop with other suppliers. After all, you are used to running designer days, and out-ofhours promotions, so this is just a matter of re-thinking that service strategy. In addition to tea and cakes and accessory try-ons, why not stage a once-a-month session – for couples – at which a wedding planner will present ideas on how to make the path to perfection run smoothly? A venue could do a slide presentation on what they have to offer, and a photographer could talk about making the most of picture opportunities. It is amazing how much you can cram into an hour or an hour-and-a-half – with the right

people delivering answers to your customers’ questions. “If a bride can get inspiration and direction at an instore event – your instore event – and come out with cost-effective ideas for her special day, you have provided a second-tonone service by creating an engaging, interactive and invaluable experience that will keep them coming back for more,” says Nicola. “Not only can an instore event increase foot traffic and sales, but it also has the power to build collaborations and strengthen relationships. Wedding planners who are at the top of the game are detailoriented and know their stuff... and they have a huge range of tried-andtrusted contacts.” Pulling it together So how precisely can wedding planners add value to your own business development – and give you that vitally needed distinction from high-street chains? According to Bernadette Chapman, Director of The UK Alliance of Wedding Planners: “A millennial wedding couple now expects a personalised service over and above the norm. They want to feel like the money they are spending is bringing them real value. One way to bring that value is in increased knowledge through guest presenters at bridal boutiques. No less than 68% of engaged couples state they want to see more wedding advice across wedding-related media. It stands to reason if retail businesses can provide that advice it will be seen as a huge bonus.” “Wedding planners know precisely what is involved and are able to advise couples on the key questions to ask wedding suppliers or venues. On a day-to-day basis they manage their clients’ wedding budgets so they can pass on top tips on ensuring money is being spent wisely.” “Planning a wedding can feel like a minefield with plenty of appointments to make and suppliers to visit. If couples can visit a bridal boutique, with whom the bride has already

a local planner. This should increase forged a relationship, and learn key footfall at your event as it shows you wedding skills at the same time this will be seen as a huge advantage. This are immersed in making sure your benefits the store in question with the clients have the best day ever and are couple’s appreciation and loyalty, and aware that information and advice is of great value to those planning their offers the opportunity of combined nuptials. It will also raise the planner’s PR with the wedding planner. Even profile, so everyone’s a winner!” trade and consumer wedding shows Venues, too, are recognise the increasingly aware importance of Provide a second-to-none of the need to be guest speakers noted. The Bingham, with something service by creating an Richmond is all set to pertinent to say.” engaging, interactive and host a wedding open A grateful invaluable experience and day with a host of bespoke handpicked audience they’ll be back for more wedding suppliers. If you, the The event will give retailer, the couples the opportunity to explore the wedding planner and the clients are hotel’s offering and gain inspiration on the same wavelength it’s a winfor their own upcoming nuptials, and win for all. Olivia Riddiford, owner at while the whole house will be open Host Venue Consultancy, says: “As a to explore, there will also be a chance retailer, collaborating with wedding planners is a very smart idea! As long for visitors to meet photography, floral as the wedding planner and your retail designers, music, entertainment, wellness, grooming suppliers and business share similar brand values much more. and ideal clients, working together You want to get in on this act and is a recipe for success. You are essentially serving the same audience, be the first to introduce your brides and, importantly, your potential benefitting the planner’s client with your goods and vice versa. You could customers, to every possibility. With a little creativity and collaboration, you host an exclusive open evening showcasing your products but also the can make your store stand out and be distinguished as the life of the party. expertise and on-hand advice from

A BUNCH OF THE BEST Get a local florist to supply displays, and show off their contact details in store

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Man, That’s Hot! We get the inside track on what’s flying off the hanger this season in menswear. Your guide to what’s hot right now and top trends to watch out for from the industry’s experts, the makers themselves… BRITISH HERITAGE This cracking new label from Hirewear International was introduced at the Harrogate Bridal Show and offers real choice so that grooms and groomsmen can choose to wear the same style or mix and match their looks. Predicting today’s grooms will continue to opt for slim-fit styles, British Heritage’s signature details include high-waist and single-pleat trousers. The grooms will love: British Heritage’s shawl-collar waistcoats. You’ll love: Being one of the first to stock this up-and-coming British brand. Top tip: Watch out for British Heritage’s subtle and slim-line ‘Jett’ pockets. +44 (0)344 8801384

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With pure Portuguese know-how, the new 2019 collection features high quality fabrics cut in comfortable, modern lines, making this label a popular choice. Offering 11 different model looks including jackets, tailcoats, waistcoats, neckties, ties and pocket handkerchiefs, this is choice optimisation at its best! Grooms will love: Torre’s pearled light mohair suit. You’ll love: That Torre is one of the biggest manufacturing companies specialising in menswear for weddings. Top tip: Chequered patterns will be en vogue. +44 (0)1252 623111

Heirloom specialises in traditional tweeds and worsted for chaps who likes classics with a twist. Available to buy rather than rent, Heirloom predict an uptake of the rounded collar this season to create a more modern look. The clear trend for an Heirloom groom is for lounge suits over morning wear. The grooms will love: Heirloom’s new small checks. You’ll love: 75 waistcoats and over 240 neckwear pieces. Top tip: Give grooms flexibility and choice. +44 (0)1706 367711

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BARUTTI With a 50-50 buy-to-rent ratio, Barutti offer flexibility served with a huge slice of polished panache. Launched in September 2018, the brand specialises in ticket pockets and matching paisley linings and tailors for UK size 32-60 chest. This season sees a Barutti groom dressed in a slim-fit cut with a strong emphasis on the colour blue as the choice de jour. Graham Phebey predicts that: “After the summer we’ve had and the forecast for a mild Autumn, I can’t see the heavy tweed look coming back”. Barutti now stock shoes in burgundy, wine, mahogany, tan, as well as black. Grooms will love: The ever-popular slim-look brogue, although a tasselled loafer (as seen here) has sold well in recent weeks. You’ll love: Barutti’s strong and enduring looks that can be put together inexpensively by the retailer, offering numerous options. Top tip: Barutti predicts slate-grey is going to be big this season! +44 (0)1622 873 434

KNIGHTSBRIDGE NECKWEAR Born out of his father’s love for the London look in the swinging ‘60s, founder Darren Farrell continues to expand this familyowned brand with an eye to detail and a love of all things retro. Bridal retailers can expect an eclectic and colourful mix of quintessentially British looks including braces, cufflinks, tie-clips and waistcoats. The grooms will love: Signature styles including paisleys, ghost florals, and solid, block colours using abstract jacquards. You’ll love: Retail prices ranging from £15-£65. Top tip: Darren predicts all shades of burgundy and rose being big on the scene for AW18 and through to 2019. +44 (0)1765 640576

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With a mission statement since 1912 that seeks to ‘dress the groom so that he can stand bright-eyed at the side of his bride’, here is a brand that understands romance. Look out for the ‘Green Wedding’ collection, made from sustainable materials and azo-free dyes. Grooms will love: To The Manor Born-style matching caps and waistcoats. You’ll love: Wilvorst shoes are available at short notice. Top tip: Watch out for new colour ‘griege’ (a mix of grey and beige). +44 (0)117 9327905

Mixing in a dash of colour-block pop, Marc has been working with blues and greys, pastel floral prints, and some daring brights. Marc foresees tomorrow’s grooms adopting the ‘dare to be different’ principle. Grooms will love: More dramatic styles in burnt-oranges. You’ll love: Marc Wallace’s personal make service. Top tip: Look out for Marc’s range of home furnishings, from cushions and candles to wall plaques and seating. +44 (0)1225 723685

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Out of the mouths of (bridal) babes...

“I really wanted to shop for my dress alone. So many boutiques intimated that this was unusual and I guess it made me feel weird. My hope for the next singleshopper would be that boutiques don’t make a big deal of this and accept whomever – and however many – brides walk through their door, with or without the entourage.”

“I visited 12 separate dress shops and those boutiques with even just a smidge of panache and personality really stood out. My favourite was the shop with its own white, fluffy Persian cat called, (bizarely), Steve, that sat on my Mum’s lap as I tried on dresses and loudly purred at his favourites! Of course I bought my dress from here… Steve is an absolute connoisseur!”

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One or two things to get off your decolletage? Your beautiful brides share with us their dress-search experiences as we give them a platform to speak with you direct: everything from what needs work to what worked out beautifully...

“I walked into one boutique and the marvellous ladies there really took me under their wing. It was my first dress-shop experience and they were so encouraging and patient with me. I loved how much they knew about the dresses and how quickly they understood what I was looking for. I knew I was in safe hands; their expertise just shone through. I have since been into shops where the assistants aren’t so well informed and it was a completely different – and more disappointing – experience.”

“I loved the bridal boutique that had lots of flats and even ‘pimped-up’ wedding trainers available for me to try on with my dress. It made me feel as though they were waiting to cater just for me.”

“There was a lot of crying. I mean a lot. Trying on dresses with my mum and nan, my sister and her three girls, made for a whole heap of oestrogen flying around with reckless abandon. I am thankful for all the tissues provided! One brilliant boutique even made a gift of waterproof mascaras in a goodie bag for all of us for the wedding day itself. What a fabulous touch!”

“I did find that the standards varied quite a lot from shop to shop. Some shops would request us to take our shoes off at the door and had the most pristine interiors where as others had what was once a cream carpet now covered in dirt. And that was in a shop where you wouldn’t get anything for under £1,000!”

“If possible, a toilet is a must! You know you’re with a reputable and professional boutique when you could happily spend all day in the toilet, it’s so gorgeous. It sounds silly but I know other brides will agree: attention to the toilet is important! I remember one that had floor-to-ceiling wallpaper of Shakespeare’s Sonnets… beautiful.”


“As a petite size 8-10 I was a little shocked when one of the dresses wouldn’t even zip up! I laughed it off and waddled out of the changing room with my pants on show but I’m not sure that all brides would appreciate the lack of larger sample sizes!”

“The shop I bought my dress from encouraged me to have a good boogie in my dress; to wriggle around and see if I could raise my hands above my head. I really appreciated this practical advice and it inspired confidence that they were confident in the dress!” N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 8 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ 71

Okay – so a few pages back we talked about working with other service suppliers to create an irresistable advice-driven platform that will pull in those brides. Here, we look at the specialist products that will delight them... and up the value of a sale

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e’re continually being told that customers need and expect an ‘experience’ and this is no truer or more relevant than in the bridal industry. From the moment a couple decide to get married the ‘experience’ wheel starts turning; not only from imagining the big day experience itself, but all the little experiences along the way - like creating the perfect table settings, finding the most beautiful invitations and thank-you cards, and even sourcing special gifts for family and bridesmaids. Brides, inspired by Instagram and Pinterest as well as bridal magazines, are no longer satisfied with something borrowed and something blue, but desire something different that will



Feedng the buyer’s appetite We see it across the retail landscape – brands and retailers are diversifying and expanding their offerings to meet consumer desires. Instead of simply showing that stunning, handpicked collection of dresses, tiaras and shoes, bridal



make them, and their choices, stand out and get noticed.

retailers have so many more opportunities today to add value to their proposition. For starters, you could create striking table settings in store and stock the items, offer beautiful and unique stationery items, present a must-have collection of gift items. Unless they employ a wedding planner, brides-to-be have no option other than to do all the research and

sourcing themselves (read our views on how you can get nvolved on that very topic on page 74). However, brides today are generally juggling a full-time job, perhaps a family, and a plethora of other commitments too, so why would they not relish the ability to visit a bridal store that offers so much under one roof and takes the pressure and time off their hands? Do the sourcing for

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them, create an exciting and inspiring in-store experience, and make those extra sales! A journey of discovery We are serious exhibition-goers – you never know what you might miss because you’ll, er, have missed it – and over the years we have found that Top Drawer is the perfect onestop shop for all those little extras,

from candles and table settings to jewellery, accessories, greetings cards, giftwrap – the works. It is tough making decisions there because there is so much to love – over 1,000 design-led lifestyle brands and thousands of new products across nine curator sectors. But just think about your customers and their wants – pressies for mums and bridesmaids, pretty bits for the home,

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little gifts for themselves. Over the seasons we have come away with splendid painted ostrich eggs on stands, candlesticks dripping with crystal pendants, lavish cake cutters, and some fabulous designer cushions, all of which sit perfectly in a shop environment on the coffee table or in a special cabinet. When brides are looking to spend big-time money on their gown and accessories, those





added goodies are the icing on the shopping cake, and rather than give a discount on a gown if requested, you could bestow a special gift from your selection on the bride who needs to feel loved and valued. Top Drawer will take place at Olympia London 13-15 January 2019. Retailers can register for their complimentary passes at

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Blogger’s Best Laura Devine of Devine Bride, award-winning blogger and wedding planner, dishes out her expert blogging tips

Tell us a little bit about Devine Bride, and what makes it tick… I offer ‘Pick + Mix’ wedding planning, helping cool brides to plan their wedding in a more flexible way, and I run a multi-award winning blog off the back of it. My vision is to make wedding planning accessible and flexible. I offer creative solutions to planning and budgeting in the form of wedding tasking, styling and coordination.

And in that time you’ve won awards? Devine Bride was a finalist at The British Wedding Awards 2018, Wedding of The Year with Easy Weddings 2018, and The UK Blog Awards 2018. We won ‘Highly Commended’ in the Wedding and Events category at the UK Blog Awards 2017, Wedding of the Year 2017 with Your London Wedding Magazine, and won Best Rising Star at the Wedding Blog Awards 2016.

When did the blog start? I started my website as a blog long before I transformed it into a wedding planning website. I started on Blogger and migrated over to WordPress last summer. It’s been going a little over three years now. My business has grown and changed, but my blog remains the backbone of my website.

Best-performing blog post? This is an older post, but is still one of my most popular to date because I deliberately put it live on Christmas Day (there’s a huge engagement spike at Christmas!) and because I paid to boost it on Facebook.

Visitor stats/followers: l Facebook: 2,026 l Instagram: 9,464 l Twitter: 6,664 l Pinterest: 424 Most of my link click-throughs come from Facebook, but my clients find me mostly through Instagram – which makes me feel less bad about spending so much time on it! Talking of social media… How do you use it to your advantage? Social media swallows up a lot of my time and energy… However, that’s where 80 percent of my clients say they find me, so it’s worth it! Facebook has continuously proven to be the best at driving traffic to my website, but Instagram is where a lots of my bookings come from, so I

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to build up my digital footprint online, and I worked really hard at getting press and mentions online to get good SEO link backs. The rest is ongoing when I have time, or patience! How important is your website to your business? It is probably the most important thing in my business, to be honest… However, Instagram is up there, too! My website allows me to have all my work and personal branding together in one place – a lot of my clients find me originally through Instagram, but this always leads them to my website to check out my full portfolio, my testimonials, and to browse through my blog – which is the personality behind Devine Bride. I built up my following and clients initially through my blog, because this shows my views and personal style, and this in turn gave me content to share on my social media. My blog also keeps my clients engaged and gives potential clients a reason to keep coming back to my website. I also couldn’t have grown my social media following successfully had I not put a great deal of work into growing my blog and my visuals on my website.

focus my time and energy mostly on Instagram. It influences my work and connects me with clients on another level. I use everything I can on Instagram to let my potential clients find me – location tagging, hashtags, popular culture references, you name it. I love that it’s a visual scrapbook and that you can write mini blogs with each post. I like to do Instagram in real time for that reason, talking about real weddings and the day-to-day running of Devine Bride, but I use Hootsuite to schedule posts in advance at the best times for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Hootsuite has been a real life-saver in terms of time saved and my workflow. I also use an app called IFTTT (If This Then That) to automatically

cascade social media posts into Pinterest and Twitter from Instagram and Facebook. I know the benefits of Pinterest, and should use it more, but as a business owner I hate its functionality, so I get my assistants to link blog posts to pins, which helps drive traffic to my site and is great for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – but it’s the one network I can’t be bothered with! Do you work towards using SEO when blogging and posting things? I try! I am very aware of SEO, but I don’t always execute what I feel I need to, or should. I worked on building my Twitter account initially for its SEO powers, and my assistants make all my images SEO-friendly. Initially, I guest-blogged a bit

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How much planning went into the initial design/layout of the website? A lot of planning went in initially, and it’s constantly on-going. My website is my brand, so I’m very particular about it. It’s always a lot of work initially to get your website the way you want it, and in the three years I’ve had it live, I’ve had three quite drastic makeovers that have been time- and labour-intensive, but they were so needed... and so worthwhile; I could see the results from increased traffic immediately after each one. Your website is your shop front, so you can’t allow it to become old and dated; I constantly check the functionality and usability of mine, because my ‘ideal client’ is techminded and I know this would have an influence on whether they booked me or not. I also think the imagery you

A blog is a great way to continually keep your clients and potential new clients engaged and drive traffic to your site

about .A blog without any images is just boring, and you will find it hard to get readers to click through to it, but an advice post will naturally not have as many images as, say, a real wedding. In this digital age, I’m finding that readers want short, snappy informative posts when it comes to views and advice, but they just want arrivals, last in series dresses, sales… . to see all the pictures when it comes to real weddings. If you start a blog, it’s important to Most people view content on their stick to it and be consistent. You don’t phone now, so it’s important to think have to do it weekly, but monthly or bi-weekly would be a great start. Find about how it looks and reads on a a tech-savvy assistant to help you get device rather than on a computer, and if the images are relevant and started. I give my assistants topics How often do you blog? load quickly. I’d like covered, then I proof it and I used to blog twice a week when I change it into my own tone. Blogs are was first trying to drum up business What makes a great photograph? invaluable, but they are also superand drive traffic to my site, but now A good photographer! This is so time consuming, A virtual assistant I only blog once a week and this important; and a good photographer can help with this too, if you don’t works well for me in between my can transform your branding, website, have a large team. busy wedding and event schedule, and blog. I’ve learned the hard way! although I have help to run it now (I Photography is something I would What are the mistakes that new couldn’t blog weekly if I didn’t have advise to invest in, for sure. And if you bloggers should try to avoid? help though! It doesn’t make me any I wish I’d been slightly more SEO-wise don’t have the time or money to invest money, but the client engagement in a pro, there’s no harm in using other when I started! However, in general, and SEO benefits are priceless). and this goes for blogging and social people’s photos for blog posts – as Blogging is very important to me to show my brand to clients and show off media, try not to be too self-indulgent. long as they are given to you with consent and the source credited in Use your blog and social media to the real weddings I’ve worked on. your blog post. offer added value to your clients. Should bridal boutiques run blogs Is there a magic ratio of images-toon their own website? Head over to to read text when it comes to blog posts? I think a blog is a great way to more of Laura’s blogs. Got questions for Not that I’ve found, but it depends continually keep your clients and – blogging gurus that you’d like to ask? per brand and what you’re blogging more importantly, potential clients Email – engaged, and to continuously drive traffic to your website. I look at it like changing the front window display of your shop (I have my blog feed on my homepage) – you wouldn’t leave this the same all year round, with the same dresses, would you? Use your blog to tap into your ideal client and what they like. If you own a bridal boutique, run a blog featuring an interview with one of the designers you stock, or write about complementary shoes, bags or accessories (in line with your price range), or announce local wedding fairs or suppliers. It would also be great to run tips on what to do or wear when coming in for a bridal appointment, what styles suit what shapes, and so on. You could also use a blog to announce new season use is so important. I spent a lot of time changing the main images on my website home page to suit the layout, the font, the hue, the vibe and the branding of my website – and making sure they were mobile-friendly, while keeping the same visual message. Now it’s up and running in the way I like it (for now!), it doesn’t take too much maintenance, but I do tweak it weekly (as a minimum) to keep it up to date with the latest information, blogs, banners, links, weddings and testimonials.

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Money Talks...

an example, let’s say a sole trader with a 30 April 2018 year end has a taxable profit before AIA of £60,000, and is going to spend ten £k on a new van on either 30 April 2018 or 1 May 2018. If they spend the £10k on 1 May 2018, they will get tax relief on that expenditure in the 30 April 2019 accounts, which will form part of the 2019/20 tax year and the tax saving may not be realised until 31 January 2021 (almost three years later!). However, if the van is bought on 30 April 2018, the £60k taxable profit will be reduced by the £10k AIA, thus reducing taxable profits to £50k. Assuming an income tax rate of 40 percent, and class four National Insurance rate of two percent, this would result in a £4,000 income tax and £200 NI saving. The 17/18 accounts will form part of the 18/19 tax year and the tax saving will be realised by 31 January 2020 at the latest. So buying the asset just one day earlier could bring forward the tax Is there a best time of year to buy things like saving of £4,200 by 12 months. computers and even cars for business use – not in Let’s take this one step further, and assume that the terms of sale prices of course, but rather in terms individual has no other income outside of the business, of tax efficiency? has two children, is the highest earner in the marriage, The timing of capital expenditure can be very important and receives child benefit of £137.60 every four weeks. from both a tax efficiency and cash flow perspective. With taxable income of £60,000, the individual would When a business purchases capital equipment, tax be subject to the High Income Child Benefit Charge and relief is claimed on that expenditure in the form of capital would have to pay back all of the child benefit totalling allowances. The Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) is a £1,788.80 (£137.60 x 13) to HMRC via form of capital allowance. their self assessment tax return. With Every business has an AIA. The timing of capital taxable income of £50k, none of the The AIA is the amount that can child benefit has to be repaid. So, by be spent in an accounting year expenditure can have a purchasing the new van on 30 April on qualifying capital equipment significant impact on rather than 1 May, the individual can where the cost of that equipment reduce their 2018/19 tax liability by is fully deductible against taxable the cash flow of an as much as £5,988.80 (working out at profits in the year of acquisition. individual or business £4,000+£200+£1,788.80). Expenditure that qualifies In the case of a limited company, for the AIA includes plant and the expenditure would save corporation tax of £1,900 machinery, computer equipment, office equipment, based on today’s rate of 19 percent, but by incurring the fixtures and fittings and vans. You can’t claim AIA on cars, expenditure on 30 April 2018 the tax saving would be or items that you owned for another reason before you realised by 1 February 2019, whereas if the expenditure started using them in your business. was incurred one day later on 1 May, the tax saving would Over the past ten years, the amount of AIA has varied be delayed by 12 months to 1 February 2020. significantly from £25,000 to £500,000! However, the AIA While cars do not qualify for the AIA, the full cost of a has stood at £200,000 since 1 January 2016. The timing of capital expenditure can have a significant car can be deducted from a business’s profit it if qualifies for the 100 percent First Year Allowance (FYA). impact on the cash flow of an individual or business. As


Before you head off to buy a new laptop or a van for business deliveries, take note of the advice from accountant Michael Cahill – you could save yourself serious dosh by delaying your shopping trip by even one day

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To qualify for the FYA (which is in addition to the AIA), the vehicle must be brand new and electric or have CO2 emissions of 75g/km or less. You can also claim capital allowances on integral features. This includes items in a building such as electrical and lighting systems, plumbing – including cold and hot water – and heating works, and solar panels amongst other things. Integral features qualify for AIA and so could potentially get full tax relief in the year of expenditure. If the AIA is fully utilised, or spend is incurred on non-AIA qualifying assets, capital allowances will typically only be available on 18 percent or eight percent of the cost of the asset. If you are planning capital spend, and particularly if it is close to your year end, I would strongly recommend you speak to your accountant before incurring the expenditure to ensure that you maximise the tax allowances available.

Get connected with the UK’s most exciting, passionate, new wedding industry magazine

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Time with Pronovias


Got business finance questions of your own? Email them to for inclusion in the first available issue of Wedding Trader. To consult directly with Michael Cahill of the accountancy practice Albert Goodman, email michael.


Going global


Mums’ stuff





My website journey





If I was a retailer


Two to one



Your buying season starts here










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Have a ball



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Do you have any recommendation regarding credit cards – should one switch around to get a better deal? And if so, how often? How can you check what is on offer? Do you lose out on credit rating if you are seen to be moving your account around? Credit cards can be a useful form of flexible credit for an individual or business. A well-managed credit card, where the balance is paid off in full each month, can actually be better for your credit rating as opposed to having no credit card at all. Every time you apply for a credit card, a record of your application goes onto your credit report. Your credit score doesn’t factor in whether you’re approved for the credit card or not. Lots of applications in a short amount of time can hurt your credit score. For that reason, it’s best to keep your credit card applications to a minimum. There are various comparison sites that enable you to compare credit cards and their different features including zero-percent balance transfers and zeropercent interest on purchases. However, a credit card may not be the most cost-effective or appropriate solution and therefore other forms of borrowing should be considered and advice sought. Anyone worried about their debts can contact the Citizens Advice Bureau or National Debtline for free, impartial advice.






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Changing the game plan








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TO WORK W I TH US , CONTACT: Advertising Sales Consultant Nardene Smith Mobile: 07957 372276

Sales Executive Martha Cooke Mobile: 07877 449122

Editor Susi Rogol

Finally, it feels that the gap has been bridged and suppliers and retailers are all on the same page, working and talking together. Susi and the fabulous team have recognised this in abundance and created a monthly handbag explosion of fascinating insight, construction opinions, hints, tips and captivating reads. Truly inspirational! Jeanette Stevens, Managing Director, Enzoani Europe

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MOST VIEWED… BRIDAL DRESS 218222 CARINA BY MARTIN THORNBURG: A MON CHERI COLLECTION Carina is a true work of art, and it’s caught the attention of many brides this month. We love the embroidered Schiffli lace on show.

Digital snapshot



WHAT YOUR BRI DES A R E SHOPPING FOR O N LI N E We look at what trends brides are searching for this month on MOST READ… BLOG FEATURE FIND YOUR PERFECT DRESS SHAPE This blog has examples of dresses that suit varying body shapes and sizes. Some brides find the variety of gowns a tad overwhelming, so make them feel at ease with your encyclopaedic knowhow of the subject! MOST SEARCHEDFOR… DRESS SHAPE FISHTAIL Want to have the hottest fishtails in your boutique? Check out our Guide To… on page 48.

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WHAT IS FIND YOUR DREAM DRESS? Brides-to-be can use this super-helpful website that allows them to filter various categories in order to find their dream dress in among FYDD’s database. Then, the site tells the brides where the nearest boutique is to them that stocks their dress of choice. If you’re a designer and you’d like to see your collection of gowns featured here, or if you’re a boutique owner who would love to have your business included in the search results, then visit to discover more. Alternatively, drop Nardene an email at

MOST SEARCHEDFOR… DESIGNER STYLE 2335, EFFIE, BY CASABLANCA Brides seem to be loving Casablanca at the moment, and with gowns like this one from the wonderful Vacation in Versailles Collection, it’s easy to see why!

MOST VIEWED… MOTHER OF THE BRIDE DRESS STYLE 991028 BY RONALD JOYCE Ronald Joyce continues to lure in mothers who want to look the part. Hot pink is a bold colour; not for mums who want to shy away in the background!

MOST VIEWED… PLUS-SIZE DRESS STYLE W371 BY ALLURE WOMEN A jewelled sweetheart neckline and the wonderful trailing lace appliqué might be the reason this is so popular right now...

MOST VIEWED… BRIDESMAID DRESS D18402 BY SPECIAL DAY DIAMOND COLLECTION Special Day wins this category for the third month in a row! A different style this month, a cute tealength dress with a scooped neckline, this might be our favourite of the three so far!

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‘It was our way of making our friend Pat involved, even though she couldn’t be there. Seeing everybody wearing Alzheimer’s Society pin badges made us think of Pat everywhere we looked.’ Rebecca and Leigh

The perfect gift for the perfect day Your wedding day will create wonderful memories to last a lifetime. If someone you love can’t be there because of dementia, you can still make them part of your celebration. Honour them in a really special way by supporting Alzheimer’s Society. You can invite your guests to make a donation to us rather than give you a gift, organise a collection on the day, or order our unique wedding favours. As you enjoy your big day, your generosity will help us defeat dementia - the best wedding gift of all. To find out more visit or call us on 0330 333 0804

Photo of Rebecca and Leigh © TDH Media Alzheimer’s Society operates in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Registered charity number 296645.



Diary at the ready for forthcoming bridal buying events 14-16 April 2019

13-15 January 2019

23-25 March 2019



3-4 March 2019

24-26 March 2019



10-11 March 2019

30 March-1 April 2019





12-14 May 2019 UK BRIDAL WEEK; BIRMINGHAM NEC N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 8 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ 85


December issue • Prom princesses... what they’ll be wearing on their big night • Famous faces – the value of brand association • Stars with stripes – who strutted what on the catwalks of New York • Bridesmaids – how to deliver service... and still smile


• Meet the movers and shakers in bridal

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“The Your Problems Our Solutions features you run are not only clever, but also show two sides of the same story (or arguement!) They also make me aware that we are an industry with interesting, clever people who have an opinion and not be worried about keeping it to themselves. Thumbs up to Wedding Trader for providing a platform for views”

“The high street debate you have been running has made me realise that I am not the only one out there worrying myself stupid about big retailers taking over and ruining the business that I have built up almost single-handedly over more than ten years. Those who have joined in the debate seem to be determined not to give in and get beaten and right now I am going to look at every opportunity that exists that will make me shine. My first thought is to really look at the availability of designer labels, and topquality accessories, too. Any suggestions Wedding Trader gets from anyone please pass them over.”

“I thought Helena Cotter’s Second Opinion piece in the October issue about same-sex marriages was enlightening. I certainly had no ideas of the numbers involved and am now thinking up a special promotion to attract in this new and valuable market sector.”

“Hearing about things from the brides’ perspective is invauable (even if I find some of their comments annoying) as they rarely – if ever – would give a reason to a retailer as to why they went elsewhere! It did make me think, or rather rethink, the way we deal with certain potential customers, often misreading nerves and insecurity as bolshiness. Lesson learned. Thank you.’”

...and finally What’s the word on the street? We’ve rounded up who’s been saying what, whether it’s about Wedding Trader or the industry in general

“I do think we retailers get bullied from time to time by the very suppliers we keep in business, but you have certainly got some of them up there defending their corner and – dare I say it – putting up a fairly acceptable side to a situation. What I like about Wedding Trader is that it makes me think about more than ‘here are some new dresses’! 88 ♦ W E D D I N G T R A D E R ♦ N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 8

“Gill Harvey’s views on having samples ready to sell gave me food for thought, especially when that was reinforced by the Australian retailer’s article where instant availability seems to be the accepted way of doing business down under. In the past, we’ve only sold sale samples off the rail so a change could be just what we need and hey, we could beat Wed2Be at their own game here.”

“Having your Guide to... articles is really helpful. I have been going through them and shortlisting brands that I think will sit well with those I already carry – there are some you list that I haven’t really considered before.”





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Wedding Trader - issue 10  

Wedding Trader - issue 10