If I can give one piece of advice, and I learnt the hard way, it's don't put off starting to look for your wedding dress.
I had every excuse under the sun to delay looking… I was super busy at work, wanted to lose weight and didn't want to appear too keen! This attitude meant I had to rule out a lot of dresses, because of timelines and availability. As it happens, I now have my dream dress but I feel very lucky considering how much of a tricky customer I was for bridal boutiques!
At Maids to Measure, we have lots of amazing stockists (www.maidstomeasure.com) and I've been spoilt visiting them and seeing all their beautiful dresses. As I'm based in London and originally from Hampshire, realistically getting around to them all was going to be impossible, so I had to select a few to target.
My first stop was Suzanne Neville (www.suzanneneville.com), situated in a beautiful boutique in Knightsbridge. My visit was the perfect bridal experience and everything a bride could wish for. The girls made me very special and their dresses are simply beautiful, which made it almost impossible to choose between them.
Next on the list was somewhere that I'd never been to before; Blackburn Bridal (www.blackburnbridal.co.uk) in Blackheath. It was such a treat! The boutique was pure luxury; I enjoyed every minute of it and felt that I had a personal stylist for the afternoon. I found the most beautiful dress but, because of my rather limited timeline, I had to wave it good bye.
Whilst at home for Christmas, I popped into my local bridal boutique Creatiques (www.creatiques.co.uk) and the choice on offer was phenomenal. It was a great experience (and we had such a giggle there!); Andrew and Robert were simply brilliant.
I've been lucky enough to visit Exquisite Bridal (www.exquisitebrides.co.uk) in Winchester numerous times with Maids to Measure and every time I've loved it. Their new boutique is in the prettiest little mews with one shop dedicated to bridesmaids - absolute bridal heaven!! As well as trying on plenty of gorgeous dresses, I walked away with the most divine veil by Helen Martin.
My next port of call? Phillipa Lepley (www.phillipalepley.com). The designer has always been massively supportive of Maids to Measure and her gowns are stunning. I've walked past her window in awe many a time and the work that goes into her dresses is mind blowing.
Luella's Boudoir (www.luellasboudoir.co.uk) was my last stop and it has to be the prettiest little shop in Wimbledon! It's a treasure trove of bridal dresses and accessories - and they stock wedding dresses by the wonderful Emma Tindley.
Emma Tindley is a British designer, something that was important to me, and is a hidden gem. Not only is she one of the nicest ladies I've ever met, she has a ridiculous talent in dressmaking. Emma simply listened and translated what was in my head better that I could. There was no panic with regards to my rather tight timeline (!) or my insistence that I was going to lose half my body weight. Emma was calm, kind and supportive. Although based in West Sussex, she was happy to come up and see me at Luellas or at her studio in Fulham.
Meeting Emma took a huge weight off my mind and I can't wait to share with you what she came up with!