There’s an unspoken myth that in order to get the wedding dress of your dreams, it must be brand new. This really is a complete untruth. If you think about it, the dress will still be new to you even if it’s been worn by someone else. It just doesn’t matter at all that you weren’t its first bride. Also, how lovely that it’s been at one wedding already. It’s experienced not used!
You might be thinking, OK, sure, a preloved dress sounds brilliant, but where do I get one of them from? On eBay? Risky. From someone’s house? Kind of takes all the excitement out of the whole bridal experience of floating around a wedding dress shop, trying on dress after dress after dress.
Bijou Bridal in West Sussex has the answer with its perfect blend of preloved economic savvy and providing brides-to-be with the ‘visiting a dress shop magic’. All the stock has been dry cleaned, pressed and repaired (if necessary) so that it’s as good as new. Some of the dresses still have the labels on where they were bought but never worn. These dresses deserve their day!! Whichever dress you choose, you can be sure that Lisa and Ella, who own the boutique, have loved it as much as you will. I asked them a bit about their lovely shop…
We’re two sisters with the same love. We want brides to start their wedding experience with us. We work on an appointment only basis at a time that suits to give the bride our total attention. Our dresses are too beautiful to be hidden away.
Just the thought of the history that comes with some of our dresses makes our job feel that little bit more special!
We love all things preloved. From when we were young children, we were forced to go to car boot sales and junk shops, although our late mum called them treasure shops! She filled our house with vintage furniture and accessories, so preloved is in our blood.
We first thought about preloved wedding dresses when Ella starting looking for her own dress. We searched preloved websites, but the experiences we had were awkward, to say the least: going to a stranger’s house was not quite the special experience I was hoping for. It was on the journey back from another awkward encounter that we dreamed of owning our very own preloved bridal shop, where brides-to-be can come and swoon over dresses with their family and friends without the embarrassing pressure.
When thinking of the brilliant reasons to buy preloved, we can fabricate a beautiful story, of course, but we feel it actually comes down to price! What we want for our brides is the best of both worlds, i.e to walk away from our boutique having had a lovely, fun experience, and to have found their dream dress at a fraction of retail price.
Also, buying preloved means buying something different and quirky that gives that bride the uniqueness and edge that we feel only a preloved dress can give.
Its so nice to see a beautiful dress that’s been gathering dust be brought alive again for another bride’s special day.
Who is the bride that buys preloved? The beauty of our boutique is that we cater for all – there’s a dress for every bride-to-be, no matter what age, style or size. We do, however, have an eye for something that’s a little bit unique for that bride who wants something different, for that lady who has a distinctive style, whether it be bohemian or a 1950s rock ‘n’ roll chick.
We’d love to see Kat Von D in our Ian Stuart vintage-inspired dress. The fitted mermaid style dress would lend a feminine quality to soften her look, while the matching bolero jacket with its ostrich feathered cuffs and collar would give her the quirkiness that suits her distinctive appearance. Add a birdcage veil as a finishing touch!
What do you think? Will you be having a preloved dress? If not, has this made you think about it?
Photography – Nicki Feltham Photography
Dresses – Bijou Bridal
Venue – Bignor Park
Headpieces – Rosey Posey Creations and The Handmade Tiara Company
MUA – Enhance Make-up
Flowers – Daisies Florist
Shoes – Borrowed/models’ own/Everything£5
Men’s outfits – Borrowed/models’ own/Matalan