Finding the one needn't be a nightmare...
Wedding dress shopping. Wow. That’s the only word for it. Well, other than intense, stressful, emotional and a mission. Maybe it’s because I’ve always been slightly style-schizophrenic (I hate being told I can’t do leather trousers one day and a 60’s shift the next) or perhaps it’s the nature of working in my industry but I just can’t decide.
Everyone tells you that you just know when you’ve found 'The One', but that certainly hasn’t been my experience so far. Instead, I’ve spent hours analysing and reprioritizing the following four questions: “Does it flatter me?” “Does it suit the style of the wedding?” “Will it still look timeless in ten years?” “And do I really want to look vintage/red carpet glamour/that demure on my wedding day?” Oh, and feeling like a child again as women pull dresses and corsets over my head endlessly.
Saying all that, London has an amazing selection of bridal shops that have made finding the dress that little bit easier.
These are our favourite London wedding dress shops...
1. Mirror Mirror
Especially if you live in North London, this is a good place to start your search. Not only does Mirror Mirror stock a curated edit of wedding dresses and separates from designers like bridal staple Pronovias and Spanish brand Marco y Maria – designers Maria Yiannikaris and Jane Nicolls also work on their own couture gowns in the on-site studio.
From the breezy Grecian Goddess look to a fairy princess fishtail style, there’s something to match the sartorial tastes of every bride-to-be. Prices start at £1,850.
Mirror Mirror Angel Boutique, 56 Penton Street, London N1 9QA; mirrormirror.uk.com
2. Charlie Brear
Based in the Queens Park Design District in North London, contemporary bridal and eveningwear label Charlie Brear is the perfect choice for the modern-day woman who wants their wedding dress to be inimitably stylish.
The eponymous label - which was born from Charlie's love for vintage wedding pieces when working as a stylist - sells bespoke pieces and is a favourite among A-list stars such as Alexa Chung, Sienna Miller and Caroline Issa who have all worn her collections.
With now 50 boutiques worldwide, Charlie Brear produces two seasonal bridal collections a year as well as a bi-annual eveningwear collection which is stocked exclusively at the London studio.
Charlie Brear has also just launched a beautiful new bridal collection - 'London Collection'. Each piece in the collection is named after a different road in the Queens Park Design District. Key styles include ‘Claremont’ in a camellia flower stretch lace with optional appliqué flowers on the cuffs and neckline, ‘Brooksville’ in a silk spot chiffon with a sheer back, and the striped organza ‘Apsley’ top and ‘Somerton' skirt.
The collection is only available from thr Queens Park showroom.
Charlie Brear address: 35 Lonsdale Rd, London, NW6 6RA
3. The Mews Bridal
If you're after a certain French ‘je ne sais quoi’ for your big day, then The Mews might be just what you're looking for. This beautiful Notting Hill based bridal boutique is the go-to place for French Bridal Couture in the UK. Stocking sought after Parisian designers such as Delphine Manivet, Laure de Sagazan and Rime Arodaky, this is a treasure trove of chic gowns.
The Mews Bridal Notting Hill, 202 Kensington Park Road, London, W11 1NR; themewsnottinghill.co.uk
4. David's Bridal
If you've always dreamed of walking down the aisle in Vera Wang, Zac Posen or Jenny Packham, then David's is the place to head. With stores across the country, and a London outpost in Westfield, this bridal boutique specialises in dresses from the big name American designers.
David's Bridal, Westfield Stratford City, Montfichet Road, London, E20 1EN; David's Bridal
5. Browns Brides
The mother of all bridal shops, this is where basically every fashion-industry person heads first for their dress. It makes sense: from Valentino to Vera Wang via Monique Lhuillier all the major designers are represented and there’s some niche, hard-to-find types like Delphine Manivet too.
Everything about the experience is luxe: from the staff who manage to be both superbly knowledgable but also approachable to the changing rooms themselves. It’s a chilled out environment in which to try out some superstar catwalk creations.
Prices start at just under £3,000 and it's worth looking for bridesmaids dresses there, too - the Monique Lhuillier collection is lovely.
12 Hinde Street, London, W1U 3BE; brownsfashion.com
6. Fur Coat, No Knickers
The name of this wedding dress shop says it all – it’s got attitude. Set up by Laura and Emma, two former film costume supervisors with a penchant for finding vintage dresses, it’s packed with original pieces spanning the century and some vintage-inspired dresses cut from their most popular shapes.
I was particularly impressed with the off-the-wall finds from the 1970s and 1980s so if you’re looking for something really stand-out this is your place. Plus, the owners couldn’t be nicer – they’ll alter any dress until you’re happy with it and have sweet stories to tell you about all the brides pictured on their walls.
Fur Coat No Knickers, Top Floor, Kingly Court, Carnaby Street London, W1B 5PW; furcoatnoknickers.co.uk
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