Finding the Perfect Bridal Gown: An Interview with Bonnie Marshall of Dress Day UK
This week we’re talking to Bonnie Marshall of Dress Day UK. Bonnie recently launched her business, helping discerning brides to find the perfect bridal gown for their big day. We caught up with her recently to find out more about her and Dress Day UK. So here goes:
The idea behind Dress Day UK seems to be a relatively unique concept here in the UK. We’d love to hear what your inspiration was for setting up your company….
Well, I’ve worked in Fashion Retail for almost 20 years. And, it dawned on me, that there were a few things I loved about it! I realised that I love listening to my clients, and helping them to find the right outfit. And by that I mean an outfit that suits their needs and their personality the best. So, if that’s a floaty bohemian bridal gown or a fashion forward trouser suit I’ll help them realise their dream.
For me, it’s about enabling them to shine. I want them to be their best versions of themselves, to put their signature to a bridal gown or outfit and make it theirs. I love being able to help. Seeing a client’s face light up, when they recognise themselves and how great they look is so lovely.
I set up the company when a wedding planner asked me to help with one of their brides. It seemed like the perfect opportunity! Helping a client feel like the best version of herself, on one of the most important days of her life is amazing.
Can you tell us a little about what a bride can expect when she books The Dress Day Experience with you?
I offer a complimentary consultation to the bride (and/or groom). This is an opportunity for us to meet and have a relaxed conversation about the day. We explore in detail, their intentions and aspirations for how they want to look on their day(s). Everyone has something that they want to ‘disguise’ either for body confidence or cultural reasons. So, I’ll also ask about ‘likes and dislikes’. What does she want to accentuate? Or, what might she want to cover, disguise or hide? It all plays a part in getting a look that gives the client comfort and confidence.
With all the information given, I do a couple of sketches of how I’ve interpreted everything. So much can sometimes get lost in translation, and an image paints a clearer picture.
It’s lovely that you sketch out design ideas for your brides. Are the sketches something that they’re able to keep as part of their experience?
Initially, the sketches are for my convenience. I use them as a reference point to help with the search of the dress. So, when we’re visiting the bridal gown boutiques and designers, I have something to show them. And, it provides clarity with the brides brief. Oh, and it’s also a reminder for me! After the search is complete, the bride can have this as a little keepsake of her ultimate bridal gown search. It’s lovely to see the before and after pictures from conversational sketches to reality!
You must see so many beautiful designs, (like the beautiful design below from The State of Grace), but quite often brides may ‘play it safe’. How does ‘The Dress Day Experience’ enable a bride to see how fantastic they could look? Particularly in a design that they may not have considered.
There are all different types of brides. For the ‘safe players’ it’s understandable. After all, this isn’t a dress that one goes shopping for on a regular basis. It can be daunting for some just to go shopping. Full stop!
The point of the Experience is to build a little fun and excitement into the day. And allow the bride to feel relaxed and comfortable. I have her best interests at heart and she’s my priority. I will sometimes throw in a ‘wild card’ of a dress (maybe like the backless two piece by Lara B featured above). It’s a way to get the bride to think outside the box. And, to be open to the possibility of something else that she may not have even considered.
What one piece of advice would you give to brides when choosing their bridal gown?
I would always recommend an underwear fitting before she attends any appointments. This is to ensure that she has the correct fitting bra and undergarments for her size and shape. It makes such a difference to the way clothes fit you.
Rigby & Peller offer a great service, where they can tailor underwear, to the style of the dress.
It’s amazing that your brides are able to visit Temperley Bridal. It’s an achingly gorgeous store . How did you first get to know the store? And, do you usually visit them before each of your bridal appointments?
I first met the ladies at Temperley Bridal when they invited me to the launch of the SS2017 collection. It was wonderful and I struck up an immediate connection with everyone.
I always visit before booking appointments, sketches in hand! It gives me the opportunity to discuss the intentions and aspirations of the bride. This way, there’s a complete understanding of what she is looking for regarding:
Cut and fit
Colour and length
Embellishment or plain
Do you have any tips for brides who may not be able to have the Dress Day Experience? Especially as they may still want to visit Temperley Bridal.
Yes of course. So here goes:
Remember to take pictures with you, so that you can show these to the assistants. It will give them a clear idea of what you want to achieve for your big day.
Take your time. Never feel or be rushed into making a decision.
The ladies at Temperley Bridal are highly qualified. And, they have extensive training in this field. They’re understanding of, and compassionate to your needs. And for sure they know that you may be feeling overwhelmed and stressed. They’re there to help, and want you to pick the dress that suits you best!
Do you have a favourite designer? If so can you tell us a little more about who they are and why you like them?
OMG! I LOVE Elie Saab!!! I love this man’s work for the layers of chiffon and organza that he uses for his dresses. The fabric undulates with each step that you take. You look and feel like you’re floating. So gorgeous!
You work with Sundar Weddings, luxury wedding planners. How important is it that you collaborate with wedding planners as part of the service that you offer?
It’s important to build relationships and connections with people in general. I’m a great believer that humanity is more connected in a positive way, than any other.
I do believe that it’s important to collaborate with wedding planners. It makes good business sense and wedding sense! Wedding Planners are a great gateway to the client in a trust worthy way. It’s more comforting to the client to have a supplier on board through recommendation. And, I can have a deeper insight and understanding, of the client’s wishes for the entire wedding.
And finally, what are your aspirations for the business?
I would love my business to grow and expand, so that I could contribute back to society. My aspiration for the business, is to help people feel confident in their own skin, even if only for one day. Although, I hope that it would be the catalyst to a deeper appreciation of themselves and their body.
Something that I would love to do is to tutor school children in personal style. I would focus on ways to bring out their confidence in their own self image, and develop their own identity. So much better than believing that they’re not worthy because they don’t ‘fit in’ with trends! Could you imagine the potential for positive impact on our children and their self-image? Especially whilst they’re trying to get to grips with their own ideas of beauty. It could be really powerful!
Thank you to Bonnie for her insights into finding the perfect bridal gown.
And, if you’re looking to find your very own dream gown and need some help you can contact her at [email protected]
Hi, I'm Kevin, a destination wedding photographer based in Cambridge. I love working across the UK, Europe (especially Italy) and beyond. When I'm not working you’ll find me running across the countryside with my chocolate Labrador recharging for the next fantastic adventure!