With a plethora of bridal boutiques available to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start as a bride-to-be.
Rachel Burgess Bridal Boutique is situated in the town of Penarth, in the Vale of Glamorgan in Wales, and I can safely say that I would highly recommend you popping in for a little visit if you’re searching your fabulous wedding day frock. I caught up with Rachel, the owner of the boutique, to find out more…
When did you start the business, and what was your inspiration for doing so?
I have been a bridesmaid several times and I have been to a lot of Bridal shops with my girlfriends, and even though we always had a lovely time, I just found that there was something missing… for me, anyway. I come from a theatrical background where it’s important for people to represent who they are – and I think it is equally important for a Bride to do so on her wedding day and not fall into the category of what people think a Bride ‘should be’.
So, one day, I mentioned my little secret dream of opening my own boutique which specialises in true vintage and handmade wedding dresses and accessories to my neighbour, and headed back out on tour with another theatre show. Shortly after that when I was in Italy on holiday my neighbour phoned me to say the perfect shop had come up for rent in our home town by the seaside and said that she has spoken to the landlady for me and she could meet me when I got back… I couldn’t believe it! I met the landlady and I had a look around the shop – it was perfect – and I signed on the dotted line there and then! It was one of those moments when my heart just said ‘do it – otherwise you’ll never know!’ With a lot of help from friends – painting, decorating and their constant support, the boutique officially launched on 24th October 2012, and I’ve not looked back since!
Who works ‘behind the scenes’ at Rachel Burgess Bridal Boutique?
In the shop itself, it’s just me, I love meeting my Brides and I see myself as an honorary bridesmaid to them all! I like to provide a really personal service. Behind the scenes, I get to work with four fabulous local Designers: Helen Rhiannon (who won best Designer award at the Welsh Fashion & Beauty Awards 2013) Angharad Mullooly, Claire Hill & Kate Barlow. We all get on so well and all share the same morals of quality not quantity. We’re proud that we’re doing something a little bit different.
Can you tell me about any business highlights you’d had?
The biggest highlight happens on a daily basis, although I know that sounds cheesy! I get to meet such fabulous and fun ladies who have sometimes travelled hundreds of miles to make the trip to the boutique. The Brides that we have in the boutique know the style of wedding they want to have and are happy not to stick to the ‘rules’, whether that is wearing DM Boots, glittery converse, or going barefoot. Every single Bride I’ve met is doing something completely different to the next, I love it! I am really proud that the boutique has been nominated for three awards in the past 18 months – that’s slightly overwhelming, but such a fabulous feeling that people love the Boutique as much as I do!
I’m a vintage bride-to-be – what can you offer me for my wedding day?
In the boutique, we have an entire vintage section – the dresses range from 1930’s – 1970’s and are available in all styles and fabrics. I love that these dresses have a story and are being given an opportunity to start a new chapter (I’m very sentimental about my vintage girls!). The lovely thing is we let the creativity flow with the vintage dresses! The vintage dresses are great for showing off a figure without exposing too much – if you know what I mean! We also have a lovely handmade accessories, some of which have been up-cycled from vintage fabrics so are really unique and fun!
What would your top tips be for someone looking to purchase a vintage or handmade wedding dress?
Firstly, have fun trying on lots of dresses! Don’t let anyone put any pressure on you and just see it as an elimination process. Ask lots of questions and trust your instinct. The lovely aspect with the handmade dresses in the boutique is that it gives a Bride the opportunity to meet her designer and change elements of the dress to make it perfect for her, the dress even gets named after the Bride herself as no one else will ever have the exact same dress…. it’s a very unique and exciting process for us and our Brides.
I’d love to come and visit the boutique – do I need to make an appointment?
I would always recommend booking an appointment as the boutique is small and cosy so for appointments the Bride has it exclusively for her and her nearest and dearest for two and a half hours. I lock the door, close the curtains, put the kettle on and we have a lovely time trying on as many, or as few dresses as she wants in a safe and non pressured environment. So therefore, I would always recommend booking an appointment as I wouldn’t want a Bride travelling to the boutique only to find we are busy.
Can I find you at any upcoming wedding fairs or events?
We don’t tend to do the large-scale wedding fairs, we will be exhibiting at a small independent winter wedding fair in Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan on Sunday 16th November at the John Bruno Fitness Centre, Glebe Street. Keep an eye on our Facebook Page for more details.
What’s the best way to get in touch?
You can pop over the website to find more useful information, and for the very latest updates, give us a little ‘Like’ on Facebook, and a ‘Follow’ over on Twitter. Drop us a line on 02920 709701 or email firstname.lastname@example.org