How I got started in bridalwear

Choosing your wedding dress shouldn’t need to be a fraught process, and yet… everyone knows it almost always is! Becoming a Bride (with a capital B) means taking on the weight of so many expectations – your family’s, society’s, yours. If you always dreamed of being a bride, and have been secretly pinning big white dresses since before you even met your partner, there’s always the danger that what you can afford won’t live up to that. Or maybe you’re like me, and had a pathological aversion to all things wedding for many years, and never imagined yourself in a big white dress: “I went to a fancy university and attended lots of balls when I was younger – that’s enough meringue dresses for one lifetime!”

And then you meet someone you love, and you realise that marriage doesn’t have to mean ending up like your parents, and maybe isn’t going to push you into some weird heteronormative paradigm. You can just be in love and be happy together, and that’s great! So you decide to get married.

And then comes the dress shopping. It’s so expensive. And all the dresses are white, and there are so many rules, and the shop assistants are helpfully suggesting dresses that are “flattering”. You’re told you’ll need boobs sewn into the dress to pull off this style with your chest, or that a corset is a must to “give you a waist” in that dress. Everything just feels so claustrophobic. I haven’t even touched the pressure to lose weight for the wedding, because ugh.

Or, you decide to give the traditional wedding industry a miss, and look on the high street, but that’s just less well-fitting fast fashion knock offs of the same dresses from the bridal shops, plus now you have to sort out alterations.

I went through this exact journey when my long term partner and I decided to get married in early 2022. We were having a micro wedding with only 15 people which we were keeping secret from everyone who wasn’t attending. I wasn’t going to be having a big bridal party or a venue, so a giant floor length dress which I needed help to use the bathroom in was definitely a big no no. I’m plus size, so just buying a really cool dress from a designer brand was out, because none of them stock a size 20. I looked at hundreds of dresses online and just felt like none of them represented me. When I imagined my wedding, I couldn’t see myself wearing them, just some kind of faceless avatar. I knew that wasn’t right for me.

So I decided to make my own, non-traditional dress. Because at the end of the day, a wedding is about you and your partner, and deciding in the pub one day that it’s time you got married after being together for nearly nine years isn’t traditional! Keeping the wedding a secret until afterwards and not inviting anyone except immediate family isn’t traditional either – so why did any of the rest of it need to be?

Never having created a bridal pinterest board before in my life, I went about creating one and decided what I really wanted was something fun and sparkly. Something that would leave no doubt I was the bride but which would also be lightweight and fun to wear. I found an amazing sparkling sequinned fabric and got to work designing. A month and several design changes later, I was sewing the last button onto the finished dress and getting ready to walk down the aisle.

When I posted on Instagram after the wedding, I expected friends to be excited about it, but I never could have imagined the outpouring of love I got for my dress, and the number of messages I got from women saying they wished they could have worn something like that for their wedding, but that contemporary, offbeat styles for modern brides just didn’t seem to exist back then. At the time my fashion business only offered casualwear and I’d never really imagined myself as a bridal designer, but it felt like a sign from the universe. All I ever wanted when I started my business was to create dresses that make people feel amazing, and to enable people of all shapes and sizes to feel confident in their look, with no one left out because of their size.

A wedding dress is probably the most special dress of your whole life – so of course I should make bridal dresses too! And so The Daydreamer Bridal was born. My bridal line encapsulates all the qualities of my casualwear line, but with the volume turned up to 11: beautiful sustainably sourced or deadstock fabrics; unique and eyecatching prints; oversized, voluminous shapes with great structure; clever fitting details to work with different body shapes and sizes; comfort and ease of wearing. All the dresses in my bridal line are designed to be able to be worn without having to come for a fitting, which helps me keep my costs low and make my dresses more affordable, because feeling beautiful on your wedding day shouldn’t mean feeling like you have to spend beyond your means. Everything is custom made to order and there are no size limits on any of the dresses – they can be as small or as large as you need, and petite/tall customisation is free.

As well as my bridal line, I’ve also started offering custom dresses, with a fully bespoke bridal service including fittings, so that if you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, I can bring your dreams to life.

This is honestly never where I dreamed my business would end up, but it brings me an enormous amount of joy to be able to bring fashion happiness to people on the most special day of their lives.

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