Desperate bride-to-be requires wedding dress help - Apply within... please!

(73 Posts)

Im to get hitched next year and I REALLY want a 50's vintage inspired tea / ankle length style wedding dress. I'd like it to have a lace overlay at the top with 3/4 length sleeves (to hide a hideous tattoo, regrettably acquired during a daft rebellious phase in my teens blush)

The only problem is I've scoured that t'internet til my eyes bleed! I can only find really expensive ones or very cheap ones that have to be ordered abroad from such places as China. I don't think Im brave enough to have it made abroad, which will also probably be stitched in subsiding crumbling factories by hungry children barely out of the womb(!), so I'd rather a British based shop/designer please.

I particularly love designs by Brighton based dressmaker Joanne Fleming, her collection is absolutely out of this world! But shes grown in popularity in recent years, and her dresses have shot up in price, averaging at around £1500. I particularly LOVE the designs based on her 'Annie' dress (pics attached)

I really want to find something similar in style but a tad cheaper, preferably under the £1k mark. Can anyone help....Im so desperate Im considering just turning up in a Primarni number!

Thanks xxx

SunnyL Sun 11-May-14 20:43:49

I don't know any designers but have you thought of approaching a dress maker. There are a few patterns out there that sound like what you are asking for and a good dress maker would be able to adapt them to what you want. I'm in Edinburgh and know of a few dress makers who advertise their services for making dresses. Would be far cheaper than £1000 and would be totally unique.

Blueuggboots Sun 11-May-14 20:45:27
MrsMaturin Sun 11-May-14 20:47:13

Given that you know EXACTLY what you want I think a dressmaker is the way to go.

Blueuggboots Sun 11-May-14 20:48:22

Bit of a long way from Edinburgh, sorry!!

Also might be worth a look on here?

Blueuggboots Sun 11-May-14 20:49:11

Oh, sorry that was another P in Edinburgh, not the OP!! gringrin

SorrelForbes Sun 11-May-14 20:54:47

Have you tried Dolly Couture? They're US based but ship to the UK.

I ordered one of their off the peg dresses for my wedding and it was stunning (unfortunately it didn't arrive in time but this was my fault entirely for ordering a week before the big day and giving an incorrect address!).

I didn't dare try it on when it did arrive as I would have wanted to keep it, but I did have a peek in the box and it was absolutely beautiful.

Thanks Blueuggboots, just had a look at the link you provided but it states at the bottom of the page " dresses start at £1000. Plus I live in Maidstone in Kent so Birmingham is a bit far to be fitted for a bespoke dress. Thanks so much though, as it still has lots of inspiration for vintage styling!

Hi SunnyL, yes I've considered dressmakers, Joanne Fleming is one such dressmaker. Each dress she makes can be based on ones she has already designed, and then tweaked to your own requirments, or totally designed from scratch...which is why she charges so much as each brides dress is unique. But I think this is a still good suggestion - I think I'll continue to look into dressmakers in my area...

Yeah I've looked at Dolly Couture - some absolutely fab dresses on here, particularly like this one:

But still just not quite sure. Although I have book-marked it and will be considering it for a back-up if I have to

gingerroots Sun 11-May-14 21:10:20

I had a Lou Lou bridal 50s style dress I loved it & felt amazing.mine was exdisplay but think it was £800/900 full price.good luck with your search smile

emsyj Sun 11-May-14 21:14:28

I had a Joanne Fleming back in the days before she was popular - I am 'Emma' of the 'Emma' dress fame! grin

My friend's mother in law has a dress shop that you might be interested in - she's in Heswall on the Wirral, it's called Look Darling and you can try on some of the Dolly couture styles plus lots of others. I started it up to cater for other brides looking for 50s style wedding dresses after having my own made for me back in 2008 (because I couldn't find what I wanted anywhere). I sold it on to Elaine when I was pregnant with DD2 but I still feel very connected to the 50s dress style!

Having seen many brides myself, I would say please go and try some on - you may be surprised that what you like on a screen is very different from what you like when it's on your body. Out of maybe 70 brides I met, only 2 of them ended up ordering the dress they had liked on the website (and one of those flat refused to try anything else on at all, she was so in love with one specific style). Many many many of them were surprised that what they liked when trying on was totally different from what they had expected to want.

Yep LouLou is on my list too lol. Beautiful dresses. But I found that LouLou don't have their own shop/website, you just have to scour and trawl through the list of hundreds of stockists - which I've started to do but still haven't found a stockist in the south east who have a loulou dress that quite hits the spot for me... yet! Will keep looking though, thanks x

I got my 50's style dress from here for £800

tinkerbellvspredator Sun 11-May-14 21:19:34

If you find one you like with short sleeves you could get a (good) makeup artist to cover up your tattoo is it's small and do your make up for the day as well.

Creatureofthenight Sun 11-May-14 21:21:58

Have you looked at they are very reasonable. have some lovely ones. Or check somewhere like for designers like Candy Anthony, though these can still be quite pricy even second-hand.

emsyj Sun 11-May-14 21:22:23

Sorry I assumed from your user name that you were in the north - if you're in the SE have you looked at visiting Cutting Edge Brides? They specialise in 50s style tea length dresses and are based near London.

emsyj Sun 11-May-14 21:23:06

I've seen the Kitty & Dulcie dresses in person at a photo shoot and they are very nice quality for the money IMO.

Ooooh thanks emsyj, have just checked out the website and really love some of these styles! Loving 'Shirley' and 'Audrey' - although Audrey has short sleeves which wouldn't disguise my embarrassing and ugly tattoo - I hate myself for that bloody tattoo cos Im really limited with my dress now sad

Its just a shame your on the Wirral, its rather far for me to go as Im in the south east, otherwise I'd be there in a shot...

Dukketeater Sun 11-May-14 21:27:25

There is a really cool new dress shop in Caterham (about 30 mins from Maidstone) junc 6 of M25 - try them

emsyj Sun 11-May-14 21:27:27

You can get your tattoo covered for the day as a previous poster has said - a makeup artist would be able to do this for you using waterproof and transfer-proof products. Just a thought if you did find a dress you love that shows the tattoo.

McFox Sun 11-May-14 21:29:30

This is my dress;undefined;;;600;800 and I was told that I could have it with sleeves if I wanted to. I LOVED it, perfect 50s style. It might be worth having a look to see if there's something similar for sale nearby that can then be adapted - mine is for sale but I'm also in edinburgh.

Rocket1982 Sun 11-May-14 21:32:27
FarToGo Sun 11-May-14 21:37:03

The Candy Anthony shop is on the South bank in London. It's an appointment only deal.
They have the most amazing dresses.
A friend of mine had hers made, "inspired" by a dress from there.

tinkerbellvspredator - can you get make-up to cover tattoo's? That would be great! It is only smallish so may look into this... I'd still love the style of dress I've mentioned but may consider shorter sleeves if the tattoo can be covered with make-up...hmmm

Creatureofthenight - I have tried sites such as eBay and Preloved etc for a second-hand number, as I really don't mind if its been preowned providing its clean and in vgc, but not come across anything I like yet. I've book-marked thefairygothmother but still nothing that screams out at me at the moment. Not tried Kitty&Dulcie but have just had a quick gander and think could be a very good site! Will be checking this one out in more detail - thank you x

NoArmaniNoPunani - Have also looked at Ocean Bridal who have some and really like 'Eve' in their T-Length collection if it had longer sleeves...but may bookmark it now that someone has made mee aware of tattoo-cover makeup!

eurochick Sun 11-May-14 21:43:30

Candy Anthony dresses are amazing. I'm not sure they would be cheap enough though.

emsyj Sun 11-May-14 21:44:58

You would need to counteract the blue colour with a red and then cover with your skin tone - I would personally pay someone to do it rather than doing it yourself, there is a skill to it and it will take time to make it look perfect. Dermablend do a cover up product that would work, but you would need to practice if you want to do it yourself. tutorial

emsyj Sun 11-May-14 21:49:01

I went to Candy Anthony in 2008 and they quoted me £1700 for a dress similar to the Joanne Fleming style I had (i.e. no lace or embellishments)... I didn't think the dresses were worth the money, personally. They weren't lined, the fabric was cotton sateen and the petticoats were just standard elasticated waist numbers. They are standard sizes and altered to fit (at additional cost). The dress Jo made me was bespoke, I had 3 toile fittings where I altered the neckline repeatedly before making a final decision, the final dress was made of silk and had the petticoats sewn in - and it cost me £390! The same dress is now more than 3 times that price - and that is probably the more realistic price really. Just the cost of the fabric must have been most of the price I paid. I was very lucky to get in there when she was new on the scene and trying to build a name.

Dukketeater - what is the shop in Caterham called hun?

Rocket1982 - Yep I've trawled through the countless dresses on Etsy, some of which are absolutely gorgeous (such as the one in your link). But they're all from or custom made in the US and Im not sure if I would be relaxed enough to have it made abroad. What if it totally misfits, or gets lost in the post, turns up late, damaged in post, not really what I expected, ends up looking atrocious on me etc. It'd more weeks to endure sending it back, waiting for alterations to be made / a new one sent. I'd turn into a bridezilla and I really don't want this to be stressful - because I am a major stress-head if things like this don't go smoothly!

FarToGo - Yep I've looked into Candy Anthony but again, rather expensive. They start at around £1300 so if I was to pay that price I'd rather go with Joanne Fleming I think

McFox - OMG I just love the Ian Stuart Cadillac dress. No price though. It looks expensive, but may type this into preloved and ebay - ya never know. Thanks!

tethersend Sun 11-May-14 21:56:04

This taken up with a full petticoat under would work as a cheap option.

emsyj - yeah I think you're right about Candy Anthony. I didn't think they looked as expensive as the price tag they give. I'd rather pay Jo Fleming that kinda money for real silk - Im SO envious you got one for less than £400, ya jammy mare! envy

Helliecopter Sun 11-May-14 21:58:30

I had mine made as well, not 50s style but I'm a fussy sod with a weird body shape and having a couture experience with a dressmaker for under a grand was wonderful. She made me a perfect corset to my exact shape and was really honest about what suited/flattered me. Had I gone with a 'designer' dress (mine was quite Suzanne Neville in style) it'd have cost me upwards of £3k shock
I'm in north Manchester. The dress maker is called Lucy Nye and I've recommended her to several people who've all had a brilliant experience too. She's a theatre costume designer with years of experience and a fab person. If you want her details, let me know smile

tethersend Sun 11-May-14 21:58:37

tethersend - that is a good idea actually, never thought about adding a petticoat to an otherwise less fuller dress. Something to think about...

tethersend Sun 11-May-14 22:01:25

Yeah a bit too much lace on that one tethersend but that general style is kinda what Im thinking, and the Suzannah one is well overpriced! And not really 'me' anyway...

TheHouseatWhoCorner Sun 11-May-14 22:09:06

I got married a few weeks ago in Romantica of Devon Bali. A beautiful tea or knee or full length. Fifties style with lace overlay and back. Unfortunately its sleeveless but maybe the tattoo makeup or a bolero?
It was made to order so took 5 months. I saw it in a mag and fell in love but couldn't find a stockist so I called the designer who told me their nearest stockist to try a sample.
It cost 695 plus alterations.
It was beautiful, fab quality and superbly finished.

McFox Sun 11-May-14 22:09:24

The Ian Stuart was expensive I'll admit - £2k!! But it was the one I had my heart set on (still trying to justify it..!) and it's on sale for less than half that price now (in perfect condition) so you never know, you might find a bargain somewhere smile

tethersend Sun 11-May-14 22:16:10
KeithTheCat Sun 11-May-14 22:20:21

I also have a bastard tattoo on my upper arm that I wanted to cover. I wore this, hope the link works! -

the cape just covered my tattoo.

I went to a bridal alterations shop and they were able to change almost anything about any dress. for example if you fell in love with a strapless dress but would want a different neckline or sleeves added, that could be done. that was in Glasgow which is too far but I'm sure there will be places down your way. good luck.

tethersend Sun 11-May-14 22:21:09
KeithTheCat Sun 11-May-14 22:22:07

bastard, link didn't work. I'm on the app and don't know how to do it!

it's Alfred angelo 8503j if anyone wants to search.

Arriettyborrower Sun 11-May-14 22:22:45

Oooooo you could be me last year!

I got married in December, bought a loulou bridal tea length dress in immaculate condition off preloved then got a local seamstress to alter the neck line - basically cut the top off and create a sweetheart neckline - them make a lace overlay to go over the top.

Cost about £360 all in.

It was easy and meant I got what I wanted.

tgrayson Sun 11-May-14 22:25:06

My friend had a beautiful dress from honey pie boutique. You could get a bolero to go over the top?

Good luck, your find it x

tethersend Sun 11-May-14 22:25:47
tethersend Sun 11-May-14 22:27:42
tethersend Sun 11-May-14 22:31:03
Arriettyborrower Sun 11-May-14 22:34:37

The second one you linked to above tethers end is very very similar to my dress! It's gorgeous!

Amaxapax Sun 11-May-14 22:51:09

I've tried to PM you, but I'm not sure if I'm doing it correctly. In any case, I'm selling this dress preferably for around £1000, though I'm happy to negotiate. It's a size 12 and made of smooth silk dupione. It's really beautiful! It has been cleaned and is in excellent condition. The make is Blue Bridalwear and the dress is called Summer Rose.

Dukketeater Mon 12-May-14 06:19:56

HelenaFortley in Caterham

CurlsLDN Mon 12-May-14 06:32:16

I got married last summer and had a very similar wish list and budget to you!

I went to candy Anthony, and also found the quality nowhere near matched the prices.

Please please make a trip to cutting edge brides! I used to live in Maidstone, it's not too far away, it's the right side of London. They were the only place I found that stocks multiple designers of 3/4 length dresses. It was heaven! Racks and racks of dreamy 50s dresses, with lots of detail and different features. I chose a dress that has a full tulle skirt like the one you've pictured, and a lacy bodice (I didn't go for sleeves though) it was £699, and then I paid extra for as many petticoats as the seamstress could fit underneath it! They have a lot, with prices, on their website which will give you an idea, but the photography isn't great and it's so worth going to the shop.

Good luck!

CurlsLDN Mon 12-May-14 06:33:44
CurlsLDN Mon 12-May-14 06:35:37
emsyj Mon 12-May-14 09:18:59

Amaxapax that dress is beayooooooooooootiful... I love Blue Bridalwear -their fabrics are gorgeous and they get the ballerina length and skirt fullness just right.

Sorry ladies, I sloped off last night to watch Fargo (I love this series!)…

Tethersend – just have to say a big thank you, your tireless efforts are so appreciated, you’re an absolute ANGEL! You’ve found some real beauties that I’ll be looking into today [BIG HUG]

Dukketeater – Thanks for the name of the shop in Caterham, will be looking into this, thank you!

TheHouseatWhoCorner – The Romantica dresses are beautiful, and I have considered them, possibly purchasing one then having it taken up to tea length as there is a stockist of Romantica in Maidstone where I live.

McFox – when you say the Ian Stuart dress is on sale for less than half that price now, do you mean in a shop/online somewhere or do you mean your own? Im happy to consider pre-owned if you’re selling yours???

KeithTheCat – wow that Alfred angelo dress is magnificent! Im far too petite for a dress like that, I’d look a prat in it lol. But I am seriously considering the dressmaker/seamstress option to make alterations, providing it all comes under £1k

Amaxapax – Wow that is an absolutely beautiful dress. However for a 2nd hand dress that would require alterations (you are a 12 and I am a 6-8 and only Im only a short-arse at 5’2” so would need altering to fit my small frame), I would only want to pay no more than £500 as I’d have to consider the cost of alterations too. I wouldn’t insult you with that offer because you could easily sell that stunning dress to someone of a size 12 for the price you want… Im gutted though its gooooorgeous! It fits you like a dream hun.

CurlsLDN – yes you’re right, the photography online for Cutting Edge is awful, it really did put me off. It makes the dresses look like cheap tat imported from China, especially as there also a lot of them! I did dismiss Cutting Edge if Im honest. But on your recommendation I think Im gonna drag my mother-in-law up there and take a proper look in their showroom – thank you for that reassurance.

I will look at stockists of Blue Bridalwear, BUT on their website it does say their HQ studio in Cardiff stock dresses STARTING at £1600 – eek!

LumpySpacedPrincess Mon 12-May-14 11:06:34

This is on Ebay, size 10 / 12 finishes in 7 hours.

LumpySpacedPrincess - I know, I just searched for LouLou dresses on eBay and saw it too! Only prob is I don't have £499 to spend right now to buy it as that's her starting price! sad. Gonna put a watch on it though as she might relist it if it doesn't sell...
It is a size 10 - can dresses be altered down to an 8? She also says she it is a 32" bust, Im a 34B so could it be altered to fit me? I have absolutely NO IDEA when it comes to dressmaking!

Amaxapax Mon 12-May-14 11:54:22

No worries! I'm sure you'll find something gorgeous. I know that Blue Bridalwear did have a sample sale recently, but I think most of them are around a 10 or 12. Still, worth looking at. I really fell in love with my dress and don't regret it at all, but it was more than I planned to spend. You're wise to look for something more sensibly priced!

Yeah I've looked into lots of sample sales, but as the average woman is a size 10/12 they are the only sizes sold in sample sales...humph! angry

Amaxapax Mon 12-May-14 12:08:12

Oh! Also! I have a tattoo on my right shoulder which I didn't want to show. Dermablend make up is kind of the standard for covering tattoos. I bought a sample pack of several shades from Amazon. Actual tubes of Dermablend is very expensive, but this little pack was just a fiver or something. My make up artist just gradually applied several layers and covered it with powder. It stayed on all day, you couldn't see it at all and it was a very economical solution. There are lots of tutorials online about it.

And thank you, emsyj. I feel very lucky to have been able to wear such a gorgeous dress. I felt amazing on the day.

I use dermablend foundations to cover my old acne scars and blemishes, I never realised they did tattoo covering makeup too! This is now opening up a bigger selection of dresses for me - Im so pleased! grin... so glad I posted this, you're all a massive help xxx

McFox Mon 12-May-14 14:30:21

I did mean that I'm selling mine, sadly you are half my size!!

lynniep Mon 12-May-14 14:36:00

Oh Sew Vintage ? she takes commissions.

PancakesAndMapleSyrup Mon 12-May-14 14:52:22

Op sorry i havent completly read the thread, im ill flu. Cutting edge brides in Bexley just off the A2 do exactly what you want and are not too expensive either. Go and have a look as its not far!

TheHouseatWhoCorner Mon 12-May-14 16:12:41

OP, the lady who sold me my frock said that dresses can usually be altered up to two dress sizes down. Any more than that will not feel properly fitted as the scale will be wrong. Hope that helps.

cocoblu Mon 12-May-14 17:26:06

cutting edge bride have spme end of line dresses on their ebay shop that may fit what u are looking for, I tried one on and was impressed with the quality, they are £150 so are a real bargain, I have bought my dress from, but I would suggest looking at unique vintage and trashy as they all do that 1950s style, I also bought a dress from lindy bop vintage whoch was decent quality just not for me x

specialsubject Mon 12-May-14 17:43:00

unfortunately you are also a long way from the second-hand dress shop run by a member of my family. But she can't run the only one in the UK - is there one near you?

there's never a need to spend a bomb on the wedding frock. Let somebody else do that and buy it second-hand!

cosysocks Mon 12-May-14 18:01:54

McFox - gutted, that dress is stunning sad

TheHouseatWhoCorner - that really does help, now I know if I end up getting a second hand dress I know what maximum size I should buy. Thanks

cocoblu - I checked out your link for modcloth, but they don't really have wedding dresses and are in the US. I don't fancy ordering from abroad, too risky. I've searched under and it just takes me to a strange search engine. Lindy Bop doesn't seem to have wedding dresses, but its a good one for my guests to look at as Im also asking guests to try and find something vintage 50's inspired too - thanks

specialsubject - Im really happy to buy second hand if I find the right dress, its just finding it that's the prob. The charity shops round here don't seem to stock wedding dresses (think they're all cherry-picked for the bigger London stores!). And ebay/preloved etc have all proved fruitless so far. But Im gonna keep checking!

cosysocks - that is a rather lovely dress! Just a tad too lacey for me I think but its definitely the gist. May have to trawl through ebay a bit more. Just worried it'll turn up and look crap cos I can't try it on first, then I've gotta faff about sending it back, getting a refund and starting all over again. But Im definitely not ruling it out...

McFox Mon 12-May-14 21:52:01

And I'm gutted that I'm not your size! Its worth keeping your eyes peeled for one in your size though smile

I have an appointment at Fairy Goth Mother boutique in East London today! So excited (although they sounded really quite snotty on the phone, so feel a bit anxious. Im originally from Yorkshire and have an obvious Northern accent...posh Southerners tend to recoil in horror when I speak lol. I keep imagining 'pretty woman' like scenario's of snooty upturned noses and being shown the door,)

And then an appointment at Cutting Edge Brides in Bexley on Saturday. The lady on the phone sounded very down to earth, chatty and friendly so have to say Im looking forward to this appointment a bit more...

TheHouseatWhoCorner Wed 14-May-14 17:43:19

How was today? Did you have fun?

Yeah it was rather fun actually. Luckily the lady wasn't snooty at all and was really very lovely and let me try loadsa dresses on.

I loved all of them but one was the real bee's knees, to the extent it had my MIL in tears! But it turned out to be a House of Mooshki design and the most bloody expensive one on the rack... just shy of £1500

Id previously looked at Mooshki but decided they were too expensive and to not torture myself by looking any further. But the lady at Fairy Goth Mother just asked me to pick out all the dresses I liked and try them on. THEN dropped the price tag bombshell when I'd fallen in love with the most expensive one.... grrr

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