bridal shop surrey

The Best Destination & Beach Wedding Dresses in Surrey

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It’s no secret that I am a fan of a destination wedding. Above is a picture of me and my husband back in 2014 at our wedding in South Africa - it was the best day of our entire lives (I’m confidently speaking on his behalf) haha!

When searching for my dress, I must admit I didn’t think about the practicality of getting it half way across the planet. Luckily and rather conveniently I found a dress that was hugely conducive to transport as it was made of chiffon. Light, floaty, no creases - perfect!

When I opened my bridal shop in Surrey in April 2018, I wanted to have a good selection of unique dresses for brides getting married in all corners of the world - home and away. These are a list of my TOP TEN DESTINATION WEDDING DRESSES for brides getting married abroad on the beaches of Australia or the snowy mountains of Switzerland. These gowns travel easily, move with the breeze and have a distinctly relaxed and bohemian feel.


FIJI

A truly spectacular A-line halterneck wedding dress made of oodles of pleated chiffon and stunning lace. Named after a chain of islands we’d quite happily call home, FIJI is our top choice for a destination wedding. This ethereal wedding gown is floaty, whimsical and truly exquisite - ideal for a wedding on a beach, up a mountain or in the woods.

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KEMBLE

KEMBLE is our chiffon and sparkling lace gown by Ella Rosa. A stunningly beautiful bodice with an exquisite sheer lace back and buttons all the way down the skirt, KEMBLE is ideal for a summertime wedding. This graceful chiffon skirt ripples like waves breaking on a shoreline whilst the delicate beading across the bodice sparkles in the light.

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DEMETRIA

DEMETRIA also features in our BEST BOHEMIAN WEDDING DRESS blog as she is so light, relaxed and elegant. She is an ideal dress for transport as she is light and compact. Her chiffon skirt and bodice can be folded and placed in your car or hung in an aeroplane with ease and all she’ll need is to be hung straight for a few days and her creases will drop straight out. No sparkles, no bling, just stunning lace and an incredible cut. Perfection.

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FEATHER

FEATHER is a sexy fitted gown with wonderful movement and beautiful boho detailing. The delicate vines and florals cover her sheer bodice and down the skirt dancing above the intricate and contemporary lace beneath. A plunging front and a low V back are super chic and the luxuriously soft tuille train is light and delicate. Finish your look with a chic bridal cape and you’re ready for your wedding in Provence amidst the vineyards.

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BLOOM

Another pleated chiffon skirt, this time with an exquisite bodice and beautiful cap sleeves. Elegant, simple, pretty and sweeter than honey, BLOOM is the epitome of destination wedding glam. Couple this adorable boho wedding dress with a savage flower crown and fierce make-up and float down the aisle on your faraway beach.

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BLAKE

BLAKE is a little naughty and a little sassy but ultimately is a contemporary twist on a classically elegant and beautiful bridal gown. This long-sleeved wedding dress is now available in our Surrey bridal shop and for me, BLAKE is a vision in the South African bush wedding with rustic florals, jagged foliage, dark plum and burgundy colours and would be ideal for a cooler climate. Dress her up or down for a country bumpkin celebration or a lush ski resort wedding.

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ELENA

ELENA is joining our LUSH CURVE collection in autumn 2019 and will be available from a UK4 to a UK34 so everyone can benefit from her beauty! Her stunning and distinct pattern, high neck and low back, soft and romantic tuille to add whimsy to this striking design. Elegant sleeves are ideal for a winter or spring wedding vacay in Europe or the U.S. Dreamy, elegant and uber feminine.

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DOROTHY

The elegant and sophisticated DOROTHY has PARIS written all over her! Hell, anywhere in France! She is hopelessly chic and transcends bridal tradition in favour of relaxed European glamour. Her stunning bow-tie neck and open back with her understated skirt is perfect for strolling down the Champs de Elysee en route to a fabulously chic Parisian restaurant. Or staying a little closer to home, DOROTHY is perfect for a classy London wedding for any hopelessly chic London brides.

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DARWIN

New to our collection, DARWIN is elegant, chic and dripping from head to toe in a unique design of lace. It is a contemporary vintage design in that, it is so delicate and feminine in a vintage style with a slightly contemporary twist. A sexy silhouette and a scoop back complete this chic and classically beautiful gown. Perfect with an overstated dramatic veil for an Italian wedding.

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EMMA

EMMA also made our TOP TEN BOHO WEDDING DRESS list and as you can see, she can work for lots of different styles of celebration! EMMA is lightweight, delicate and utterly charming. She is available in ivory but I love her original mocha design. It makes the unusual and bohemian style lace stand out. She’s fitted and daring without being too naughty! Good vibes all around with EMMA as your dress.

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Boho Wedding Dresses Surrey - Destination Wedding Dresses Dorking

The Best Bohemian & Alternative Wedding Dresses in Surrey

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It’s no secret that in our boutique we like a bit of colour and dresses that have a little bit of ‘je ne sais quoi’ about them. Colours, patterns, textures - it’s all good and all very welcome in our Surrey bridal shop. When we first decided to launch BRIDE by Aster in spring 2018, we knew that we wanted to have a great variety of dresses. All shapes, textures, colours, patterns. Designers you have never heard of from all over the world who don’t necessarily follow the bridal trends.

If I’m honest, my personal style is more bohemian, floaty and whimsical, but I have such a massive appreciation for design and adore ballgowns and mermaid dresses alike. Here are a list of my TOP 10 BEST BOHEMIAN WEDDING DRESSES currently available in our Surrey bridal boutique.

In no particular order, here we go…

EVELYN

EVELYN is a dramatic trumpet lace gown in a stunning shade of nude with a beautiful contemporary vintage style lace covering the whole dress. Her detailing is exquisite and she is formal yet relaxed, romantic, soft and truly striking. EVELYN by Modeca can be dressed up or down, but we love her for a boho wedding in Surrey, with rustic flowers and a symphony of colour.

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ESMEE

One of our most dramatic wedding dresses in store is ESMEE by Modeca. She is a magnificently unique wedding dress in shades of ink black and layers of ivory, complimented with navy blue lace applique. Her overall effect is sometimes navy and sometimes grey; that’s the beauty of her, you can never quite tell! The lace applique are made from exquisite sculpted birds as well as romantic florals. If you want a statement wedding dress, ESMEE could be the one!

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ATHENS

The true meaning of ‘boho’ comes out to play in our gown ATHENS by Anny Lin. She shimmers and moves like a fairy, has the most uniquely detailed bodice we’ve ever seen, and has the most delicious lace skirt that floats in the breeze. Her skirt and bodice have a layer of champagne tuille to add warmth and colour and to make the delicate lace stand out in ivory. Not convinced? She comes with signature see-through pockets! Game. Set. Match.

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FLEUR

Fancy making an entrance to end them all? FLEUR is your dress. Stiflingly beautiful in an abundance of pink and purple florals printed onto a raw silk skirt, FLEUR is finished off with a hand embelssihed bodice and skirt using Swarovski crystals. Her bodice has visible corsetry which is bang on trend, and her sheer back is perfection. She has a super long train and packs the ultimate fairytale punch!

Patrick Nied Photography

Patrick Nied Photography

Patrick Nied Photography

Patrick Nied Photography

ELEANORA

A favourite wedding dress in our Surrey based bridal shop is ELEANORA. She is a quintessential fairytale ballgown in shades of pink, blue and ivory, giving her an overall shade of lavender. She has floral appliques accented with shades of champagne, salmon and petrol blue and has so many delicious layers of the softest and most indulgent tuille, she could very well be fattening.

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DEMETRIA

Floaty, feminine, understated, a little bot of lace, no sparkles and totally dreamy, DEMETRIA by Modeca is the epitome of bohemian elegance. Throw on a flower crown and a pair of fabulous boots or sandals and you’re ready for the aisle! DEMETRIA has gorgeous lace straps, a sexy plunging neckline, exquisite low back and a beautiful sheer lack waistband. The pleated chiffon is hopelessly feminine and chic and she is one of our favourites!

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EMMA

One of the most delicious colours for a wedding dress in 2020 is mocha. It is rich, warm, romantic and so bohemian I could cry. EMMA by Modeca has large lace applique detailing and a fitted lace bodice over a delicious mocha gown. There are two layers of lace adding another dimension to this intricate gown and it’s train is understated and so elegant.

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EVA

Long sleeves, pink, lace, low back…..EVA by Modeca is a bohemian dream come true! She is a stunning shade of mink below her layers of warm ivory tuille and is detailed with pink, champagne and ivory applique flowers. She has a plunging mink bodice that is discreetly covered with the most delicate lace and her back plunges to a deep V to reveal a little skin.

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ARIEL

Another totally unique Anny Lin creation, ARIEL is truly one of a kind. She sparkles in a shade of champagne, has the most glorious back detailing I think I’ve ever seen on any dress AND she has wings! For a truly unique, totally fairytale wedding dress, ARIEL could be the one for you!

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EDEN

EDEN by Modeca has an altogether vintage bohemian feel. She is effortless, chic, glamorous yet totally relaxed. Her incredible elbow length sleeves are pure indulgence and her unique patterning make her one truly to be rivalled with. Make EDEN vintage with a gatsby style headpiece or truly bohemian with a savage flower crown!

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How to be a Great Wedding Guest (what NOT to do)...

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There are a lot of blogs out there offering hints and tips for couples on how to prepare for their big day, what to do on the morning of your wedding and how to cope with such a big life change. But there are less blogs available on the unwritten etiquette for wedding guests. It may seem so obvious and yet, in my some 10 years working in wedding venues and at events as well as being a guest myself, there are some ‘classics’ that crop up time and time again that really should be avoided.

The key to being a good wedding guest is to practise true empathy and to really and truly put yourself into the position of the couple. Lateness, talking during speeches, ignoring requests, being fussy with food, making everything about you - these are just some of the things I' have seen in my time and I know I’m not the only one. Basically, don’t be an a***hole and you’ll most likely be going home with all of your friends, a slice of cake and with any luck, a sore head the next morning. Here are a list of my top things NOT to do as a wedding guest!

DON’T BE LATE

I know what you’re all going to say….’DUH’!!! But I guarantee you, if you ask 3 people you know who have got married in the last 5 years, they will tell you that at least one person or one couple rocked up late to the ceremony and had to sneak in during their nuptials. For me, lateness is just so unnecessary and so inappropriate. If you know you take a million years to iron your shirt or put your eyebrows on, then get up 30 minutes earlier and sort your lives out. There is nothing worse than late guests turning up when the ceremony is in full swing and having to make the ‘walk of shame’ to some spare seats at the back. It’s disrespectful and there is really no excuse. (Also, if you are so late that you’ll be walking in during the ceremony, just wait outside until it’s over. If you didn’t care enough to arrive on time, you clearly don’t care about seeing the iconic moment when the couple are legally married. Grab a coffee and think about what you’ve done).

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LEAVE YOUR DRAMA AT HOME

Sometimes, we fall out of favour with people. We still love them but they are not necessarily high on our list of dinner guests. However, a wedding is one of the most special and life-defining moments that anyone will go through during their lifetime and as such, we often still go out of our way to invite these people. They could be family or long-term friends and ultimately mean something to us.

If this is YOU, do everyone a favour and make sure you do one of the following. 1) Politely decline and wish the happy couple well or 2) leave your drama at home! 364 days of the year might be about you (although it’s doubtful) but on this 1 day, make it about someone else. Leave your issues at the door, have a glass of champagne and enjoy the celebrations. If you can’t do that…GET, IN, THE, BIN.

EAT WHAT YOU’RE GIVEN AND DON’T COMPLAIN

Back to basics with this one! If you didn’t reply alerting the couple that you are allergic to prawns or that you are now a vegan, then prepare to eat whatever the waiting staff put in front of you. Not what you would put on your ideal menu? #mermaidhairdontcare

If you don’t eat pate, then pop it on someone else’s plate, enjoy a bread roll, hunker down and pray for mains. Don’t judge the food, don’t bad mouth the food and don’t complain if it’s not enough - you probs won’t starve. You’re not paying and therefore, you are not permitted to have an offensive opinion. Make small talk with your neighbours and in general, remain delightful.

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DON’T GET PLASTERED (too early on…)

There is nothing worse than all of the attention being on you for the wrong reasons. If you’re wasted before you arrive, do everyone a favour (including yourself) and go and grab a sandwich and an Evian and sober up. Drink slowly throughout the day and work your way into a marvellous stupor with everyone else, just in time for the final dance of the night (which should always be ‘We Are the Champions’ fyi). Please don’t think that you’re funny drunk on a table full of sober people, because you’re probably just annoying lol that’s right. We’re laughing at you, not with you. Sense the tone of the wedding and drink responsibly AND respectfully.

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RESPECT THE SEATING PLAN

Believe it or not, I’ve seen guests swapping their place cards to different TABLES in the past. Without being too harsh…..’get a life’ lol. If you can’t see any familiar names, enjoy an hour and half of meeting new people and then sit wherever you like thereafter. Swapping place cards stuffs up seating for other guests and causes unnecessary hassle when people are trying to find their seats (and it’s a bit awkward and weird). If you don’t like it, grab a seat outside and enjoy the views!

THE CAKE CUTTING & FIRST DANCE

For me, the best way to execute these two iconic moments of your day is to have one and then the other. Cake cutting and straight into first dance. It keeps the evening moving and you can get everyone involved in both special moments. (If only they would all move).

If you hear the venue staff, catering teams or indeed bridal party asking you to head to the dancefloor to be part of the cake cutting and/or first dance, don’t be a jerk. Just go. The bar will still be there when you get back, I guarantee it. But these moments, no matter how small they may seem to you as a guest, are moments that the couple will never get back. Make it special for them and crowd around, take photos and throw out the occasional supportive ‘woop’! Your beer will still be cold when the 5 minutes have passed.

ALSO, when I say ‘crowd around’, sitting on a table next to the couple is NOT the same thing. If the dancefloor is in the centre of the room, unless requested, get out of your seats and CROWD AROUND the couple. It makes for a MUCH better atmosphere and after all, it’s about the couple. Not you. For the cake cutting, CROWD AROUND for the countdown. Take photos and relish the merriment! To summarise - be a good human.

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STAY AWAY……FROM THE DRESS

This one sort of correlates with getting seriously drunk as usually, it’s the seriously drunk ones that forget all personal space limitations, sorry……personal dress space limitations. I remember one wedding many years ago when one of my brides came to me in tears because someone hadn’t seen her and in a drunken blur, had stepped THROUGH her train with a nice big size 12. Luckily, I had an emergency kit and I sat on the floor and stitched the lace back onto the dress. Give the couple the respect they deserve. Keep make-up away from the grooms shirt (air cuddles are underrated) and give the bride ample space to move without damaging her attire. It’s worth more than your right arm.

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RESPECT THE VENUE

If anything gets damaged at the venue or goes missing because you think it’s funny, the couple are the ones that lose out because it will 100% guaranteed come out of their pockets. As the only points of contact for the venue, they take full responsibility for the premises on the night of their wedding - that includes you. If you’re children have been lucky enough to be included, don’t let them turn feral. Keep an eye on them and make sure they stay out of mischief as well as you.

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DON’T JUST, NOT TURN UP

Ultimate un-cool points awarded to people who don’t turn up to a wedding. Did you know that per head, you are worth anything from £70 to £250 ON YOUR OWN which has been paid in order for you to attend and is non-refundable. If you decide you’re not going, give at LEAST 4 weeks notice, BEFORE the final bill is paid.

REPLY ON TIME TO YOUR INVITATION

Make things simple for the couple and reply on time. There will be a generous deadline date on your invitation - read it. Without your acceptance or refusal, budget control goes out the window, seating plans can’t be created, menus can’t be decided upon and in general, it’s just an unnecessary headache! Reply on time AND in the preferred method of the couple which will be on the invite. (NB. Sending a text saying ‘I’m coming’, doesn’t count).

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DON’T WEAR WHITE

You know it’s wrong. Even if you think it’s outdated, today isn’t about what you think (quite frankly). Unless you KNOW the bride is wearing black and she has OK’d guests wearing white, just steer clear. Rule of thumb - if you have to ask if your dress looks ‘too white’….don’t do it.

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DON’T HECKLE DURING THE SPEECHES (unless it’s invited…)

Unless the best man, groom, bride or bridesmaid gives an opening to be heckled or you know is SUPER confident, just keep your mouth shut. It’s not cute and it’s not funny, especially as public speaking is quite high on the list of people’s ultimate social fears. If you feel your heckle diarrhoea coming up, pick up your drink and hold it to your face until the feeling has subsided.

DON’T KICK UP A FUSS IF YOU DON’T GET A PLUS ONE OR IF YOUR KIDS AREN’T INVITED

New boyfriend? Going well? Best week of your life? So happy for you! He’s not made the cut….it’s super unreasonable to expect to bring a +1 if they have never met the majority of people in attendance, especially the couple! Bring him along for the evening and he can nibble on the filo prawns and have a dance, but don’t throw your toys out of the pram if your friends don’t want to pay £120 for a stranger.

Same with children - if the invite says ‘no children’, then it means, ‘no children’. Don’t get me wrong - I totally understand that some people don’t have a family/friend baby sitting option for the day and it might cost a chunk in childcare. But ultimately, it’s not as much as the bride and groom have paid for their day which they want you to be a part of. It’s your choice whether you attend and pay the childcare fee or not but don’t begrudge the couple for wanting a child-free occasion. We all love kids (most of the time) but realistically, it is a grown up celebration, so it’s often a lot easier to leave your kids at home!

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Adhere to these few and very simple suggestions and you will be classed as GREAT wedding guest and not be exiled from the family or friendship group. It’s not hard to enjoy a wedding. Everyone is normally excited, you get to dress up, have great food, drinks, dancing and copious quantities of merriment. So relax, enjoy and celebrate with new and old friends.

DO THE RIGHT THING. BE A GOOD PERSON. BE A GOOD GUEST.

Hannah x

Gate Street Barn – A Luxury Barn Wedding Venue in Surrey…

Gate Street Barn, nestled just outside of Guildford in a little village called Bramley, is nothing short of perfection. As a venue it has everything and as a team, they have everything covered to make your day unforgettable.

Photo by Fresh Shoots Studios

Photo by Fresh Shoots Studios

The main barn where you can have your civil ceremony and it’s quite frankly exquisite. A truly magnificent barn that is perfect for couples looking for a little rustic glamour. There is a glass conservatory that has been lovingly added to the main barn, leading out to a courtyard area which is truly quaint. There are other buildings dotted around the courtyard including the main office space that is so in-keeping with the style of the property, you would think it was a little annex. There is also a wonderful cottage where guests can stay overnight to extend the celebrations. It is utterly charming and has a very traditional style.   

Photo by Fresh Shoots Studios

Photo by Fresh Shoots Studios

Back to the main barn….

The vast size of the barn allows for a really fluid and private celebration. When you hire Gate Street Barn, you take the whole property. This means no restaurant, no public bars and no hotel rooms. It is an exclusive hire making the celebrations all the more intimate and personal. When it’s time for a drink post-ceremony, guests move through to the beautiful bar area, clad with luxury wood and a light and bright conservatory space that joins the bar and main room. This is a gorgeous place to relax and admire the rolling fields behind the property.

Photo by Fresh Shoots Studios

Photo by Fresh Shoots Studios

Photo by Fresh Shoots Studios

Photo by Fresh Shoots Studios

Time for dinner…

Head back to the main barn where as if by magic, your tables are dressed for dinner. Gate Street Barn has several options for catering and you will not be disappointed with any of them. From Kalm Kitchen to Just Jane, Tandem to Rhubarb, the team at Gate Street have picked some of Surrey’s finest catering companies to cater for their guests’ culinary whims.

Party time…

Drinks are flowing, celebrations are in full swing and It’s definitely time to put on your dancing shoes and take to the floor for some epic moves and photos! As the barn is an exclusive hire, your guests are free to mingle, relax in a quiet corner or chat by the bar in total privacy. The only thing left to do is grab a glass of wine and something to eat from the evening snack bar.

Photo by Fresh Shoots Studios

Photo by Fresh Shoots Studios

We are so proud to be one of only two recommended bridal boutiques for Gate Street Barn and offer fun and unique appointments for our brides in a relaxed and no-pressure environment. We have a gorgeous collection of dresses that fit the theme of Gate Street that we like to describe as ‘bohemian glam’. Taking earthy tones, playful materials, floral applique, interesting patterns and truly unique wedding dresses that fit with the luxurious yet rustic nature of the venue.

We have created a gallery below of our favourite bohemian style dresses that we think go perfectly with Gate Street Barn. For more information on this beautiful Surrey wedding venue or our bridal shop in Dorking, simply head to our website and get in touch!

All photos of Gate Street Barn were provided by one of our favourite Surrey Wedding Photographers, Fresh Shoots Studios.

Hannah & Team   

Has bridal fashion been inspired by Meghan Markle & Princess Eugenie?

Meghan Markle & Princess Eugenie Wedding Dress Inspiration…

One of the most common questions asked when guests arrive to our boutique is “do you think the royal weddings have influenced bridal fashion”? In a very simple word – yes. When we first opened our boutique in April 2018, there was hardly any demand for super sleek and simple gowns in mikado or satin.

Photo Source - TimesLIVE

Photo Source - TimesLIVE

Photo Source - Brides.com

Photo Source - Brides.com

Photo Source - People Magazine

Photo Source - People Magazine

Six months later in the autumn and into winter, there has been a huge change in bridal fashion, I believe inspired by our two beautiful members of the royal family, Meghan and Eugenie. Markle’s simple Givenchy wedding dress was demure and elegant from head to toe in a figure-hugging fabric that showed her lean and statuesque figure with full sleeves. Her evening gown for her reception was also a simple gown with clean lines and crisp finish. It was a glorious halter neck that made a statement feature of her beautiful shoulders and slim figure.

Her stunning tiara and extra extra long veil has also inspired our designers to up their ‘sparkle’ game and we’ve been seeing an increase in popularity for BIG tiaras as well as new ranges of veils that are now available in ‘abbey’ length to rival Markle’s exquisite veil. They are over 3ft longer than the cathedral veils we stock so definitely pack a punch!

Photo Source - Cosmopolitan

Photo Source - Cosmopolitan

Eugenie wore a stunning satin off the shoulder gown with a gloriously long train and again it had full sleeves. I think this has certainly inspired the next year of bridal fashion as brides aren’t afraid to have a little more train than they may have normally chosen. Interestingly, Eugenie chose not to have a veil and instead gave all the attention to an awe-inspiring emerald tiara, a loan from her majesty – how kind!

Photo Source - Hello Magazine

Photo Source - Hello Magazine

Photo Source - Cosmopolitan

Photo Source - Cosmopolitan

Photo Source - Hello Magazine

Photo Source - Hello Magazine

I also think it made a lot of us look back to Kate’s wedding dress when she married Prince William back in 2014 and remember how drop dread gorgeous her gown was designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen. The long lace sleeves, plunging neckline and exquisite skirt and train. The world fell in love with her style all over again! Kate’s evening gown was also to die for, again in simple satin accessorised with a beautiful long-sleeved angora shrug.

Photo Source - Brides.com

Photo Source - Brides.com

Photo Source - rd.com

Photo Source - rd.com

Photo Source - people.com

Photo Source - people.com

Our wedding dress shop in Surrey is now know for having a very varied selection of gowns, all different from one another and these include some gowns inspired by our Duchess and Princess. Our wedding dress designers Modeca, Ella Rosa and Phil Collins all have some gorgeous bridal gowns that embody simplicity and are truly stunning and effortless. You can see some of the designs we carry below in the royal gallery!

A lot of girls also have a preference for some sort of sleeve or strap on their wedding dress. Strapless gowns have a beautiful and clean finish but 90% of our brides prefer a little more coverage, just like the royals. We carry a range of dresses with wide straps, off the shoulder straps, thin delicate beaded straps and illusion necklines as well as strapless dresses.

As we offer completely private appointments for our brides and their tribes, with a fun yet relaxed and completely no-pressure environment, we are recommended at some of Surrey, Sussex and London’s most beautiful venues that are fit for a royal occasion! These venues include – Wotton House, Hartsfield Manor, Burford Bride, Gate Street Barn, Denbies Wine Estate, Gildings Barn, Kingswood Golf Club, Nutfield Priory Hotel & Spa, Russets Country House, Leonardslee Lakes & Gardens, Kent House Knightsbridge and Patrick’s Barn.

For more inspiration on finding your perfect wedding dress, whether that means channelling inspiration  from our royal family or creating your own unique look from boho to barbie, follow us on Instagram and Facebook and keep up to date with our wedding dresses and visit our beautiful bridal boutique in Surrey for your exclusive appointment.

Hannah & Team