A romantic encounter planned? Well, sort of! At Isabella Grace we really want to create a warm, inviting and romantic atmosphere as soon as our brides take their first step inside. Consequently, before we begin our day, we make sure that the archway windows are gleaming, the vintage French white furniture is dusted and our cream carpet hovered. Going to buy a wedding dress is surely the ultimate shopping expedition for any girl and therefore, our aim is to give the ultimate retail experience.
The first bride arrives accompanied by her mother and sister. Smiley welcomes, coats taken and drinks, cakes and biscuits offered ease any worries or concerns that such elegant surroundings might equal snooty staff!
A vintage rose decorated wooden tray arrives and whilst tea or coffee is sipped from delicate fine china cups (by now the smell of freshly ground coffee mixes happily with the candles!), one of our consultants chats with the bridal party about the sort of wedding envisaged and any likes or dislikes in wedding dresses.
The fun then really begins as together we go through rows of ivory dresses choosing the ones which jump out and say “Try me!” to each individual bride. Brides are encouraged not just to look but also to feel the dresses. (No insistence here that the customers wear white gloves as we believe fabric and particularly lace has to be felt to assess the quality).
Whilst the bride’s guests are encouraged to relax and enjoy themselves – perhaps reading the magazines provided or trying on some of the Chez Bec jewellery housed in glass fronted armoires – the bride is taken behind a vast wall to wall curtain into a huge changing area (just for her!) to be helped by her personal consultant into the first dress of her choice. The curtain is then swished back and the oohs and aahhs really start!
This is the part of the day I love the most: genuinely helping the bride to find her dream dress and then accessorizing it with the amazing Chez Bec jewellery and headbands we have at our fingertips. (As our sister company Chez Bec Wedding Jewellery won, for the third year running, Wedding Ideas Best Bridal Accessories of the Year, we have great fun adding sparkle and pearls!)
Although our brides tell us that they feel under no pressure to make a decision straight away, frequently it’s at this point, the champagne cork pops, measurements are taken and the dress is ordered.
By the end of the appointment in which there has invariably been a lot of laughter and sometimes tears (of joy!), hugs are exchanged as goodbyes are said.
And as word seems to have spread about what we have been told is now referred to as “The Isabella Grace experience”, we take just a little time to make everything pristine again before it is time to give a warm welcome to the next bride taking her first step into Isabella Grace and what we hope will be her best shopping experience ever.