Beneath a sleek black façade proudly displaying the classic silver letters of its name, Isabella Grace sits nestled high above Tunbridge Wells between quaint Georgian shop fronts. In a street lined with otherwise unremarkable businesses, Isabella Grace certainly stands out as the glamorous jewel in this particular town’s crown.
Two small spirals of topiary stand guard either side of the most elegant mannequin, dressed in lace and draped in yards of the most delicate veil. A pair of shoes in one corner of the window cosy up next to sparkling trinkets which wait to adorn the hair, neck, ears and wrists of even the most bashful brides.
Little girls push their faces up against the gleaming glass of the three round-headed arched windows, awe-struck by the wonderland of princess dresses teasing them from within the pale dressing up box. Along one wall is a seemingly endless parade of sumptuous gowns, hanging invitingly from wooden hangers, suspended in space and time as they wait for just the right girl to try them on and take them home.
With biscuit coloured walls and pristine white finishes, Isabella Grace is the most exquisite bridal boutique. Cream coloured carpets usher you up a few narrow steps and whisk you away into a hidden wedding wonderland, filled with yet more dresses, vintage French whitewashed furniture, and a sumptuously large bridal changing suite.
A sudden rainbow of rich jewel tones hides around the corner as you reach the top of the stairs. A dutiful entourage of Alvina
Valenta bridesmaid gowns in deep reds, purples, chocolate and silver dote on the nearby ivory queens. Their sumptuous shades, shorter hems and lower necklines wink knowingly at sisters, best friends and cousins, promising them their own hint of glamour when the day finally arrives.
Yet another rail filled with ice white and rich ivory dresses offers a cornucopia of further options to curious brides. Full skirts, fishtails, dropped waists and empire lines; halter-necks, square necks, v-necks and more; sweetheart necklines, crystal embellishments, nipped in corsets, rippling trains, intricate lace and sumptuous satins all answer more questions than one girl could ever ask. There is the right dress for every girl, and every dress has the right girl to go to.
Behind delicate muslin curtains is more than enough space for an entire wedding party to try on a whole catalogue worth of dresses. Another mannequin waits demurely in the corner, glimpsing the layers of chiffon it’s draped in through the super sized ornate mirror. Bejewled and satin shoes wait patitenly in the corner for the right dainty foot to be slipped into them.
A selection of delicate veils – some with sprinkles of crystals, others with lace embellishments and more with simple satin trims – hang wistfully from a sweet little line of pegs, on hand to complete a bridal look, just in case. Between two little windows at the back of the shop, an intricate lace bolero hangs patiently in case of need for a cover up.
Polished glass cabinets burst with the sparkle of a thousand crushed stars, taken down and made into the most gorgeous twinkling bridal accessories. Hair combs, necklaces, tiaras and more all hyponotise visitors with their grace and charms. An abundance of freshwater pearls and Swarovski crystals from Isabella Grace’s sister company, Chez Bec, make themselves perfectly at home within the glitzy surroundings.
Images of the stunning bride that you will become dance before your eyes in picture frames mounted on the walls and inserted into tiny photo frames along the windowsills. These pictures tell the story of any girl who could walk into this shop and be transformed into something more graceful and beautiful than they had ever imagined.
A catwalk of stylish heels make their way into the boutique in order to celebrate the opening of Kent’s newest bridal retailer. Friends, family, colleagues, sponsors and supporters all gasp at the surroundings as they wander through the opulently feminine surroundings.
A recessed alcove in the main shop front sports shelves of shoes in various styles, colours and materials. Vintage white photo frames boast images of the finished look, nestled amongst more dazzling accessories and a decorative birdcage. A pristinely white dressing table sits adjacent to a small table filled with lines of waiting champagne flutes.
A large white round table hidden in the back of the boutique answers every school child’s dream, offering everything fromflying saucers to cakepops in order to satiate the sweetest of teeth. An orb of white and cream roses ensconces a silver chandelier, suspended tantalisingly above the buffet of baked goods and confectionery. Little china cake stands and large glass jars are all full to bursting with a selection of tantalising treats for famished guests.
Between cupcakes and Prosecco, a cloud of chatter fills the room as local and national wedding industry professionals mingle not only with one another but also with the latest ranges from Sophia Tolli, Paloma Blanca, Pronovias and Sottero & Midgeley.
Though these dresses may have been viewed a thousand times over at trade shows, on catwalks and in magazines, it is the subtly grandiose new surroundings that really allow the gowns to take centre stage. Each bespoke tag
emblazoned with the boutique name only adds to the desirability of each dress. This boutique has been crafted by a mother and daughter partnership who know about the wedding industry, who know about business and who know about planning a wedding. This is a boutique that has been tailored from experience to a bride’s every need.
They say that you can judge a person by the company they keep, and having assessed the great and the good of the wedding industry that attended the launch, it is safe to say that Isabella Grace is indeed a stratospheric star in the bridal atmosphere.
Words by Emma Woodhouse – The Wedding Reporter. Emma is a freelance writer offering couples the opportunity to have the story of their day chronicled in a literary legacy. By personally attending your wedding, Emma encapsulates the overture of emotions next to the otherwise forgettable details of your day, adding an extra layer of texture to your wedding memories