O U R G U I D E T O A S U C C E S S F U L A P P O I N T M E N T
To help get the most out of your appointment and enjoy your experience here at Exquisite Bridal Couture we've put together a list of the most common FAQ's and our answers.
Have a read through before your appointment and if you have any further questions then just give us a call or email!
HOW LONG IS MY APPOINTMENT FOR?
A Bridal Appointment is for 1 hour and a half. A Bridesmaid Appointment is for 1 hour. We don't charge for normal appointments here at Exquisite so we do ask you to consider us and call us if you are unable to make it. If you would like a longer appointment time and prefer total privacy then coming on a quieter weekday may be better for you. Calendar permitting, we may also be able to offer you a longer VIP appointment on a Saturday (see below for more detail).
CAN I TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS?
This is the most common question we are asked and to the clear answer is NO. We don't say this to be prohibitive, we want to you visit us and enjoy your time here. But, after 7 years in the business we can honestly say that it is better not to! Here's a few things to think about...
1. When you met your partner did you take countless pictures of them, go home, review and see if you still like them? We are sure you did not!
What happened is, you went with your heart. You immersed yourself in the moment, you went on that second date to find out more. After choosing your partner the wedding dress will be the next biggest decision you make with regard to your wedding. Use the same method, go with your instinct, with your heart, with what you love, with what you don't want to be apart from. You will always find a fault with a photograph and that will lead you on an unhappy journey of trying far too many dresses in an endless search for perfection that is impossible to create in poorly taken photograph of you in a dress that doesn't fit. Also when you come for an appointment at our boutique we expect you have selected us as we carry lots of dresses you like the look of. So enjoy the moment and try and choose your dress whilst you are in it & make the appointment for that second date.
2. All dresses are on our website and so if you can't decide on the day we will write down every last detail for you to take away and have a think about.
3. The dress is unlikely to fit - when you order your own gown it will be made for you and then altered to fit. It will also be brand new - unlike are sample dresses that have been tried and therefore can be a little duller than a brand new sparkling gown.
4. Years of experience have shown us that no bride will choose a dress from a photograph, it's all about how the dress makes you feel when you are wearing it.
The only exception to this rule is if you have someone special whom simply cannot be at the appointment. With this scenario we can get you logged into our Wifi so you can Facetime and so special family and friends. This is a lovely and enjoyable way to show your loved ones and get their approval.
This advice is given to you with only your best interest at heart. We want you to enjoy your wedding dress search and live for the excitement of the moment. So pretty please, inform your guests beforehand that photographs WILL NOT be allowed and the reasons why.
HOW MANY PEOPLE CAN I BRING WITH ME?
This is the second most common question we are asked! Our boutique is petite and bijou and so we have comfortably seating for 2 guests to come with you to your appointment.
We know that when you start to arrange appointments you'll have lots of family and friends desperate to come with you. However we suggest that you choose just one or two people to come along. Our boutique is small and when more than two guests come the boutique feels crowded and we are not able to offer you the level of customer service that you need in order to choose your gown. For you it is also better to have less opinions as more just make it harder for you to decide.
If you do wish to bring more than 2 guests then diary permitting we may be able to offer you a VIP appointment (please see below).
No one else can get into your heart like you and tell you how you feel in a dress when you are wearing it. Your own opinion is the most important one in the room, so go with your gut!
WHAT IS A VIP APPOINTMENT?
If you would like a longer time to shop for your gown and would like to bring a few more friends and family with you then we can offer you a VIP appointment. These appointments are chargeable at £35 (this £35 is redeemable against any dress purchase). At a VIP appointment you'll have 1 and a half to 2 hours to try gowns along with a glass of fizz and some nibbles. VIP appointments are subject to availablility.
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?
We suggest you wear some nude seam free underwear. Wedding dresses can be tricky to handle so we'll often by up close and personal and in the fitting room with you! So you may feel more comfortable wearing something more conservative! Bra wise - a good bra with straps is best to ensure a good shape under the dresses. We do have shoes that you can wear instore however we find that brides are most comfortable when they bring their own pair of strappy sandals, heels or stylish flats - whatever your shoe poison - bring it with you. As you'll be able to clearly envisage how you feel on the day!
DO I HAVE TO SELECT DRESSES TO TRY WHEN I COME?
Our team has years of experience in styling and dressing brides and we know our collection of gowns very well. So to ensure you try on the best options we will select and advise which gowns we think you should try, so there's no pressure on you. It's always nice for you to have a browse first when you arrive in store and see if there's a particular dress that stands out as your first one to try. From that point onwards leave it to us to help and guide you, you are in safe and stylish hands!
WHAT DESIGNERS DO YOU CARRY AND WHAT PRICEPOINT ARE THEY?
We carry a range of renowned bridal designers with an entry pricepoint of £800 going up to £4500. It is really important that you have a good browse through our website before you visit. Each and every dress we carry in store is on our website and when you click on a particular dress we also show the price. We feel it is really important to be transparent and show you the price of each and every dress we carry before you visit. If your budget is £1000, then make sure you like the range of styles we have in store in that price range. Likewise if you wish you spend £4500 then ensure we have enough styles in store that you are excited to try. Please have a think about your budget before you visit us as this does help us to choose the best dress for you.
HOW MANY BRIDAL BOUTIQUES SHOULD I VISIT?
This is up to you. We choose a range of designs in order to ensure that by visiting us alone you'll find a dress. We understand this may not always be the case and that you want to visit more than one boutique so our best advice to you is to choose a maximum of 3 boutiques to visit. Choose those boutiques wisely and ensure they have designers you like and price ranges you like and also that they are conveniently located for you as you'll have to return for 3 or 4 fittings once you have chosen your dress. The team at the boutique are important too, make sure you like us as you'll have to spend a lot of your wedding journey with us!
DO YOU HAVE TWO BOUTIQUES?
We are based in a very small precinct called Walcote Place, just off the High Street and there we do have two separate boutiques directly opposite each other. Your appointment may be in either boutique, we shall tell you when you arrive! We move our collections around between the two boutiques and so at every appointment we will pull on dresses from both boutiques for you.
DO YOU CARRY BRIDESMAIDS & MOTHER OF THE BRIDE RANGES?
Yes we do. For Bridesmaids we have three of the best British brands ~ Maids to Measure, Twobirds & Ghost (priced £225-£300). For Mother of the Bride we offer a small range of bespoke pieces by Stephanie Allin (priced at £1700 upwards). We do have some amazing Mother of the Bride product in our sale in our Eventwear section of our website.
HOW LONG DOES A WEDDING DRESS TAKE TO PRODUCE AND WHEN SHOULD I ORDER?
How long is a piece of string? The answer to this question varies on the designer. Our wonderful can produce some dresses in 6 weeks, but some take 16-20 weeks. The ideal scenario would be that you order your dress 8-10 months before your wedding date. This then allows for production time, delivery time, alterations time and collection. When you order your dress we plot you into our alteration schedule and you have increased flexibility as to when your alterations will take place. I would say our main advice is that once you start shopping for your dress ensure you are ready to order, as if you find 'The One' you should just go for it. If you are a 'rush' bride (have less than 4 months until your wedding date) then call us beforehand so we can plan and let you know what designers you'll have access to.
DO I ORDER A STANDARD SIZE DRESS OR ARE THEY MADE TO MEASURE?
To clarify first of all, every dress ordered through us is made especially for you. The designers don't carry stock, they only make a dress once they receive an order. So either way you are getting what is known in the industry as 'Pret-a-Couture'. The only exception to this rule is if you are a 'rush' bride and designers such as Catherine Deane & Jenny Packham do hold stock of a few styles, but these are strictly reserved for those whose wedding dates are very soon. When you order we take your measurements and then order the correct standard size reflecting those measurements. We can then give you a guide on how the dress will fit when it arrives and what alterations might be needed. You can order a dress with a full Made to Measure service, however this is an additional cost.
ARE ALTERATIONS AN ADDITIONAL COST?
Yes. We recommend you budget £150-£250 for alterations, and we can give you a more affirmed quote when we measure you.
HOW DO WE GET TO YOU?
Exquisite Bridal Couture is based at 5 & 6 Walcote Place, Winchester, SO23 9AP. Walcote Place is situated just off the High Street in the centre of Winchester. Look out for the Man on a Horse Statue & Cotes Brasserie and we are across the road from there. The nearest Car Park is Tower Street (postcode SO23 8TA). This car park normally has spaces on a Saturday, but midweek is very busy and so we suggest in the week you use city centre car parks such as The Brooks Shopping Centre, St Peters or Chesil Street Car Park. During the Christmas period parking in Winchester becomes more challenging and so we do then advise you of other options. By train it is very easy as we are no more than a 5 minute walk from the train station. Winchester is a very well connected train stations with trains coming from London Waterloo.