Brides and their mothers from all over the country are flocking to a family-run store in Mansfield which is helping to revolutionise and enhance the wedding-day experience.
Owner Helen Dickson decided to open designer outlet Brides And Mothers a year ago, after spotting a change in the way brides wanted to buy their wedding dresses.
Now the store, based at Ransom Wood Business Park and managed by Helen’s friend, Carol Warriner, is celebrating its first birthday in style after 12 months of unprecedented success.
So what has been the secret?
Helen says: “The traditional bridal boutique usually offers appointments only, with samples of dress to try on and then a waiting time of several months before the dress arrives.
“This is lovely for some, but many brides really don’t want all that fuss and bother. They want to try a dress on, love it and take it away with them.”
Brides And Mothers offers that convenience, thanks to a stock of hundreds of designer-label dresses. And what is more, they are at hugely discounted prices.
Helen says: “Some brides are happy to spend thousands of pounds on their dress but, for others, they would rather put the money toward their first home, or their family.”
Another selling-point for the new store is that it also offers wedding-day outfits for the mother-of-the-bride and bridegroom, and again at lower prices.
In short, brides and mothers can turn up at the shop when they like, feel free to browse at their leisure and then go home with what they have chosen, all to suit their budgets.
Also, because the store is next to the Forever Green wedding venue, visitors can make a day of it to get them in the mood for the big day.
Carol says: “We are based at a lovely, luxury site, with free parking and comfy sofas to relax on.
“We offer a personal service, and you can bring children along too.
“We opened quietly, but people have been queueing through the door. People have been coming from Coventry, Barnsley, Wales, all over the country. They travel miles to see our dresses. There is such a demand to buy off the peg.”
Brides And Mothers is a classic example of a small business that has flown under the radar, but is now flying sky high, and all thanks mainly to word-of-mouth recommendations from satisfied customers.
Helen, who has years of experience in the bridal industry and also runs a boutique, Dressplace, in the Lace Market area of Nottingham, says: “We opened in response to comments and requests from brides and mothers to provide a simplified way to buy wedding dresses.
“We are proud to be an independent, family-run business, with my husband, Simon, daughter Lucy and grand-daughter Lily all playing important roles.”
The store has already been nominated in the best newcomer category of the I Do magazine wedding awards, and judging by the reviews Brides And Mothers has received on its Facebook page, it could well win.
Sophia Ann Hodgkinson posted: “What an absolute gem of a shop.”
And Katie Stevens said: “I had the most fantastic experience here. It was such a relaxed and calm environment, and I felt very at ease when trying on a range of dresses.”
Sam Chambers said: “We were in tears wearing our perfect wedding outfits.”
And Tania Hind said: “My sister found the wedding dress of her dreams.”