Three lockdowns, two waves and one whole year of delayed nuptials later, I think it’s fair to say that we could all do with a bit more luck this year, and that extends to the wedding industry.
Between forced cancellations and fluctuating gathering legislation, venues and suppliers had to perform some pretty nimble pivots to deliver down-sized (but still beautiful) ceremonies where possible, while larger celebrations are still on ice for later this year and beyond.
And, while the whole industry has had to evolve to meet the increasingly restricted guidelines (no food, no drink, no fun), many within the bridal community have taken this pause to reconsider what to offer brides-to-be in terms of fashion, support and exceptional, individualised services.
So, if you’ve now found yourself with a bit of time to shop around for the gown of your dreams, here’s our list of the top up-and-coming bridal boutiques and designers who’ll make your big-day aisle reveal worth the wait. Trust us, you’ll get your diva moment…
After the year we’ve all had, you’ll want your dress shopping experience to be relaxed, fun and uplifting.
Luckily, brand-new Lincoln boutique Bellamme Bridal delivers on all these fronts and more.
Founder Amy and her team understand how daunting and exciting looking for The One (not That One) can be, so they’re keen to offer a supportive hand, ensuring you leave not only with your dream gown, but with lasting happy memories to share with your bride tribe.
And when it comes to dress and accessories collections, prepare to have your fashion expectations blown out of the water, with a stunning choice of playful Hayley Paige showstoppers, slinky contemporary Madi Lane gowns and timelessly elegant Justin Alexander numbers.
Alongside these delicious confections, brides can shop Aura Bridalwear’s avant-garde headwear and Tulle & Flo’s incredible bespoke pieces (the flamingo-pink ombre wings are an actual mood) to give their ceremony style serious personality.
Positive vibes and world-famous bridal labels aside, the beauty here is in the dedicated service you’ll receive from team Bellamme.
Starting from the free regular 90-minute bridal appointment – complete with refreshments, an expert consultation and the boutique to yourself – to the two-hour VIP session, with a consultant on hand, an allowance for two guests to coo over your many reveals and cake and fizz to toast the occasion (be sure to snap the Bellamme Bar for your IG story), each and every bride is treated as a true individual.
Follow-up bookings will allow you to try on more gowns, or show your favourites to your BFFs.
Fly the Flag
Bellamme Bridal is committed to the LGBTQ+ community and the inclusive, tailored Pride Package, which allows both members of a couple to shop for their big-day attire – together or separately – with the added option of going VIP from £30, is a wonderful reflection of this. It’s 2021, and love is love.
Charlotte Elizabeth Bridal
Look queens, get yourselves to Derbyshire! Set in the idyllic Peak District, Charlotte Elizabeth Burton’s brand-new shop exudes old-world glamour and modern elegance in spades.
And while Lockdown 3.0 has pushed the original opening date back by a month, the delay is a mere inconvenience in a journey that has made this fashion maven’s dreams come true.
“This has been my lifelong ambition,” she explains “After studying fashion design and working in bridal retail, I understand the importance of a personalised experience and am equipped to provide expert advice every step of the way.”
Alongside sartorial tips and bespoke guidance, stylish bride-to-be who steps in store will be instantly wowed by the rails of Insta-friendly gowns by high-end labels such as Allure Bridals, Nicole Milano, House of St Patrick and Pronovias Group label, White One.
Think romantic silhouettes, dreamy embellishments, dramatic backs and beautiful draping.
With a host of styles to choose from, you’ll be able to discover and realise your true bridal identity, whether that be sultry senorita, demure dreamboat or bohemian babe.
Top your best-self look off with a Swarovski-studded headdress from Nieve Couture or a pearl-dappled Arianna Tiaras piece.
Belle Loves: Valentine Va-voom! Drape that sexy silhouette in silky, sultry bridal wear from new British designer Roisin Reuss, who’s enviable collection of bridal lingerie is exclusively stocked at CEB.
To aid your wedding-day transformation, there are a number of appointment packages available.
Whether you opt for a standard two-hour exclusive bridal consultation or opt for the £20 Ultimate Bridal experience – complete with celebratory fizz and an illustration to mark the occasion – you can be assured that you’ll receive expert advice and personalised service from your very first visit.
Follow-up bookings to try on your favourites again (as well as any new designs that catch your eye – the selection here is seriously good) are available, as well as hour-long accessories sessions to perfect your finished outfit.
The vibe here is that until you feel you have your head-to-toe bride style nailed, their job isn’t finished. What more could you ask for?
Drawn with Love
Owner Charlotte is a talented artist, and for Ultimate Bridal experience bookings, she will include a personalised dress illustration as a wonderful memento of the experience. We’re not crying, you’re crying…
Bride by Sophie
Seeking couture-level details for your big-day look? We know an up-and-coming independent designer with talented hands and an eye for beading.
Based on Guernsey in the Channel Islands, Sophie saw lockdown as an opportunity to launch her dream design business – in stark contrast to much of the bridal industry. Here’s to chasing your dream!
The optimistic designer creates ethereal silhouettes with a fashion-friendly edge for lovers looking for a quirky, boho big-day look. If you’re confident in your own sense of style and prefer the creative approach, it’s time to get in touch with Sophie to conjure up your one-of-a-kind dress.
Inspired by the natural beauty of the island’s coast, Bride by Sophie’s elegant pieces reflect the tranquillity of the coastline.
Flowing lines, textured details and lustrous fabrics are all part of the label’s design DNA, although the couturier does lots of trend research, material sourcing, idea development and collaborating with the bride in question, to ensure the resulting masterpiece is a work of art and captures the vision that she and her client shared, accessories included.
From sweetheart necklines, delicately sequinned bodices and billowing tulle to an upcycled bridal denim jacket or faux fur stole, she has you well and truly covered, from first sketch to final flourish.
Down to Earth
Sophie is seriously committed to eco-chic, which is oh-so 2021. Whether it’s choosing sustainably-produced fabric, reducing waste or cutting down on her workshop’s energy costs, she’s always looking at how her design impacts the environment.
And having produced an array of silky bohemian confections, she proves that going green needn’t be a style compromise.
Sisters of Grace
Babes who subscribe to a cooler take on the BWD (big white dress) can join this chic sorority when it lands in Newcastle this February.
Sisters of Grace is a product of boho parent store Y.A.P Bridal’s decade of wedding-industry experience and understanding of its modern clients.
Bringing together a passionate team of soul sisters full of style and substance and a curated selection of contemporary-luxe bridalwear, this boutique is a must-visit for the edgiest aisle eleganza.
Dubbing its fashion-forward outlook as ‘contemporary romantic’, Sisters of Grace sees its future brides as free-spirited with a fresh, style-conscious approach their wedding attire; women who seek to let their individuality shine through on this special day.
Setting the scene perfectly, its relaxed, Scandi-chic studio – which is split into three large industrial-look appointment spaces – is home to a spectrum of statement labels, such as Love Story Bride, Evie Young Bridal, Madison James and Kelsey Rose.
This edit of effortlessly chic brands are complemented by a broad accessories range led by Arianna Tiaras, with botanical crowns, pearl hairpins and celestial jewels covering all trend bases.
Passionate about building bonds and helping its northern angels meet their match, the sisterhood of stylists here offer a bespoke service for each and every bridal squad that steps through the door.
Not only will they absorb all of the details of your day, they’ll coordinate your accessories, offer expert styling tips and make your subversive soul shine through. The bridal revolution starts here!
Find Sisters of Grace’s hidden treasure in the dedicated Designer Den area, which packed with last-chance-to-buy dresses, off-the-peg pieces and one-off accessories.
Launch Date: Spring 2021, priority waiting list now open for appointments