Real Bride Stories - Emmy

Friday, 28th October

When we talk about wedding dresses, it is almost certain that the term 'the one' will come up in conversation. Some brides get that overwhelming sense of knowing which dress it is and others don't - every bride is different. Well, there was absolutely no doubt in Emmy's mind which one was 'the one' for her and what she would be walking down the aisle in! We challenge you to read this without getting goosebumps and reaching for a tissue! Thank you Emmy for your lovely words - it means the world to us.

How did you feel about the prospect of wedding dress shopping?

Excited, intrigued and open minded - all of which I would say and have said to many others while in the process!

I was lucky to have an amazing mom, mother in law and maid of honour who joined me. I had trawled Instagram, Pinterest and wedding magazines to see what sort of style I would be going for. I wasn't struck on anything to be honest so went in very open minded and would always say to use this mentality to anyone about to go through the process.

Looking back, I would do it all again in a heartbeat and that's how it should feel and that's exactly how Rachel Ash made it feel! Rachel Ash was the second boutique I visited and had recommended - and now I can see why! It is not meant to feel stressful or daunting and I certainly did not experience this. Rachel Ash exceeded my expectations and more!

Real brides blog - emmy

How did Rachel Ash make you feel special?

I visited Rachel Ash initially in October 2020 - so after the first lockdown of the Covid-19 pandemic. I had booked my appointment online and I had the boutique to myself! I didn't have to pay an additional charge for this - it was all part of the service!

We initially discussed what style of dress I was looking for, if i had any inspirational pictures or if it was one of the many exclusive designers that they stocked that I was interested in. I explained that I was really open and for me there were no features of my body that I was looking to hide or accentuate. They then asked the 4 of us to go through the rails and pick out some choices. We picked out around 10 between us - there was plenty of choice with varied styles and designs along with colours!

Nothing was too much trouble and they allowed me to feel like a real princess trying on the dresses we had picked. They made me feel like I was the only girl in the world.

What were your favourite parts of the wedding dress shopping experience?

All of it!

From the first appointment to the fittings, to the alterations, I was made to feel like part of the Rachel Ash family! I felt like the only bride they were looking after and it was perfect throughout. I loved the moment we all cried in the boutique when we found the one and also the grand reveal with the veil, shoes and jewellery at my final dress fitting. But...that feeling of picking up your dream dress, made and altered to you, the day or two before your wedding day tops them all!

Real brides blog - emmy

How did you choose your dress? What made you fall in love with it?

I picked a Caroline Castigliano dress called Rosalee. It was definitely one of the initial ones we had picked from the abundance of rails in Rachel Ash. It wasn't one I picked out for myself and was maybe dress 7 of 10. (Needless to say we didn't try the 3 after!) I went through the dresses one by one and was helped into them behind the fitting area by Aimee. In the fitting room, I was facing the mirror at all times so could see myself in the dresses before the curtains were drawn back to reveal to my audience who were patiently waiting to see if the dress was 'the one'.

Of the previous 6 I tried on before I found my dress, some were ruled out straight away - before the curtain was even pulled back (I still showed the dresses off because..why not?! I had made the effort to get in to them so...) and some were shortlisted again to try on once more.

I remember trying on a dress I had picked out as one of my favourites and hearing my mom outside of the curtain say, 'I think this is going to be the one.' She didn't know I could hear their discussions and as I was being buttoned up in it by Aimee I looked at myself in the mirror and whispered to her, 'Did you hear that? Well, this one isn't the one!'

I could just tell it wasn't the one I was going to walk down the aisle in! We still pulled back the curtain and revealed and, with a sigh, my mom went 'oh, well I thought that was going to be it! The One.' Obviously, they were also surprised at how the dress looked on despite us all really liking it when pulling it from the rail initially. We discussed what we did and didn't like about the dress before moving on to the next.

The next was Rosalee. Again my best friend and moms talked amongst themselves outside while Aimee fastened the corset and I whispered to her, 'I love this dress. I think this is the one.' Aimee gave me a moment to compose myself, clear my watery eyes and in hushed tones told me to not give anything away as to how I felt about this dress. Again, I turned myself around behind the curtain to face my guests and Aimee pulled back the curtain....

Silence, no one said anything. Behind their glasses and masks, the tears started to fall. At this point we all knew it really was 'THE ONE'. There truly wasn't a dry eye in the house!

We gathered ourselves together and tried a veil to get the final look! It really was so magical and priceless. These are the moments you dream of as a little girl.

Caroline Castigliano

Did you have any alterations made to the dress to make it more bespoke? What was this process like?

My dress was made to measure mainly because many of Caroline's dresses feature a corseted body. It was only a short appointment needed to be measured for my dress with no need to try on again and then once my dress was made and shipped to the boutique I was invited back to try it on.

This was magical as it was all mine and tailor-made to me. The dress was purposely made longer so that I was able to alter it to my chosen shoes so the seamstress needed to alter the length of the dress. However, even though my dress had been immaculately made to suit my body, the seamstress took careful consideration to make sure the dress looked as it was meant to from every angle.

I left my first fitting appointment and was content with how the length of my dress was going to be altered. I was given advice on what underwear was best to wear and how to sit down with both my dress and veil to prevent damage to both on my big day.

Little did I know when I attended my next fitting appointment the wonderful ladies at Rachel Ash had sent my dress back to the designer for the bust of the corset to be altered. Even though the team had measured me correctly, when they eventually saw me in my dress on the first fitting, they felt the cup size was wrong that had been put into the corset. The chose not to tell me, send my dress back to the designer and get the next size up put in on the cup. Had I known that my dream dress was going back to the designer to be amended, it would have caused unnecessary stress to me as a bride!

These ladies do this day in and day out - they know what they're doing and they knew it was best to get it sorted without me knowing! Of course my dress came back, was even more perfect than it needed to be and the ladies at Rachel Ash did all this with my best interests at heart.

What advice would you give to other brides about to start their dress buying journey?

I have to say I have already been approached on social media regarding my dress and where I bought it from and I gave the following advice:

Enjoy it! What's not to love - a boutique filled with dresses and accessories to suit every taste and body shape all available for you to try!

But also, at the same time don't spoil yourself with choice. Pick out 10 dresses maximum and work through those. I can almost guarantee that by dress 3 or 4 you will be able to see a dress on a hanger and know without trying it on that actually it's not what you're looking for but the right one is hidden there waiting to be found!

Take 1 maybe 2 people with you and keep the rest a surprise for the big day!

DON'T take pictures. You will keep looking back and potentially fall out of love with the dress as the ability to be able to look at it any time of day or night. Allow yourself to feel those butterfly feelings when you see yourself back in your dream dress at your fittings.

Real brides blog - emmy

Is there anything else you feel other brides should know about what they can expect from Rachel Ash?

Make sure you visit. Trust the process. Enjoy every second.

Thank you to all involved - you truly are amazing!

Dress: Rosalee by Caroline Castigliano
Venue: Alrewas Hayes
Photographer: Jessica Raphael @jessicaraphaelphotography

The happy couple

Real brides blog - emmy
Real brides blog - emmy