Sunday, 27 March 2011

Anyone else think it's ridiculous you have to pay for expensive dresses to be altered?

I came across this in a forum recently so I've quoted a few of the 'rants' and answered them here as best I can.

"My dress is costing over 2K and I was told when I bought it, it would need altering which I thought was odd, but apparently the norm for wedding dresses. So I need to have the hem taken up...fair enough but also the bodice will have to be taken in now. I have a tiny waist (in proportion to my bust and hips) and I wanted a dress that showed that off, but it created a ripple in the middle. The ladies in the shop were reassuring me it could be taken in and it would be sorted but it's quite unnerving as I won't know for a couple of months. Is it just me that thinks it's all a bit much when you are spending this sort of money?Also I have to pay for the dress now before I know for certain this can be sorted. "

And among others, this answer got my attention.

"It's all part of the weird world of wedding dresses that we are not allowed to question!"

Well, the wedding dress world may be wierd, but you do have every right to question where your money is going which will give you the option to shop elsewhere if you don't like the sales pitch!

It's got nothing to do with ordering a larger size to make more money I am sure. As a seamstress alterations are not the most pleasent of ways to spend my time, they are time consuming and in the hours it takes unpicking and re-stitching, I could cut a pattern from a bolt of fabric and have a piece ready to fit a client.

"They measure you in the shop, then they deliberately order one size above so that they can alter it back down to your size!"


When you order a gown 'off the peg', your shop will order the size which fits the biggest part of your body. If you have a 38" hip but a 27 waist the shop will order a 12 for you. Thus you need the alterations to make the rest fit. So unless you are absolutely spot on 'standard measurements' for your size, you will have to have alterations.

"If you want a dress made in England, that fits first time, go for Made To Measure by a small local boutique or one of the well known British designers who guarantee you're 'buying British'....but you will pay for the priviledge."

Poppycock! You don't pay for the priviledge of buying British, it depends where you look! There are many of us out there who don't charge extortionate prices, but are still pretty damn fine at our craft.

"I don't think you can compare high street clothing to wedding dress shopping. You don't go and buy an outfit from these places and then sit on your hands for months while they make it. You can try on different sizes of the same outfit and select which is the best compromise for your size. You just aren't able to do this with wedding dresses."

True. But wedding salons work independantly and have to determine which dress they think will sell in their salon. They have to spend 100's of pounds on the said samples so it would be massive spending for them to buy one style of dress in four sizes 'just in case' a size ten or a size fourteen client walked through the door. The client in return would have to pay for those overheads. Now, that isn't fair either is it?

"The one thing that would stop vendors in their tracks from charging silly prices, would be if we just stopped buying the damn things in the 1st place! We're fuelling this!"

Many salons aren't supposed to undercut another on the costing of a wedding gown. However, seamstresses may work independantly to the salon which is why alteration prices vary so greatly.

Losing weight for your wedding is not the problem of the manufacturer or high street wedding salon. It is something a women wants to do to feel her very best for her wedding day. So, you should expect to pay for alterations to your wedding gown. Doesn't that seem fair? Of course, going bespoke means the seamstress will be aware of your weight loss plan so at each fitting you attend the adjustments will be made to suit your changing body sillouette.


Thursday, 17 March 2011

Copyright, Backhanded Compliment or Just Plain Innocent?

There are hard lessons to learn in business nowadays especially in the current times of "where there's blame there's a claim" and anyone who knows me will tell you I still find it surreal when I open a magazine and see my name, or read a blog and see images of gowns we have produced.

I have been caught out however, so I do know what I am talking about.

Last year I blogged about a clients wedding I'd been to see, took some shots myself and got home ready to write.

I wanted to head the blog with a nice picture of the village green where the wedding took place and as I'd forgotton to take a snap, googled images and there was an image which was perfect. One week later I get a bill asking for a four figure sum for non permissive use of a photograph. Expensive lesson to be learned, but a harsh one and one I'll never forget.

After being directed to a blog post today from the lovely Sarah of Leafy Couture regarding our recent vintage style collection launch, I was horrified to find the blogger had simply lifted my whole post and dropped it on to hers. Not only had she done this once, but it appears she has done this dating back to early 2010. There is no contact details for me to politely ask that she stop doing this, or if she wants to write anything, to make it her own words, only the report abuse option, which sadly I have used six times today.

I spoke to the lovely Kelly of Boho Events today and asked what she thought of all this, after all, she is a professional blogger. Here's what she told me.

"When I decide I want to write about someone I go straight to them and ask. Yes I could go and lift a load of stuff from their website and make sure I add a link back to them but if you go straight to them then you often get stuff that isn’t on their website.
For example I am just about to go to Rachel Simpson shoes and ask to write a piece on her. By going straight to her I will get more info from the PR department, more pictures and often you get exclusives.

If I’m putting a mood board together it’s different as there may be 10-15 different images used, BUT always credit where you found the image and the photographer of each image…it takes ages to do but it’s a must.

If it’s a real wedding, I either see a wedding that I like on a photographers blog and I contact them directly to see if they mind me blogging it, they then send me the pictures and info on that wedding, or they contact me with a wedding, either way it’s the photographer I have contact with straight away to get permission to publish the photos, you never know who else has blogged them and if indeed the couple actually want their wedding blogged everywhere.

As for writing the piece. On average a blog piece takes me 2 hours to actually put together one I have re sized pictures written it, coded it, done the SEO and tags etc. the actual research can take hours as well. The piece I did on alternative guest book ideas took nearly all day to write as there was lots of research.
If a company has sent me pictures and words to use to write about them then it’s not so bad, but it’s still the initial emailing that takes the time.

All in all, If you are using pictures taken by someone else of someone else’s work then they must be credited. I even have to credit the photographs I use when it’s weddings I’ve worked on myself…even my own wedding!"

The shoot we did for our vintage collection, apart from the designs which took hours to sketch, the cutting out and making the gowns, which took hours, the hair and make up, which took hours. The flowers, which took hours to make, the headpieces, which took hours to make, the photographs themselves, where the models stood in the cold for 4 hours , took hours to get right, so is it fair that someone can simply come along and lift all that hard work and plonk it on their own blog which takes seconds?

So when you are posting those lovely pictures of wedding gowns or shoes or accessories, or asking someone to copy a wedding gown you've seen but cannot afford the price tag, remember. Apart from the backbreaking work that goes in to producing the image or blog, these images or words are subject to copyright and using them in a public domain could mean you are breaking the law.

So, Lauren of Bride whatever your blog is called, I'm not sure whether to be flattered or angry at your blatent disregard for a craft and would politely request you stop lifting my blog posts and dropping them into your own.

My husband gave me some sound advice. If in doubt, don't!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Ouch, That Hurt!

I've been in the wedding industry for well over 17 years now. My son, Sam will be 22 soon and I know I've been going almost as long.
You come across all sorts of people from many walks of life in the industry. Some are lovely and so accomodating and then some not so and that's when it hurts.
I guess from brides to be or people who are organising such big events, it's kind of understandable when they are short, stressed and need a little venting every now and then (and I am forever here to lend a shoulder or an ear), but from those who are actually in the industry, it's a little harder to understand.
I've been described by Kelly of Boho Blog as "an incredibly warm and unassuming lady." Kind of how I like to see myself really so thanks for that, Kelly. I have a lovely follower of folk via my own blog here or my Dresses at No 9 Face Book page.
Kat Williams aka The Rock and Roll bride says: "The industry can sometimes get a little bitchy. There is a huge drive for most bloggers (myself included!) to get the most unique, exciting and exclusive content and sometimes it can all get a little...'schoolyard' shall we say. Over the past 3 + years however I've come to realise that there will always be new weddings and content to blog so if you miss out on something to just let. it. go!"
Of course, I'm not a blogger, I'm a dressmaker, but have often had designers at wedding fairs or exhibitions simply turn their back on me the moment you say "I'm a dressmaker" for fear we may steal their designs. It is sad to believe they think so little of me. I admire the craft, I adore the fabrics, I love looking at pretty things. I'm not out to steal their ideas.
However, in saying that, both Leanne and I had a lovely chat with two lovely ladies, Wendy Perkin and Catherine Lombard of Sarah Janks at the British Bridal Exhibition Harrogate.
Sarah is a new Sydney based designer and her designs are exquisite. However, both ladies were warm and welcoming when we disclosed our profession. They told us to look up a wonderful designer called Edith Head, who dressed many of the Hollywood starlets of their day. Homework for both Leanne and I. We have also been fortunate enough to have such wonderful and supportive network of suppliers surrounding us such as HF Couture and Leafy Couture and Roma Velace all who gave their talents for free at our vintage style wedding gown photo shoot.
Having an e mail conversation with Kat Williams today (because I wanted to ask if I could quote her) she said. "You aren't a success until you have haters. But those that matter love you."
I've always known never to burn bridges in business. You'll never know when you need to walk back over one, but there are some out there who are on a different agenda. I don't burn bridges as I said, but I am cautious of who I do business with.
Thank you to those who love me. You are the ones who really matter. And thank you, Kat for your sage advice. You really do Rock and Roll!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Real Vintage Weddings.

I'm not exactly sure what it is that has captivated me so much about the vintage era. Maybe it's the make-do-and-mend philosophy and the fact folk had so little then, they actually appreciated what they had.

I adore this picture of my auntie Val and Uncle Alan.
They were married in the early 40's and I love the bouquet of roses, but especially the hat and that smile!

My uncle Ron married Edna in the 50's. Her circle skirt had just enough petticoat to give her lace gown some shape. I love the little collar.
My grandparents are to the left of my uncle.

Ah. Uncle Alan and auntie Shirley. She wore this beautiful full length brocade gown one of my favourite fabrics I would adore to see more of.
Again, a small collar and full sleeve.
Bouquet of roses and lilly of the valley.

I'm not sure what fabric my auntie Eileen was wearing when she married my uncle Don. But again, an extravagent bouquet of roses and stephanotis.

I believe the groom in this photo is the brother of my grandfather. The bride carries a gorgeous spray of lilies. It amazed me to see the bridesmaids bouquets were almost as big and elaborate.

These images have Moonlight Serenade playing in my head.
All of these women in these images have outlived their husbands, but it really was 'till death do us part!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Bridal Wear, their Alteration Charges.

And bespoke is the way to go.
I've spent the last 2 years altering bridal gowns of all shapes and sizes along with many bridesmaid gowns too.
The most common of alterations are side seams, hemlines and when the unfortunate happens, a dress not fitting when it arrives in the shop, corset back closures.
When your wedding gown has cost in excess of £500, or your bridesmaid gowns in excess of £200, the last thing you are expecting to pay are alteration charges.
So consider this, if you do your research and want the dress far more than the label attached to it, bespoke is the way to go.
You really can get the dress of your dreams with a full built in corset should the style require one.
All of our strapless gowns, including bridesmaid, occasion wear and even mother of the bride, all have our signature inner corselettesomething you wont get in your standard bridesmaid gown or strapless occasionwear.
The cost of your bespoke garment includes all charges so the price you see is the price you pay. We have weight loss plan guides so if you are planning on losing weight, you know your gown will fit you perfectly on your wedding day. So you'll never need to worry that it won't!
Please see our rates and services page for further details.
With careful research, you need never pay alteration charges again.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Blowing My Own Trumpet!

I had a few days off recently visiting family in the South and while casually strolling around Asda, I received an e mail from a client. (The wonders of the Blackberry) "I was flicking through a wedding magazine in Tescos yesterday and couldn't help but notice you were mentioned! Something that happens frequently looking at your website!"
So, I rushed over to magazines, picked up Perfect Wedding and on page 106 was my client from last year, Helene.
The article was 'How brides find their perfect wedding gown,' and Helene gave a lovely interview about how she found hers. She'd told me before how she'd felt like a star walking into the chapel, but it was so lovely to see those words in print.
Emma case Photography

Emma Case Photography

So with the recent launch of our very first 2011 collection, comes a heap of comments from folk who I've never had contact with. Folk who are loving our designs so much so I've had several enquiries already with one asking if I can ship to Pheonix Arizona!

So, for a few moments I'm going to share with you some lovely things which have been said.

"These dresses are gorgeous and I love the photos. I can imagine brides snapping these dresses up."

"Swooooon! Absolutely gorgeous dresses and stunning photography."

"I have officially fallen in love with all of these dresses, so beautiful!"

"50s was my era of choice for my wedding dress as i love the glamour of that era, especially the full skirt with netting. These are lovely dresses and so refreshong to see dresses with sleeves and not just strapless."

"These are all delicious! And I am super happy to see these modelled by some very sexy hot ladies with womanly curves! Hooray!"

"What a stunning collection, love that style of photography too, a little different from the more common vintage style, even though I love that too!"

Of course, you have to click this linky to see the images of our fabulous frocks. (Their words not mine!)

You guys are making my dreams come true and I cannot thank you enough for that.
Another collection later in the year? Heck yes!!

Emma Case
Love My Dress