04 June 2014 by

Looking For A Wedding Dress? Phillipa Lepley's 10 Hot Tips For Finding The Perfect Gown

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You've pinned a hundred or so pictures of Pinterest, and are now ready to start the frock hunt. So how many dresses should you really try on? Should you take your Mum to your first fitting? When should you start looking for the dress? We turned to bridal couture designer Phillipa Lepley to answer all of your questions about finding the perfect wedding dress. After studying at London College of Fashion, Phillipa Lepley opened her first wedding atelier in 1988 in South Kensington. Now she is based in Fulham Road in Chelsea, creating elegant and timeless wedding gowns starting at £5,000. Fun Phillipa fact: She was a serious contendor for Kate Middleton's wedding dress. Read below for Phillipa's top tips for finding the perfect dress...

 1. Decide your location before you start the dress hunt...

“Knowing where you are getting married and what ‘style’ of wedding you want is helpful when it comes to choosing your dress. Whether you are having a big or small, country or town, formal or informal wedding, will impact the design and style, so it is helpful to have made a few basic decisions about the format you want before looking at dresses.”

2. Be open-minded...

“Being engaged is an exciting time and you should enjoy every minute, so for that reason I would say do buy glossy magazines, look online at bridal blogs and attend events such as Quintessentially Atelier Weddings – because it’s fun! I do always say to bride-to-be’s though, it is so important to be open-minded as there are so many different styles to choose from. People who come in with pre-conceived ideas so often end up going for something completely unexpected, so we try to encourage not ruling out anything before you have tried it.”

3. Start the dress hunt at least six months before the wedding...

“At Phillipa Lepley most of our brides come to us at least 6-months to a year before they are getting married. It is a huge, very important decision and so you need to take your time and get it right. Once you have found the dress of your dreams, it can involve several fittings too if you are opting for a bespoke gown as it is made from scratch completely to your measurements for you. Having said that we do understand that brides don’t all have the time for several fittings, so we are able to accommodate for this and work within your time frame, which is especially useful if you live abroad!”

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4.  Don't bring friends and family to your first fitting...

“I always tell brides that they should come to their first viewing on their own before coming with friends and family members. People are often surprised when I say this, but it is the only way to really listen to your own instincts and not to be too affected by lots of (sometimes varying) opinions! You need to listen to yourself and go with your gut feeling.”

5. Try on as many dresses as possible...

“I always say try on as many gowns as possible, go with your heart and be very open in your first appointment. There is no point in rushing because if you make a quick decision 9 times out of 10 it will be wrong. Once you find the perfect dress, keep on trying it on until you are absolutely sure it is the one. Don’t see it as a chore, enjoy it, it will be over before you know it!”

 6. Opt for a one-to-one service...

“At Phillipa Lepley, we love to look after brides on a one-to-one basis and find the dress that suits them. I like to begin by sitting down to talk about the wedding to understand the dress they envisage. All our appointments are an hour and a half long, so we really take the time to get to know the bride."

 7. If you're going to splurge on something, it should be the dress...

“Brides often ask what they should splurge and save on, and I always reply that If your dress is perfectly fitted, people won’t be looking anywhere else. After 25 years of finessing the body minimising corset, we make the dress fit the bride vertically and horizontally, creating balance and proportion. Brides love our made-to-measure corsets as they create a synched-in waist, emphasising the brides figure, but still allowing the bride to be comfortable on her big day. This was seen most recently when I created a jumpsuit wedding gown for a bride still incorporating a corset; it totally fit her style and shape and she loved it.”

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 8. Consider a subtle day-to-night change...

“This is becoming more and more popular. I always suggest to brides that they look at the evening venue and choose a slight alteration to their dress accordingly. For example brides in the past have chosen a different coloured silk waist-band for a Scottish Wedding, a removable fur shrug for a winter wedding, or simply a change from a veil to a tulle stole for a summer wedding. Adding a sparkly beaded belt is always a god evening addition”.

 9. Make sure the dress is timeless (the photos will live forever)...

“I will always say to the bride that they should choose a dress that is timeless; it can be ‘modern’ but it needs to age well. You will be looking at your wedding photos forever...”

10. Bring family to your final fitting...

“Try to enjoy every second, it’s over in a flash.  I recommend a friend or family member coming with you to the last fitting so they can learn how to do the dress up on the day ensuring minimal worry for the bride. We at Phillipa Lepley leave instructions and a little note in your gown bag when you depart, a personal touch from us to the bride on their special day”.


Comments

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Fiona Holmes (Tue Jul 08 22:55:12 BST 2014): Phillipa made my dress for our special day in May 1994 I loved it then & still do she is fabulous! thanks