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Cupar, Fife, United Kingdom
Aliya Rose is an award-winning bridal shop in Fife, Scotland. We have always been proud of our commitment to customer service, and our excellent range of styles and sizes. But we're also quite fun, or at least we try.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

More Bang for your Buck - hitting the sample sales

So you’re searching for the perfect wedding gown. And whilst price may be no object to a small select few brides, the vast majority want something that they can feel is good value.
So if the idea of buying a a £1000 dress at, say £199, just because it’s an ex-sample, has your ears pricking up, then read on, this article is for you!

Most bridal shops will have some ex-sample dresses at reduced prices throughout the year. And at certain times of year, there will be more of these dresses than normal. Autumn is always a great time at Aliya Rose for anyone looking for a bargain - we have to make room for next year’s collection, so you’ll usually find a larger than normal number of gowns on the sale rail, and they’re usually priced to GO! Currently we have about 25 gowns on the sale rail, starting at a miniscule £99....

A lot of brides on a budget are afraid to set foot in a bridal shop for fear of being forced into dresses they can’t afford. But it’s always worth a look before you reach for the internet – you might be pleasantly surprised at what you can pick up.

Here are the questions you should be asking yourself or the shop if you're looking at ex-sample dresses…

Should I phone the shop ahead of time?
Always worth it. If nothing else, it will mean that you can make sure there's a changing room free for you to try things on - you can never really tell what something will look like until it's on you!

What condition will the dress be in?
Now, don’t get me wrong, ex-sample dresses are not going to be in perfect condition. You can expect some dirt and make up, and maybe a few missing beads here and there. Some samples have been well-loved! But usually any damage is minimal and can either be repaired or concealed by the dressmaker or put right with a professional clean. The price should reflect any defects (and normally it will MORE than make up for them!!). Make sure you have a really good look over the dress before you commit yourself, as you’re very unlikely to be able to return it if you change your mind.

Should I get one that’s not quite the right size?
If it’s a little too big (say up to 2 inches), then that shouldn’t be a problem for a good dressmaker to take in. Most brides will need some alterations, even if they’ve ordered a new dress, sometimes by that much anyway. If it’s bigger than that, then ask for advice before you go for it! If it’s too small, then think very carefully – if it can be let out, then it won’t be by a lot, and if you’re planning on slimming into it, you’ll want to be very confident that you’ll be able to fit into the dress.

Will the dress need cleaning?
Firstly ask the shop if they’ve had it cleaned recently. If they have, it may not need it. Some of ours have been cleaned very recently. Then, it’s really up to you. If it looks grubby, you might want to have it cleaned. Go with a specialist wedding dress cleaner rather than a local dry cleaner. Specialists who deal only with wedding gowns will use processes that are specially suited to delicate fabrics and beading. And you’ll probably find them very competitively priced compared to local cleaners too.

What about alterations?
One of the advantages of buying an ex-sample dress from a store, rather than buying online or second hand to save money, is that the shop will already have a system in place to deal with alterations. This can save a huge amount of hassle trying to find a suitable dressmaker! Why buy ex-sample when I can buy new on ebay for the same or even less? A lot of internet sellers aren't all that honest, and they'll use original designer's photos to sell their cheap copies. The thing is, it's not just about what a dress looks like on the outside - true beauty comes from within, even in a wedding gown, and a lot of what gives genuine designer dresses the ‘wow’ factor is the internal structure and corsetry that they have. Very cheaply manufactured dresses won’t have this sort of structure; they won’t pull you in the same way to give you an hourglass figure; they often won’t have underskirts in them at all, so you’ll need to buy extra underskirts to give the skirt any structure; the bodices will often collapse under the bust. Buying a genuine designer gown in a sample sale represents true value for money – you’re still getting the fabulous internal structure and great quality fabrics, and you actually get to see the dress on before you make a decision. I'm not saying never buy online - that's up to you, not to me! But it really is well worth a look at the sample sales before you make that decision.

So how can shops afford to sell dresses off at these prices? Really? I mean come on..... are brides just being ripped off the rest of the time?
Well, believe it or not, we make no money AT ALL on such low prices. We pay full price for our sample dresses, so to sell a dress off at £99 or £199 that has a retail price of over £1000 means we are actually selling them at a considerable loss. But at certain times of year, when designers are discontinuing some of their gowns, and the arrival of a new collection is imminent, the rail space is more valuable to us than getting a really good price for a sample dress! Which means that you get the chance to buy dresses at less than what the shop paid for them. Bargain? Hell yeah!

Monday, 30 August 2010

Does Size Matter?

Ok ladies. You’ve probably heard all sorts of things about sizing of bridal gowns. Some of it may have made sense, and some of it may have mystified you entirely. It can certainly be very confusing to find yourself buying a £1000 dress whose label states that it’s a completely different size from the one you’d normally buy from the high street!

But we all want to make sure that on the big day there are NO muffin tops or back-cleavages in evidence, and that your wedding dress is possibly the most flattering thing you’ll ever wear!

So how on earth does this mystical bridal sizing thing work?

Well, there isn’t really some kind of magical trade secret here. In actual fact it works very much like any other clothing manufacturing. Each manufacturer works to their own size chart, and each dress they produce will correspond to the measurements on their size chart. The confusion starts because:

1) As you will know from shopping on the high street, sizes can vary hugely from shop to shop. In Next you might be a size 10, but in Monsoon you might be a 12. Bridal designers are no different, because each designer or manufacturer will be working from a different size chart, so a Benjamin Roberts size 10 will not necessarily be the same as an Ella size 10. And just because you wear a Next size 10 doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be a size 10 in bridal gowns! Each bridal shop will have all the size charts relevant to the designers they stock, and they’ll all be trained in how to use them!

2) When you compare someone’s actual measurements to a size chart (ANY size chart, whether it’s Marks & Spencers or Maggie Sottero), it’s very, very unusual for anyone to be the same size on their bust, waist and hips. It’s far more usual for someone to be, say, a size 12 bust, size 14 waist and size 10 hips. In ‘normal’ clothes which have a bit of stretch in them (thank god for Lycra), this doesn’t really matter, and in fact a size 12 top wouldn’t feel too small on their waist at all. However, bridal gowns are not normally made from stretchy fabrics. Unlike most ‘normal’ clothes, bridal gowns are very tailored with heavily structured bodices. This means that there’s no give in them. And if your bust measures a 12 and your waist measures a 14, then you won’t get away with the 12 on your waist – that 2 inches of difference between the sizes might be the difference between you looking fabulously gorgeous, and bursting the zip, having spent the whole day being unable to eat or breathe properly.

3) A lot of bridal size charts come up small compared to high street manufacturers size charts. You may have found in the past that some shops are a little generous with their sizing (and we all like to be flattered!), and some manufacturers are becoming increasingly flattering with their sizes! Some bridal manufacturers (unfortunately for all of us who like to know the size on the label is a small number!) don’t tend to be all that flattering with their sizing. This can mean that when combined with the effect of point 2), when you compare your measurements to the size chart, instead of the size 12 you were expecting, your measurements fit more neatly into a size 16. Trust the size chart here. Ignore what ‘label’ they give these measurements and remind yourself that the most important thing here is that your dress fits whatever your largest measurement is properly. There is nothing worse than seeing a bride in a dress that is too tight.

4) Sample sizes can be incredibly deceptive. During appointments I’m usually bombarded with questions about what size this or that sample is. But my answer is always the same - the size on the label of a sample dress is largely irrelevant. Why? Because sample dresses are tried on over and over again, by people of all shapes and sizes. They have to be cleaned. And all of that can stretch the dresses. A well used sample dress in a size 14 might actually be an inch bigger than a brand new size 14 dress in exactly the same design. And that inch can really count! At Aliya Rose we rarely use samples as a true guide for size – we always take measurements once you’re ready to order a dress, and work from there.

5) Some designers use US sizes. Which are not the same as British sizes, even though they are called 10, 12, 14 etc. Again, the important numbers here are the measurements of your bust, waist, and hips. Don’t get hung up on the number that they give the size!

So here are my top tips for brides with regard to size:
• Forget the size you wear in ‘normal’ clothes.
• Try to leave your size vanity at the door. It can be hard, but remember at all times that you will NOT be walking down the aisle with the size label hanging out the back of your dress (I hope!), so no one needs to know what size your dress is. Cut it out if you want, and also remember that once your dress has been altered, it’s ‘you’ sized, not a size 14 or 20 or whatever the label said.
• Take the shop’s advice. At Aliya Rose we WANT your dress to be as much the right size for you as possible. We always show you where your measurements are on the size chart so that you can understand why we’re ordering the size we are. We hope that our customers leave understanding how it works, but we’re always open to questions if people aren’t sure! So don’t be afraid to ask if you feel you need clarification.
• If a dress is too small for you, it will make you look bigger. But if it’s the right size all over, you’ll instantly appear to lose pounds without making any effort. How can that be a bad thing?

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Beautiful Photography for Breast Cancer Care

Over the coming days, we will be blogging about some very special companies which are helping us out with our Breast Cancer Care Strawberry Tea event. These are companies whose work you get to experience for yourself when you come along to our event, so make sure you’ve booked it in your diary – 21st and 22nd August 2010, and if you order your dress then, you’ll bag yourself a fantastic goody bag worth around £250!!!

We’re very excited to have the fabulous wedding photographer Nikki McLeod on board to help us out with this event. Nikki McLeod Photography is a well established wedding & portrait business, based in Dalgety Bay, south west Fife. From photographing weddings that have appeared on the front cover of the Scottish Wedding Directory's "Real Life Weddings" magazine, to making ladies of all shapes and sizes feel & look beautiful with "Breathless" boudoir photography, there is possibly no end to the talents this amazing lady has! She has photographed me in the past, and I can vouch for her ability to put you at your ease, make you look fantastic, and produce visually amazing shots! Nikki McLeod Photography celebrates 10 years of business in 2010.

Here’s what Nikki has to say about her involvement with our event:

“I've always been a fan of Aliya Rose, having photographed the Aliya Rose girls
themselves, as well as some of their stunning dresses, and their brides
on their big days; I even bought an Aliya Rose dress myself for our 10th
wedding anniversary do!

Therefore it's an honour to be asked to come and be a part of the Breast
Cancer Care charity day. Nikki McLeod Photography is going to be
available on both of the charity days, taking images of the happy
proceedings. I also will be available to take Facebook-ready images of
you trying on dresses, and/or headshots, for a donation to the charity.”

But that’s not all. Nikki has kindly donated vouchers for our goody bags, which could mean a free post-wedding shoot, or money off either your wedding photos or a Breathless session. AND you’ll be entered into a prize draw to win a free Breathless boudoir session with Nikki!

Amazing, thank you Nikki!

To get your hands on one of our fab goody bags, you’ll need to come along to the Strawberry Tea Event on 21st and 22nd August 2010 and place an order for a bridal gown or bridesmaid dresses. Get in there quick though, because the bags will only be available whilst stocks last!

For every bridal gown we sell, we will donate £50 to Breast Cancer Care, and £10 for every bridesmaid dress.

Contact us on 01334 655 303 for more information – most of our appointments have now been booked for the weekend, but don’t worry, no appointment is necessary! You can just come along from 9am-5pm on Saturday, or 11am-4pm on Sunday.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Get your hands on gorgeous earrings from Starstruck Designs!

Over the coming days, we will be blogging about some very special companies which are helping us out with our Breast Cancer Care Strawberry Tea event. These are companies whose work you get to experience for yourself when you come along to our event, so make sure you’ve booked it in your diary – 21st and 22nd August 2010, and if you order your dress then, you’ll bag yourself a fantastic goody bag worth around £250!!!

The first one we’d like to rave about is Starstruck Designs.

Owner and Designer, Kerri Miller, started the company in 2002, and has never compromised her commitment to excellent quality and design in her handmade jewellery, tiaras and crystal bouquets. I’ve been lucky enough to watch her work, and see the quality of the workmanship up close, so I can vouch personally for the amazing attention to detail. In fact, I’ve often commented that the wirework is so perfect it looks as though it’s been done by a machine rather than human hands. She's got an inner magpie, so loves a bit of sparkle. For that reason she uses Swarovski components, and Swarovski are generally acknowledged to have the best sparkle in the business!

We were absolutely delighted when Kerri contacted us to say she wanted to donate some of her work for our goody bags. We were even more delighted when she showed us what would be in the bridal goody bags – these gorgeous earrings are made with Swarovski crystal and freshwater pearls, and retail for £18 a pair. They will compliment so many dresses perfectly, or they'd make an amazing gift.

(And they’re only one of the great goodies in our goody bags, so watch this space for more info!)

Kerri is also a finalist in the Boudoir Beautiful competition run by e-beads.co.uk - a huge achievement, and we wish her lots and lots of luck with the next round!

To get your hands on one of our fab goody bags, you’ll need to come along to the Strawberry Tea Event on 21st and 22nd August 2010 and place an order for a bridal gown or bridesmaid dresses. Get in there quick though, because the bags will only be available whilst stocks last!

For every bridal gown we sell, we will donate £50 to Breast Cancer Care, and £10 for every bridesmaid dress.

No appointment is necessary, but contact us on 01334 655 303 for more information or to prebook your time slot and beat the queues!

Monday, 2 August 2010

Breast Cancer Care Strawberry Tea Event - 21st and 22nd August 2010

Aliya Rose is currently working its socks off to prepare for a rather amazing charity event. As it's a cause very close to lots of people's hearts, and since it's something that might affect so many of our customers in the future, we wanted to raise money for Breast Cancer Care, and so we’ve decided to hold a Strawberry Tea. Lots of these have already taken place up and down the country, and people have served delicious strawberry treats along with a refreshing cuppa, in return for a donation to Breast Cancer Care.

But this is no ordinary Strawberry Tea. Yes, we’ll be serving you delicious treats on the day. But we’ll also be doing what we do best – helping brides to find the dress of their dreams. For every bridal gown we sell on the weekend of 21st and 22nd August 2010, we will donate a whopping £50 to Breast Cancer Care. And for every bridesmaid dress, we’ll donate £10.

But that isn’t all! As a thank you, we have amazing goody bags to give away to customers who order on those days. The bridal one is worth around £250!! So well worth getting your dress picked out and ordered then.

For that weekend only, we'll have a Benjamin Roberts and Blue By Enzoani designer event - that means even more of their beautiful dresses in store than we usually have.

Not only that, but amazing Scottish photographer, Nikki McLeod, is going to join us to take photos of the event as it happens, and also to make her skills available to you – if you’ve always fancied having a really great head shot for Facebook, then this is your chance to get one, for a small donation to the charity. AND you'll be given the chance to enter a prize draw for a free Breathless session!

Oh, and the
Delia Online Forum liked our idea so much, they gave us a case of Shloer to serve (yummy)!

In fact, we’ve teamed up with a number of other fabulous companies for this event, including
Scottish Wedding Directory, Starstruck Designs, Wedding Ideas Magazine, and Morven Studios, to name but a few. Don’t worry, we’ll be blogging about them in the coming weeks so you know what to expect!

Appointments are not necessary for this event, but if you’d like to bag yourself a specific time slot to beat the queues, then call us now on 01334 655 303.

Doors will be open from 9am to 5pm on Sat 21st, and 11am - 4pm on Sun 22nd August 2010. See you there, people!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Underwater Wedding Photography. Yes, underwater.

Normally, when the words ‘wedding dress’ and ‘swimming pool’ are mentioned in the same sentence, one would think of those poor unfortunate brides captured for eternity on their wedding video falling into their venue’s swimming pool fully clothed, and then shown on You’ve Been Framed….

But in this case, when the wedding dress and the swimming pool are combined with an extremely skilful photographer and make up artist, a beautiful model, and a WHOLE lot of careful planning, you get one of the most amazing bridal shoots ever.

When we responded to photographer Jonathan Ryan’s request to supply a dress for an underwater wedding shoot, we were really quite excited about the prospect. Here at Aliya Rose we’ve always liked things that are a bit eye-catching or different, so there was something about this idea that really appealed. And even though we weren’t sure if our valuable dress would survive, we reckoned it was worth taking the plunge, as it were. What is life if you can’t take a risk or two?

This incredible photo is only the second one we’ve seen from the shoot. And frankly we cannot WAIT to see the rest (although we’re giving poor Jonathan some time to recover – he was, understandably, pretty exhausted after hours of shooting underwater).

You can find another amazing photograph here http://peoplebyryan.com/photoblog/mermaid

There will be more, but don't hold your breath..... ;)

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Slashing those bridesmaid costs!

So how would you feel if someone told you that you could walk into a bridal boutique and buy your bridesmaid dresses from a range of well over 100 styles, with an enormous range of colour options, but all for department store prices? You might be surprised, no?

Well, here at Aliya Rose the sunny weather has put us in something of a fantastic mood, and - perhaps we've had too much Pimm's - we've decided to make our brides an offer they can't refuse. We are offering all the bridesmaid dresses we stock for a set price of just £140 each. That's pretty incredible.

We have full length, tea length, cocktail length, strapless, halterneck, v-neck, chiffon, satin, taffeta, georgette..... the list goes on.... and in just about any colour you can think of.

This offer will only last for 4 weeks (from Sat 10th July 2010 to Sat 7th August 2010), so get your bridesmaids together, get your skates on, and get down to Aliya Rose, 18 Millgate, Cupar to get your order in. And if you actually turn up on skates, we'll be well impressed.

To book your appointment, call 01334 655 303, or email info@aliyarose.co.uk.

So what else do you need to know? Well, to qualify for the offer you'll need to pay for your dresses in full when you order. You need to order between 10th July and 7th August 2010 inclusive. The set price of £140 does not include rush fees, alterations, or extra charges from the designers for length alterations, plus-sizes or print fabrics. But just let us know if you'd like more info on any of these.

And we'll see you soon x

Friday, 2 July 2010

So here we are, giving this blog thing a try...

This is really rather experimental. I don't know how much other bridal shops blog. Or even IF other bridal shops blog. To be honest, that doesn't really bother me, because we've never done things just to be like everyone else. We are proud to have our own personality!

So today I decided to start a blog. I must admit I was spurred on by Rachel Southwood of Wedding Ideas Magazine. Because she said she'd start a blog if I did. I took this as a dare (or some such), so here I am. Stay tuned for details of her blog..... :D

We're proud today to announce that we're a Top Wedding Tweeter despite not managing to tweet much this week. It seems we must have been on the list even higher last week, but I'm afraid I didn't even know the list existed last week. You can be sure I'll be checking it every week from now on though.

Top 100 Wedding Tweeter

Thanks for reading. We'll be back with more, I promise.