About Me

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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.

Monday, 27 August 2012

It Costs How Much??

For those of us who build our wardrobe with clothes that are bought from high street stores (mine personally has everything from Primark to Calvin Klein in it) the price of a wedding dress can prove a bit hard to swallow.  Wedding dresses can cost anything between £400 and £4000 (and upwards!) – depending on what you’re buying and where you’re buying it from.  In these budget conscious times it not uncommon ask questions about the cost of a wedding dress. It's not helped by crafty counterfeiters whose work is all over the internet, and who try to make brides think they're getting ripped off by the bricks and mortar shops.
So why the heck do they cost what they cost?  Lets break it down…
The Designer
Do you get paid for your work?  Well so does the person who designs your wedding dress.  These are very skilled and creative people who studied hard to learn their craft and get paid accordingly.  The best dresses are designed to flatter real people - and making a dress do that is a craft in itself.
When you run your hand down the exquisite material of a wedding dress or you admire its beading or lace you are admiring the work of the person who sources all the materials for the designer.  This person hunts high and low for the best silk, the best diamante and crystals, at the best price to make your dress.
Pattern cutter
A true craft, once the designer has completed their piece, a pattern to bring their dress to life has to be created, and cut.  Not just in one size but perhaps in sizes 6 to 32 (depending on the designer).  Different sizes will need slightly different attention - it's not just a case of making the pattern bigger.
Marketing the dress
So once the designer has designed, and the pattern has been cut, a couple of the dresses are made and taken to a large exhibition to show different shops what they can buy.  Exhibitions cost a lot of money as do the marketing materials such as the photographs you see in bridal magazines.   But these are an essential tool both for the retailer, and for you, the bride, in helping you to make the right choice for your wedding day.
The costs of the Bridal shop
Buying the sample:  As a bridal retailer we have buy all of the sample dresses that we have in our shop.  Contrary to popular belief, we don't get discounts for these, we have to pay full whack. But without the samples, what would you try on?  This is an absolutely vital part of the shopping experience for you - we can't imagine how you'd make your choice without them!
Rent:  To be a bridal retailer who carries legitimate designs (i.e Maggie Sottero, Benjamin Roberts, Romantica of Devon, etc) you have to have a ‘bricks and mortar’ shop, that brides can visit to try on the designs.  So we do, we have a shop that costs us rent, electricity, heating, council rates, insurance - the list goes on and on, and sadly all that costs money too.
Staff:  We also hire and train skilled staff who are able to help and advice customers in their shopping.  This is a fairly obvious and visible part of what we do, of course, but once a bride buys a dress we then complete all the administration to send the order to the designer, which is more time consuming than you might think.  There is a huge amount of 'behind the scenes' work that goes into your order.
Ordering your dress from the Designer
The orders department at the designer will process the dress order, they will enter this into the production system (accurately – a mistake here could see the wrong dress arrive, or the wrong size of dress!)
The Factory
The factory receive the order and allocate it to the work load of its staff.  This has to be done to ensure the right product in the right size and colour is made by the required deadline for shipping.  There is no room for error, so Designers don't tend just to pick the cheapest factory - it's more important to get things right.
The machinist / fabric cutter / finishing
These are the skilled people who bring the fabric and materials together to actually make the dress.  They measure and cut the fabric, they sew it together, insert linings, facings, boning, sew on embroidery, beads and applique.  To create a single gown, hundreds of pieces need to be cut, draped, stitched, beaded, appliqued....
Quality control / packaging / shipping
So once the product is finished it will be checked for quality, it will then be packaged up and then shipped to the UK (usually from the far East – its an expensive journey).
Arriving with the designer
After a long journey your dress then arrives with the Designer at their distribution warehouse.  Here it will be checked again, steamed, re-packaged and then sent out for dispatch to the bridal shop where you bought it from.
Your dress is couriered from the designer to the bridal shop where you bought it.  No one can risk gowns going missing, so they have to be fully trackable packages, sent by couriers, often overnight, and this can be quite costly in itself.
Arriving at the shop
So finally your dress has arrived at the shop!  It is opened and checked over by a member of staff, time is set aside to steam / press the dress (this cannot be done when customers are in the shop so either we can’t take any appointments or it is done out of hours).   Once we are happy you are contacted and invited back into the shop for an appointment to try on the dress and make sure you are completely happy.
To be honest when I see what goes into making a wedding dress I’m often surprised that they don’t cost more.  They aren’t manufactured in the same way that New Look make jeans – there is no bulk buying power as dresses are only made to order.  Everybody in that chain is doing a job, and receives a wage for the job that they do, the transport costs, the buildings that cost money to run, it all adds up.
BUT what it adds up to is a process that provides you with a beautiful, well designed and well made dress that goes through several quality checks, all FOR YOU.  When it is your wedding day would you want to wear a dress that goes through anything less?

Friday, 10 August 2012

Does My Bum Look Big In This?

The selections can be overwhelming, so you'll want helpful advice
Does my bum look big in this? 

When the time arrives to go shopping for a wedding dress most brides will gather together their nearest and dearest and those they trust and set out on a shopping expedition.  Appointments will be made and lunch will be organised (hopefully somewhere nice and with a glass of wine thrown in for good measure).

So when you put together the invitation list for shopping who immediately springs to mind?  Your Mum?  Best friend?  Bridesmaids?  The mother-in-law to be? Aunties, cousins, grannies?  From experience this list could go on.  Truth be told I imagine giving out the invitations to the dress shopping must be up there with the battle that can rage over the invitations to the wedding itself. The apprehension over offending Aunty Marg by not inviting her can cause stress and tension.  Just what you need when planning a wedding and preparing for an exciting shopping trip for your dress!

It can be tough deciding who to bring, but I’ve pulled together a list of people who I would generally say to avoid (unless of course you really, really love them and want them there.  Just be prepared.)

The ‘Poker Guest’
Why have I called them the ‘Poker Guest’?  Because they are totally unaware of body language and unable to read if somebody is happy or otherwise – you could win a fortune from them in a poker game!

‘Poker Guests’ are amazingly happy to be with you on your day shopping but somehow seem not to know you at all.  You will be in the changing room starting to beam as the lacing is done up, next will come shoes and accessories by which time you will be positively glowing.  The sales assistant who has known you for all of 45 minutes by this point knows that you like what you are wearing, they know it makes you feel amazing and that you are mentally wondering if this is ‘the one’.

As you step out of the changing room, grinning from ear to ear, ‘Poker Guest’ will remain completely oblivious to your obvious joy and immediately dismiss the dress out of hand and declare it “awful”.  Your smile fades and you’re left wondering if you are brave enough to wear a dress that somebody who is close to you so strongly dislikes.

‘Poker Guests’ tend to pride themselves on giving honest opinions (this will not be limited to wedding dresses) and consider themselves the family member who has to get things sorted.

Only bring a ‘Poker Guest’ if you are strong enough to do what you want and you want and able to dismiss their opinion when it is not the same as your own.

The Projectionist

So called because they continuously project their taste onto you - the dresses they pull out on the rail, the accessories, the veil, the bridesmaid dresses, EVERYTHING!

Now this might not be a problem if you share really similar tastes with this person, however if you are looking for something elegantly vintage whilst ‘The Projectionist’ believes that no bride is complete without a huge gown and 3 tier veil then you might have a problem.

A skilled sales assistant will help you avoid the overwhelming layers of satin and tulle that ‘The Projectionist’ wants you to try on but depending on how vocal they are with their vision you may find that you have to relent (this usually comes from our wanting not to offend people – I mean how do you tell your treasured guest that, quite frankly, their taste wouldn’t be out of place on My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding?).

So you emerge from the changing room, resplendent in acres of fabric and sparkles, a million miles from the image that you had in mind for your big day, and ‘The Projectionist’ jumps up with a squeal of utter delight, a small clap of her hands and a declaration that it is totally “gorgeous” and is absolutely “the one!”

How do you get out of that one?  Again you have to remain strong to your own image and find a way to politely say thanks but no thanks.  However, be warned, this may become the dress that she compares everything else to and her opinion on anything else from this point on becomes slightly redundant.

‘The Projectionist’ is likely to be your friend who decides where you should go on a Friday night out and buys you birthday presents that aren’t really to your taste but you saw her admiring in the shop window only a couple of months ago.

The Comparison Guest
We suspect you won't want your wedding
compared to anyone else's
This is likely to be a friend who has been married in the past couple of years, and is so named because everything you do in your wedding planning is compared to her experience.

The day will be peppered with phrases such as:
“When I went shopping...”

“When I tried on dresses...”
“Oh I tried that one on!”
“Remember on my wedding day...”

They have miraculously forgotten all the stress of organising a wedding and believe themselves to be experts in everything bridal by virtue of having been a bride themselves.

These guests can make things confusing, especially when the information they so freely give you conflicts with the information you are getting from your wedding supplier (this is not exclusive to wedding dresses, it includes cakes, photographers, florists, etc).

Of course not all recent brides fall into this category, but if you start to become overwhelmed with the level of ‘sharing’ and comparisons it might be best to edit the amount of information that you share with this person.

So who do you take shopping with you? 

Remember first of all that a good bridal sales assistant will listen to what you want, and will, in the most diplomatic way, help you fight your corner, and actually find the right thing for you.

To compliment that, you ideally want to bring somebody who is honest, diplomatic and who understands that it is nothing to do with their own personal taste!

Your taste, and what you want in your wedding dress, is the most important thing and your guests should recognise this.  What you want is somebody who will reply honestly when you ask “does my bum look big in this?” not the person who is too busy thinking about whether they would wear that dress themselves!