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What to expect when looking for the perfect wedding dress during the pandemic!

Bride and Groom by Kelly Firmin Photography

Since Covid-19 hit our shores life has been thrown into all sorts of chaos. We have seen our lives change over night and now we are trying to rebuild something of a new looking normal.

The pandemic has a lot to answer for! The massive effect it's had on the wedding industry being one of them. Thousands of couples have not only had to postpone their big day but some have had to change it completely and a lot have had to change the way in which they plan it.

Searching for a wedding dress will be a very different experience for quite some time. The freedom to visit a bridal boutique without an appointment or to try on dozens of dresses that aren't really what you want because it is fun may be a thing of the past.

I recently spoke to the owner of the Cath Adam @ The Bride shop who has explained in more detail what you can expect when searching for your perfect dress.

A bit about the boutique and it's fabulous owner:

The Bride Shop

Cath Adam @ The Bride Shop is a stunning wedding boutique in the centre of Three Bridges in West Sussex. It boasts a variety of dresses by Kenneth Winston and Ella Rosa as well as the boutique’s own private collection, the Cath Adam Collection. There are over 80 dresses in sizes ranging from 4-32 in all colours including ivory, nude, blush, dark ivory, light champagne and champagne. There is also a large number of beautiful veils, hair accessories and jewellery.

Aside from being the owner of this amazing bridal boutique, Cath Adam is also a silversmith with her own hallmark. She makes unique, handmade wedding rings to fit around the most unusual shaped engagement rings as well as jewellery for all ages. One of her recent items is a growing bangle for a little girl that can be enlarged as she gets older so she is able to wear it for life. What an amazing bridal party gift!

Cath Adam Silver

Anyway, I'm going off on a bit of a tangent there! Back to The Bridal Shop....

I caught up with Cath to ask her how the pandemic has effected Cath Adam @ The Bridal Shop and to share with you what you can expect when you now go wedding dress shopping.


When did you close and how did it effect you and the shop?

"We were busy with appointments up until 21st March, once lockdown was announced we obviously closed immediately. I decided to use the time I had at home to do that behind the scenes stuff which sometimes finds it's way to the bottom of the 'to do' list when we're busy. I stayed in touch with every one of my girls to see how they were and if there was anything I could do to help them in this uncertain time. I assured them they could call me at any time, some did and I was able to put their minds at rest. Some just wanted to talk it all over with me which made them feel better."

The Bride shop

What preparation did you do for reopening?

"I started by steaming the dresses that had arrived during lockdown so that they were ready for collection. I also ordered the most beautiful blossom tree for inside the boutique so this was put together which transformed it into the most tranquil place, as well getting a chaise lounge and foot stalls covered to match the newly decorated interior"

"Aside from improving the look and feel of the shop I of course had to make amendments to how I run it and ensure it is a safe environment whilst still ensuring my brides have an enjoyable experience."

What can a customer expect to experience when looking for and buying a wedding dress?

"We will be doing things a little differently than before, adhering to the government guidelines:

  • My mum works with me, she will be in the corner taking notes wearing a face screen and won’t have any contact with the bride or guest.

  • Before any appointment the boutique will be thoroughly sterilised, in particular door handles and high contact objects

  • We will be allowing one guest to come along with the bride, they must be over the age of 14

  • If the bride and guest are from the same household then they will be allowed to sit together, if not they must adhere to the distancing rule

  • I’ll be asking permission to take their temperature at the door with a non contact temperature gauge, if they are 38 degrees or over they will be asked to rebook their appointment for another date

  • I have latex gloves, hand sanitiser and masks for everyone at the door. Brides must wear gloves while trying on the dresses

  • During the initial conversation we will be 2 meters apart, therefore the masks don’t have to be worn at this particular time. After this everyone has to wear a mask in the boutique.

  • When the bride is standing on the box in front of the mirror and I’ve finished adjusting the dress, I’ll stand 2 meters away and then she is able to remove the mask, this must be put back on at the time of returning into the changing area

  • The changing area is within a pair of curtains, the curtains will now be pulled to an L shape allowing more air and space in the changing area

  • The front door will be locked at all times so entry and exit can be controlled

  • Electric fans will not be used

  • The internal door will be kept open all day

  • The window vents will be kept open all day.

  • Brochures, magazines and business cards will be removed and details of suppliers will be given verbally, images will be shown to the bride on my laptop and will not be handed to her

  • A notice on my door will be announcing we have implemented coronavirus control measures

  • A list of mitigations will be found on the home page of our website

  • We will be working longer hours to enable enough time for cleaning between appointments

  • We will wash our hands at the beginning and end of every day and in-between each appointment

  • Paper towels will be used not hand towels, a pedal bin is now provided for these

  • We will both have a bag that stays in the shop for our possessions rather than taking one into the shop each time

  • Customer’s jackets and coats will be kept by the front door

  • Brides are welcome to WhatsApp or FaceTime anyone, the device must be held by the guest

  • A minimum of 30 minutes between each appointment is recommended, we are having a minimum of an hour, allowing us to sterilise and steam

  • If a dress being tried on is put on over the head, it will be removed from the rail and placed in the back room for steaming on the inside and out at the end of the day

  • All dresses tried on that have been stepped into will be steamed on the outside after each appointment

This all seems a lot to take in but don't let it put you off looking for your dress. We are being over cautious to ensure the safety of everyone. The dresses are beautiful, we have new styles and colours which have just arrived in the boutique, so that part stays the same"

What would be your best piece of advice for someone now looking for the perfect wedding dress?

"If I had to give one piece of advice then I would say just look forward to your appointment. This is one of the most exciting times in your life, it's the most amazing dress you'll ever wear so enjoy the experience. We promise that once you come and meet me and my mum, we'll make you feel relaxed and you will have the loveliest time."

Bride in The Bride Shop

For more information on Cath Adam @ The Bride Shop please visit the website here!

Visit my website for more blogs and to register for my newsletter that contains wedding industry news, helpful hints and tips on wedding planning and must have information on the day itself!


Image credits:

Steve Tiller

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