Thursday, 19 April 2012

It ain't what you do...

I have being trying to work out how to get this document on my blog in the same format as it appears on the PDF file that I send out to brides booking an appointment with me via email or via the website.  My lovely graphic designer Rochelle will be horrified that I have published this in text format. I do have a corporate ID and if anyone else sanctioned this I would be peeved...


Wedding dresses shops can be odd and slightly intimidating in abstract. A luxurious dressing up box or a Little Shop of Horrors? A lot of brides have all sorts of anxieties before coming in for an appointment - am I rich enough, thin enough, young enough, cool enough?  The simple fact is our customers are not 20 year old billionaire's daughters. Our customers are regular clever women that are approaching marriage from a million different backgrounds.

There are some famously haughty shops in the world - on the whole wedding dress shops are not among them. This does not mean however you won't feel slightly intimidated and on edge before your first appointment. Any act or situation that has huge gravitas and effectively defines our femininity done for the first time is likely to cause some anxiety. Like snogging, sex, first bra, first love - if it all went brilliantly well first time we could all stride forth in cool lingerie conquering the world with our hotness.

It doesn't happen that way - I didn't write off boys whilst laying flat on my back thinking 'was that it?' I understood, over time, that communication, expression of feeling and one or two killer moves make the difference - moving mundane to magical.

My point is that when you walk into a wedding dress shop first time you and your assistant will be strangers to each other. I can't speak for other shops or assistants but that relationship accelerates faster than any others. 'The quickest way to know a woman is to go shopping with her ' Within a few minutes - there are confessions of anxiety and life stories. I often see my customers in often no more than pants and heels. In my world this is normal. In the a bride to be's world it is not.

I wrote the FAQ about 18 months ago list to try and allay some fears. It's not sex it's just shopping...

If you are coming to the shop on a Saturday please be aware that you are not having a private
appointment. You will have a spacious and very private fitting room to get changed in but there are
usually two other brides trying on too. If this idea doesn’t appeal please talk to us about a private weekday
appointment or an evening appointment for which there is a small charge.
When you are being helped in and out of dresses one of my very lovely girls or I will be with you. It might
spare your blushes if you remember not to wear the skimpy thong emblazoned with ‘Hello big boy’ for
your appointment. Think about nude tone pants and a good fitting bra WITH straps. (Unless you are a
shameless good time girl – which is fab too.) At Miss Bush the strapless dresses are corseted and we can
simply tuck bra straps down but the softer dresses really need a bra with some uplift.
On a Saturday it is a good idea not to bring family heirlooms, veils or borrowed tiaras.
There is a good selection to try to create the looks you’re after. In addition there are shoes
available in sizes 2 – 9 to try on with the gowns in varying heel heights.
No photos please. This is always contentious. I would rather you didn’t take photos for the following reasons:
1. The shop is very cute and very old. Whilst this creates a great atmosphere it is useless for photography.
Professionals have struggled to get good shots battling the low ceiling beams and mixed light sources.
2. I have worked for a long time to create a blend of labels, styling techniques and top tips for our
customers. I am quite keen to keep the experience, the products and the service private and unique –
quite hard in the days of instant uploads to social media.
3. I stock samples from size 6 to size 18. It is Sod’s Law that the dress you love may not be a perfect fit.
Therefore being girls if we go away from a shop with images of our boobs squashed or our skirts too
tight or conversely with more pins than a Voodoo doll we are likely to obsess about our figures – not the
dress (Or is this just me?)
4. Most dresses are available to view online and your assistant will always give the
proper name for a dress not just our reference.
5. Muriel’s Wedding!!!!!!
My team at Miss Bush has years of experience – the shop launched nearly 24 years ago. The Miss Bush
girls know the collections, the designers and the labels inside out. They all have a brilliant knack of putting
looks together and an ability to handhold even the most nervous brides through different ideas and styles.
They are not scripted and not commissioned. If the girls or I think something looks great we’ll tell you – and
likewise if we know you can do better we’ll tell you that too. In the nicest possible way.
Our reputation is built on having great dresses and providing great service – as with the vast majority
of excellent bridal retailers. In contrast to other bridal retailers our collection of dresses reflects our own personal taste and we definitely try not to be all things to everybody. My team will give their own opinion,

a frank approach, but the aim is to create amazing bridal looks reflecting your personality and subtly
channelling all that’s new and gorgeous in wedding style. The choice of dresses is eclectic yet classic
avoiding carbon-copy brides and detouring from perilous novelty.
We love kids and babies. We have lots of children and grandchildren between us. You are very welcome
to bring them here on a weekday for your appointment. The shop dresses are samples so kids can’t get
sticky fingers on real life dresses and wannabe princesses can play with sparkly things – and you can even
request the shop to yourself! However we would ask if we have no under 10’s on a Saturday in the
main shop - it can get very busy and there is no where to put little ones safely.
Please let us know if you can’t make an appointment – especially a Saturday.
Please don’t bring more than two friends or family without prior arrangement
– the shop can become very crowded and intimidating.
Please make your friends aware of the no photos policy.
Please be aware that Saturday appointments are for an hour.
Train From London Waterloo – Woking. Try and get on a Portsmouth Harbour train – the first stop
is usually Woking. Very quick! There is a cab rank outside but if you want to pre book cabs
the best numbers are 01483 755555 or 01483 715555.
Bus The 515 runs between Guildford and Kingston and stops in Ripley. Agonisingly slow!
Sat Nav – postcode is GU23 6AZ
From London on the A3 take the Wisley exit.
From Portsmouth, Hindhead or Guildford on the A3 take the Ripley Woking Send exit (B2215).
Either way you’ll drive straight into the village and Miss Bush Bridalwear is in the centre next to a
pedestrian crossing and a Pub called The Ship. You actually can’t go wrong.
M25 Jct 10 A3 - southbound in the direction of Guildford/Portsmouth. Almost as soon as
you are on the A3 you’ll see signs for the turning off for Ripley.
Approximate timings are 20 minutes from Wandsworth/top of the A3 on a good day.
5 – 10 minutes from Guildford.
There is on street parking limited to two hours. Alternatively there is parking on the village green, or the big
free and unmarked car park. This is first left off Rose lane, White Hart Meadows, after the British Legion.
The Onslow Arms – Clandon
The Black Swan – Ockham
The Talbot Hotel – Ripley
The Anchor - Pyrford Lock, Wisley,
Woking GU23 6QW 01932 342507
Wisley Gardens
MISS BUSH, HIGH STREET, RIPLEY, SURREY, GU23 6AZ T: 01483 222815 F: 01483 224123


  1. That's a great list of FAQs. The bridal shop I went to had something similar - the underwear info is particularly useful. Maybe it's because I'm a researcher by profession but I did an extensive google search on how wedding dress shopping works before I even made an appointment so hopefully some other brides will too and find this helpful post before the unhelpful ones!

  2. A fab read and well written :) I liked the bit about 'was that it' ha ha! You are clearly setting the standard here, if I had had anything like this kind of info before going dress shopping I would have been a very happy bunny. Hopefully others will do the same X

  3. Thanks for the feedback. I am aware that I am making this available to other shops to read by publishing - so maybe more could set out their philosophies prior to seeing customers too! xxx

  4. I love that you've listed nearby pubs :)


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