When it comes to boutique wedding dresses, EB Bridal is the bridal shop of our dreams
Not only does Alnwick bridal boutique EB Bridal stock an extensive range of wedding dresses for every shape, style and season – they’re also working hard to bring Northumberland’s wedding community together. Here’s how…
Making their home on the doorstep of some of the most beautiful (and prize-winning) wedding venues in the North East – think Ellingham Hall, Alnwick Gardens, Charlton Hall, Alnwick Castle, Doxford Barns and Newton Hall – it’s a little surprising that no-one has pipped EB Bridal to the post when it comes to claiming the title of being the undisputed queen of Northumberland wedding dress shops.
Although we couldn’t imagine anyone else doing a better job. Fuelled by a passion for design, helped by a luxury showroom and armed with a knack for bringing their local community together, EB Bridal are a bridal boutique with a difference.
See, as well as stocking an extensive range of boutique wedding dresses and flower girls dresses to suit every shape, style and season – in a variety of gorgeous colours, too, we might add – EB Bridal have also curated their own directory of local, hand-chosen wedding suppliers, advisors and businesses. They even dabble in the world of wedding favours, too. Which means that with one visit here, you could find everything you’ll ever want and need when it comes to planning your wedding, all on your doorstep. Handy, eh?
The brains behind this beautiful bridal boutique is Northumberland local, Hannah Braidford. We caught up with Hannah to find out everything we need to bring with us when we go wedding dress shopping, the perfect colours to suit our skin tones, and what wedding dress styles we’ll be seeing everywhere this year…
What is EB Bridal all about?
EB Bridal’s boutique specialises in offering a new kind of bridal shopping experience. From the moment you step through the doors of our luxury showroom in Alnwick, you’ll get exclusive use of the boutique for you and your bridal party, meaning you’ll enjoy a really unique, relaxed and enjoyable experience.
We’ll get to know you, your style and your dream gown preferences. Then, our bridal stylists will carefully hand-select dresses to create the perfect wedding look, exclusive to you. We can also style your chosen gown with our hand-chosen selection of accessories, veils and hair pins. Whatever you need, we’ll help you on your journey to finding the one wedding dress that’s right for you.
What makes your luxury showroom experience different?
We would never want our customers to just rock up to our boutique, choose a dress, take their money and let them get on with things! We want to be about the whole wedding experience here at EB Bridal. Choosing your wedding dress is such a personal experience, where some brides may feel a little vulnerable if they don’t feel comfortable. We want to make sure that, first and foremost, we develop that sense of trust with our brides to ensure their dressing shop experience is as enjoyable and perfect as possible. We hope that sense of trust transfers to our recommendations, too.
Speaking of your recommendations, what was the thinking behind creating your own directory of wedding suppliers?
As well as helping brides (and flower girls!) find the right dresses for their wedding, we’re also working harder to communicate better with our brides. I feel like engaged couples move so quickly from one supplier to another when it comes to planning their wedding. It’s not always helpful!
Our directory will help you find wedding venues, wedding suppliers and wedding advice with just a click of a button. All the businesses in our community are recommended by ourselves here at EB Bridal and are local to our showroom in Alnwick. Each supplier works in partnership with EB Bridal and will go above and beyond to help any of our brides with their wedding plans.
How do you think that helps brides, as well as local businesses?
Mainly, because it easily lets them know what’s available on their doorstep. We have a wealth of amazing wedding businesses here in Northumberland, so it saves them travelling all over the North to find wedding flowers or a wedding photographer. We’re not putting any pressure on the brides who buy their gowns from us to use our suppliers at all – we always encourage them to look around themselves for the right suppliers to suit their wedding. But if anyone is looking for a little help or guidance, we can give them personal recommendations of businesses we work with day in, day out, so they can take confidence from that.
We don’t just work with your more traditional wedding suppliers, either. We always try to think outside the box in terms of the services couples will need – not only on their wedding day, but once they begin their married lives, too. We work with a mortgage and protection advisor, for example, who can offer impartial advice when it comes to buying a house or growing your family. We also work with a honeymoon and weddings abroad advisor, as well as an independent department store for all your wedding gift list needs. Our local menswear specialist can also make sure the fellas are well looked after, too!
The plan is to always grow our community, so this list is by no means exhaustive. But we hope it provides our brides with a useful place to start when it comes to planning their wedding – and beyond.
EB Bridal are also dipping their toes into the world of wedding favours – can you tell us how your charity partnership with St Oswald’s Hospice works?
Yes! St Oswald’s is a North East hospice which provides outstanding specialist care to adults and children with life-limiting conditions. They believe in quality time for everyone, making memories to share and cherish forever.
They’re a charity I’ve supported for a long time now. I’ve done various fundraising activities with them, but I wanted to do something more – which is why they’re EB Bridal’s chosen charity partner. We’re working together to provide couples with beautiful, bespoke pins and brooches, which they can use as wedding favours.
Each pin costs £2.00 per guest and we will hand-write the wedding couple’s names on them all, to make them personal and exclusive to you. The pins will be paired with a card, which will provide more information about the hospice and, on the back, will read: ‘a donation has been made to St Oswald’s to celebrate the wedding of…’
Wedding favours are designed to be given to your guests as a gesture of appreciation. But what I love about this partnership is that EB Bridal can help couples extend that gratitude to a local charity who do so much amazing, life-changing work here in the North East – and, perhaps more importantly, can give a financial gift to that charity at their wedding, so that they can keep supporting local families in need.
So, back to your boutique wedding dresses – what do brides need to bring with them when they visit EB Bridal?
Bring your shoes! Ideally the ones you’re going to wear on the day but, if not, then at least shoes that are the same height as your wedding shoes. They can make a huge difference in terms of how a dress looks on you. Also, bring appropriate lingerie – again, similar to what you’ll be wearing on your wedding day. Further adjustments can always be made after you’ve chosen your dress, but having both of these with you for your first fitting will help you get a really good idea of how you’ll look on the big day. Obviously, without your hair and makeup done! But as close to the finished look as possible.
And when should brides be shopping for their wedding dresses?
There can be a delay in terms of the supply of certain dresses at the moment. It’s been an effect of the pandemic and the backlog of cancelled or postponed weddings during lockdown. We have at least one dress in every style that we stock in the showroom for you to try on, but getting the right size supplied to us can take between 6 to 10 months in some styles. So, I’d recommend ordering your dress no later than 12 months before your wedding day, just to be on the safe side.
What wedding dress styles have been the most popular over the last year?
We’ve seen the more classic styles of wedding dress proving to be the most popular with brides recently. The more simple, elegant designs seem to be ticking all the boxes right now. Maybe that’s because, up until this year, couples have been opting to elope or enjoy smaller, more laidback weddings. That style of dress is also perfect for going from day to night without changing outfits. Part of me is expecting the more elaborate styles to come back to the fore, now we’re heading into the ‘return of the big weddings’ season!
At EB Bridal, we stock an extensive range – so whatever style you’re after, we’re likely to have it in our boutique. Sincerity is a classic wedding brand that has really hit the ground running in terms of popularity recently. They use simple, classic fabrics with lots of detail in places and are just stunning. Some of them even have pockets, too! Our range of Justin Alexander dresses are similar in style and are also really popular right now, (and rightly so, they are gorgeous!). We stock the Wtoo range by Watters: these are beautifully romantic dresses which offer sparkle, lace and ultimate elegance, evoking that classic fairy tale theme. And then we also have our Venus Bridal range, which edges more towards the glitzy-glam end of the scale – think sequins, detailed sleeves, sparkling fishtail dresses, the lot!
The colours of some of our dresses are also a little more alternative. Some styles can come in black, for example, as well as a rosy pink. That gives our brides some variety, instead of us exclusively selling only your traditional whites and ivories. We definitely cover all bases!
Do certain wedding dress colours suit certain skin tones?
Yes, to an extent. I’d say anyone with a classic English rose complexion – pale skin, fair hair and cool undertones – would find themselves better suited to warmer colours. Dresses in ivory, cream, nude and blush pink, for example. If you have a darker, warmer skin tone, I’d suggest going for a wedding dress in a slightly cooler colour: pure white, off-white, champagne or even grey, for example. But there’s certainly no strict rulebook; it’s all about the style and colour that you feel most comfortable, confident and beautiful in.
What are your ultimate ambitions for EB Bridal?
To grow the boutique side of the business is my first ambition. The price range of the dresses we currently stock is from around £800 to £2,200, so I’d love to start growing our labels further. We’re also hoping to extend our offering to include prom dresses later in the year, too.
Then, in terms of our ‘Wedding Community’, I’d love to really focus on growing the number of suppliers we work with in the local area and further developing that network of wedding suppliers, so that customers can really see just how many amazing businesses we have here in Northumberland.
I’d also love to be able to get to the stage where I can take on an apprentice who could learn to become a seamstress. EB Bridal isn’t only about supporting other local businesses – we’re a local business ourselves, and we want to support our community by providing job and training opportunities.