Tell us a bit about what you do?
Alison: I’m an extremely experienced designer and dressmaker, now based in Tauranga after making a respected name for myself for 30 years in the capital.
My clients will travel from all over the upper North Island for my technical expertise. Specialising in bridal alterations, I am an expert in handwork – whether it’s hand beading or hand grafting lace and appliqué, I love it all! I work closely with Annette from Madison Rose Bridal, where Annette has a very special eye for designs that suit her clients, plus a great customer focus. Then it’s my job to fine-tune the look to absolute perfection.
Annette: Madison Rose Bridal is a boutique offering friendly service in a relaxed environment. We ensure our brides are at ease, enjoy the experience and leave confident and happy in their choice of wedding dress. We specialise in affordable wedding dresses from several different designers ranging in price from $500 to $3000. With more than 200 dresses in store there are plenty of styles to choose from ranging in size from 8 to 30. For brides requiring a dress quickly we have plenty we can sell off the rack.
What do Brides-To-Be need to think about before they start looking for a dress?
Annette: I personally think brides should come with an open mind and establish what suits their figure and personality. Brides tend to know what they don’t like or want in a dress and that can be a great starting point.
How long before the wedding would you recommend Brides start thinking about their dress?
Annette: It’s advisable to start your search a year before your wedding date. The dress is such an integral part of the wedding and a lot of other choices will be determined by the style of dress chosen – bridesmaid dresses, hair, makeup, jewellery, veil etc.
What kind of neckline would you recommend for bigger and smaller busts?
Annette: For bigger busts, this can depend on the dress and how it’s designed, as built-in bras or a corset style bodice can mean strapless, off-shoulder straps or top of the shoulder styles can be great options. Sweetheart and V necklines are always flattering. For petite brides it’s all about structure – clever detailing on the bodice to enhance, high necks or sweetheart all suit. Softer styles with a defined waist will enhance the figure.
Alison: There is always a design idea to enhance every figure, for example V necks will flatter a bigger bust, and a halter neck or cutaway shoulders enhance a smaller bust.
What dress shapes and styles do you recommend for larger sizes?
Annette: It really depends on the bride but many suit a relaxed fit ‘n’ flare style, enhancing their curves, as some full skirted dresses can do the opposite to what they wish to achieve. A-line skirts are also a very good option as they are not too full and cinch in at the waist to provide a gorgeous silhouette.
And petite sizes?
Annette: It’s interesting as often the same applies for petite figures
– relaxed fit ‘n’ flares rather than mermaid as it softens the silhouette. With regard to skirts, A-line or fuller depending on the height of the bride.
What are some of the most popular design features at the moment?
Annette: Popular picks by brides presently are the very understated but clever designs with minimal or no detailing. Or the opposite – beautiful lace appliqués on a structured bodice with layered skirts is very romantic and whimsical, perfect for outdoor venues.
Alison: Romantic dresses are the most popular looks at the moment. Pretty laces (beaded or unbeaded) and floaty tulle are everywhere, whether it’s a full filmy skirt or a slinky fit and flare, it’s always stunning and full of drama.