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Erin // August 23 // The Dougarie Boathouse

“Soph you are absolutely incredible, superbly friendly and so knowledgeable, you deserve all of the business!”

Your Name? Erin

What is the name of your wedding venue? The Dougarie Boathouse on the Isle of Arran

Name of your wedding dress boutique? The absolutely incredible 130 Atelier

Name of your dress designer and style? Lee Lee Gown from Wtoo by Watters

Before you started shopping for your dress, did you have an idea of the type or style of gown you wanted? I really didn't know what I wanted when I first got engaged and started planning. I did a lot of research online and got some great advice from my sister-in-law which helped me narrow it down to either an A-line dress or a slimmed down ball gown. The thing I knew for certain was that I wanted large floral embellishments that didn't distract from the shape of the dress.

Did you have an idea of the wedding dress designer / label you wanted?  I saw the Lee Lee dress from Wtoo by Watters online and thought it was perfect but then talked myself out of trying it on as I was frightened by how large the skirt looked. But generally I really liked a lot of dressed offered by Watters

How did you find out about your boutique? I researched boutiques that stock Watters dresses and found 130 Atelier and decided to visit as I really liked how friendly and size inclusive it seemed.

What made you decide to go with the boutique you did? Through my research I found that 130 Atelier gave off a really positive friendly energy in the design of the boutique which is clearly something Sophie worked really hard on so people would feel welcome and comfortable. When I contacted Sophie via Instagram before booking an appointment she was so friendly and knowledgeable and was honestly such a nice person.

How did your boutique make you feel special? From the very beginning Sophie made it very clear that she and the boutique she has created is a friendly, welcoming place that is inclusive of all sizes, personalities and styles. Sophie seriously cares about her brides getting not only the perfect dress but also the perfect experience. My family and I were offered drinks upon arrival, I was able to try on dresses multiple times, Sophie clearly took a lot of time and effort in selecting dresses for me from the information I had provided her before attending. I felt really listened to and taken care of, at no point did I feel self conscious, I felt very comfortable the whole time. The other thing is that it is a small, specialist boutique. It is not a massive store with multiple brides at once with staff running around. 130 Atelier is relaxed and happy and indulges in the process of finding the perfect dress for everyone.

What were your favourite parts of the wedding dress shopping experience?  The entire process was wonderful but I truly feel that the key points were that Sophie and her mum made me and my family feel so comfortable and welcome to be ourselves and say exactly what we thought and chat and browse the dresses on offer. It was a VIP experience from start to finish. I didn't feel any pressure to buy a dress, I felt confident in the way I looked and confident to say what I did and did not like about the dresses. The passion Sophie has for her job made the experience of finding my perfect dress so magical as she was just as excited as I was.

Was the experience of shopping for your wedding dress as you expected, or was it something totally different? The dress buying process seemed very intimidating and overwhelming while I was researching. A lot of boutiques seem very regimented, very much like they are focused on selling a dress rather than curating a perfect collection and helping the bride choose a dress that they truly love. I was also concerned that a lot of dress shops stock dresses with the average size of a UK 8/10, and as someone who is midsize I was worried about how the process of trying on dresses would go. If I tried on a dress that didn't fit, how would I be confident enough in how it looked to buy it. However, at 130 Atelier that dresses range in size and Sophie has some much knowledge and is so happy to offer advice that at no point did I feel anything except beautiful and I actually left the appointment feeling that I will look truly beautiful on my wedding day. The experience also felt incredibly personal, Sophie really wanted me and my family to have a good time while we were there, it wasn't just sitting quietly while I tried on a dress, Sophie and her mum were chatty and friendly, they were really engaged in the process, they made it very clear that this wasn't just a sale to them, they really wanted me to feel amazing in my choice.

How many other shops did you visit? I visited 3 shops in total, even though I bought my dress at 130 Atelier which was my second shop visit because it was so perfect. The first shop I visited was purely to try on a variety of dresses, the second (130 Atelier) was because I had done my research and chosen it go there, the third was a recommendation

Can you tell us about any negative experiences you had or why you were put off buying your dress from another boutique.

The negative experience I had was at a boutique that only stocked size UK10 and below, the shop assistant made me feel very insecure in my body demanding I tell her my shape so she could tell me what I should buy, when I gave what she decided was the wrong answer she told me what she thought my body shape was. She then made it clear after trying on 3 dresses that I would not find my dress in that particular shop. I felt terrible after that experience and regretted going but I felt I had to as it had been given to me as a strong recommendation. I am so pleased Sophie and other boutique owners exist.

What is your advice to other brides who are about to start dress shopping?

Do your research and don't let others influence you negatively. Be confident in what you like and dislike and give your boutique owner as much information as you can not only about your dress choices but also about how you're feeling about the appointment. You don't need to have a massive entourage if you don't want one, it's your appointment, you make it as comfortable as you want.

Any additional advice about planning / wedding day?

My advice is that you focus on what's actually important on the wedding day, your marriage. Don't think about guest preferences, or flowers or decorations being in the wrong spot. Your guests are there to celebrate you getting married, it is the only important part of the day. I had simply the best day on my wedding day even though we had to change the ceremony location last minute due to weather and we had to move our guests inside for the signing of the licence as it started raining as soon as we said "I do". None of that mattered to us or to our guests because we got married and were truly overjoyed.

Vendor tags;

Alterations - Pearls Sewing Room

Photographer - Elliot Caunce -

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