With boutiques located in Armagh and Cookstown, Creative Ideas Bridal is a popular choice with my brides and with exceptional customer service, not to mention, a to-die-for collection of wedding dresses, I’m not surprised. Proprietor Charlene puts her heart and soul into both boutiques and loves the wonderful world of weddings. Today, she talks trends and tulle with some great advice for all you brides-to-be on the lookout for the dress of your dreams.

Sarah Bryden Wedding Photographer in Northern IrelandCharlene, tell us the history behind Creative Ideas Bridal. What led to the opening of the boutique?

I opened the boutique in Cookstown 12 years ago. My mum owned the craft and fabric shop downstairs, where hundreds of brides would shop for fabric and patterns to have their dresses made. However, without trying on dresses, it was hard for them to envision what their wedding dress would look like and indeed, what would suit them. Opening the boutique gave brides the opportunity to try on styles so they weren’t choosing a silhouette blindly. The boutique has gone from strength to strength. We started with a small collection and had to expand it quickly. Six years ago, I opened a second boutique in Armagh, where brides can expect the same excellent standards.

What do you love most about working in the wedding industry?Wedding dress shopping countdown

I never imagined I would be working in the wedding industry but I’m glad things worked out this way. Quite simply, what I love most is meeting brides and their families. We have an appointment every hour so we constantly see new faces. What is wonderful though is that the majority of our customers come to the boutique by word of mouth which is a great testament to ourselves. Often a bridesmaid, friend or sister of a bride will come back for her wedding dress, and so we make many friends along the way.

Ideally, when should a bride begin searching for her dress?

I would advise a bride begins looking for dress 18 months to one year before the wedding. It takes a dress approximately six to seven months to come into the boutique and a bride should also allow six to eight weeks for alterations.

What trends are proving popular with brides this year?

Although the Kate Middleton effect continues with lace dresses proving popular, we have noticed an increase in satin. The rise in the Great Gatsby trend also continues with vintage, embellished dresses being loved by brides.

hen looking for her dress, what advice would you give a bride?

Be open minded and don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone a little. Quite often brides come with one idea in their head and leave with a dress that’s the complete opposite. If for example, a bride commonly wears 1950’s style dresses, she may find when she tries this silhouette on in a bridal gown, that she doesn’t really feel like a bride. Remember, you’re looking for that ‘wow’ factor, and ultimately want to surprise guests so going for something different can be a good thing.

I always advise that a bride should put on a dress and know that it’s the one! She may be tempted to please other people but she must feel the best she has ever felt in that dress.

Ronald Joyce Beaded Wedding Dress from Creative Ideas Bridal, photographed by Sarah Bryden PhotographyWhat designers are brides loving this season?

Ronald Joyce is definitely a popular one this year, with brides loving the collection’s satin and delicate beadwork. With dresses prices at under £2000, the range has a definite designer edge without the massive price tag.

Why do you think accessories are important in completing a look?

At Creative Ideas Bridal, we have actually seen less emphasis being placed on accessories recently, mainly down to the fact that brides are choosing heavily embellished gowns, or ones with standout features such as a statement neckline or back detailing. Because of this, there is a tendency to let the dress do all the talking, so many complete the look with a simple veil and comb.

Finally, what bridesmaid trends are proving popular at the minute?

We have just ordered our 2018 collection which is due in store next year and I have to say, we are so excited about it! The collection focuses on separates with the ability to mix and match tops and bottoms, meaning brides can go for distinctly similar styles which don’t perfectly match. We’re also noticing a rise in high-low hems which are really flattering.

For more information on Creative Ideas Bridal, visit the Facebook page here.


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