‘Try everything on, even gowns that you don’t think you’ll love. You might be surprised and fall in love with a gown that you weren’t drawn to at first’ – Reem Acra
I reckon, even the girls who say they’re not bothered about getting ,married have once in their life given a passing thought to what their dress would look like if it ever happened. In the melee that is to become arranging a wedding, it’s pretty much the one thing that bride doesn’t discuss with her betrothed.
Before I got married myself, the only time I’d ever set foot inside a wedding dress shop was with my sister in law and she’d already picked her dress and just wanted reassurance it was the right one (it absolutely was!). So when I made my appointments and lasso’d together my mum and Ang, I wasn’t really prepared for the onslaught of tulle, taffeta and tutting that was to follow. Despite their lovely plush white smiley appearances, wedding dress shops are truly terrifying places and all the myths about them you see on telly are completely untrue, I wasn’t offered a glass of champagne in any of them!
Incidentally I completely agree with the quote above. I was convinced I knew my body type better than anyone else and wanted a high necked lace detail gown with a fishtail bottom and sleeves. What I went for was a strapless chiffon number which gathered at the hip! So you really do need to try on lots of different styles to find what really suits you. For the most part my experience with wedding dress shops was positive albeit exhausting. However there are two things that stick in my mind that left a sour taste in my mouth; the pushy sales people and the bitchy fellow brides. One shop I visited in particular were trying to push a £1500 dress on my buy upping the discount I could have if i ordered it that day. I knew it wasn’t the one but no matter what anyone says, price is a massive factor for most brides, so the prospect of having 35% off was tempting. What if I didn’t find a better one and I’d missed my chance? I think there’s a tendancy to play on these weaknesses which I don’t think is fair. After all when you would ever spend over£1000 on a dress for any occasion? It’s a massive amount of money to part with without having a good old think about it?
I also hated the bitchy sideways glances I got from other brides. One I remember in particular looked at me with eyes filled with the fires of hell when I asked to try on a dress she’d already dismissed. She was clearly of the belief that she didn’t want it, but didn’t want anyone else to have it either.
So needless to say my experience of wedding dress shops is somewhat limited. Fast forward a few years and I’ve been accompanying Steph on her quest to find the perfect dress. We’d gone to all the usual boutiques in Newcastle which I think most new brides start in but the search was fruitless, although it did give us an idea of the style she wanted. The dress quest went on hold for a few weeks while I went on holiday and upon my return she mentioned a new place by the Metro Centre she wanted to try called Wed2B. The name alone made it sound like some kind of cheap online mobile phone company – I wasn’t awash with excitement I must confess. However, never let it be said I’m not an excellent friend.
Web2b market themselves as offering high quality low price designer labels. The most expensive dress they sell is £449 so I was imagining a large soulless warehouse with racks upon racks of dresses and brides fighting in the aisles over a £100 Vera Wang. How wrong I was. Granted the outside isn’t much to look at but inside is as nice if not nicer than any bridal boutique in town.
We were greeted on reception and talked through the process. Basically all the dresses are sorted on rails by size and you get to pick 4 of a time. You’re then taken to the changing rooms with one of the assistants. The dressing rooms are gorgeous; carpeted and spacious with little platforms built in outside to get a full view once you’ve tried your dresses on. Michelle, who was helping us (Michelle) was one of the nicest wedding dress salespeople I’ve ever met, she wasn’t pushy in the slightest and was more than happy for us to um and ahh over our choices and go back trying on things more than once.
Because the area outside the changing rooms is communal, you get to mingle with the other brides trying things on, which I think in snooty boutiques would have warranted the snide sideways glances but everyone here was lovely and we chatted away with all the other brides, their friends and mums. It’s always and of approval from a stranger, sometimes even more so than your own friends and family. One of the winning factors for me was undoubtedly that you’re allowed to take pictures, in fact they actively encourage it. There were some places in town *cough*Mia Sposa*cough who threatened to kick us out because they caught us trying to take a sneaky picture. We were there on a Sunday afternoon so there was no wait but were told that Saturdays and Sunday morning are extremely busy and you could be waiting for up to 2 hours to try your dresses on. It’s probably also worthwhile to note that if you want to try on a further 4 dresses, you go to the back of the queue again. You can’t make appointments so you do just have to take pot luck as to whether they’re busy or not, on a plus side though you don’t feel rushed because their next appointment has arrived.
The dresses are all off the rack and sold as seen, hence them being so cheap. They have some recommended seamstresses that they work with and all the recommendations are based on customer reviews so are trusted suppliers, you are of course welcome to get it altered if you need to, by anyone. If you find a dress you think is the one you can either buy it out right there and then or you can pay a £50 deposit and they will hold it for two weeks for you, in case you want o have a think or come back later with someone else. The £50 is non refundable but if you do decided that the dress they’ve held for you isn’t the one, you can transfer your £50 onto any other dress from them (or bridesmaid dress) so you don’t feel like your arm is being twisted too much.
They were fab! If i’m honest I wasn’t expecting much since they sell off the peg dresses but I was totally wrong! The dresses were all really good quality I really couldn’t tell the difference when wearing them between them and the ones from the boutiques. The staff were amazing too. They totally knew their stuff and gave me loads of advice that no-one in the boutiques did like how a dress could be tailored to my tastes by a dressmaker. I’m so pleased we went in to give it a go. I am completely sold and couldn’t recommend them enough! – Steph (the Bride!)
I’m also so pleased we found this shop. I’m so pleased for Steph that she had such a lovely experience and found her dream dress. It’s weird dress shopping after you get married because styles have changed, and you look at all the new pretty dresses you could have worn. I did feel slight pangs of jealousy that this shop wasn’t around when I got married because it was such a lovely experience. I just need Dave to get working on his time machine so we can go back and have our wonderful wedding all over again!
Tel: 01914 885232
Monday – 10am to 5pm
Tuesday – 10am to 5pm
Wednesday – 10am to 5pm
Thursday – 10am to 8pm
Friday – 10am to 5pm
Saturday – 10am to 5pm
Sunday – 10am to 4pm