Guest Style Edit

Featuring The Little Pearl Bridal Boutique

Mar 20, 2021

With bridal boutiques and stores across England set to reopen from 12th April, many brides to be are counting down the days until they can start shopping for their dream dress! If you’re one of those brides to be, this blog is for you so put the kettle on and get your feet up for 5 minutes and discover insider tips and inspiration from Diana, owner of the Little Pearl Bridal Boutique.

Based in Pickering in North Yorkshire, Diana has worked with a number of our Ambience stylists on photoshoots over the last few years and we’re a huge fan of her boutique and the stunning designers and collections that she stocks so let’s delve deeper….

We asked Diana, how did you get into the bridal industry?

After studying marketing at university I started out in the corporate world for about 8 years. I had my two boys, now aged 9 and 6 and decided I wanted to start a business of my own. The passing of my dad spurred me on to finally take the leap, so on 14th February 2015, I opened the doors of The Little Pearl (we’ve just celebrated our 6th Birthday!)

We found the most idyllic grade two listed property in the market town of Pickering, about 20 miles from where I live. It was the perfect location as it’s easily accessible from the main travel routes into the area and created that destination boutique feel that I wanted.I had always had a passion to work for myself and had a keen eye for fashion, especially bridal.

I saw a gap in the local market for a higher end, personalised service boutique and with my knowledge and skills in customer service and marketing I knew I had what it takes to create a successful bridal business. The name of the boutique was born after my Grandma, her name was Pearl. She was a super fashionable lady so it seemed the perfect fit!

What can brides expect from The Little Pearl?

Customer service is the backbone of the boutique. We want every bride’s experience with us to be personalised and unique to them. They have exclusive use of the boutique when they come to see us, whether that be for a bridal or accessory appointment, with one to one advice from either myself or my stylist Vicky. Every time they spend with us is just as special. We have created our own kind of bridal community, with our signature #PearlsGirls. Brides want to become part of our ‘club’, it gives them a sense of belonging and helps to establish a trusted relationship with them.

Which designers do you stock at The Little Pearl?

We stock a gorgeous collection of modern, fresh, bridal designers from across the world, including Stella York, Dando London, Willowby By Watters, WToo by Watters, Allure Romance for our LP Curves Collection and our Signature Collection, Rachel Rose Bridal. Our gowns range from £1000 to £3500 and across a large range of sizes. All of our gowns can be ordered in sizes from 6 to 26, with our LP Curves collection specialising in sizing from 18 to 30.

We also have our own Ready to Wear collection for brides that may be on a tighter timescale or lower budget, that are available to buy off the peg under £1000.

The boutique is also home to a beautiful selection of bridal accessories, including veils, hair pieces, shrugs and shoes, plus our own boutique clothing range perfect for those hen parties or honeymoon travels!

What trends will we see across bridalwear in 2021 and 2022?

Over the last year we have seen a real trend towards romantic, ethereal bridal looks. Off the shoulder, draped sleeves and floaty skirts. I think this trend will continue for some time, but I think with the times we have all gone through we will see more brides focusing on their individual style.

Choosing looks that are quite versatile and can be adapted and altered to suit. It’s quite an exciting time for bridal, and one where brides may start to take more of a fashion approach to their dress decisions! Pearls (music to our ears!) are making a come back, and I’m loving seeing this detail added to veils and more extravagant headpieces.

Clean lines and clean shapes for that less is more look, I think will become more of a trend, as will new takes on lace. We’ve seen this starting to come through from our Australian designers who are often slightly ahead of bridal trends. Their use of different lace placement and mixing different fabrics is really exciting and one which I can’t wait to start seeing on our brides!

What’s your advice for brides shopping during the pandemic?

Even though we are in the midst of a pandemic, this does not mean your bridal experience should be any different! It is still one of the most special moments you will ever have. Yes boutiques have had to add in certain measures to keep you and their staff safe but you will still have the most amazing time. Even more so infact.

From when we were open after the last lockdown, bridal experiences felt even more intimate and joyous. With you, your special guests and your stylist, it’s a time to let all of your worries go and embrace it. Start your search with an open mind. Try on those styles you didn’t think you’d like. Trust suggestions from your stylist, as they are the experts and will know what suits you and your body shape.

When choosing who to take with you, take your most trusted opinions. In the past you’ve been able to go to boutiques with lots of guests, but unfortunately this has had to change somewhat. Please don’t think this is a bad thing though. It’s actually been even more special to have that time with just one or two guests and keep the big reveal of your dress until your wedding day! If you would like other people to be a part of your experience you can always ask them to join virtually, which is a great way to keep them involved but also not feel too overwhelmed with lots of opinions.

When should I start my dress shopping if I’m wanting to change shape before choosing my dress?

If you are wanting to change shape, whether a significant amount or just a small change, then do make sure you tell your bridal stylist when you are looking for your dress. Weight can come off in different places and if you are thinking in stone/kgs, this can translate quite differently into actual measurements, which is what we as stylists work with and advise you on. We are all about the measurements!

If you are wanting a significant change then we would advise looking for your dress when you are a bit nearer to the shape you want to be and feel like you at. Body shapes can change quite dramatically and therefore sometimes affect the style of dress you choose. One of the most important factors of choosing your dress is enhancing that beautiful shape you have.

If it’s just a slight change then this can be accounted for in your dress measurements when they are taken for ordering. In either case, your boutique and seamstress teams will work with you to ensure your gown is fitting you perfectly for your big day.

How does the alteration process work once I have chosen my dress?

With us, once you have chosen your dress, your order will be sent to the designer and once your dress arrives in the boutique you will come and try her on! We do offer in-house alterations as well as recommend a number of local seamstress teams. Every boutique is different though, so do check this with them when you order your dress.

We recommend starting your alterations about 8 weeks ahead of your wedding. If you are on a shorter timescale though, we will work around this. At The Little Pearl, you will come for your first alteration appointment with our seamstress and stylist, of which we will assess what needs to be altered and any custom pieces you may be having made.

You will usually have up to 3 fittings with our seamstress to ensure your dress is fitting you perfectly. Alteration costs are usually separate to the price of your dress, but again this differs by boutique, so do ask the question. Some boutiques will give you a rough idea of what the cost will be, but until we or seamstress teams see your actual dress on you at your first fitting you wouldn’t be given an accurate figure. Most alteration appointments are done during the week too rather than a weekend, so it’s a good idea to plan this into your diary ahead of time.

How far in advance would you recommend brides start dress shopping?

We recommend starting about 10 months ahead of your wedding. It can be quite surprising as to how long a dress can take to be made and also the time we need for fittings. This alone can take up 6 months! So we always recommend choosing your dress as soon as you can. That way you have one of your big ‘to do’s’ off your list and once you know what style your dress is, it will then enable you to choose lots of other gorgeous things for your big day.


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