Happily ever after
Charlotte Pearson meets a Storrington woman whose love for the big day saw her open her own bridal shop.
Buying your wedding dress should be one of those experiences that you remember for all the right reasons.
But for some brides-to-be this is not always the case.
“When my daughter was getting married we realised that some shops didn’t cater for more curvy girls,” reveals Lesley Slaughter.
“People would try to get her into dresses that were two or three sizes too small, it made her feel big and after the experience she had she didn’t go shopping for another four months.
“It just got to the point where I thought rather than moan about it I should do something myself, so I did.”
And so in February she opened Eva Rose Bridal in Storrington.
Its rails feature designers House of Nicholas, Eternity Brides, Art Couture, Mark Lesley and Sonsie.
“Some shops just have size 12s and 14s, so girls can be made to feel bigger than they are, especially as wedding dresses come up smaller,” she adds. “When they try the dresses on they don’t always look right.
“We stock Sonsie and its smallest size is an 18 and it goes up to a 28.
“Its dresses are made differently so there are bigger cups and a lot more support, and each one is made to fit the shape of a more curvy girl.”
When it comes to buying the dresses Lesley attends bridal shows in London to get an idea for the next season.
However she admits she is a ‘traditionalist’ when it comes to dress styles so she takes her daughter and daughter-in-law along to get a different opinion.
“You can’t buy what you don’t like,” says Lesley. “My daughter and daughter-in-law are about 30 years younger than me so where I go for more traditional dresses with a lot of detail, they pick ones that I wouldn’t even look twice at, the more contemporary and modern styles that can sometimes be a bit plain.
“Dresses have changed a lot since I got married in 1979. My mum made my dress and it was very much about doing it yourself back then.
“I don’t know how brides pick a dress now as there is so much choice.”
Thankfully Lesley is on hand to provide advice so that women feel their best on their big day.
“It is a big purchase,” she says. “I always ask the brides how they feel in it, if they can imagine walking down the aisle in it, if they feel beautiful.”
And if they don’t find ‘the one’ at Eva Rose Bridal then Lesley doesn’t take it personally.
“I can’t have every dress,” explains Lesley. “If they have found ‘the dress’ with you they will be back.
“When they leave I say ‘if we see you again that would be lovely but if not I hope you have a wonderful day’.”
Although the shop is relatively new Eva Rose Bridal already has 24 brides on its books, with many coming through word of mouth and referrals.
“You can’t pay for the advertising we get from our shop window,” she smiles. “We are right on the High Street so all the cars drive past.
“I have a bride from Dorking and one from Seaford, her aunt drove past and told her she had to see us.
“I always ask if people are local and I’m always surprised when they say they are from further afield.”
Having previously worked in accounting and payroll Lesley admits she has always had a passion for the big day.
“I love weddings,” she enthuses. “I used to do wedding planning if someone asked me to, I still do now.
“It is really stressful though as you have to recreate someone’s vision of their big day.
“I love what I do now as people come in happy and excited. The only thing is if the bride or their mum cries I do as well, I can’t help it.”
Although it may seem that fairy godmothers only exist in fairy tales anyone who has visited Eva Rose Bridal will know there is a little bit of magic in this particular bride shop.
Eva Rose Bridal is the headline sponsor of the etc Weddings & Occasion Fayre which takes place on Sunday, October 18 at Hilton Avisford Park Hotel, Arundel from 10am until 3pm.
For more information, visit www.evarosebridal.co.uk or you can ‘like’ it on Facebook by searching ‘Eva Rose Bridal’.
The shop is open Tuesday to Saturday 10am until 4pm but appointments can be made out of these hours if necessary.
October 6, 2015 Fashion and Beauty