Do you wish you could access a Bridal expert during your Wedding Planning? Someone who knows Wedding Dresses and how to make your dreams come true? Wish no more as I am bringing you advice from someone who ticks all of these boxes. This week I share an interview with Bridal Designer extraordinaire, Russell Blackburn of Blackburn Bridal Couture, who shares his key industry and design secrets of how to have the day and dress of your dreams. Over to Russell.
Interview with Russell Blackburn
For those who don’t know your background Russell, can you share a little as to what prompted you to make the move from Fashion Director at You & Your Wedding Magazine to opening Blackburn Bridal Couture?
At the time, I really felt that the London bridal offering was quite limited for brides wanting something unique and different. I felt that there was a need for something more fashion inspired for bridal wear and therefore did some research on the market and designers to create a plan that focused on my vision.
With this plan, I approached the designers that I wanted to work with, presenting the idea and concept of Blackburn Bridal. The rest, as the say, is history.
You began designing your own couture collection and launched Blackburn Couture in 2015. Where did the inspiration come from for this and where do you go to for inspiration now?
The inspiration for my own collection came from years of listening to what brides were asking for and understanding what works on a woman’s shape. Each season, my inspiration comes from watching what is happening in the world of fashion, and then taking elements I love to create my own sketches for my designs. I source different fabrics and decide which to use for each sketch. The whole process takes weeks of work but is very rewarding when I see the finished gowns!!
Finding ‘the one’
In a world where access to inspiration is everywhere from Blogs and Pinterest boards to Instagram and Wedding magazines; where would you suggest Brides focus their search for ‘The Dress’ and why?
Obviously brides need to look at blogs, Pinterest, Instagram and magazines to get inspiration and idea’s. However, my advice is to take from these sources of inspiration what you really love, and then research the Designer and Bridal specialist’s that can help you achieve these looks.
Designer’s looks and styles vastly vary so firstly establish what bridal look you are going for i.e. Boho Vintage or maybe modern chic. Then research the designers / boutiques that carry these looks to arrange your appointments. It will save you a lot of time and energy.
Many Brides think they need to visit multiple Bridal dress stores, trying as many styles as possible, before choosing ‘The Dress’. Do you think this is a good idea and what would you recommend?
Its not conducive to the whole dress journey for brides to visit too many shops. You will end up getting confused the more gowns you try on. I always recommend establishing the style or look you’re going for first and then visiting the Boutique’s designers that carry these looks. Try to establish a budget as this will help determine what designers and shops are best suited to your dress search; bridal gowns vary greatly on price and quality
At Blackburn Bridal you offer a range of appointments including Bespoke and VIP Sundays where Brides can benefit directly from your expertise. How long before the Wedding Day do you advise Brides to book Bridal appointments and what top tips can you offer so that they make the most of this time?
I think the perfect time to start your journey for your dress is one year in advance of your wedding, unless of course you have less than a year from your engagement.
This allows you time to research the market and decide the style of wedding dress you think you want. This means you come to your first appointment already equipped with idea’s.
My top tips for when you come to your bridal appointment are as follows-
- Come with idea’s in hand for example mood boards, Pinterest boards, pictures and tear sheets of dresses. This will help the stylist /consultant to understand the look you are wanting to achieve for your dress.
- Bring pictures of your venue, flowers, bridesmaid ideas and any other visual imagery to help the Stylist/consultant have a better understanding of the overall look of your wedding. This will help them find the gown that works best for your day.
- Make it absolutely clear to the consultant/Stylist how much you want to spend. There is nothing worse than falling in love with a dress that’s way out of budget.
Are there any particular items Brides should bring to a Bridal appointment and what should they do if they haven’t bought these yet i.e. shoes?
Come with a strapless nude bra and knickers for trying on gowns. This will make for a better appointment as bad underwear can change the look of a dress.
If you have shoes that are the heel height you want to wear on the day, bring these along too. This will give you a better understanding of how the dress will fall if the shoes are the height you want to wear.
Who should Brides bring to their bridal appointments when selecting ‘The Dress’ and why?
Bring someone you trust to give you an honest opinion, whether that be your mum, sister or best friend. But word of advice – makes sure its no more than two people as too many opinions can confuse you.
Remember it’s your dress and your day so go with what feels right for you!!!
Continuing the journey
What style and/or colours would you recommend for Brides looking for a dress they can wear after their Wedding Day? Would you recommend any particular accessories to differentiate it as a Wedding Dress for the Wedding Day itself?
Blush pink and Champagne tones are a great alternative to brides who want something they can wear again.
Tea length styles make for a great dress that can be both bridal and worn again as an event outfit.
By adding a black sash or coloured or jewelled belt, it completely takes away from looking like a wedding dress.
Another option is a slinky bias cut style gown in Nude, Champagne, Blush or Silver. This makes for both a beautiful modern bridal look, or a great dress to wear after the wedding, to either a ball or black tie event.
All Brides want to look their best on their Wedding Day. What advice can you offer to help ensure they look as beautiful as possible in their Wedding Dress?
Firstly make sure the alterations are done by a professional seamstress/ dressmaker. Good fit is key to making the dress look great on the day.
I always recommend having hair trails leading up to the big day to ensure you get the perfect style to compliment you and the dress.
And lastly do a makeup trail as it’s so important you get both the hair and makeup right in advance of the day. Remember to try and keep it as natural and true to your style. You obviously want to be the best version of you, but you also want your groom to recognise the woman he loves when you walk down the aisle!!
Over to you
I hope you have found Russell’s advice useful in your own Wedding Planning journey. Perhaps you have even been tempted by one of his most recent designs featured here.
Russell is one of the many trusted and talented contacts I am privileged to have feature in my ‘little gold book’, all handpicked by me, to be matched perfectly with you to create the journey of your dreams.
If you’d like to know more about how I can capture your Wedding, I still have limited availability for 2019, so be sure to start your journey with me now by getting in touch here. I cannot wait to hear your plans.
Until next time, happy planning and keep creating those magical moments.