Story of My Dress | Kent Bridal Boutique

Oh dear readers do we have a treat of a wedding supplier to share with you all today. A New member to our festival wedding directory and one we are very excited and proud to have.

Meet Story of My Dress. A beautiful modern bridal boutique in West Malling, Kent, that is home to bohemian bridal designers Temple by Bo & Luca, & For Love, Rolling in Roses and Kindling Bridal as well as their very own exclusively designed collections of exquisite dresses, designed specifically for real brides with realistic budgets. They also offer a bespoke design and embroidery service (hello personalised veils) as well as gorgeous unique accessories that match their modern and fashion focused ethos.

From their super stylish Love In The City Collection (inspired during the pandemic when micro-weddings were on the rise) to owner Cara’s clear passion and love for helping brides find their dream dresses, we are a huge fan of Story Of My Dress and so excited to be sharing them with you today.

We asked Cara a few questions about her gorgeous bridal boutique, what makes it unique and the sort of service you can expect if you were to visit her boutique or purchase one of her beautiful dresses online.

Tell us a little bit about you?

I started my business 8 years ago, the idea of Story of My Dress was triggered by a really lack lustre dress search with my best friend in our local area. A really impersonal feel to the appointments and the same old ‘traditional’ dresses on offer. I had previously worked as a buyer and in garment production in retail head offices and so after having my children I always knew I wanted to get back to fashion. It just turns out it was bridal fashion, as our local area was seriously lacking in it! 

I am the founder of SOMD, also mummy to 3 beautiful children, between the two I am extremely busy!!! With the help of the amazing ladies that work for me I still manage to live a really lovely mostly balanced life (at times ha), finding time for me occasionally, I love to walk with my puppies most days and travel.

SOMD isn’t a workplace for me, I absolutely adore what I have created and I meet the most amazing ladies in my shop and I love every second of my journey with them.

What made you decide to open your gorgeous bridal boutique?

I wanted to create a friendly, relaxed one on one space to encourage brides to be themselves, with really stylish and untraditional dresses. So I started out with redesigning 20 vintage wedding dresses bought from a theatre company, travelled the country chasing the cool, stylish brides at alternative wedding fairs for a few years and then it has just evolved naturally into a beautiful and cosy Kent bridal shop, now with our own collection of modern bridal designs, and four really cool designers too.

We no longer have vintage, they were amazing dresses we loved to work with but in the end were so un inclusive, most a size 10 or smaller. This then prompted me to buy in designers and create my own collection. I will always be thankful to that start, and I design with inspiration from the vintage gowns that passed through us, but we are now fully modern and made to order!

What is the ethos behind Story of My Dress Bridal? And what type of bride is your boutique perfect for?

Our ethos has always been from day one… be your own kind of bride! Our brides are really laid-back with their own sense of style, they want to be comfortable and confident and feel like the best version of themselves on their wedding day. We are perfect for any bride, any bride who loves the look of our dresses anyway!!

Can you tell us a bit more about the fully bespoke service you offer at your boutique?

You’ll turn up for your appointment, we’ll offer you a drink and have a little chat to find out about your wedding & you! We then take you into the bridal room to look through the rail with your guests, we leave you to chose the dresses you want to try. That is totally your choice to make, not ours!

If you find your bridal style with us (we will all do a little happy dance!!) we ask that you pay a deposit on the day to order & secure your dress or separates. You will then pay the balance at the final dress collection appointment.

Generally, we need a minimum 6/7 months to order designer dresses and 4/6 months for our own made to measure designs. This year and next is particularly huge so we’ve been asking for our brides to be a little more organised and come as early as they can!

If your wedding is 6/7 months away, then we will take measurements in the appointment and liaise with you as to the size we order or make. If it’s our own designs, then we will book you in for a measurement’s appointment 6 months prior to your wedding with our dress makers upstairs in our studio.

You will need to visit again for your first fitting/alterations appointment, meet my amazing dress makers and seamstresses and then you’ll collect a couple of weeks before the wedding.

It is a really lovely journey with us. 

Which dress designers do you stock?

We are so proud to stock carefully considered & curated UK & International designers including Temple by Bo & Luca, & For Love, Rolling in Rose and Kindling Bridal.

You also design your very own collections of gorgeously unique and modern wedding dresses; can you tell us a bit more about them?

Yes, I would love to! I designed our first collection 5 years ago now, a lot of bridal separates and some dresses. My sister who works with me now was the first bride to wear an SOMD designed outfit. That was truly special and still makes me well up now!!

The first collections were Inspired by our love of vintage and also current trends around us. They have been so popular, it was a huge confidence boost to me to carry on designing and creating. SOMD dresses are all made upstairs in our studio by the incredibly talented ‘genius gill’ as we like to call her who has been with me from the start. We then recently had two graduates join us Libbie and Ashleigh who also make and alter all the dresses. I am so lucky to be surrounded by such incredible women!

Based on our own collections and patterns we can create custom dresses for our brides, if they perhaps want that top but with that skirt from two different SOMD dresses we can design and make it no problem!

We actually love to adapt our dresses slightly for each bride if they wish as it makes the dresses truly one of a kind to them. That can also be achieved with our embroidery too, be it on dresses or our veils. It is very special and we’re so proud to be able to offer this service.

We ADORE your Love In The City collection of mini and midi dresses. What inspired this collection?

Thank you! This collection saved SOMD if I’m truly honest, it kept us all working through the pandemic even though the shop was closed numerous times, and gave us focus and a little way to keep making money whilst we were closed. It is a very special collection for that reason but also because they are just such cool designs and served a time when our brides didn’t need full length dresses!

I could see from my brides they were massively pairing down their weddings, or arranging ceremonies in registry offices and saving parties for later. So I knew they needed outfits that weren’t full on wedding dresses for those plans. More fun, even more relaxed and potentially able to wear again.

They have been a huge hit I think because they are affordable, made quickly and It is definitely not a phase. I think smaller, even more relaxed weddings than we’ve seen are to stick around for a long while yet. Covid weddings showed couples you can do it your way, small, intimate and absolutely you do not have to conform to the ‘wedding’ we’re all used to seeing or are encouraged by family to have.

We actually love all weddings here, small, big, country, elopements. As long as our bride is happy thats all we care for and we’ll support them on their dress journey with us.

Exciting news, we have two new styles launching next month and being added to this collection! We’re also going to keep using our surplus fabrics and keep making pieces to add to our online shop that are ready to buy and wear. So keep your eyes peeled!

Love in the city is going to stay and keep growing!

We noticed you offer an in-house seamstress and embroidery service; can you tell us a bit more about this?

Absolutely, so all dresses are altered in house upstairs in our studio by one of my dressmakers. You chose your dress in our bridal room, we then book you in for fittings upstairs with the girls. We can alter the dress to fit, or make any small design amendments you with to make. Generally from £120-£200 depending on what is needed to be done.

We do offer a bespoke embroidery service, a couple of our designs have personalised embroidery but we can offer that across all the dresses here – also on our Veils . It is so unique and special to add your personal little touches! I love to hear what my brides ask me to create and then the story behind it! Its so lovely.

What, do your past brides have to say about Story of My Dress?

“I found Story of my dress online and absolutely loved everything I saw and knew I had to visit. I had been feeling a little anxious about trying on dresses as I had recently had a baby and didn’t feel very body confident. When I arrived I was greeted by Cara and she instantly made me feel better, greeted with a lovely smile and a warm welcome, a cheeky glass of prosecco also helped. She let me pick out as many dresses to try on as I wanted, they were all so beautiful. I could also try them on more than once. I didn’t feel rushed or pressured, it was such a lovely experience. I found the most perfect wedding dress and I can not wait to go back and try it on again for my fitting. I could not recommend Story of my dress anymore. Not only did I find the dream dress, I felt amazing and confident”

Jenny

What an amazing bridal shop! It was exactly what I was looking for on the hunt for my wedding dress. So unique and special. Definitely one to visit for those brides wanting something that the traditional bridal shops don’t offer. Sammy was so friendly and helpful and I can’t wait to go back for my 1st measurement appointment! An absolute gem.”

Jemmy

It was worth travelling down from London for the Saturday morning I spent at SOMD. The selection is amazing – how can you beat those designers? Slightly alternative and a little more than your standard ‘bridal’ look. The ladies are so attentive and recommended I try on a wild card that I ended up choosing for my wedding! They have a great selection of their own brand that you can work with them on any changes you envisage. So fun. Not once did I feel rushed and they were super helpful on the follow up. Wish I could do it again!

Madelene

This has been the most fantastic experience, more than I could have hoped for. I wanted a modern, fresh dress that I could feel special in without feeling stuffy and every single dress they showed me did that. My mum & sister loved the dresses and I would recommend this store to every person who asks me about my dress or mentions they’re getting married. Totally fantastic!

Nell

What is your best piece of advice for brides trying to choose their wedding dress?

I would say you can never tell how a dress will look by seeing images of it on models, so always try it! If you like it try it, even if you are worried it might not look right on you, you will never know until its on.

Don’t be influenced by your guests, it’s really sad to see a bride choose a dress her mum or sister are pushing her to and then months down the line realise its not what they wanted! Just do you and wear what you want, they’ll love it no matter what!

Finally, where can our brides find you?

SOMD is an appointment only service at our studio and bridal room set in 15th century converted barns within the heart of West Malling, Kent. 50 mins from London Victoria, close to major roads and full of beautiful restaurants and bars to make the perfect day for your visit!

Looking for wedding suppliers?

Story Of My Dress is a member of our outdoor focused wedding directory. If you are still on the hunt for wedding suppliers that focus on the festival, bohemian and outdoor wedding niche, as well as some of the coolest suppliers that exist in the wedding world, then this is most definitely the place to be!

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