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Welcome to ASTW - the place for bespoke brides looking for unique handmade items, ideas & inspiration

The Bridal Emporium

The Bridal Emporium

It goes without saying that your wedding day is a major day in your calendar, and hopefully for your lucky guests too, but what you may not realise is that your suppliers will care bucketloads about your day as well. As they get to know you in the run-up to your wedding, and lend their expertise to making it go exactly as you dreamed, they become connected to your story, and want to see the day go swimmingly. For most suppliers (all the good ones, at least), it’s not a case of taking your money and bidding you goodbye, but instead of listening to your personal love story, crafting something that perfectly encapsulates that, and then feeling nothing but honour that you’ve chosen them for something so special to you. This is especially true of bridal shops, as they’re with you through the experience in-person, and the And So To Wed supplier I’m going to introduce you to today is no exception to this rule.

Meet Claire Amelia, dressmaker and owner of the bridal shop The Bridal Emporium, based in Leeds city centre. Claire’s a super cheerful delight who we’d entrust anything to in a heartbeat – especially the dress for our big day, given her incredible eye for style!

Claire Amelia, how did the Bridal Emporium come about?

I’m a trained fashion designer, tailor and historical costumier, and I’ve now worked in the wedding industry for over 6 years. It started as a love for true vintage wear: I started out selling vintage wedding dresses at wedding fairs and online, whilst working in some fabulous bridal shops in Yorkshire. I came to realise Yorkshire was missing something a bit special and unique, with a personalised touch, and thought I was the woman for the job. This is how The Bridal Emporium came about, opening its doors in September 2014! Since opening the shop not only have I learned working for yourself is HARD WORK but also I blinking love it. Every day is so different - each customer, each challenge, the ups and the downs, but I am SO proud to say that I own a bridal shop and I have 2 other businesses in the pipe line. Watch this space…

You’re all about the personal touch at The Bridal Emporium – alongside you, what other smiling faces can brides expect to see when they visit?

Initially at The Bridal Emporium, I was Billy No Mates and worked all on my own for over a year. However, I soon realised I wasn't wonder woman and starting with part time staff and internships, which is how I have been able to grow the business. I do hope my team members can see my passion—not only wanting to promote British designers within the shop (which I am so proud to do), but also wanting to create fun loving jobs for local gals and guys like myself. Not only is this fab for them, but also makes the experience for brides much more pleasant and laid-back too, because everyone who helps them genuinely loves making their dreams come true. Currently, The Bridal Emporium team consists of the fabulous Sophie, Stephanie, Josie and Molly, who all work in store with me. Some of us see to our brides to be, which is such a fabulous experience helping brides find 'the one', and others are hand sewers, machine sewers and fabulous social media experts.

What makes The Bridal Emporium special, and what makes ‘your’ brides?

The Bridal Emporium oozes vintage, bohemian and glamorous vibes. Everything in store has been pretty much hand built by myself or my supportive family and friends, which I believe gives our brides a homely, relaxed atmosphere and let's them know we're a little bit different here - not normal! You are definitely one of our brides if you're fun, relaxed and looking for something natural, fashionable and quirky. Sometimes, we just can't find you 'the one'—but that means we can make it for you! Oh yes, we are also dressmakers in house, so therefore can make you that special dress exactly as you want it.

What inspires you?

I don't know about you but I absolutely love colour. Who says you have to have a 'white' dress? Well, you don't have to, so why not have a bit of colour thrown in there too? We are also totally inspired by nature and flowers, which definitely feeds into our look, so you'll find some pretty prints in store for you or your bridesmaids. Also look out for our cats curled up around the shop! If only they where real and we could have kitty cuddles every day...

Ok, we’re sold! How can we get involved?

We always allow walk-ins, so don't panic! You can just come right on in, but if you want to visit on a certain day and set time I would highly recommend booking an appointment so the changing room is all yours! We offer bubbly, tea, juice, biscuits and you'll find sweet jars around the shop alongside the latest magazines to set your gazes upon.

This is one of three blog posts we’re featuring on the wonderful Claire Amelia and The Bridal Emporium…keep your eyes peeled for numbers two and three!

Interview by Ellie Kime

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