Wedding Dresses | In Conversation With Bustles & Bows Bridal Boutique

Here’s a fabulous interview with Helen Ingham, owner of Bustles and Bows bridal boutique in Hastings where she shares some valuable hints, stories and personal views.

She talks about the most romantic gesture, favourite dress, trends, favourite memories and more that she’s experienced in the wedding industry over the years.

Read on to see her answers!


What do you remember about your favourite wedding?

Of course, there have been so many memorable weddings over the years. I am always very excited whenever a Royal wedding comes along, but I would have to say without a doubt my own wedding will always be the most memorable for me and what inspired me to do the job I know and love today. I was married at the tender age of twenty to my childhood sweetheart. I made my own dress as well as my 5 bridesmaids and put together all my own wedding flower designs.

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What was the most romantic gesture you have seen or heard?

The most romantic gesture that I remember was some while ago.

A bride came along to Bustles and Bows showroom, she told me when she arrived that she didn’t need to try on any dresses as she already knew exactly which dress, she wanted, then went on to explain that it was a gown she had seen in our window display the previous year at Christmas.

She and her boyfriend were in town doing their shopping and they stopped to look at our Christmas window decorations surrounded by beautiful wedding dresses.The bride said she would love to get married one day and wear the dress mentioned earlier.

Amazingly at this point her boyfriend got down on one knee and proposed to her of course she accepted. Fortunately, we still had the dress and she was able to walk down the aisle in her dream dress.

Tell me about current trends

Some of the bridal trends we find brides are asking for now, are long lace sleeves on mermaid shaped dresses, illusion necklines front and back. Simpler, plainer silhouettes and plain fabric (the Meghan effect we think) and bows and low backs.

As far as popular colours go, we have seen a renewed interest in lilacs and lavenders and the darker blue, royal and midnight and some brides opting for burgundy and claret red.

What would be the most important piece of advice you would give a couple?

Decide on your wedding date and book the venue before shopping for your dress.

Also, most importantly be aware of your budget and let us know this when you come for your appointment.

A word of advice: try not to bring too many people with to your appointment, 2 or 3 close friends or relatives.

What’s the most popular dress request?

I would say there isn’t really a specific popular style request, each bride has her own ideas and often we find once they have tried on various styles, we sometimes move away from the initial ideas they thought that would suit them and end up with something which is the complete opposite.

What’s the best way to incorporate ‘something blue’ into the wedding outfit?

Either a blue garter, stitching a blue ribbon into the lining of the dress or having the brides name and wedding date embroidered into the petticoat of the dress.


Do you have a favourite review?

This is a hard one to answer as we are always over the moon when our brides take the time to show their appreciation. It’s always lovely when they send you thank you letters/cards/messages and pictures of them on their big day, it always makes me smile, and its lovely to have your efforts appreciated.

Here’s one from our recent bride Susan –

“I just want to say thank you very much for helping me find my dream dress when I didn’t even know what I wanted myself. My family and I popped in on the off chance just to browse. Helen welcomed us in and then that day I said, “Yes to the Dress!” Every dress fitting appointment was friendly, welcoming, professional and not rushed from beginning to the end. Thank you again! XXX

Do you have a favourite fabric?

I am a fan of the classic and traditional bridal fabrics, a rich duchesse satin in a creamy ivory colour and beautiful Chantilly lace

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What do you love most about the wedding business?

It’s great being able to help a bride to choose the most important dress she will ever wear, and I love the fact that I can do any alterations required in house. It is so lovely being able to see and help them throughout the whole process from choosing the perfect gown right up to helping them into their beautiful dress on the wedding day.

Having a bride put enough trust in me to choose the best dress for them is the ultimate compliment.

What is your favourite personal touch you have seen at a wedding?

I love it when couples involve their pets, we have had one of our brides’ dog (Labrador) as a ring bearer also a bride having photos taken with her pony, this was so very beautiful and special.


What is your favourite style of wedding dress?

I love the 1950’s full skirted ballgowns styles best, I think are just so feminine and fun to wear and always so flattering.

What is your favourite wedding dress of all time?

Grace Kelly’s without a doubt, her dress was an absolutely timeless classic design. You only must look at the dress Kate Middleton wore at her wedding to Prince William to see that it is still inspiring bridal designers today.

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This blog content was kindly shared by our friends Helen at Bustles and Bows, and Tim & Steph from Chirpee Flowers.

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