For this month’s guest post we’ve teamed up with the achingly stylish founder of bridal boutique Halo & Wren. Jemma Palmer is celebrated throughout the industry for her excellent taste (and rather envious selection of epic designers and accessories she curates at the boutique), not to mention her inspiring approach to the gram. She’s been granting cool brides’ wishes since she opened Halo & Wren’s doors in 2017. Below she talks about her top bridal dress hunting tips, including how to know whether it’s ‘the one’.

Photography: Little White Photography


Halo & Wren Bridal has been leading the way for the modern and relaxed bride to find her chilled and utterly beautiful bridal gown since 2017, winning awards along the way but more importantly becoming ‘the’ place to find your gown. Traditional brides need not apply as 100% of Halo & Wren brides describe themselves and their wedding vibe as relaxed. There isn’t a hint of stiff satin or corsets in sight, only the best independent designers from around the world.

I set the boutique up after an underwhelming bridal gown shopping experience which included visiting 11(!) boutiques, two samples sales, having a fake gown made in China and travelling the length and breadth of the country in pursuit of an unaffordable dream dress. Every single detail of Halo & Wren from the booking, to the affordable designer gowns, down to the block, dusky pink velvet heels you slip on to try the gowns with has been created to make the bride’s journey enjoyable. The boutique is fresh, modern and oh so pretty with a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere.

We’re incredibly proud of our personally sourced designers picked for their brand uniqueness and incredible gowns, and I was the first boutique to bring the Australian label, Jane Hill Bridal to England and they remain one of our best sellers. Alena Leena, a South African-based designer hailing from the Ukraine really brings a diversity to the rails with feminine, fashion-forward gowns, while our biggest brand is Made With Love Bridal and the sister label, Emmy Mae (again, hailing from Australia) and bringing the laid back, relaxed Aussie vibe to the store with their beautiful designs. And that’s not all, we stock several small indie labels including the super cool E&W Couture from Wales, Amy New and her floaty, billowy ‘70’s’ bohemian designs and, in the near future, a specialist Curve collection coming from Israeli powerhouse Studio Levana catering for brides in sizes up to 24. Keeping the bridal yet fashion theme strong, Canadian label &ForLove will be the first new designer of 2021 joining H&W. There isn’t a better curated selection of gowns and designers around, with brides picking H&W for the diversity of styles, uniqueness and laid back bridal shopping vibes.


Luckily for you, Jemma – owner of Halo & Wren  - has some top advice straight from H&W to best help you find ‘the One’ in a post pandemic world…

#1 Don’t bring the entire bride tribe!


Firstly, don’t let Covid put you off going shopping. Bridal stores are generally small and intimate and if they’re anything like H&W, we only look after one bride at a time, so you have our full undivided attention. It’s a lovely time to use the restrictions to bring that special person or two, trust me, the experience of finding ‘the One’ is so much more pleasurable without four to eight opinions. Embrace this change and treat your nearest and dearest to special moments with you, browsing beautiful gowns and sipping on some bubbly.

#2 When to shop and when to order!


The 'ideal' time to shop is 10-12 months before the wedding and BUY your gown 7-9 months pre-wedding. Most of our gowns are handmade and take 4-6 months for production, you will then need 2-3 months for alterations. If you have more than 10-12 months but you're ready to buy then you’re an exception to the rule. If you have less than 7-9 months, you will still find a gown in time but you do not have time to 'SHOP' you need to make a decision fast to avoid 'rush fees' if you want a new gown, we always have a great selection of sample sale gowns for those on a stricter budgets or an even smaller time-frame.

#3 Do your homework!


All of my gowns are on the website and Insta, shortlist your favourites before you come – but stay open-minded as you wouldn’t believe how many times the ‘wild card’ is ‘the One’.

Do your research, H&W is not your average bridal boutique, it's an award-winning, modern store with carefully selected gowns for their diversity and uniqueness, there is no tradition, no satin, no corsets, our brides get married in chilled venues with relaxed vibes. If this sounds like you and you feel like my Insta is a reflection of yourself as a person or as a bride, then come on in!

#4 How do I know it’s ‘the One’?


You know what? This is such a tough question to answer because we’re all so different. You’re not going to react the same as your best friend, your sister, your mum, your neighbour’s aunties daughter when they found their dress, so don’t worry about the whole ‘oh you just know’ malarky. There are no rules, yes it can be the first dress, in the first shop, yes it might make you cry, no it might not make your Mum cry, yes it might be the one you were least expecting and yes it might be the one you were expecting, you don’t need to compare your journey to the dress with anyone else’s to confirm it’s ‘the dress’.  You don’t need to feel overwhelming sensations of emotion, you can just feel good in the dress, it’s enough to look in the mirror and think ‘hey, I look pretty damn amazing in this and it’s comfortable too’. AND, you know what else? I take my job pretty seriously and it’s my passion to make you feel relaxed enough in my company and that your true feeling and thoughts about how a dress looks and feels on you are encouraged and naturally you will speak about how you feel, and I will help you. Finding my bride’s dream dresses and making sure they have the best experience is by far the upmost important aspect of the appointment and I do it in the most supportive way.


Want to discover more about Halo & Wren? Click here.


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