with Brides at Waterfields


Tell us about yourself and your business.

My name is Gemma and I am the Owner of Brides at Waterfields, which is an inclusive bridal boutique in Heavitree, Exeter. Waterfields was established in 1992 and has moved from Torquay to Exeter over the past two years. I am hugely passionate about our brides and the little haven we have created. We stock dresses costing between £1,200 and £3,000 and we have exclusive designers to offer that something different. We are also size inclusive carrying sample gowns in sizes 8-30 to try.

What are your top tips to a Bride for choosing which bridal boutiques to make appointments at?

I would say to research different places to make sure they have dresses you are excited about. Check out their social media as that is where us bridal shops can show our personalities and what the inside of the boutique is like. It's also worth messaging the boutiques to make sure they carry dresses in your size and budget, as that can be quite different from store to store.

How long before the wedding date should a Bride begin her dress shopping? What's the average lead time on dresses?

We would always strongly recommend starting your search 12+ months before your wedding, as most of the time brides will order a dress and they take anything from 3-9 months to arrive to us much of the time from overseas. You will want your dress in the country months before your wedding, to ensure there is one less thing to worry about. If you have less time than that, we can still definitely help but it may be a bit tighter with alterations and deliveries, and limited time may reduce your choice of dress a little. A good option for last minute brides is to buy an immaculate sample gown in a boutique, as they will still be current styles and it means you can take it away that day!

What are your top tips to a Bride for feeling confident when dress shopping?

  • Bring the right people with you that will share your vision
  • Wear underwear that you don't mind someone else seeing (we vote for a good pair of nude Bridget Jones pants!)
  • If you are a makeup person, style your hair and makeup just a little bit bridal so that you can see the whole vision

When will a Bride know it's 'the one'? What if her entourage doesn't love it?

I would say that only a very small proportion of brides cry, sometimes its a very subtle realisation that this is the dress they will get married in. It just feels different and you can start to imagine parts of your day wearing it. 

How many people do you recommend a Bride bringing dress shopping with her? What should a Bride consider when choosing who to bring along?

We would say one or two people is perfect, but we have comfortable seating for up to four guests. We occasionally see little ones at appointments, but we would recommend keeping it as an adult only day, as children are only excited in the first 5-10 minutes and then you may be distracted trying to keep them entertained for a couple of hours.

We really recommend bringing people who know what you are looking for, who can read your body language and who will get excited for you when they see you zoning out in the mirror imagining tying the knot. The "very honest" friend can sometimes say the most cutting things at the worst time and they may make the experience a sad one. At the end of the day, you need to look at your wedding photos forever and if you are wearing the dress someone in your bridal party prefers and not the one that you love, then you may have major dress regret.

Are wedding dress sizes the same as everyday high street clothes sizes?

Look...we hate bridal sizing! I can be anywhere between a size 8 and a size 18 in wedding dresses, as each designer has a different size chart - wedding dress sizing is completely different to high street sizing. Telling us your high street size prior to your appointment is very handy as we can start to get some ideas for you in advance, but other than that it's almost irrelevant. Forget about the numbers in the dresses - once you find your dream dress, we measure you, find the best size from the size chart. Your seamstress will work their magic and do all the nips and tucks to make it completely customised to you. It's such a luxury experience to have something completely fitted to you and that is our job to help you with sizing advice.

What are your three most popular dress styles?

We have been asked for plain gowns with a twist, something a little different. We also get asked for relaxed boho styles, and an off the shoulder style is still very popular.

What are your three most popular designers?

Stella York offer affordable, fresh designs with a timeless feel. Madi Lane have gorgeous soft boho style gowns. We are the only stockist in the South West of Milla Nova and we get brides travel from all over to try on a Milla gown.

What's your favourite dress style and designer?

My favourite dress at the moment is Maddox by All Who Wander for our dreamy, whimsical boho girlies. My fave sparkle dress is Coco by Milla Nova. Another dress I am dying to try on myself (when I get time) is Medea by Eva Lendel. 

How many brides have you helped to find their dress?

Oh my goodness, hundreds and hundreds. It's the highlight of our day when we work together and find that magical dress for a bride and especially when they send us their photos after the wedding!

Photo credit - Lillians Lens Photography; Freckle Photography

Video credit - Capture Weddings

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