Planning a wedding can be a tough gig and not just for the bride! Picking out bridesmaids’ dresses can be a difficult task which can often cause a lot more problems than it should. Couturing chat to Rebecca Lau, founder of White Runway, an online site designed to take the stress out of shopping for bridesmaids, and get her tips on how to make picking the right outfit for your bridal party a whole lot easier.
COUTURING (C): Congratulations on the recent win at the Wedding Events of Australia Awards of Excellence for White Runway. Why did you decide to start White Runway?
REBECCA LAU (RL): Thank you, we were thrilled to win! We have been working so hard and winning this Award makes it all worthwhile! Prior to White Runway I created GOSHCelebrity.com.au, a young women’s celebrity inspired fashion store. I noticed a lot of my customers purchasing our beautiful maxi dresses as Bridesmaid dresses and when I questioned them further, I realized there was a gap in the market for providing stylish and modern bridesmaid dresses at an affordable price point. This is why I decided to start White Runway, a place where modern brides and bridesmaids can shop for a range of dresses that they would wear again and would enjoy wearing. Gone are the days of getting your best mates in frumpy frocks that will only be binned after being worn once.
C: With so many different styles out there, how do you go about selecting pieces for White Runway?
RL: I listen to my customers and I always put myself in their shoes. I am newly engaged too and I always question whether I’d feel happy putting my bridesmaids in those styles. If my answer is yes, then it’s a yes for the store. Prices also play a huge factor. A lot of brides and bridesmaids spend a lot of money on their wedding so we want to be able to assist them with affordable price points and fantastic quality and style.
C: What are the current trends in colour and style for bridesmaids’ dresses?
RL: Sheer necklines, sheer sleeves and embellishments are popular with bridesmaid fashion. There is also a move to ombre coloured bridesmaid dresses instead of matching colours. These days it’s more about the ‘party dress’ as opposed to a uniform.
C: Despite being an online store, how does White Runway make the bridesmaids’ dress shopping experience not only easy, but special?
RL: Everyone in our team has been trained on the different designers and styles that we stock. All our customer service staff are Stylists who can help a bridal party put their look together. We understand that although bridal shopping can be so much fun it can also be stressful. We want to help take that stress away and provide a fun, stress-free experience. We have dealt with so many brides and bridal parties that our stylists all have great experience and can offer valuable advice and recommendations for the bride. We also have a showroom in Alexandria that is appointment only where we have a one-on-one private fitting with a bride and her bridal party. This is a special and exclusive meeting with the bridal party where they have exclusive access to the showroom all to themselves.
C: White Runway also offers a blog which provides tips for being a bridesmaid. Why did you think it was important to add this element to your site?
RL: We have witnessed lots of bridesmaidzilla instances and we want to help the bridesmaid and bride avoid them! Most of the time the bridesmaids may not even realize they’re having a ‘zilla’ moment. We think it’s important for the bridesmaids to think about their role in supporting the bride and to realize that it’s all about the bride having a fantastic day and a joyful experience. The bridesmaids should be there to support and solve problems, not create them.
C: Through your line of work, you must have heard some horror bridesmaid stories! What are your favourite tips for brides and bridesmaids to avoid any wedding planning and wedding day disasters?
RL: I do hear a lot of disaster stories and we often step in to save the day! Firstly, make sure you purchase your dresses from a reputable, credible supplier who is based in Australia and has a contact phone number. Your dresses are extremely important for your special day and you want to know you can contact your supplier if you need to. Choosing to purchase from an Australian company will mean you’ll avoid any unexpected Customs charges and delays and you’ll have piece of mind. Check the returns policy and ensure you are able to contact them if anything should go wrong. We’ve helped quite a few customers with last minute bridesmaid dresses who have experienced a horrible time with other overseas companies.
In regards to your dresses, make sure you get the size that fits you now, not when you lose ten pounds. It is always best to get a size that is too big for you so that it can be taken in, as opposed to wearing something that is uncomfortable and doesn’t make you feel good on the day. You want to avoid stressing out a week before the wedding and having to find a replacement dress. It is always recommended to purchase your bridesmaid dresses at least 3 -4 months ahead of your wedding as most styles are made to order especially for your bridal party and you’ll want to leave enough time to shop for accessories and alterations!
C: Generally bridesmaids in a bridal party will all have different body shapes. Which dresses do you sell which can cater for all different body types?
RL: All the styles on our website have been personally selected for their flattering fit and style. As we’re an online store, we tend to select designers and fabrics that are easy to wear across different body shapes and that offer a flattering fit. We also offer the ability to choose one colour across several styles so that bridesmaids can choose a style that best fits their body shape and keep with the colour theme. We also have a multi-way dress that can be worn in more than 30 different ways to suit each different body shape and taste.
C: Issues can often arise when it comes to paying for bridesmaids’ dresses. Are their any general rules about who should pay, and what tips do you have for avoiding awkwardness when it comes to footing the bill?
RL: It really is split down the middle when it comes to footing the bill. Some brides offer to pay for all the dresses and in that case, they have more say on what their bridesmaids should be wearing. It’s a really nice gesture for the bride to pay for the dresses as weddings can add up for the bridal party having to fork out for hen parties, kitchen teas and other celebrations.
If the bridesmaids are expected to pay then the bride should provide her bridesmaids with a couple of options such as deciding on a colour theme and letting the bridesmaids choose their own dress or style.
At White Runway, bridesmaids can purchase their own dresses separately online and enter their Bride’s name so that we can group them as one bridal party. This avoids the awkwardness that you might experience otherwise.
C: What styles and designers have you found to be most popular on White Runway?
C: What exciting plans do you have coming up for White Runway?
RL: We’re always working on getting new designers on board and offering our customers something special, fun and unique. We’re expanding our accessories and launching custom colour options to enable our customers to add their own special touch.
For all your bridesmaids needs, head over the White Runway now
Images courtesy of White Runway