Some of you may have already met me, and some may meet me in the future. I have been at Ivory & Pearl / Willow & Thread since the summer… But boy do I now know what “wedding season” actually means. Ivory & Pearl is so busy at the moment, not only do we have brides finding their gown for their weddings next year (and some last minute brides for this summer) but we also have all the alterations and bridal collections taking place. Plus Easter is this weekend… where has the time gone, it feels like it was Christmas just 2 minutes ago!
I am really enjoying seeing brides coming to see their actual wedding dresses for the first time before their big day – it’s all very exciting! They are excited but also a little nervous which is to be expected as many brides haven’t laid eyes on their dress for several months! I love seeing the emotion when brides put their dresses on, it then becomes all very real as this is THE dress, it’s not just one of our dresses but it is their dress now that they will be walking down the aisle in, in just few weeks time!
There’s so much more to weddings than I ever could have imagined! We’ve been flat out with Sample Sales and Designer Weekends. And this weekend we have our last Designer Weekend for now, Naomi Neoh. I adore these dresses, the fabric the structure, they are so romantic and elegant! So DATES… Friday 25th & Saturday 26th, Saturday is fully booked at the moment but we do have a few spaces left on Friday if you would like an appointment to view this collection please ring the boutique on 02891871135
So what am I doing over Easter – WELL my cousin is getting married this Saturday and I am so excited! It is the loveliest of occasions watching two people make a lasting promise to each other surrounded by all their loved ones. It really is the best day and I can’t wait to see how stunning she will look in her wedding dress. I am looking forward to spending my Easter weekend in the luxury of the Galgorm Hotel! I love this hotel, especially their spa! I have never been there for a wedding before but I have heard it’s fabulous and it will be a very special occasion.
What I am wearing – I got my own outfit from The Boudoir, it’s a beautiful off the shoulder Eden Row dress and I also hired a headpiece from there to match, I got my bag from Zara and my shoes are ted baker – so I can’t wait to get dressed up myself! I am getting my hair done by Hedonist Hair situated in Botanic Avenue and make up by the talented Jennifer Ireland so I really can’t wait to get pampered. I also just got my hair coloured for the first time in nearly a year by the lovely Emma Crawford, she is based just outside Comber at Pearhill tree and her studio is delightful with the added extra of a cup of tea and caramel square. I would definitely recommend paying her a visit.
It is then my birthday the following Wednesday so i have a lot to look forward to!
Whatever you are up to I hope you have a wonderful and relaxing Easter break and all the wedding preparations are coming along nicely!
Lots of love,
Ivory & Pearl has been open for such a long time now, I feel like I need to re-introduce myself! We’re in our forth year with literally hundreds of Ivory & Pearl brides, it’s still a little surreal – and we still love it!
So, who am I? My name is Kate Speers (formerly Clingen) I married my lovely husband Chris Speers, if you’re from Comber you may possibly know him, five years ago this summer and we have two children Daisy and Jack (thought I’d add a photo, sure why not, here we are at the zoo last week below).
After doing Business Studies at University, and working in the corporate world for seven years, I decided it was time to set out on my own, so I did! My vision for Ivory & Pearl was a Bridal Boutique that had wedding dresses that weren’t stocked anywhere else in Northern Ireland or Ireland. Dresses for the modern bride, who wants a dress that’s a little fashion forward, that is unique and represents them! And that is now what we stock, with designers such as, Claire Pettibone, Naomi Neoh, Anna Campbell, Catherine Deane, Claire Pettibone Romantique, Flora and Karen Willis Holmes.
I personally LOVE our dresses, when I look along the rails now, I would HAPPILY wear each and every one of them!
We are always on the look out for new designers and have done a lot of designer weekends this year for visiting designers and it’s been a great way to see new and different gowns!
We are based in the lovely Georgian House in Comber, it really is lovely! Wooden floors, chandeliers, and fires which are always lit in the Autumn/Winter months! I went out one day to find a premises and on my first day, found the Georgian House – it even has a tea house / restaurant downstairs – it was meant to be!
As well as myself in the boutique (although I’m off for a little while on maternity at the moment). There is Kathryn, who is fantastic, you will most likely have met her if you’ve been in Ivory & Pearl or Willow & Thread recently as she works full time and has been with us for nearly a year, Sharon who also owns Innocent Chaos and Sara who is Chris’ cousin and studying to do midwifery (so if you’re nervous about bringing pregnant family/friends… we have you covered!)
In September, we also opened a fashion boutique Willow & Thread, which is right next door. So if you have a bridal appointment with us be sure to pop in! (I also then had our second baby and moved house all within the space of three months, not one to do anything in halves)!
To book an appointment, give us a call on 028 9187 1135 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t forget we can also bring in most dresses from any of our designers even if we don’t stock that particular dress! So if you spy a gown online – drop us an email. And if you’d like to speak to me directly – just email email@example.com
You can also follow us on:
AND follow us on Willow & Thread
New Year Resolutions…
Have you made any? Broken any? Don’t worry there’s always next year, and if you haven’t made any.. there’s still time!
With the Christmas extravaganza officially over & the New Year well & truly brought in; many feel the January blues are upon them. Some are upset that Santa has been and gone and that the Christmas holidays are over for another year, some have put on a little extra bit of cushioning after indulging on too many Mince Pies and are feeling the effects. You are also probably counting down the days until pay day as Christmas has well & truly left a hole in your back pocket. So as the ‘New Year’ ‘New Me’ sayings begins so does the New Year Resolutions. For many, it often feels like a forced way to make a change. After all, if you really wanted to make a change, why wait until January. If you’re serious about making a change, it’s important that you put specific goals in place in order to achieve success. And the great thing about resolutions is they don’t have to just live in your personal life; they can be a powerful aid to help you grow your business, as well.
Last Year I took up the resolution of cutting out Chocolate & as I am a self proclaimed chocoholic who loves nothing more than a bar of diary milk there was little faith that I could do it however it’s amazing what determination and a little bit of stubbornness can do to a person. It taught me that once you set your mind to something there is very little that can stop you from achieving it. It is a great time to exercise your own individual will power.
This year I haven’t come up with one, so I thought I would look into a few ideas. I looked online & found a few resolutions I would opt for, the one that appealed to me most would be to “schedule “me” time, turning off my phone, computer and other electronic devices.” I would get told quite a lot that I couldn’t cope without my phone as I am always glued to it so I think an hour or two a day social media free perhaps in the evening when you’re sitting down with your family would be good to switch the phone off & interact more in conversation, I feel this would be a good way to start 2016!
Below are a few other ideas:
• Write one handwritten letter a month to someone special
• Take the stairs instead of elevators and escalators to get daily exercise
• Walk or ride your bike to places instead of driving
• Cook at home more often—you will learn new cooking skills and save money.
• Do something out of your comfort zone.
• Be more willing to talk to others and learn something about strangers.
• Sign up for a dance or art class.
• Start running a little further each time you run.
• Read one new book each month.
• Turn off the Internet and television and read a book before falling asleep.
So the one night my daughter goes to bed at a normal bed time and my hubby wants an early night, I forget to bring my laptop home .. as I can always do some work! Apparently there’s a saying called ‘chill out’ but I’m just not very good at it!! I get so bored so quickly, but to be honest the weather is so bad at the moment I don’t want to step out my front door! Having a one and a half year old changes everything, getting showered, breakkie and out the door is a job in itself – never mind emptying the dish washer, hoovering and general tidying! Being a mum and a business owner, is always going to be busy! So I am extra prepared this Christmas – we have lots and lots of brides booked in for alterations for the New Year. My poor dress maker is getting some much needed rest before her absolutely crazy season starts again!
We have lots organised for the New Year. We have a big sample sale organised for the first weekend in February and lots of Designer Weekends already booked in (details below). And we will be continuing to add to Willow & Thread! I CANNOT wait to meet Baby Number 2, but I CANNOT wait to fit normal clothes again so I can wear the clothes from Willow & Thread!!!
One date not to be missed if you want a bargain, is the Collaborative Sample Sale that we do every year with six other bridal boutiques! We will have hundreds of wedding dresses from as little as £100, as well as accessories, veils and brooch bouquets. It’ll be at Malone Lodge Hotel – keep your eye on our Facebook Page for more details.
7th February 2016
Sally Eagle : a beautiful American designer, who we will have in the boutique for a very limited time! This will be her first time in Ireland, so get an appointment quick.
22nd – 24th January 2016
Anna Campbell THE GOSSAMER COLLECTION : yes you read that right, we have the beautiful Anna Campbell Gossamer Collection in the boutique for one weekend only! We get soo many e-mails about this collection, we just can’t wait until this weekend!
29th – 31st January 2016
12th – 14th February 2016
19th – 21st February 2016
For now, though, let’s concentrate on Christmas (it’s the most wonderful time of the year).
Christmas Opening Hours
22nd : Open 10am – 5pm
23rd – 28th : Closed
29th : Open 10am – 5pm
30th : Closed
31st : Closed
1st : Closed
Then from the 2nd January on, we will be back to our normal opening hours!
Oh and did I mention there’s £120 Gift Voucher for Willow & Thread for every dress purchased in December. T&C apply.
Have you found “the one”?
By “the one” I mean your perfect wedding dress for your dream day, after you’ve found Mr Right, of course.
One myth when finding your dream dress, is that you will weep and cry, hug someone dear, the heavens will open, the angels will sing and you will then continue to weep and cry. Sorry to burst this bubble, but in every 10 brides we have in Ivory & Pearl, only one or two cry. So if there are no tissues, no angels and no tears – yes that is completely normal!
All brides though still want to find a wedding dress that they instantly fall in love with, that fits perfectly, reflects their personality, that stands out from all the rest and just makes everyone go ‘WOW!’ At Ivory & Pearl, I’ve really tried to source stunning wedding dresses from around the world that are exclusive to our boutique in Northern Ireland, so you’re stepping out in a completely different gown to your friends. We love witnessing that eureka moment, when our brides find a dress that they look amazing in, that feels absolutely fabulous and friends and family all love it.
So, if you’re still looking at wedding dresses every Saturday, and you still haven’t found the one, here’s how to find that one perfect dress…
Research… a lot!
Before you head out to look at wedding dresses, take a little time to think through what you are looking for beforehand. Researching online really helps and will give you a flavour for the style of dress you like. Think about all the factors that will affect your style of gown. You need a dress style that will suit the venue, although I always say don’t choose a dress based entirely on your venue, choose a dress you absolutely love, regardless of venue!!! However, if you plan to get married on the beach, don’t go for a structured, elaborate dress, with a long train as it just won’t be practical (and you’ll be very, very hot!) Think of the season you’re getting married as this may determine if you want a lighter gown for the summer, at Ivory & Pearl we get a lot of brides who are having a destination wedding and so need a lovely light gown for the Italian/Spanish/Mexican/Australian sun *sigh* Also think of your figure, take a look in your wardrobe to see what you usually wear, as this will give you an idea of a style that will suit you best. Find what appeals to you most so you can narrow down both the number of boutiques you need to visit and the style you are looking for when you arrive at the boutique. However, be open to suggestions from the sales assistant, as we have sold lots of gowns to brides, which are completely different to the style of gown they thought they initially wanted.
Start your search early…
Start the quest to find that one perfect dress as early as possible. It can take eight months for your wedding dress to be ordered in and for all the alterations to be done. If you are looking for a particular style of dress, you may have to go to a few boutiques to find your dream dress. If you don’t have a year, do not worry, as some designers can have a dress with the boutique in less than three months, there is also the option of a ‘rush order’ with a number of designers (although this may cost a little more) and if you are very lucky you may find your dream dress at a sample sale!
Get to know the latest bridal gown styles
This year, the top styles would have to be, lace sleeves, sheer illusion necklines and back detail. I love that our bridal designers have experimented with different styles of lace, for example, both Claire Pettibone and Anna Maier have created absolutely stunning gowns with corded and guipure lace, giving the wedding dresses a much more modern feel. As well as lace, invisible or illusion necklines are very popular, which is a stunning way to give brides more coverage than the standard strapless dress. For back detail, again Claire Pettibone and Karen Willis Holmes have created beautiful gowns, with absolutely stunning backs, and more importantly, the dress is just as beautiful from the front. A back detail is fabulous, as it will ‘wow’ the guests as you walk up the aisle. At Ivory & Pearl, we also love wedding dresses that have a hint of colour, as traditional white wedding dresses don’t flatter everyone’s skin tone. At the moment, blush is very popular, ranging from a hint of peach to a bright pink; it’s a lovely option to have, suiting a lot of skin tones as well as being soft and feminine.
So to find “the one” perfect dress, do lots of research, consider all the factors that will make your choice of wedding dress perfect for you and give yourself plenty of time. And when you find that dress that stands out, that you simply can’t stop dreaming about, and you love everything about it… you have found “the one”!