Donna from Rose’s Bridal in Bedford explains why she has banned photography from her boutique and thinks other retailers should follow suit
My name is Donna and I am the manager of Rose’s Bridal in Bedford – I’ve been in the industry for approximately six years now, having been with the company since they opened their first store in Stevenage in 2011. I’m here to talk about bridal boutiques not allowing photos of brides in wedding dresses to be taken in store…
I’ve seen several pictures posted in wedding groups on Facebook of brides wearing wedding dresses they obviously love, taken in a shop, with captions asking: “Does anyone have this dress or similar for sale?”
Then recently, I spotted a picture of a bride who had been in my store on one of the Facebook wedding groups, wearing a dress that was well within the budget she’d told us – a dress she was supposedly coming back to the store to order. Her post was about finding the same dress or similar for sale for less.
After seeing this post, I spoke to the owner of the boutique I manage and we decided with immediate effect that brides would no longer be allowed to take photos of themselves wearing dresses unless they were ordering the dress that day. It was a difficult decision to make as some of our competitors do still allow photography in their stores.
I think these wedding groups on Facebook and stores like Wed2B are having a massive impact on bridal boutiques. Brides are becoming more cunning in the search for the dress of their dreams and want to find it at a cheaper price – turning to shops like Wed2B or David’s Bridal, or trying to find second-hand versions through Facebook – and they don’t want to wait the 16-20 week minimum order time for the dress to arrive.
We put out a post on our Facebook page about the issue, which went viral. It reached over 30,000 people within two days and had numerous comments from boutique owners and other independent retailers from within the wedding industry. Many of them had the same thing happen to them and have agreed they will also instigate a ban on photography in their boutiques too.
The majority of brides and mothers of brides that have commented on the post said they understand our reason for banning photos from being taken in the boutique and support this movement.
It would be lovely if all independent bridal boutiques could take a stance when it comes to this issue – if we all stand together and not allow photos to be taken in store, it could help to address this issue.
I feel like the trend for brides looking to buy their dream wedding dress has changed, even just in the past six years that I have been in the industry. Brides now seem to start to look two or three years in advance, or leave it until the last minute – I had a bride recently come into the boutique on the Saturday looking for a dress for her wedding…which was taking place the following Saturday.
It goes without saying that I found her one, but customer service is key to securing a sale, that goes without saying. As we all know within the industry, shops like Wed2B are thriving and expanding as brides search to find their dream dress without spending boutique prices – not understanding the reasoning behind why they cost what they do. Brides are denying themselves the wedding dress shopping experience as they prioritise shopping on a budget.
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