sometimes brides come to me on an unlimited budget. other times though, they are trying to keep their costs down as much as possible as it costs so much to get married these days. a few weeks ago i was commissioned to shoot some wedding gowns in an oxfam shop for the sunday mail. the story might be of interest to the latter brides as described above.
good news for brides on a budget as oxfam open first shop specialising in wedding dresses in glasgow
THE charity store has hundreds of gowns, with some never worn before, and even a pair of Jimmy Choos in stock.
FINDING the perfect wedding dress on a tight budget can seem like an impossible task.
But thanks to Scotland’s only dedicated charity wedding shop, brides-to-be can have their pick of designer labels at bargain prices.
Whatever your style – vintage, lacey or more modern, figure-hugging designs – the Oxfam shop in Clarkston, Glasgow, boasts a fabulous range of gowns that are attracting attention from brides across the country.
The shop has hundreds of dresses, all in pristine condition, with most worn only once on the bride’s big day – and some not at all.
Manager Liz Sim, 45, said: “Every dress has a different story.
“Some women are having a clear-out and don’t want the dress any more, others change their minds and decide the dress they bought is not right for their wedding day.
“We also get brides who get cold feet and pull out at the last minute or sometimes the marriage has ended in divorce and they don’t want reminders of the past.
“But the one thing they all have in common is they want the dress to go to a good home and that’s what we try to do.”
Some of the donated bridal dresses are designer labels, which would have cost thousands of pounds new.
But all the gowns in the Clarkston store, whatever the label, come with a price tag of between £100 and £150.
After noticing an increase in the amount of wedding gowns gifted to the Oxfam branch, Liz pitched the idea of opening a bespoke bridal shop in an empty unit nearby to the charity bosses, who gave it the go ahead.
And Liz was soon being contacted by eager brides keen to snap-up a bargain.
She said: “We were getting so many wedding gowns into the shop and we didn’t really have the space to show them off properly.
“I always thought it would be great to have a shop dedicated to bridal wear and once I got the go-ahead from head office, it just took off.
“Word spread quickly and we get calls from brides-to-be all over the country.
“Most people come in just to have a look around but are always amazed by what they see – and by our prices.
“We have a fitting room so they can try on their chosen dress and we have a wide range of accessories too, including tiaras, veils and shrugs.
“We also stock dresses for bridesmaids and flower girls, as well as mother of the bride outfits.
“I’m always amazed at the generosity of people who donate their wedding gowns. They are helping to make someone else’s dream come true.”
It’s not just dresses that get donated to the shop. Liz was recently given a pair of white Jimmy Choos, which are attracting a lot of attention.
She said: “They are white shoes, perfect for a wedding. It would be nice if a bride bought them for her big day.”
Liz has also helped brides-to-be who were let down after the boutiques they bought their dresses from went bust.
She added: “I’ve had women come to me with just a few weeks to go until their big day in tears because the company has gone bust and they can’t get their dream dress. It’s a real shame.
“One girl was absolutely devastated and she thought she would never find anything in Oxfam.
“But after trying on a few dresses she found one that she loved and it was every bit as nice as the original one.
“And ours cost just £100 compared to the £2000 she paid for a designer dress she never got to wear.
“I’ve got a small team of volunteers and we all work hard to keep the shop going but we rely on donations as without them, none of this would be possible.”
A pair of Jimmy Choos for sale in the shop.