Exciting times

We’re back with Rachel’s brilliant series on opening her own business. Last month she shared some of the lows of running a business, and talked about how tough it can be, so this month it’s great to feel the genuine excitement bursting through from Rachel’s writing when talking about launching a new part of her business. Plus, a post can never have too many pictures of gorgeous dresses, surely?

September has been a very exciting month for the boutique as we have just launched a range of brand new dresses designed and made by the ridiculously talented Helen Rhiannon.

Helen and I first met a fair few months before the boutique opened in 2012. When I told a friend of mine, Jojo, that I wanted to open up my own boutique specialising in dresses that were vintage and handmade by a Welsh designer, she squealed and said that I had to meet Helen Rhiannon as a matter of urgency. I did a little research into Helen’s designs and knew she was the one for me! I got in touch and Helen was away traveling the world but we arranged to meet up once she was back.


We met in a little cafe in Penarth, we sat outside, with the sun shining and our sunglasses on. I remember within the first two minutes we ‘clicked’. Before Helen showed me her portfolio I explained how important the morals of the boutique are for me – and why I will strive to support the local talent right here in Wales. It was fabulous to see that Helen was equally as ‘eco/ green/ sustainable’ conscious as myself. We also completely agreed that brides are not been given the opportunity to represent who they are, and that brides are often encouraged to ‘be’ a certain thing. Helen and I also questioned why brides don’t ask ‘Where is my dress coming from?’ and ‘Why is there a 10 month wait for some dresses?.’ It baffled us both – if you are spending that much money on one item, wouldn’t you get a little annoyed that your name is just added to a long production line of dresses made abroad?! All of Helen’s dresses are made by her, in her little studio at the bottom of the garden in Swansea. Perfect. And as she showed me her portfolio the future started to become clear.

Neither Helen or I are size 8 and 6ft 2, and we appreciate the curves that ladies are given! Helen’s designs are all about showing off a female figure without ‘flaunting’ certain items, if you know what I mean… Helen refuses to use corsets in her dresses – we both want brides to be comfortable all day and her dresses are all made perfectly to each bride’s measurements.

We don’t mass manufacture – each dress made for a Helen Rhiannon bride is different to the next – and we give the brides the opportunity to change or adapt certain elements to make sure the dress is perfect for them.

We strive to do something a bit ‘different’ in our photo shoots – because the brides that we have are ‘different’, in the sense that they have a clear vision of their wedding and want to be loyal to that. Therefore it is Helen’s and my responsibility to represent those ladies clearly.

We’re a strong team and we work so well together. We have a vision of where we want to be in the future and together we will achieve it.

And so, onto the dresses! The new range features six new dresses, each one designed by Helen with input from me. AOWers, I’d like to introduce you to my gorgeous ladies!

Mair – a 1950s dress which can be worn with petticoats and sashes galore. I love the bow lace with daisy chain detail. Gorgeous! Perfect for a fun loving Bride.


Sasha – made from a heavy, rich ivory lace with floral detail under the bust, Sasha shows off a female figure beautifully – not to mention that Helen Rhiannon has brought ‘sexy back’ with this new dress! Wowzers!

Louise – perfect for a soft / boho inspired wedding, again showing off the back through delicate lace and a small puddle train – perfect to mooch around the countryside in (with a glass of fizz in hand obvs!).

Betsy – inspired by the vintage vibe, her drop waist and eye catching back lends herself to be the ultimate glam or the perfect ‘shabby chic’. Every angle you look at this dress you see something new.

Ida – we both love sleeves, and being able to show off a female figure without ‘exposing things’ (if you know what I mean). In the words of Coco – she is classy and fabulous.

Lorelie – inspired from the 1940s Hollywood glamour era Lorelie is a dress which will definitely impress, made in a gorgeous rich ivory lace with a wow factor chiffon train and finished with a black bow (which is optional) but we love it!

I hope you like the new designs as much as we do and would absolutely love to hear what you think in the comments section. And for more pics of the dresses and the rest of the Autumn / Winter 2013 collection including Welsh designer Claire Hill’s new handmade headpiece collection that compliments Helen’s dresses perfectly, please do have a peek at my website or pop in to the boutique – the kettle is always on!

Simon Gough Photography: www.simongoughphotography.com

Sweet Peony Floral Design: www.sweetpeonyfloral.co.uk

Hair and make up by Pzazz Wales: www.pzazzwales.com

Categories: Money and Career, Wedding Pretty
7 interesting thoughts on this


  1. ChirstyMac
    Posted September 25, 2013 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Oh my God they’re GORGEOUS. Every single one! Not even sure I can pick a favourite, but think it might be Loralie. Love the drama of the back bow with the gloves. WHAT a talent: seems like a match made in heaven!

  2. Posted September 25, 2013 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    I’m torn between Mair and Sasha – can we go and play dress up please?

  3. Posted September 25, 2013 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    As well as the dresses I am also coveting that gorgeous lace brolly! Totally practical for a Welsh winter, no? x

  4. Posted September 25, 2013 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Thank you ladies, I LOVE them too (i’m biased, I know!) Alice, yes indeed – i’m a fan of the wellie option in Wales too! Rx

  5. deltafoxtrotcharlie
    Posted September 26, 2013 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    These dresses are GORGEOUS (quietly sobs over fact that already have dress and don’t live in Wales).

    Also, I LOVE that you didn’t have stick models – thank you :)

  6. Posted September 26, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    These are stunning – I am no longer looking but could they be made with backs? I know I wore a stick on bra on my wedding day and that was not really my ideal so am asking for those of us who have concerns about that – they are so beautiful though – and so varied.

  7. Posted September 26, 2013 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Hi Siobhan, absolutely – it’s important that Brides are wearing comfy undies and feel supported in all the right areas! During the fitting process with Helen & I, Brides are encouraged to bring their bra of choice so we can see how that works with the overall design of the dress, and we make sure we can change elements of the dress to suit each Brides needs. We love the fact that each dress that leaves the boutique is completely unique and different to the next, as they are made perfectly to a each Brides measurements, and we can add / take away / cover up any part of the dress that the Bride wants, so it’s perfect for her and she looks & feel’s a million dollars wearing it on the day! x

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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