Inside the boutique: Heritage Brides
On a blustery Spring day, Maxeen and I ventured up to Hatfield House, Hertfordshire for an exclusive peek inside brand new bridal boutique, Heritage Brides. Stocking some of the UK’s most exciting designers – from Maria Senvo and Terry Fox to accessories from Klare van Elton (another b.loved fave – you can see her latest collection here) and shoes by Merle & Morris.
It may be the only bridal boutique in the UK based in a stately home, but Heritage Brides is far from the stiff, stuffy boutique experience you might expect! Walking through the beautiful courtyard and up a simple wooden staircase brides are welcomed with the sparkle of fairylights, colour and a friendly smile. We spoke to owner Sam Newby-Ricci about her inspirations and visions for the new boutique, her favourite stockists and what brides can expect when visiting Heritage Brides.
The wedding bug bit when I was the editor of a regional bridal magazine. During the course of my job I got to see a lot of boutiques, as well as a lot of wedding fairs. I suppose it was at this point that I decided I wanted to do things a bit differently. Everything seemed to be the same. I wanted a boutique which had the wow factor as much as the dresses do.
The Harness Room at Hatfield House used to be the tack room for the horses which were stabled there. The original nails are still in the beams where the harnesses were hung and there are trap doors where the hay was thrown down to the horses below.
The building is incredible. Some of my visitors say they would like to get married here! It just lends itself to showing off the gorgeous gowns and accessories. And what was important to me was that it really does have a laid-back vibe. It’s not pretentious, it’s just a magical place filled with quirky pieces.
At Heritage Brides it’s relaxed, it’s laid back and most of all it is fun. Each bride gets to play ‘dress up’ for 90 minutes. It doesn’t matter how many dresses are tried on, we go through the rails to find the one that the bride feels comfortable in. We also are very transparent about the price of the gowns because even though budgets can often go out of the window, I feel it’s important to be up front about how much something is going to cost.
I wanted Heritage Brides to give brides something a bit different. We don’t have fleur de lys wallpaper or chaise longues. We have vintage, quirky and unusual – nothing you would find in a High Street. A Heritage Bride knows what they want and have a relaxed attitude to life. They like to mix things up and will happily try different looks and will mix old with new to create their own style.
I’m very down to earth – my uniform is jeans and it’s not unheard of for me to actually leave the house without make-up. I am not a girly girl but I adore beautiful things. I appreciate quality and individuality and I think these two elements shine through at Heritage Brides. Not only do the dresses ooze sophistication, the shoes and accessories complement the styles completely. Each look we create in the boutique tries to emulate the brides personality and you can tell when you have it spot on
I made a conscious decision to use British designers – with the history at Hatfield House – this was something that I felt was important to incorporate into the business. Terry Fox and Maria Senvo were the key designers I wanted to stock. Terry is an absolute genius and her dresses epitomise the bride who I think would like Heritage Brides. The laces, the clever use of textures and the different shades give her gowns a real edge. They are just so well made and so well thought out.
I also think Maria Senvo gowns are something special. The cut of the skirts on these luxe gowns makes them float and the back detail and beading makes them really stand out from the ordinary. We also have Belle & Bunty gowns as well as Lou Lou Bridal.
It’s so difficult to choose a favourite dress, but I think if I could only pick one, it would have to be Angel Eyes by Terry Fox. The sequinned layer placed under vintage lace is just jaw-dropping. It gives the dress a life of its own and with the deep v cut back with flowery spaghetti straps, this gown really does have the wow factor.
It’s important for brides to have an open mind. It is very rare that a bride buys the dress that they thought they would! The reality of actually wearing a wedding dress is unlike wearing anything else. And one of the most important considerations is that you are comfortable in what you choose.