Catherine Blades Couture create exclusive hand crafted bespoke wedding dresses that are unique to each bride. Personally designed from the very first sketch based on your initial consultation through to your stunning finished gown.
Catherine has an enviable talent of taking your ideas and transforming them into your dream dress. Her warmth and personal service makes having a dress designed and made by her a truly wonderful experience, one that will have you feeling at ease, and thoroughly enjoying the process from beginning to end.
The wonderful thing about having a couture gown made specifically for you is the feeling of freedom and choice, you’re not channelled down a particular route. It’s not a case of you having to choose between one style or another. You and your dressmaker style your gown your way, to suit your body shape, personality, type of wedding that you’re planning and so on.
At Catherine Blades Couture each dress is designed to be true to each brides unique self. And remember, it’s not just the style of your gown but the fabric and details that are all individually selected, making your finished wedding dress totally yours, unique to you and your amazingly special day. Over to Catherine now to tell us more.
Tell us a little about yourself and your business
I’m Catherine, wife, mum of one and bespoke dress designer. My bridal studio is set in beautiful countryside, on the Berkshire/ Hampshire border in Headley . I provide an exclusive bespoke wedding dress design service, creating each unique wedding dress from the first sketch to the finished exquisite gown .
The service I provide is very personal and focuses on creating not only this very special dress but also friendships that have grown and evolved.
My focus is very much on love, authenticity and engaging with my brides completely so that I can create a dress that not only suits their shape, but reflects their inner selves too.
What motivated you to start your business?
I started Blades Bridal in 2012 having worked in the bridal industry since 2000. I loved my job but the burning desire I felt to create something for myself was incredibly strong .
This was never an industry I aimed to be in, when working for Alexander McQueen I aspired to the cutting edge of fashion, but after only a few months in a bridal boutique I was sold and found nothing compared to that personal connection you feel with a girl who is making this special purchase and at this very crucial part of her life.
For me selling the same dresses to lots of different girls seemed un-genuine. I strongly believed that every bride deserves a dress that is uniquely theirs, reflecting their personality and making them feel every bit as special as they should.
Tell us a little more about the day to day activities of your business
A typical day for me is firstly caring for my family and walking my dog.
I chose the location of the studio because of its tranquil environment which I believe helps to create the right mindset in producing my work, as each gown for me is a piece of intuitive art . I have a few young girls who work with me, who I train and inspire to produce their own work too.
My brides have several appointments with me to ensure we have made a personal connection and that their dress is headed in the perfect direction from our very first meeting.
I hold appointments at times to suit their busy schedules, so my working day is never a typical one, from first consultation sketches, to fitting toiles to clients to ensure the perfect fit, to hand beading wedding gowns, you name it, it can all happen in a day at the studio.
If our readers were to order from you, what can they expect?
The brand for me is about being your unique self , being brave and bold , while being nurtured, cared for and guided. There’s no mass production here. Each dress evolves with love and respect. This philosophy helps me to stay focused on what is important to both me, and my customers.
I think this is what has carried me through the long days, the constant learning and driving myself to achieve better, no matter how tired, there is a purpose that’s very close to my heart, and I think this is key to discovering your unique self and producing a business you can be proud of.
My business provides a unique bridal experience, one that makes every bride feel as special as she deserves to at a time of great change and excitement. The start of a marriage is such a special thing to be a part of, and it’s an absolute honour to get so close to every one of my beautiful brides and their families. If you’re searching for the personal touch, and someone who simply ‘gets’ you, you’re in the right place.
What are your favourite moments from previous weddings you’ve been involved with?
I’ve built a special connection with every one of my brides. The highlight of all the weddings I am involved in is simply seeing the customer happy and relaxed at my studio, enjoying the process of making such an important dress, and producing something together that reflects them so perfectly.
This is a big reason why I make bespoke, rather than producing a collection of dresses. I didn’t want to lose the uniqueness and authenticity that a bespoke dress holds, and that is what connects me and my clients.
The bigger picture – does your business offer goods/services outside of the wedding world? Tell us more
I offer a bespoke service for all types of occasion wear, not just wedding gowns. I’ve made many a ball gown in the past, have created dresses for pageant queens, and many mother of the bride outfits too.
What have you got planned for the next 12 months?
To continue providing a loving and personal service to my brides, which gives them the ultimate bridal experience and to continue mastering my skills as a designer and dressmaker. I’m branching out into conceptual art currently, which will give me a chance to stretch my creative wings, and will give me some new ideas and skills to bring into my dressmaking.
I’ve always been a fairly cutting edge designer, and the chance to express my creativity and share some of myself through that medium will be a great learning experience for me.
I’m also working on a way of bringing my past brides together to form a community, for those who appreciate the uniqueness of each other and share the passion for creative and authentic life.
And finally, what or who inspires you and why?
I am always inspired, by everything around me. Nature, art, the people I meet. They all go into my work, especially creating dresses for individual women, taking a piece of them and putting it into their gown.
I find some high end designers work inspiring, particularly Zac Posen, Dior and Galia Lahav.
All images courtesy of Catherine Blades Couture