Buying a wedding dress can be one of the most expensive individual items that you buy for your wedding, so many ‘brides-to-be’ will welcome an opportunity to reduce this cost. Looking fabulous shouldn’t have to cost the earth, so one way of doing this is to buy a wedding dress from the Bridal Boutique at the Helen & Douglas House charity shop, which has recently relocated from Bartholomew Street in Newbury* to our larger Helen & Douglas House charity shop in Summertown, Oxford.
Here you will not only be able to buy a beautiful preloved or brand new dress, at the fraction of high street prices, but you will also have a chance to find suitable accessories and even bridesmaid’s dresses to complete your special day. The proceeds from dresses and all the other items sold at this shop will help local terminally ill children who are cared for by Helen & Douglas House children’s hospice.
What many people don’t know is that this shop is packed full of stunning wedding dresses, many of which are brand new and have designer labels. They regularly receive donations of brand new wedding dresses from local wedding dress shops which may be clearing end-of-season stock, or even closing down.
Some of the brands currently in-store include dresses donated by Ellie Sanderson Bridal Boutique, widely regarded as one of the best places to buy a designer wedding dress, as well as gowns by Mon Cheri Bridals. All dresses in the shop are priced at a £125.
But it is not just wedding dresses which are on sale. They also sell shoes and accessories for brides, as well as mother-of-the-bride outfits with hats and fascinators at a fraction of high street prices as well. It is a real treasure trove.
As well as the Bridal gowns, the shop also has a wide range of accessories, shoes and a collection of beautiful bridesmaids dresses suitable for all ages, also donated from the local wedding shops.
Marian recently bought her wedding dress from the former Helen & Douglas House. She got married in September this year at Durlston Castle in Swanage, Dorset. Marian frequently walked past the shop, saw the displays in the window and was intrigued to see how many wedding dresses would be in the shop and what they were like.
Marian said: ‘I was really pleased to be able to ‘upcycle’ a dress which had been donated. I was also really happy to be contributing to a very worthwhile charity. I was struggling with the traditional view of buying a dress from a bridal boutique and what I might end up paying for it. And a dress that I wouldn’t wear again – seemed very extravagant and as I’ve been married before, it made me feel even more uncomfortable.
I had been to a few bridal boutiques and had mixed experiences. I am an older bride, and at a few boutiques and fairs I have been ignored as they thought my daughter (who was with me) was the bride…! Not a good start. Some were also quite pushy and other than the fizz and slightly more space/luxurious surroundings, I did not particularly enjoy the experiences.
The service we received at the Helen & Douglas House Shop was excellent. Very friendly and we did not feel pressurised at any point. We were left to it and took our time browsing before trying on. The shop manager was particularly helpful and gave me feedback, which was very useful.
The dress was perfect and when I noticed it was called Joyce …which was my late mother’s name …so it seemed all the more fitting and appropriate.
It’s a great place to go and loads of choices and styles. I tell my friends to ‘’Go and have a look and try some on” and remind them that they are not all previously owned, they have new ones too, but also about the valuable contribution they are making to a charity.
I love my dress, which is brand new and am so pleased I came to the Helen & Douglas House bridal shop.’