We interview Sam Francis from Ryley & Flynn Vintage to find out more about their luxury wedding dresses.
Q – What designers do you stock?
My dresses are all designed and handmade by me - I have a small range of sample dresses available to try on from my "Made to Order Collection”, but the majority of my brides choose to have a 100 per cent bespoke dress designed for them. It’s a perfect way for a bride to find her dream dress.
Q – What can brides expect when they visit your studio?
I work from a home studio so a “one to one” service is guaranteed, and by appointment only so brides will have the studio all to themselves, allowing them to try on dresses and discuss details in complete privacy.
The initial visit to the studio is the design consultation which usually takes around an hour, during this time we will discuss lots of things from finding the right dress shape to looking at fabric and lace samples. Once I have a good idea of the style the bride has in mind I will produce a sketch of the dress - the design is not set in stone - there are lots of opportunities to make small changes to the dress during the making process! At this point, brides will have a good idea of the overall timescale for their dress to be made.
Q. - How long before their wedding should brides visit your studio?
Ideally, brides should make contact with me at least 12 months before their wedding date, this allows for consultations and fittings to be scheduled. My diary fills up quickly during peak wedding season, so getting in touch sooner guarantees their slot in my work schedule even if the wedding date is a while away.
I usually start sewing each dress three-six months before the big day depending on the complexity of the design. Rush orders can also be accommodated if a bride is short of time!
Brides can expect to visit at least three times for fittings during the bespoke dressmaking process.
Q – What’s your favourite dress and why?
I love making dresses for photo shoots as I can let my imagination run wild, my absolute favourite was a dress I made for an elopement shoot in the Peak District, the design brief was simple - the dress should be billowy with lots of skirt to throw around. Immediately Miss Havisham came to mind. I wanted the dress to be ethereal, almost ghostly as I knew the shoot location was going to be cold and windy with a desolate wintery feel! The original design evolved into a dress with bare shoulders which added a very modern touch!
Q – What are your top tips for brides-to-be?
I always recommend brides to try on a wide variety of dress styles, even the dresses they don’t think will suit them - often gowns look very different when on!
Whilst skin-toned shaping underwear might not be the most glamorous for your wedding day, it does give the perfect foundation for your wedding dress and eliminates any lines that may be visible through your dress. You can always slip into something a bit less Bridget Jones during the evening!
Be careful who you take with you when trying on wedding dresses - too many people with lots of different opinions can be very distracting (and sometimes disheartening) - pick one or two people who will be supportive.
Remember to wear a pale coloured bra (possibly strapless) when trying on dresses, there’s nothing more off-putting than seeing black straps above a delicate ivory bodice when you’re trying to imagine how it will look!
To find out more, visit www.ryleyandflynn.co.uk or www.instagram.com/ryley_and_flynn_vintage