Finding that perfect dress


Classic and understated, bedazzled and glamorous, or chic with a touch of style from the 80s? When it comes to hunting down the perfect wedding dress – otherwise referred to as ‘the one’ – brides are faced with so much choice that they often find it quite difficult to make the final decision. With every year that passes, more and more trends enter the wedding scene making that decision increasingly difficult.

To help you navigate your way to finding the perfect dress for your special day, Dufferin Hall’s Wedding Coordinator recently caught up with Kate Speers from Comber-based Bridal Boutique Ivory & Pearl. Kate gave us an insight into some of the most popular wedding dress styles and accessories this year along with some helpful tips for finding ‘the one’ and an insight into Ivory & Pearl!

What are some of the most popular trends this year?

This year we are seeing a few key trends coming through, some of which can stay for as short as six months, like peplums, or stay for years, like lace and long sleeves. I love the Kate Middleton-inspired long sleeves which are still very much sought after! Here are a few trends we often see and love!


"I love buttons and bows" is a phrase we often hear in the bridal boutique - these two items go beautifully with all dresses and are SO easy to add on. We often pop buttons down the side of the zip on the back of a dress or add a pre-made bow to the back of your wedding dress (definitely easier for the morning of the wedding - just pin it in!). This dress is by Anna Campbell - who really is the Queen of Bows. Equally we can continue a belt around with no bow! Check out her collection which is exclusively sold at Ivory & Pearl. 


At Ivory & Pearl, we love colour! We have sold yellow dresses, blue dresses, grey and red dresses, gold dresses - you name it, we have had a bride who has worn it! We absolutely love a bride who is willing to push boundaries and has a vision of how she would like her wedding dress to look. Creative brides with a vision are a force to be reckoned with. Check out our stunning bride Catherine in a beautiful, colourful Claire Pettibone dress! She brought the pop of red into the bow ties and the car, and also had floral hoops and bunny shoes - need I say more? 


I adore sleeves!  We have lace sleeves, silk sleeves, sequinned sleeves – yes, I think there may be too much choice out there! Gone are the days where you had no choice, if you go into a bridal boutique and see a dress - but it has no sleeves - 9 times out of 10 we can add them. You can wear sleeves all times of the year - I don't believe in having a certain style of dress for a certain season. Let’s face it - we live in Ireland!

What advice would you give to a bride when selecting their wedding dress?

Bring your nearest and dearest! Do not bring your cousin’s friend’s neighbour’s daughter... they do not know you, they do not know your style and you will be more confused with them at the appointment. I find it so overwhelming when brides bring a party of 8-10 people with them and to be honest the bride is so overwhelmed by the end of the appointment too! I recently had the pleasure of going wedding dress shopping with a good friend, and it was the first time that I realised that I was shopping for my friend, the bride, not myself! We all, me included, choose wedding dresses that "we" like, not what the bride likes, because they are the ones we are naturally drawn too. So it's better to bring Mum or someone who is like a Mum, a God Mum, a sister, or a bridesmaid - it will seem very intimate and it really is a lovely moment when you find your wedding dress!

Do not take photos, I know it's so tempting and people say how will I remember what it's like. In my experience, you will just know. You will know how it feels, you will know how you feel in it and you will be excited to wear it! My brides who take no photographs, who delete all screenshots of models in their dress, love their dress the most when they put it on again. They say – “oh I didn't see that detail before, I love that!” When you take a photograph - typically you're not wearing tan (if you wear tan), you don't have your make up or hair done properly, you may have just come straight from work, the dress is not the correct size and it's not brand new - plus let's face it - whoever is taking photographs will not be a professional photograph and they will not get your best angle!

Lastly, start shopping nine months to one year before your wedding. Before I opened up in bridal I thought that there is no way wedding dresses take this long to come in, but they do! Each dress is individually and lovingly made in the designer’s studio and they are making different wedding dresses for different brides all around the world, so production typically takes 20 weeks. On top of that we then we need delivery time and where possible, I love to have the dress in three months before the wedding! This gives me time to quality check it and make alterations if required. Of course, we have brides who are getting married in less than two months, and we are usually always able to get a dress, but if you have time, why not have the luxury of knowing it's ordered and you can relax and enjoy the rest of the preparation.

Can you tell us a little about the history of Ivory & Pearl?

Ivory & Pearl is in its sixth year, which is crazy to think! We have had an amazing time in bridal and there are not many situations we have not dealt with or experienced - and we can customise dresses now to suit all styles and visions. Before Ivory & Pearl I had worked in the corporate world for six years. Initially I had started out in social work but after my first year, the boss of my summer job offered me a full-time position while I studied and after I graduated in Marketing if I changed to Business Studies – so I did! Fast forward 5 years, I changed jobs and started a hobby business up called 'Sprinkles of Love' hiring out wedding decorations, table settings, sweetie carts and I then decided to make that hobby business into a full-time business but this time selling wedding dresses – so then we opened in March 2013!

What sets Ivory & Pearl apart from other Boutiques

At Ivory & Pearl, our unique selling point is that we sell wedding dresses that are exclusive to our boutique across Northern Ireland and Ireland! We want dresses that are not available in every shop and our style is quite fashion forward! We create a very relaxed environment, we are above a tea house which is perfect for a cuppa afterwards and we sell just beautiful, stunning wedding dresses.

How do you decide what pieces are brought into the store? 

Selecting wedding dresses can be difficult, everyone says you must love that part, but to be honest I find it very stressful! I wore a high neck wedding dress and when I first opened, about one third of my dresses were high neck, I then realised I am not choosing dresses for me, and I needed a range including V neck, boat neck, spaghetti strap. So now we choose all different styles and designers who have the same aesthetics as Ivory & Pearl. We’re very lucky to have worked with some of the best designers in the world – of course I may seem biased!

The process of finding the dream dress is just one stop on the wonderful wedding planning journey for any bride. From flowers, invites and centre pieces, to entertainment, party favours and venues, there are lots of small details that fit together to create one of the most memorable days for any couple. Why not pair your perfect wedding dress with the perfect wedding venue and get in touch with Dufferin Hall’s Wedding Coordinator!