January is bridal sample sale time, with a host of covetable, big name designers and top bridal boutiques typically slashing their prices by up to 70 per cent in a bid to make way for new-season stock.
This is a golden opportunity to find your dream dress at a fairytale price, but don’t wade in cold: it’s vital to have a clear idea of the kind of style you’re after before you go. Know that the sales tend to be most fruitful if you’re of an average height and a UK 10-12, be prepared to make quick decisions – paying upfront with no returns – and arrive early to be front of queue at non-appointment sales.
Click through the gallery to see ELLE's pick of the best bridal sample sales...
Who? One of London’s top couturiers, Lepley’s full-priced gowns cost anything up to £12,000 due to the amount of craftsmanship involved and expensive Italian satins, French laces and hand-embroidered embellishment used. A sample, however, can cost as little as £1,900 with beautiful accessories including shrugs and silk veils from £150.
When? Saturday January 5th 2013 from 9:30am. First come, first served. Sale continues until Friday 18th January 2013.
Where? Phillipa Lepley, 48 Fulham Road, London, SW3 6HH. Tel: 020 7590 9771.
Need-to-know: Between 7th – 18th January, sale is appointment only with a reduced, non-refundable consultation fee of £15, redeemable against purchases.
Who? Fashion-led styles with an ethereal leaning, Fielden’s creations are avant-garde yet sophisticated and perfect for brides craving something unexpected for the big day.
When? Saturday 5th January 2013 from 10am – 6pm. The sale continues until 18th January 2013.
Where? David Fielden, 241 Fulham Road, London, SW3 6H. Tel 020 7351 0002
Need-to-know: No appointment required. With gowns from as little as £100, you’ll want to arrive early. Typically size 12.
Who: This smart London boutique is well known on the wedding circuit, stocking big name British and European designers. Expect to find romantic vintage-inspired lace numbers by the likes of Claire Pettibone, from just £800, as well as clean and classic silhouettes by Jesus Peiro (pictured).
When: Saturday January 5th 2013 from 10am – 5pm. No appointment or booking fee.
Where: Morgan Davies London, 25 Agdon Street, London, EC1V 0AZ
Need-to-know: Sample dresses priced from £300. Other reductions of 50-75 per cent. Sizes UK10 - UK14.
Who? A hidden gem of a bridal boutique, Staffordshire’s Silk stocks a veritable treasure trove of covetable designers including Sassi Holford, Stephanie Allin, Jenny Packham (pictured), David Fielden, Mikaella Blue and Pronovias – all of which will be going into the sale. Gowns start from £500, so well worth making the journey.
When? Saturday 5th January 2013, for one day only.
Where? Silk, The Barn at Common Farm, Bromley Hayes, Lichfield, WS13 8JE
Need-to-know: This is an appointment-only affair so you need to book ahead: email SampleSale@SilkBrides.com or call 01543 226151. Sizes 10 and 12, but there’s an in-house alterations service.
Who? Creator of classic, romantic gowns, tailor-made for the society bride. The London boutique stocks the couture collection (sale prices from £1000), while Taunton houses the signature range (sale from £500). When? Saturday 5th January 2013 from 10am, ending 12th January 2013 (London) and 19th January 2013 (Taunton).
Where? Sassi Holford Couture; 74 Fulham Road, London, SW3 6HH - 5-12 January. Appointments: 020 7584 1532 1532. Sassi Holford Taunton: 6 The Bridge, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 1UG. Appointments: 01823 256308
Need-to-know: First come, first served at both boutiques on Saturday 5th January 10am -12pm. From midday onwards, and for the rest of the sale period, you'll need to have an appointment.
Who? Islington boutique offering a smorgasbord of bridal designers including Raimon Bundo (pictured), Ritva Westenius, David Fielden and WhiteOne by Pronovias, Rembo Styling, Martina Liana, Charlotte Balbier, Essence of Australia, Justin Alexander, Ella Collection, Art Couture and Atelier Diagonal.
When? Sunday 6th January 2013, from 10am to 4pm
Where? Angelica Bridal, 18 Camden Passage, Islington, London N1 8ED
Need-to-know: The sample sale covers all ranges, with gowns from £500. No appointment necessary.
Who? Rising star Sanyukta Shrestha creates luxurious, vintage-inspired gowns with eco-credentials. Most of the natural fibres used in the bridal collections are hand spun and hand loomed by village women in Nepal, making the gowns popular amongst green-minded brides.
When? Thursday January 10th 2013. The sale continues until Thursday 17th January 2013.
Where: Sanyukta Shrestha, 3006 Access House, 1 Nestles Avenue, Greater London, UB3 4UZ
Need-to-know: You must make an appointment: call 020 8848 8233 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Gowns from £500, in sizes 8-12.
Who? Mirror Mirror’s two boutiques offer a carefully edited collection of desirable designers. At the January 13th sale you’ll find Ian Stuart, Paloma Blanca, La Sposa and Pronovias, while the 27th January sale offers gowns by Cymbeline, Pronovias, Gemy, Charlotte Balbier and Nataly Cantillo.
When? Sunday 13th January 2013 from 11am-4pm (Crouch End) and Sunday 27th January 2013 from 11am-4pm (Angel)
Where? 13th January: Mirror Mirror Crouch End, 37 Park Road, London, N8 8TE27th January: Mirror Mirror Angel, 56 Penton Street, London, N1 9QA
Need-to-know: Gowns from £500. Research the collections online to get a sense of which boutique is for you.
Who? Perfect for brides hoping to channel a Kate Middleton or Grace Kelly vibe on the big day, Selby creates beautifully cut, structured gowns, typically swathed in elegant lace across the shoulders or on the sleeves.
When? Saturday 19th January, 10am-5pm
Where? Louise Selby, 6 Mortlake Road, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3JA. Need-to-know: No appointments, so get there early. Dresses from just £900; a huge saving from the typical £3000 to £3500 for a Selby bespoke gown. Sizes mostly UK 10 and 12, with a couple of 14's. All accessories, such as lace shrugs, fur wraps, lace edged veils and Kirsten Goss jewellery are also included in the sale.