Amazing finds in the January Sales

There is one big reason that I love January. The January sales!

If you work the sales right, you can pick up everything from a wedding dress to stationary pieces at very discounted prices. Plus, with the advent of the internet, sales shopping is so much easier than it used to be! You don’t even need to traipse around the shops to pick out some amazing bargains to help you come in under budget.

If you are able to pick up pieces for your wedding day under budget what would you do with the money saved

Put the money towards another part of your wedding day so you can splash out a little more in that areaOr would you keep it in the bank to spend on something non-wedding relatedWhatever you may choose to do with the money saved from sale shopping, we can all agree there isn’t much that will give you a better feeling than finding a beautiful gem at a cost lower than you’d budgeted.

I thought I would search the internet to find some of the best bargains on the web to share with you. *please bear in mind that my finds are right to the time of publishing this post

Images are not linked to websites as in my experiences those types of links change quickly and therefore aren’t reliable. Hopefully the information in the images below will enable you to find the items on the company’s website easily.

I love the cap sleeves, keyhole opening in the back and the beautifully placed sequins on this Phase Eight Bridal dress. 

nyelle layered wedding dress - from phase eight_ january sales finds

This vintage glamour bohemian style wedding dress really has the wow factor, and is one of my favourite bridal dresses I’ve ever seen sold by a non wedding dedicated high-street retailer. The stunning puddle train is something rarely found on a dress in this price range.

florence embellished bridal maxi dress from monsoon

Who knew Dorothy Perkins did wedding dresses?? I know I had no clue until doing my research for this post. Their dresses are, as you would expect aimed at the low budget end of the budget pricing scale, however they seem like wonderful dresses for the price. This ‘Valentina’ dress has a real Meghan Markle feel in its simplicity and is at just £90.00 right now which makes it a real steal!  

white bridal valentina maxi dress dorothy perkins

I thought I would throw a Bridesmaids dress into the mix too. I found loads of great bridesmaids dresses in the sales, but thought I would share this one. £70 is a good price for a bridesmaid already, but £35 in the sale is even better! This style of dress would suit so many different wedding styles and is available in four different colours. 

dorothy perkins thyme 'grace' maxi bridesmaid dress

There are so many amazing finds for your wedding that you can pick up from high street shops and from the websites of high street retailers. Don’t be afraid to look on the websites of your favourite clothes shops to see if they have the perfect bridesmaid dress, wedding dress or Groomsmen attire, as you may well be very pleasantly surprised.

However, if going high street isn’t for you, I am a big advocate for buying a pre-loved wedding dress or hitting the sample sale ranks in any Bridal shop. Also, don’t be afraid to book an appointment with a charity wedding dress shop as you can find wonderful donated wedding dresses, I donated my wedding dress to a charity shop after my wedding, which was something I wasn’t planning on doing prior to getting married but just felt the right thing to do afterwards.



3 Great Wedding Discoveries

3 New Wedding Ideas You will love

Here are 3 very different wedding ideas I have discovered recently that I think are definitely worth sharing with you.

1) A fabulous recycling idea…
Recycle your wedding dress to make a christening gown. 

Previously I discussed my reasons for donating my wedding dress to charity. One of my reasons for not keeping my gown was because I couldn’t see the logic behind keeping the dress when most people store their dress away never to be looked at again, or to be pulled out once a decade or so.

But instead of simply storing, selling or donating your dress why not turn it into something else?

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Wedding Dress = Donated

My Wedding Dress = Donated
I got married on 8th October 2016 and today my wedding dress was donated to a charity shop.

The morning after my wedding my parents helped the Husband and I clear out our bridal suite hotel room, and load the car up with all the decorations etc. As we were checking out Dad asked me what I’d like done with my wedding dress. My parents were taking the pedestal flowers with them to donate to their local church and Dad had agreed to return the hired groomsmen suits for us. As we were stood there checking out my Mum had my dress in its bag slung over her arm. I instantly said they could donate it to their favourite local charity shop.

You see, I’ve moved around a lot. In the past 7 years alone I’ve lived in 5 houses. Safely storing a wedding dress is difficult when you are moving regularly. Plus the Husband and I were planning on starting saving for a house deposit as soon as we got back from honeymoon. So hopefully the next move I make will be my last for a good number of years if we are able to (fingers crossed we will be able to) buy a home of our own. Due to this, £200 or so to get my gown dry cleaned just felt like a lot of money, especially if I were to add another £100 or so to have it put in  a proper storage box.

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Lesson Learnt from a Sample Sale

samplesaledisappintmentOn Monday my sister and I attended a Sample Sale event hosted by a Bridal Shop in Swindon. I feel for this post it is best that I do not state the name of the boutique in question. The sample sale was hosted in a pubs function area where pop up changing rooms had been erected and three dress rails took centre stage.

I found out about the sample sale as my sister advised me they were having a week sale of sample dresses within the boutique. I couldn’t make it to the boutique that week so I phoned to ask when they would next be having a sale and the assistant advised me (on the down low) that they would be selling all of their 2015 samples over two evening sales.

4P-8PM on Monday 26th and Tuesday 27th – So naturally I went on the Monday.

The feel of the room did deflate me quite a lot. The realisation of what finding your dress on a budget can mean you miss out on – the special feeling you get with booking a private appointment and twirling in front of just your chosen people in dresses you’ve hand selected.

Pushing the disappointment aside I put on my practical head and started to look through the dresses on the rails. Another wave of displeasure came over me as I couldn’t find a single dress I liked even a little bit. There was mountains of bling, satin and strapless – not what I am looking for at all! My sister encouraged me to stay for a bit longer to see what dresses came out from the changing rooms as women discarded dresses, but as gowns came out of the dressing rooms I still didn’t see a single dress that I wanted to try on, let alone buy.


Before you attend a sample sale event make sure you visit the bridal boutique beforehand. I did not visit the boutique to see what styles they stocked before attending the sale which was a big mistake. Each Bridal Boutique stock different styles of dresses (plus they choose to stock different sample sizes) and the styles stocked will change each season. Some will stock more lace or more embellished, some will stock more with sleeves or straps while others will keep a majority of strapless gowns.

it is vital it ensure you know the type of gowns the boutique stocks and what dresses may be included in the sample sale (A few covert questions are all that are needed to figure this out).

I have not been put off of attending other sample sales in the future! But I will be more careful to ensure that I know more about the boutique first.

1st Time Trying on Wedding Dresses

So, it all got a bit more real yesterday as I tried on wedding dresses for the first time. As someone who has watched too many episodes of Don’t Tell The Bride and Say Yes To The Dress to count, the expectation of what trying on dresses should be like was almost overwhelming.

Thankfully I’ve always been rather level headed and able to talk sense into myself:
This is just the first time of trying them on to figure out what shapes and styles I like on my body
I am in no way expecting to find the one as I know I can’t afford to buy one at full price anyway!
Take a breath… steady, calm…


I almost thought I’d be going on my own but thankfully my MOH was able to make it with me which I couldn’t have been more glad for as her opinion really matters to me.

I had booked an appointment with a bridal shop in my home town called Mrs Jones Bridal with the intention of just trying on different styles of dresses so that when I go to sample sales I have a better understanding of what I do and don’t like.

Kathryn asked me what type of things I wanted in a dress before picking some dresses off of the racks and asking what I thought of them. I said that I find myself more drawn to A-Line gowns but was open to try on other shapes except mermaid, that I want lace, definitely do not want strapless and I am not keen on the dress having lots of bling/sparkle.

So Kathryn picked a few dresses for me and I tried on a total of 8 dresses. I don’t have pictures of all of them, and the pictures I do have are poor quality, so I do apologise for that but I thought it would be nice to share my experience with you.

Hana by Charlotte Balbier


This Dress fit nicely but was just TOO simple and too shiny for me.

Lizzie by Charlotte Balbier


I really liked the lace top half and plain bottom half of this dress and the sweetheart neckline was very flattering on me. However the skirt was too stiff for my liking and again it really was rather shiny. #

Lillie Mae by Charlotte Balbier


This was the dress that both my MOH and I loved on the hanger. We both saw it and thought this would be the one.
Sweet heart neckline – TICK
Lace top half – TICK
Flowing skirt – TICK
This dress was stunning – although the skirt was difficult to walk in (my shoes got caught in it twice!) Kathryn assured me it was because it wasn’t the right length for me.

Sophia by Augusta Jones


I was really surprised by how much I like this dress! Yes you heard me right! I really didn’t think I’d like something that was a bit more figure hugging. The dress hugged by hips and bum and came into the skirt at the top of my thigh. I couldn’t stop looking at myself from the side as the lace on the back looks stunning from the side.

Delphine by Caroline Parkes 


This dress made me feel the most like a Bride. It has a hidden corset and a stiff skirt but two layers of Tulle/Organza over the top create a softer appearance which I like. I didn’t mind that it had a bandeau neckline although the main change I’d really have liked to make to the dress would be to have the back in more of a V shape like Sophia. I was really surprised by the fact I loved the fuller skirt so much. It isn’t a ball gown, but isn’t A Line – It’s somewhere in-between.

I left Mrs Jones Bridal much surer of what I do and don’t like and feel more confident about attacking sample sales. One of the best things about the whole experience was finding out that the MOH and I are completely in tune with each other. It’s good to know before hitting the sample sales that she will be the perfect person to help me find the perfect dress for me.

Choose Hire

thchoose hire not buy

In Slovakia (and right across East Europe) hiring your wedding dress is common. In fact more brides hire their wedding dress in Slovakia than buy. I think this custom should come to the UK. There are a few bridal shops that either specialise in or offer a hire service, but they are few and far between.

The cost of wedding dresses can be quite a shock to a newly engaged lady, I know it was a shock to me! The cost of high-end designer wedding dresses, can mean that a bride-to-be will lower her expectations and look at cheaper designers, look on the high street or buy a second hand dress. I am an advocate for all of these options as great ways to save money. But what do you do if you want a wedding dress from this season made by a top designer but you don’t want to spend thousands for it? Hire is the answer.

Think how many weddings you’ve been too where the groom and grooms-men are wearing hired suits. If you’re planning your own wedding or have recently got married it is most likely that your groom will be wearing/did wear a hired suit. If a hired suit is good enough for the groom why not a hired gown for the bride?

One of the massive benefits of hiring your dress is that you can wear a designer you may not have been able to afford to have if you were buying the dress. Many bridal shops have to make difficult decisions about what stock to carry; often choosing not to carry high-end designer dresses due to fear they will sit on the shelves for a long time before being bought. A bridal dress hire shop is more likely to carry a high-end designer gown because they can hire it out a number of times at £500 much more easily than a conventional bridal shop could sell at £3,000.

By renting a dress you will not only gain budget savings and have the dress of your dreams but you will also save on the stress of caring for the dress and the worry of storing it.

Bridal shops with a Hire service across the UK
Cardiff: To Have & To Hire Ltd
London (Tottenham): Vonlee Bridal Hire
Surrey: From Me To You Hire
UK wide: Chic-By-Choice

If you know of any other bridal shops that offer a hire service please do let me know, either by commenting or my emailing me at so I can add them on to this list.

Monika hired her wedding dress in this Real Budget Wedding Feature published on 19th September 2017

Choose Hire