Many brides will have imagined themselves in a breathtakingly beautiful white gown – long before they have found a groom. So Carolyn Robotkin – director at the boutique Marshmallow Bride – handles her role in proceedings with great integrity and care.
Based in the heart of St Albans, Marshmallow Bride offers both designer and bespoke wedding dresses, alongside bridesmaid gowns and Tux ‘n’ Tails, which has a large selection of menswear, both for hire and retail.
Having carved out a successful career as a buying manager for high street stores, travelling extensively to source the very finest products, the Elstree and Borehamwood United shul member officially took over the business a year ago, having supported the former owner for many years.
With its dedicated line-up of consultants, the team sells more than 200 bridal gowns each year. “We stock six designers in store and in addition, around a third of our brides opt for our bespoke design service, where our in-house designer works closely with each lady to create her dream dress,” the 59-year-old explains.
“Either way, from the moment you come to our store, you will be made to feel welcome and special.
“Each bride has a consultation with one of our experienced stylists and she will be your personal assistant.
“She will give you her undivided attention, offer an honest opinion and help you find the dress of your dreams.”
With an average lead-time of 18 months, they are one of the few bridal boutiques that do not outsource alterations, with all changes done in-house by highly skilled dressmakers.
Dresses can be customised to personal requirements, including build-ups, straps, boleros, detachable jackets and many different belts to complement the desired look.
“We take great pride in the fact that all our work is carried out on-site, added to which we believe it offers a greater degree of peace of mind for brides,” says Carolyn.
“It may be billed as the happiest day of someone’s life, but the planning can be stressful and so our job is to alleviate any concerns and worries and make choosing a gown a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
“We do what it takes, travelling abroad to source a gown and even once turning a dress around to be ready in just three short weeks.”
Naturally trends have changed over the years and Carolyn and her team always ensure that they’re offering the latest looks.
“We actually rarely sell white dresses these days, with most brides opting for ivory, if not pearl or gold colours,” says Carolyn.
“And at the moment, having an amazing back to the dress is high on many a priority list. Whether it be open or illusion with lace applique or beading, the hot trend is definitely for the back to be the showpiece.
“That’s why I make a point of travelling abroad to bridal catwalk shows and keeping a close eye on movements in the industry, so that I can come back and stock the very best at Marshmallow Bride.”
Having encountered “no more than a handful” of bridezillas – obsessive or over-demanding wedding planners – in her time, Carolyn has been privy to many an intimate moment.
“We do obviously see many a happy tear being shed, not just from the bride, but from the mother, mother-in-law or extended family,” she says. “Then we have the women who feel so wonderful when they find their special dress that they refuse to get out of it.
“Most women embrace the experience and thoroughly enjoy it. If anything, we see more fraught moments in the menswear department downstairs, with the couple arguing over who gets the final say in what the men should wear.”
With a plethora of bridal boutiques along our high streets, Carolyn is confident that her team is a cut above the competition.
“Our consultants have decades of experience in this field and work tirelessly to ensure that the bride gets the dress she wants with no compromise,” she concludes.
“Where a bride knows what she wants, we find it for her and if she is unsure of what would suit her, we are able to gently guide and advise with fantastic results.
“We know our stock exceedingly well and listen attentively to our clients’ needs. Every single bride and groom that we clothe for their big day is a great source of pride for us and we take no client for granted.
“It is a huge honour to be such an integral part of this important day in a person’s life and we make it our duty to ensure it is a joyful experience.”
Tux ‘n’ Tails: www.tuxntails.co.uk; address as above. Call 01727 869986, or email firstname.lastname@example.org