Blog
7th January 2019

Finding the Perfect Dress: Top Tips from Bridal Expert Tina Corteen

A wedding with Signature is always unforgettable and unique. The care, attention and love put into organising your big day by our incredible wedding team ensures that everything, from the breathtaking venues, to the beautifully arranged flowers, is all you’ve ever dreamed of. At Signature Living Weddings, we love to provide you with all the tools you need to craft the most idyllic day. That’s why we offer our brides a preferred suppliers list, hand-chosen by us. One of our most popular is Tina Corteen, our star bridal expert and owner of Romancia Bridal Boutique.

Tina Corteen has been involved in the wedding world for over 18 years now and runs her business with incredible passion that makes it the unrivalled and unique bridal experience it is today. We sat down with her to get some top tips on choosing a dream wedding dress and how to ensure your wedding day is an occasion you’ll treasure forever.

Let’s get things started with a bit about you! How did you get into your line of work?

“Ever since I can remember I’ve had a real passion for weddings. But it wasn’t until I was planning my own wedding that I made the decision to follow my dream of becoming a bridal expert. I experienced, first hand, the real lack of choice, advice and ‘wow’ services available for brides-to-be.  I struggled to find a bridal expert with passion and experience, which was really frustrating!”

“So, once I was married, I became absolutely obsessed with weddings. I decided to start on an insane journey to open my very own wedding boutique.”

Tina Corteen - bridal expert

Tina with models at a wedding show catwalk in St Helens

How long have you been a bridal expert?

“I’ve been involved in the wedding world for over 18 years now and have developed a real appreciation for the fast-paced wedding industry. Over time, I have learnt from brides, their families and friends, that the search for a real bridal expert is almost like looking for the perfect life partner. From designer influences, to personality, shapes, styles, fabric and much more, there’s so much that brides and experts need to agree on.”

“I have worked extremely hard on this over the years and feel I have finally cracked it in my shop, Romancia Bridal.”

It all sounds amazing! But, what’s the best thing about your job?

“Oh, that is a tough one.”

“I consider myself very lucky because I enjoy every aspect of my job. From handpicking my gowns during international buying trips, to preparing the brides’ gown for collection, it’s all so rewarding! But, if I had to choose one, it would be receiving photos and thank you messages from brides. Knowing that they had a perfect day and felt amazing in their dress is something that really motivates and inspires me.”

“Another thing that always amazes me is when we get customers from all over the world travelling to our shop. We have either been recommended to them, or a family member has visited before. When a bride and her tribe tell me how much they have enjoyed their appointment, that’s something that is always very special.”

“We currently have a bride who lives in Houston Texas, her dress is mega! Her wedding is booked for the New Year and we can’t wait to see how magical it will be!”

What makes you different from the rest/ why should brides go to you for advice?

“This is such an important question! At Romancia Bridal, we have created our own magical place to provide a high professional and personal service, in an opulent environment that instantly invites you to relax and enjoy the experience.  We genuinely care about our brides’ journey, our moto is ‘create a feeling of memory to last a lifetime’. Whether or not our bride finds her dream dress, our job is to make every bride feel accomplished and amazing after her appointment. 99% of our brides come to us via recommendation and have done so for many years. This is something we are extremely proud of.”

bridal expert

Tina and Elica at Moda buying event

“Our main goal is to help the bride explore which shapes, styles and fabric compliment her shape, skin tone, hair colour and personality. We always have a good giggle and make sure the experience is one she will talk about for years to come. It’s these things that really make us different from any other bridal expert.”

“We strive to provide an exceptional service with a diverse choice of gowns that I personally handpick and continuously update. Whilst also offering a range of accessories, inhouse alterations by our experienced seamstress, complimentary gown pressing, storage and packing service for overseas weddings. We eat, sleep and breathe weddings!”

“Our team also know the importance of keeping up to date with the latest trends, news and events, plus staying ahead of the industry with regular training courses and research. Whether it’s celebrity news, bride forums, social media comments or ‘advice guides’, we consume ourselves to ensure that we see what our brides see.”

“I think what really makes me different is my goal. I always make sure our bride-to-be is confident and excited to wear her dress every single time she puts it on, from her inspection, to fittings and of course, her big day!”

What can brides expect when they visit you for advice – talk us through the process.

“When brides book an appointment with us, they get the royal treatment! We offer exclusive use of the boutique, we never have more than one bride trying on gowns at any one time. Our shop is very warm and relaxed with luxury comfy seating, an ambient atmosphere, great music, refreshments and a very friendly welcome. I have a dislike for boutiques that make their staff wait by the door for people to come in. Brides are usually nervous, so walking in and everyone looking at you can be intimidating and uncomfortable for customers! We make sure brides are relaxed and confident in our shop.”

“When a bride comes in for an appointment, we will usually have a quick, informal chat and a bit of a giggle! She can show us any ideas and inspiration for the dress, then talk us through her shopping journey so far. We always like to hear about choices of venue and the stories behind it. Colour schemes, flowers and anything else that is important. We will then give the bride a short introduction to the shop and show her some of our collections.”

bridal expert

Romancia Bridal Boutique

“After that we leave her to choose some initial gowns. We encourage our brides to choose various necklines, shapes, styles and materials.  Then it’s time to try on! We will arrange the initial gowns into an order that will help us determine her likes and dislikes. In the shop, we have a luxury carpet catwalk with large, ornate mirrors, so the bride can see herself and her friends and family. We admire each dress, listening to feedback, asking questions, offering customisation options if applicable and bringing new dresses that follow the style.”

“Throughout the appointment, information is always given about dresses such as colour options and alterations. We also allow brides to take photos of themselves in the wedding gowns, and of course advise them on the prices of the gowns they like. It’s such a huge decision, so we always encourage any bride to go away and think about it.”

Are there any particular items brides should bring to a bridal appointment?

“It’s important to wear appropriate underwear because during fittings you will be helped in and out of dresses. This is usually a good quality strapless bra and nude pants.”

“We also ask brides to wear little, or no makeup. This gives them the chance to see which shades are more flattering to their skin tone.”

“And always bring along any items that you have already decided to wear, such as a veil or piece of jewellery, to make sure it matches with the dress.”

How long before the wedding do brides tend to start thinking about the dress?

“Brides come to us at all different times before their wedding. We see last minute brides with only a few months until their big day, right up to brides shopping 3 years in advance. It all depends on the person.”

“However, usually brides will come to the boutique between 12 and 18 months prior to their wedding.”

Who are your favourite dress designers and why?

“It’s so hard to choose just one! There are so many international and independent brands out there that are so awesome.  In our shop, we have a few designers that I think really stand out from the crowd though.”

“The first is Ian Stuart. His gowns are completely unique, theatrical, dramatic and always have the wow factor. His designs are brave and bold. I really think he has redefined bridal wear for those who really want to stand out.”

bridal expert

Tina with dress designer Ronald Joyce and Romancia colleague Lesley Howard

“Next is Enzoani. They create young, fresh and cutting-edge designs that are always of an exceptional quality and fit. Their use of luxurious fabrics, exquisite beadwork and unrivalled construction techniques is always outstanding.”

“Lastly, I absolutely love Ronald Joyce. They’ve been around for 70 years and are one of the most respected names in the bridal industry. The gowns they create are always very glam and made using modern materials. Offering a wide selection of styles, from classic shapes, dramatic detail, structured tailors and everything in between, brides will feel incredible no matter what their size.”

Have you got any top tips for choosing the perfect dress?

“The most important thing to do before choosing your perfect dress is to try on a range of different styles and don’t buy your dress online! You may fall in love with the first gown you try, but always try a couple more on, just in case.”

“It’s also really important to never sacrifice your personal style, if you are quirky, embrace it! Remember to sit down in your dress, think about venue practicalities, always check your dress is authentic and if you’re getting married abroad, make sure you choose a gown that is suitable and can be easily packed.”

“Ignore the label size, wedding dress designers have different sizing methods. And lastly, think about the logistics for fittings and collection of your gown. Does the boutique offer an in-house alteration service? Does the boutique have easy access and parking? Will they store your gown until you’re ready to collection it? These are all important factors to consider before making your purchase.”

Favourite celebrity wedding dress or wedding of all time?

“I really can’t ever choose just one favourite wedding dress, so I’ll have to list a few of my favourites.”

“Firstly, I loved Kate Middleton’s lace Alexander McQueen gown. It has become iconic and given a whole new definition to the notion of a traditional princess dress.”

“Next has got to be Kim Kardashian’s Givenchy couture wedding dress, it really flattered those signature killer curves!”

 

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A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on

“I couldn’t not mention Kate Moss’ fabulous 1920s Gatsby inspired Galliano gown, it will go down in history as one of the most stunning dresses. I also loved Coleen Rooney’s demure Marchesa dress, Abbey Clancy’s Giles Deacon gown and Kelly Clarkson’s lace Temperley creation.”

What’s your favourite current wedding theme or trend?

“At the moment I love a statement back on a gown. From daringly low dips, to sophisticated scoops, glitzy detailing, long lace trains and a never-ending variation of buttons and materials, I just love how imaginative you can be with this style.”

“This beautiful trend has also sparked some real competition between designers, they all want to create the signature statement back, which is just brilliant!”

Why do you think you work well with the Signature brand?

“I think we have common goals and a lot of passion for the industry we’re in. Just like Signature, I saw a gap in the market for my business as a bridal expert. I started my bridal shop from nothing and successfully built it up over the years through a lot of hard work and belief.”

“I saw that the bridal industry was confusing, with staff often becoming more wrapped up in the sale than the experience, I believed I could offer brides value, choice, uniqueness, exceptional products, service and unrivalled advice. This is something I think I have achieved!”

“My shop is also only 20 minutes away from Liverpool, so, many of brides choose Signature Living’s venues for their wedding. I also really enjoy working with the team at Signature, they have the same ethics and passion for customer delivery as my team.”

Have you got a favourite Signature Wedding venue?

“Wow, that is so hard to answer! I love all of them for different reasons. I think because I know different brides have different dreams, so they all have completely different venues to match that dream. Signature offers so much choice, which is great!”

Winter wedding venue White Star Grand Hall

The White Star Grand Hall – 30 James Street

“If I really had to choose, I’d say my personal favourite, from an aesthetic point of view, would be between 30 James Street and The Shankly. Both venues are magical, can be personalised and are very opulent.”

What inspires you?

“Overall, I’d have to say relationships. People and their relationships are extremely important to me and inspire me to really excel in my job. Having come from a working-class background, I have been through a spectrum of experiences to get where I am today. This has taught me that what is really important to me is making people feel happy!”

“I have learnt that no one cares what class or environment you’ve come from, it’s how you show up and how you treat people that counts. And that is something that really inspires me every day.”

Lastly, tell us a fun fact about you!

“Maybe a bit of an odd one but, I have an abnormally sensitive nose. The smallest whiff of something can hit me like a bus!”

Romancia bridal expert

Romanica Bridal stall at the last Signature Living Wedding Fayre

If you’re looking for your dream wedding dress, get in touch with bridal expert Tina Corteen by following Romancia Bridal on Facebook and Instagram. You can also email her at info@romancia.co.uk or call 01744 894443.

For more information on our stunning venues, or to get in touch with one of our wedding coordinators and start planning your perfect day, call us today on 0151 305 3753.

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