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  • Introducing the New Generation of Bridal Shop – Agape Bridal Boutique

    Now I am like a kid in a sweet shop when entering a good bridal boutique. I love stroking the dresses,  the opulent decor, the decadent accessories, the attentive bridal shop assistants. I imagine brides in a good boutique to waft in fragrantly with her bridesmaids, bright eyed and bushy tailed, a glass of champagne awaiting – fabulous.

    However there is a very different type of bridal boutique, cheap looking dresses in dingy shops, crammed onto rails higgledy piggledy with snooty assistants. Here brides are herded in, insulted (I have heard of shops openly telling brides as they walk in that they do not have anything for them just because they don’t like the look of them). These shops make my blood boil and make shopping for a wedding dress something of a game of roulette. Will you walk into bridal heaven or bridal hell?

    Well today I am reviewing a very special bridal boutique. Not only is is bridal heaven I would go a step further and say it is bridal paradise. It is the very fabulous Agape Bridal Boutique of Bowden Cheshire.

    A veritable feast for the eyes,the experience begins before you even walk through the door. The words window display does not evne begin to describe what you will see. It is a masterpeice of design,with the themes chagning monthly. When I visited it was an Autumnal delight and the plans for Christmas sound amazing-shh my lips are sealed!

    The boutique itself is light, airy, inviting. The dresses-oh my the dresses are showcased beautifully with bespoke labels with room to view properly, fabulous designers, from Stephanie Allin, Temperley, Amanda Wakeley, Watters and Forget Me Not.

    Karen, the owner and Alex, the manager are there to cater for your every need. But most impressive of all, is the fact that not only does Agape stock the very finest designer dresses, Karen also offers an excellent bespoke service to design your dream dress from scratch. Karen readily admits that she is usually chained to her sewing machine, creating bridalwear masterpieces. So enough of my waffle I will let the experts, Karen and Alex, tell you all about Agape.

    When did you establish your business?

    Agapé was established in Knutsford in November 2005 after five years of smaller enterprises. Karen, the owner of Agapé, was the esteemed seamstress for two prestigious Knutsford bridal boutiques (Brides of Cheshire and Aphrodite), as well as running her own bespoke establishment, The Gown Shop, in Macclesfield.

    What made you open Agape?

    Having experienced the bridal industry first hand, and realising that my design, sales and seamstress skills contributed hugely to the success of the bridal shops I was serving, I decided to take the plunge and set up on my own. Agapé means the purest form of love in Greek, so I thought it was the perfect name, (as well as it being the first letter in the alphabet- perfect for directory listings!).

    Why have you decided to relocate?

    We loved the homely feel of our Knutsford boutique, but with an ever steadily growing number of brides on our books and new collections coming in every season, we decided it was time for a change and began the search for new premises.

    Our wish list was long; we needed a spacious showroom space to display our beautiful wedding dresses in the luxurious surroundings they deserve; separate fitting room spaces were essential, ample storage space was a must, and equally important was studio space adjoined to the boutique. I also wanted a lovely large window to set up some lavish and dramatic window displays!

    Initially, we were reluctant to take the search outside of our lovely village of Knutsford, but after having seen everything Knutsford had to offer, we decided to view a great looking prospect on Oxford road in Bowdon. The space was beautiful, and perfect for a bridal boutique, but unfortunately not big enough to house all of our studio equipment.

    We loved the area, so went for a little walk around, and lo and behold, stumbled upon this absolute gem of a building at 31A The Downs.

    We were immediately smitten. One thing we loved about our Knutsford boutique is its period features, and with its curved Georgian window on one side, and huge square window on the other, with a pretty pillar in between the two, it had all the quirky period styling that we adore in an old building. A peek through the glass to see the interior did not disappoint; the beautifully high ceilings were begging for an antique chandelier or two!

    What dress designers do you stock?

    Temperley, Amanda Wakeley, Stephanie Allin, Watters and Forget Me Not… And soon for 2013, Agapé couture, designs by Karen Warburton and Alex Donovan!

    What sizes do you stock?

    Most of our samples are sizes 10, 12 and 14, but we have a small selection of larger and smaller sizes.

    What should a bride expect from her experience at Agape?

    From the moment she walks through the doors of our beautiful boutique, we want her to feel incredibly special. Engagement is a valuable time that should be happy and enjoyable and we aim to maintain this precious feeling whilst helping the bride choose the dress that is ‘the one.’  We want our bride to feel at ease and have fun, and we hope that our friendly, engaging and down to earth service will allow her to do just that.

    What sets Agapé apart from most Bridal shops is our emphasis on the ‘unique’. We endeavour for each bride to have an input into the design of her dress, whether it be adding a bespoke touch to an existing style, or having a dress designed and made from scratch. This way, each bride can sprinkle her own identity and sense of personal style on her dress.

    To help create a luxurious atmosphere, we have decorated the boutique with beautiful wallpaper, plush seating and ambient lighting. Brides are given an initial consultation lasting an hour and 30 minutes to ensure they have plenty of one on one time and do not feel pressured or rushed at all, and tea, coffee and sweet things  are served during appointments on pretty vintage china. When our Bride makes her decision and orders an Agapé dress, we pop a bottle of fizz to celebrate!

    The experience does not stop here. We like to foster a relationship with our bride and are always on hand to answer any queries, have her come back to try on the sample for an accessory appointment, or maybe to show her bridesmaid, or discuss bespoke adjustments to her dress so that it can be truly personal.

    If a bride is having a bespoke dress designed, we see this as a collaborative and evolving process. After an initial appointment in our studio consultation room, we source swatches of silk and lace, and produce a range of sketches for her to peruse. The design evolves from there!

    We offer beautiful styles by Watters, or alternatively a bespoke design service, for her bridesmaids dresses and Mother of the Bride and Groom, should she wish to take advantage of this.

    Our brides are lavished with the same attention during their fittings as is shown at initial appointments, and this is because we love what we do!

    What are your top three tips for brides when choosing their perfect dress?

    1. Be open minded. Your rules for what does and doesn’t suit you often don’t apply in Bridal gowns, so have fun and try on lots of different styles before you rule anything out!
    2. Take pleasure in the experience! It shouldn’t be stressful or pressurised, so have a cup of tea and a macaroon and enjoy yourself.
    3. Have faith in your own judgement. How you feel in the dress is equally as important as how you look, and no one else can know that but you.

    Thankyou to Alec and Karen for making me so welcome at their gorgeous boutique and their launch party was a huge success. Agape was awash with friends, family, brides and suppliers, all there to welcome Agape to Bowden. Fabulous bright green melt in the mouth macaroons and delicate swan cakes by Alison’s patisserie, were there to tantalise the tastebuds-a perfect accompaniment to that glass of fizz by The Cheshire Wine company.  Beautiful floral arrangements adorned the show areas and fabulous ambient music was provided by Helen Blake: http://www.helenblake.co.uk– a truly beautiful voice.

    Wishing this fab new boutique every success in their new home. You will be able to see some of their bespoke and designer range dresses in an upcoming styled shoot-it’s going to be fabulous.

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    One Response to “Introducing the New Generation of Bridal Shop – Agape Bridal Boutique”

    1. Check out amazing #bridal shop Agape` & their new store! http://t.co/Vp6TKKMz

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