The Real Brides
AliceWe worked with Alice to create her late fathers’ vision for her wedding dress, as a celebrated designer and tailor it was an honour for us to create his vision. Alice’s story was featured in the August edition of British Vogue:
“Thankfully, my sister-in-law, Sophie, suggested getting in touch with Andrea Hawkes Bridal, the brilliant team who had created her wedding dress. Despite it being just before Christmas, a few days later, my mother and I met Andrea at her studio in Islington. We discussed my father’s design, getting excited about fabrics and cuts. It was apparent the care and commitment that Andrea and her team would bring to this particularly sensitive project, and we mapped out a schedule for fittings, visits to lace suppliers and toile appointments for the coming months.
Andrea and her team lovingly laboured over every detail, sourcing the type of French lace my father and I had envisaged, expertly cutting the skirt and train on the bias in two layers, with a diaphanous silk georgette over a marocain that hugged my body in the most flattering way. More than 40 covered buttons were masterfully sewn down the back and on the cuffs of the sleeve, with rouleau loops adding drama to the otherwise beautifully simple dress.”
Laura“The AHB team are amazing! Andrea Hawkes was the first and only dress shop I went to, and they made the whole process so enjoyable and stress free. Their dresses are simply stunning, made from beautiful fabrics and with impeccable craftmanship. In the end the team worked on a bespoke top for me, and perfectly nailed my vision of ‘bold & organic’! Their attention to detail was incredible – getting the pattern pieces from some difficult lace lined up symmetrically, with a sparser region carefully chosen for the neckline. It was a total dream getting my dress with them. I would recommend AHB to anyone!”
Priscilla“It’s the most gorgeous dress I could have ever imagined, it was so comfortable and I absolutely loved wearing it! I didn’t want to take it off at the end of the night and I’m looking for excuses to wear it again as soon as possible! Thank you so so much to you all for giving me the perfect dress, Mum and I are missing our trips up to London!”
Lauren“Thank you so much for the amazing work you did making my Wedding dress. From the first appointment to my final fitting, you were always kind, generous, thoughtful and patient, and I could not have been more thrilled with the final result!”
Abby“I cannot thank you enough for the amazing work you all did to give me the most incredible dress, I absolutely loved it! It really was the most comfortable dress I have ever worn. I wished I could wear it forever, and I had so many complements. Most importantly however, I felt amazing in it and I owe that to how personal and attentive your service was! You all really helped me find the best bridal me!”
Rachel“When I first started looking for dresses, it was really difficult to find styles that were as ‘stripped back’ and minimal as I’d hoped to. I eventually came across Andrea Hawkes on Instagram and saw right away that her designs were classy, unfussy and just what I was looking for.
Even on the first visit to the beautiful studio in Clerkenwell, all of my dress-search related anxieties disappeared. I choose a few different styles that I liked, and then was able to tweak them to create my perfect dress. The whole process was just dreamy, and I could not have loved the final design more.”
Bia“Working with the Andrea Hawkes team was really easy and comfortable from beginning to end. They made sure I had time to think my choices through and calmed any nerves I may have had about the final result. The whole team is really lovely and reassuring and I had no problems leaving my dress (and the cape I dreamt of) in their capable hands.”
Harriet“From the moment of walking into the Andrea Hawkes Clerkenwell studio we felt calm and relaxed. With only 3 months to go till the wedding and no dress, I had experienced a lot of crazy looks and shocked faces in other studios, this was not the case at Andreas. Naturally I was attracted to Andrea’s work, I was looking for something with less structure, more flexibility. As a dance artist being able to dance freely in the dress was a must. The difference at Andrea’s was an actual conversation about this, how I wanted to feel, how I wanted the dress to fit. After trying a number of designs we started piecing together parts from different dresses. At this point Andrea herself came and joined the discussion, noticing what made me feel more/less comfortable. After a second visit and 2 and a half months to go, there was still complete flexibility for edits I wanted to make. I was thrilled to have found my dress! As for the fittings and discussions with the team, they were always so helpful and informative. Finally on the day itself I have never worn anything more comfortable and so suited to my style. It felt wonderful to wear and great to party in!”
“I came across Andrea’s studio through an extensive online search for ‘minimalist wedding dress designers’, ‘British wedding dress designers’ and ‘East London wedding dress designers’ – things that were all important to me in my dress!
As soon as I met Andrea I wanted an ‘Andrea Hawkes’ dress, and when I tried on the ‘Alinde’ skirt I was 99% certain I would end up getting married in it! I booked in a second appointment that same day but with enough of a gap to be able to try on dresses elsewhere – but I kept returning to the ‘Alinde’ skirt.
I never felt the same way in anything else and never came across a fabric quite so beautiful! I’d always wanted a dress though (and very specifically a dress with sleeves, a low back and a small puddle – but that I still very much felt ‘me’ in!) so the next stage was finding the right top for that skirt, and then working out whether I could afford it! Andrea, who I was thrilled to have met (that didn’t happen anywhere else I went!) and Sophie were very patient, and we went through every possible combination for turning the dream skirt into a dress, and we discussed everything from stick-on bras to sweaty armpits – there was nothing they weren’t able to reassure me on!
Seven months later I had a dress that ticked every box, and I absolutely loved it!”
(Photographer: Nicola Thompson)
“Where do I start! Well, probably that I should have made Andrea Hawkes the first and last Wedding Dress boutique that I visited!
So, I got engaged in March and we set our Wedding date for July of the same year, so I was in a bit of a panic about finding my perfect dress! A few of my friends in the past had been to another designer so I thought I’d go there… I picked out a dress that I thought I loved, but when my first fitting came they’d made a huge mistake with sizing and measurements, and with a lot of tears, I walked out knowing that I was going to have to cancel the order… but then realised that this would leave me without a dress and with only six weeks to go. That evening I started to go through old lists of boutiques I’d researched in the beginning and Andrea Hawkes’ really sprung out at me.
The next morning, I gave Andrea Hawkes’ shop a call, and got through to Sophie, who was so helpful and reassuring. The next day I made my way to the shop and upon arrival saw the most incredible dress in the window and knew that this was the place that was going to fix all my problems! Sophie and Andrea were both in the shop that day and were so welcoming. They really put me at ease. I couldn’t believe either that they said that they would be able to make a dress within the 6-week timeframe and that they would be able to hit my budget. I absolutely fell in love with the first dress I tried on, it was perfect in every way (and very similar to the one that was in the shop window!). That afternoon, after leaving I managed to sort a refund on my first dress, and confirmed with Andrea Hawkes. The rest of the experience with Andrea and her team was an absolute dream. They were so patient and accommodating and nothing was a problem for them. Their level of attention to detail was incredible. What I really appreciated too was that they were not fazed in the least by my meticulous nature and did their upmost to get the dress absolutely spot on.
The day of our Wedding came and I absolutely LOVED wearing my dress, it was perfect in every way. It felt amazing to wear, didn’t crease, hung perfectly and fit like a glove! The end of the day came and I didn’t want to take it off!
Andrea, Sophie and team, thank you from the bottom of my heart, for making me the most incredible dress I have ever worn and probably will ever wear. You worked an absolute miracle and did it with such warmth and care. Thank you, thank you, thank you for making my dreams become a reality. Words cannot express my gratitude to all of you. What a talented group of Professionals you really are. x”
Alinde“I was on my way to a work event one morning, as I happened to walk by Andreas’ showroom in Islington. My eye was caught by an extraordinary two-piece wedding dress in the window. I just had to cross and take a quick photo, which I showed my partner as I got home.
He was surprised, as I am normally not a fan of wedding dresses. The huge amount of fabric and tulle makes me stressed, and being Scandinavian I (obviously) prefer a minimalistic look. And so my starting point for our up-coming wedding was to wear a white tuxedo, something my partner was less thrilled about..
The following Saturday we walked together to the shop and had the pleasure to meet Andrea and her team. After two minutes I had found a white leather waistcoat that Andrea had made as a single sample. I fell in love with it and decided instantly it had to be the key item for my wedding outfit and that the dress would just need to fit with it (I have been told later that it is a rather unusual way to start your wedding dress search!
After several inspiring discussions on design, Andrea and I agreed that she would make something tailored for me. It’s very important to me to try to consume in a sustainable way and I try to buy things that I can wear for a long time. This is tricky when it comes to wedding dresses and so the solution became a two-piece dress where I would be able to wear the separate pieces again for future occasions.
I could not be happier with the result, I absolutely love my dress! Andrea and her team were brilliant and made the design process so joyful and fun. I really felt that my personal style was captured and expressed in the design of the dress. Super-professional, patient, kind and personable – guys, you do such an amazing job!
I felt comfortable, beautiful and so much like myself in my dress at our wedding day. I was so thrilled that my sister (who was getting married three weeks later) ended up flying from Sweden to have her dress made by Andrea as well!”
”After searching high and low online looking for a dress that was less ‘bridal’ I eventually stumbled across Andrea Hawkes. It was the first (and only!) wedding dress shop that I stepped foot into. I adored the use of clean simple lines, sumptuous silks and unusual fabrics to create a modern yet timeless elegance. I relished the opportunity to adapt the shape of collection pieces and choose fabrics to my personal taste. The made to measure service ensured that my dress fitted like a glove and sat beautifully on the day. Throughout the process the team were flexible and so incredibly patient despite my indecisive nature; their input was invaluable. The team have created such a gorgeous atmosphere in the boutique and it felt like such a haven of calm. My dress was a delight to wear on the day. I felt confident, classy, comfortable and most of all myself. I cannot thank Andrea and her team enough.”
(Photographer credit: Joanna Brown)
Frances“From the moment I walked into Andrea’s boutique, I knew she was the designer for me. I have never been a fan of ‘normal’ wedding dresses so it was a relief to discover the simplicity and elegance of Andrea’s designs. The only downfall of choosing my dress 17 months before the wedding was that I changed my mind about the neckline a few times. Andrea and Sophie were extremely patient and understanding and the end result was perfect. It was an absolute joy to wear! I received so many compliments and the highlight was when my husband told me that the dress was very ‘me’. I could not have asked for more!”
(Photographer credit: John Knight)
Polly“Andrea Hawkes was one of the first places I went to at the beginning of my dress search. I was totally clueless as to the style I wanted and went to several other places, but nowhere felt as welcoming, relaxed and reassuring as Andrea Hawkes, so I came back! I knew I wanted something a bit different and they were all so patient with my terrible indecisiveness. I ended up falling in love with a design from their new collection (Drew), the most beautiful silk, modern dress which just felt so amazing on and went perfectly with the family veil I wanted to wear. Such a great experience all round I have been recommending to future brides ever since! A huge thank you to Andrea and her wonderful team.”
Olivia & Rachel“We were so lucky to live around the corner from Andrea Hawkes Bridal and walk past regularly and admire the dresses. The process of making our dresses was an absolute dream. We came with not a lot of concrete style ideas, not a lot of lead time, and I didn’t even know whether I wanted to look like a bride! Both being girls, we were really concerned with wearing dresses that were complimentary to each other on our day. With Rachel being 6’4” tall, buying something off the rack or even trying sample dresses on was difficult. Andrea and Sophie were both so patient with our decision making process and worked with us separately to design beautiful dresses that were were over the moon with. The experience of working with them to design our dresses will always be fondly remembered.
We had so many compliments on the day of how beautiful our dresses were and well they complimented each other.
Thank you so much”
(Photographer credit: Paul Grace)
Alex“Thank you so much to the team at Andrea Hawkes for helping me create the perfect dress. Everything about it came together perfectly. It was beautiful, elegant and timeless and I could tell by the look on Tom’s face as I walked down the aisle that he thought the same. Sophie and the team we’re extremely accommodating, helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable. I wouldn’t change a thing about the day or the dress!
Thank you so much for everything.”
Anisha“After a few unsuccessful attempts at wedding dress shopping in boutiques (and being floored by the price for some of the dresses given the quality), a good friend told me to meet up with Andrea. I was instantly impressed at how much care and attention she gave to me – if you go to the boutiques/shops, you deal with sales people who just want to make a quick buck – but Andrea took the time to go through my ideas and inspiration, and was so down-to-earth and easy to work with. Her work is immaculate and she sources the best quality materials, and I couldn’t have been happier with the end result. It’s worth every penny paying for a quality, bespoke piece versus off-the-rack.”
Vivian“I started my bridal dress shopping quite early as i wanted to enjoy the process and didn’t have a particular look in mind. I knew I wanted something special but I also wanted to be comfortable and feel like myself. I visited Andrea’s stall at Brides the Show in Islington after a friend told me about her boutique. I fell in love with the simplicity and elegance of her gowns. I felt instantly comfortable and at home in her gorgeous boutique and with the place to myself I tried on a number of beautiful dresses without feeling rushed or under pressure. What really stood out was the quality, fabric and detail on the dresses. I worked with Andrea and her team to create something that was perfect, now in the SS17 collection as ‘Vivian’! Nothing was ever too much for Andrea and her team, my comments were appreciated and their expertise and advice perfect. It was really special to be a part of the process from start to finish. I had so many compliments on the day, particularly about the fabric of the dress, people really did notice the detail and I felt amazing.”
Francesca“I really cannot put in to words how grateful I am to Andrea and her amazing team – my dress was absolutely perfect. I came to the studio only five months before my wedding, with no clear idea of what I wanted, only a sense of how I wanted to feel in my dress. Andrea and her team worked with me to customise one of her existing designs, and to find a fabric that would match my mother’s headdress and veil. In the end my dress was flawless, shockingly comfortable and I felt beautiful on my wedding day – what more can anyone ask for!”
Amy“Andrea and the whole team are fantastic. Having tried on many wedding dresses I popped into Andrea Hawkes on a whim and spoke to her about the dress I had in mind. We worked on the design together and she sourced me the most incredible fabric. The whole process was professional and enjoyable and I could not have been more delighted with my dress at the end. It was stunning- and so fun to wear on my wedding day. We made it specifically so I could wear it again and I can’t wait to!”
Lisa“Working with Andrea on my dream wedding dress was a truly amazing experience. From starting out with very few ideas and no real enthusiasm, Andrea gave me so much inspiration and had so many good ideas that suddenly it was difficult to make up my mind. Andrea guided me through every part of the process, giving honest and professional advice, which I really appreciated and which made it such an enjoyable experience for me. She is extremely talented, and has a fantastic team working with her. In the end my dress looked stunning, and it was really “me”. I would recommend her to all my friends and family, and to anyone looking for a designer who truly cares about her customers and who respects the importance the wedding dress has for each and every bride.
Thank you Andrea & Colleagues for all your help, advice and dedication – I couldn’t have asked for a better team to create my wedding dress!”
(Photographer credit: Claire Graham)
“I first met Andrea at the beginning of my search for a dress at a bridal fair in islington. She immediately stood out to me as being different to the other bridal designers that I’d seen. Her designs are so modern and everything she produces has so much style and beauty.
My husband and I are both designers and I have a particular interest in fashion, therefore the dress was extremely important to both of us.
At the beginning I wasn’t exactly sure what I was looking for. However, after searching through lots of bridal websites I soon I realised i wanted a very simple elegant outfit but with an unusual edge, which was leading me to something quite bespoke. Andrea’s ‘Audrey’ dress was the closest thing out there to it, so we used this as a base and set to work.
I’m sure I was quite a challenging client a times, but Andrea and her team were so patient and accommodating. They got to know me and really tried to tailor everything to how they thought i would like it, but at the same time making sure it would look good and work well! We certainly went on a journey together and developed a great relationship, which resulted in the end product being even more amazing than I could have ever imagined!
I cant express how happy I was with my dress. It was perfect and I couldn’t recommend Andrea and her team more. They were all amazing from the beginning to the end.
Thank you so so much!”
(Photographer credit: Mark Wallis)
“After hours spent online and trailing through numerous boutiques, finding Andrea’s studio was like a breath of fresh air. I could tell from just looking at her studio interior, this would be the place.
The atmosphere in the studio is very relaxed, which is testament to the friendly and efficient team Andrea has assembled. I commissioned Andrea to create a bespoke dress, and with several references, we got to work. I loved every minute of the design process, from choosing the lace, the toile corset to the veil. And it was all delivered with passion and professionalism.
The end result was spectacular, the lace was so beautiful and it hugged in all the right places. I danced until 4:30am, and it performed perfectly.
I would encourage any bride to meet Andrea, in addition to her genuine warmth and welcome, her talent for clean lines and quality fabric selection is clear, it’s an experience I will never forget.”
Kat“I knew I wanted to go and see Andrea as soon as I got engaged. I had helped one of my closest friends with her dress hunt and mentally earmarked Andrea’s website after seeing the ‘Cecilia’ dress.
Being nearly six feet tall and into weight-lifting, I am bigger than the average bear. I had a bit of drama with another bridal designer who simply told me I could come and look at the dresses but there wouldn’t be anything for me to try on. You can imagine my relief when I received an email from Andrea telling me she had all sorts of sizes and we would make it work.
My mother came down to London from Yorkshire and we went to Andrea’s studio for a chat. She just got it. I tried a few things on but we ended up throwing ideas around, pinning toiles about my person and showing me beautiful fabrics that would make my dream dress. I confessed my love for the Cecilia dress but knew the current design wouldn’t suit me. Andrea got to work on creating a Cecilia just for me: a corset base covered in stunning ‘sea pearl’ silk and French lace over the top to create a train. It. Was. Amazing.
My husband and I are the kind of people who are in or out. We got engaged in scruffy shorts and t-shirt on the Rufiji River in Selous, Tanzania. If there would have been someone to do the deed I think we would have got married in that rickety old boat. However, being from Northumberland Joe wanted to get married in Bamburgh Castle. It was go hard or go home. A magnificent castle on one of the most beautiful beaches in the UK? Who was I to refuse?!
My beautiful dress fit in to the surroundings so well. The fit and technical elements were so modern but the overall feel was almost medieval, which was exactly what I wanted.
I did initially worry about getting carried away and then wearing something that wasn’t ‘me’. I know as soon as I met Andrea that wouldn’t happen. I looked the very best version of myself on my wedding day and I can honestly say that I have never felt so confident.
Thank you to Andrea, Camilla, Dan and all the team for looking after me. Thank you for the laughs, the cups of tea and making me feel a million dollars. You are all wizards and I am forever grateful.”
Sarah“I walked past Andrea’s pop up store by chance in Stoke Newington, after I had visited several bridal shops and was feeling incredibly disappointed by the whole process. What the others lacked, customer service, attention to detail, personalisation, Andrea had in abundance and I am so grateful I walked past that Sunday afternoon.
Having a dress made with Andrea is an entirely unique experience. Andrea gets to know you and takes the time to truly understand what you love. She goes above and beyond to ensure that you leave with your perfect dress; the whole experience is an utter joy.
Andrea’s dresses are simple but totally stunning; each one is completely unique and created with a genuine love of design and quality fabrics. I had an idea of what I wanted but felt overwhelmed by all the choices. Yet Andrea worked closely with me, taking time to find out what I loved about individual dresses across her entire collection. It was because of this effort that she was able to design a bespoke dress for me that was more than I could have ever hoped for.
Andrea and the remarkable team were wonderful to work with, putting up with my last minute wedding anxieties with ease and laughter. I was genuinely dreading the whole wedding dress experience, but I ended up loving every minute of it. I never thought I would miss having dress fittings but I do; I think about my dress every day and how lucky I was to wear it and that’s how every bride should feel.”