If the thought of finding the perfect dress for your big day fills you with dread – no time or no idea where to start – then Lynn Crean is here to help. 5 Star Weddings finds out how….
5 Star Weddings: How did you get into the business of helping brides to find their perfect dress?
Lynn Crean: Even as a little girl I have loved dresses. When I was 5, my father made me a ‘clothes-line’ with a string that stretched across my bed. I had these tiny hangers and I used to hang all my dolls dresses on them and push them up and down the line. Suffice to say it was in my heart even then!
I practised law in the city for a time during which I was the go-to girl for my friends when they were getting married. Eventually becoming sick of the hours and the ‘no life’ of the city I was propelled to throw caution to the wind, follow my childhood passion and get involved with dresses.
For almost three years I took some really low paying positions in Boutiques around London just so I could get the feel of the industry, the styles of dresses and basically train myself. I found that helping girls find the perfect dress was not unlike dealing with judges and counsels in a hearing – a lot of listening, looking for evidence and hearing both sides while at the same time keeping the focus on what my client wanted. It was like the law but beautiful, fun, free and the clients end up looking much more fabulous in the long run!
During this time I saw that many brides who were really stuck for time as a result of busy jobs in the city did not know what suited them, where to find suitable dresses or just spent absolutely ages looking for the elusive ‘One’. Working on busy Saturdays in Boutiques where stressed out brides would arrive with bridesmaids in tow, I used to think to myself this experience of finding your dream dress does not have to be this hard!? It can be simply beautiful and efficient all at the same time. I watched many brides being at the complete mercy of sales assistants who often were neither interested nor capable of styling her in the best possible way. Often brides were very self-conscious about different areas of their bodies or were pregnant, or had just given birth. Somehow these needs would be ignored or fade away and it was all about the next sale. It made me quite sad. However, that was where the inspiration came for LONDON WEDDING DRESS FINDER.
I truly wanted to create and offer a smashing service that came from the heart and that found the most suitable, beautiful dresses quick smart with no nonsense. A service that would place the needs of the modern London bride first, a service which meant she could get her dress sorted, be heard and where she would receive an excellent service based on efficiency, simplicity and the most wonderful sources that London has to offer. I also met many overseas brides who seemed to be doing a London ‘boutique crawl’. I knew that my service would help them too to find their dresses quickly and easily in the right places, and so Lynn Crean – London Wedding Dress Finder was born.
5 Star Weddings: Tell us what a wedding dress finder can help brides do, that they may not be able to do themselves?
Lynn Crean: The bride on her wedding day has to feel like the most beautiful woman in the room. The pressure is on!
First, time is of the essence with weddings. Having a wedding dress finder means all the hard work, research and organising of appointments is done for you. I can do in two weekends what would otherwise take 6 months – 1 year. Second, it is so difficult to see ourselves from the outside. I provide a styling service which shows my brides exactly what shapes and styles suit them and why. It means that they are armed and ready so to speak when they go into boutiques to try. They are usually the ones telling the assistants what they should be trying next! After the wedding, the information can be extended into the brides’ whole wardrobe as well as being used to find perfect bridesmaids dresses. It saves time and money (considering most boutiques now have a charging fee) because my brides know exactly what boutiques and designers to go to and why.
Finally, with my experience in the industry, I have a plethora of excellent contacts and exposure to designers and boutiques that brides would not normally have access to. I get appointments organised in a flash, appointment fees waived and work on behalf of my client to get the most favourable price. Needless to say, if anything ever goes wrong I act as my client’s representative and use those legal skills to make sure that everything is sorted out in a perfect way!
5 Star Weddings: What is the experience with Lynn Crean?
Lynn Crean: One of my brides has described my service as ‘an oasis of calm in a sea of ivory madness!’ Whilst this may be slightly poetic I do provide an experience where the bride has to do as little work as possible and where the question of her wedding dress is handed over. The experience begins with an Initial Style Consultation where we meet over a coffee in a beautiful and inspiring space to speak about her needs and desires and where I perform a body shape and style analysis so I have all the information I need to do the most important part of my job which is the research. I use the style information to perform online research, boutique and designer visits, hunting down specific dresses and the perfect designer for each bride no matter what her shape and size or how soon or far away her wedding is. We then meet for the Main Style Consultation where I present my findings, the plan of action and collaborated personal style portfolio. After this I get busy coordinating your trying-on schedule and set you up with no more than 2-3 appointments to try specific dresses or work with a couturier who will be fully briefed on your inspiration/personality/needs meaning that your perfect wedding dress chosen, sourced and created quickly, easily and beautifully.
5 Star Weddings: Where do you source your dresses for brides?
Lynn Crean: My brides are the inspiration behind my sources. In a way, I feel like a dating site for brides and boutiques/designers! Many of the top London designers are personal friends and I know who to match with whom. I am careful with personalities and backgrounds. I think the service and the relationship my brides have with the boutique/designer is an extremely important factor in choosing the right dress and in essence, it is an extension of my service. The bride needs to feel that she is being heard and that the designer respects her needs and wants. The experience of trying wedding dresses is very emotional and the final wedding dress choice comes from the heart, not the head. The match has to be right. I start by working with what my bride wants and needs to flatter her, I then ask what dress collections or designers could meet these needs and then based on personalities I recommend specific individuals/boutiques. I have found this approach works wonderfully well and is what attracts friends and cousins of former clients who want to have the same experience.
5 Star Weddings: Are you able to help brides of all dress sizes?
Lynn Crean: A resounding absolutely yes! Everybody is different and there is a perfect dress out there for everyone. I adore the diversity and I know exactly the designers who are skilled enough to deliver any style in any size.
5 Star Weddings: What are some of the concerns that you find brides have when looking for a dress?
Lynn Crean: Will my mother/bridesmaids/guests/other-half like it? Is it too revealing? My boobs are huge, how am I going to cope? Am I breastfeeding? I am losing the baby weight. I am pregnant. I am too tall. I am too small. Will I feel really restricted; I hate being restricted, especially in the heat? I want to hide my bum, the backs of arms, back spots, tattoos, freckles, birthmarks, surgery scars. Will I be too hot? Will I be too cold? How do I manage this train/veil/strapless dress? Will I be able to dance? All completely normal, the list goes on!
5 Star Weddings: Is there a style of wedding dress that you find most flexible and flattering for all brides?
Lynn Crean: I know everyone would want me to say yes – this particular style! It sounds clichéd but it truly, truly depends on the bride herself. However, if you were to ask is there a style of wedding dress that I have found to be the easiest style for most brides to wear I would say the classic Princess Line/A-line. Like the name suggests it is flared from the hips meaning it is extremely forgiving, trains can be any length and every girl looks good with a tapered waist.
5 Star Weddings: What famous bride has inspired you and why?
Lynn Crean: Most recently, I love the dress that Zahra Phillips will wear on her wedding day. I also adored Ayda Field’s Monique L’Huillier who is one my favourite designers. Kate Moss’s recent ethereal look was stunning. Over the course of time there are so many magical options, some of my favourites include the dress worn by Jane McNeil, the former Hartnell model when she married the Earl of Dalkeith in Edinburgh in 1953, Jemima Goldsmiths cream bias-cut silk skirt and jacket when she married Imran Khan in 1995. These stand out because the personality, the brides’ true nature and true beauty seemed to float to forefront superbly.
5 Star Weddings: Beautiful veils have become popular since the recent royal wedding. What’s your advise on how to wear a veil well?
Lynn Crean: Veils are such a dramatic addition. There is nothing more beautiful and feminine than silk tulle. However, brides need to be careful as it is the dress that should dictate whether to have a veil, how long it should be, what height it should sit at and what gather it should have. There is nothing worse than a veil sitting at the wrong height or being the wrong length or being too ‘lacey’ as it disrupts the balance of the gown and how it looks. In a general sense, my advice would be to put the comb of your veil at the back crown of your head, not to be seen sticking up when looked upon from the front, unless you are wearing a tiara or headpiece in such case the comb needs to be tucked under or at the very least ‘meet’ the piece so there is no gap. Veils are one of my favourite things I love when my clients bring family heirloom veils that have been lovingly cared for and passed down. I had a bride once who used her veil as a drape for her baby’s sleeping crib. It looked amazing and so beautiful!
5 Star Weddings: What, in your opinion, makes a 5 Star Wedding?
Lynn Crean: A gasp when you enter in your dress, staying true to yourself and your fiancé, surrounding yourself with friends and family and all the people in your life who want the very best for you both, feeling like the most beautiful woman in the room. You will forget all the rest.