Real brides from Instagram share all about finding their dream dress

We fell in love with a dozen real brides’ dresses when we stumbled upon them on Instagram. Nicole Conner chatted with the gals about their dreamy wedding looks

Kate Costello kept things clean with her two bridal looks

“After trying on lots of styles, I decided to go for a big ballgown skirt – mainly because you don’t really ever get another opportunity to wear one!” laughs Kate.

She chose a bespoke Suzanne Neville gown for the first of two looks during her wedding to Greg at Kinmount House near Dumfries, and says she was drawn to the look and fabric as she tends to lean away from lace and beading. “I have to say I loved wearing a veil too,” she smiles.

Real bride Kate
Left: Kate switched to Eva Lendel’s Alegra gown in the evening. She loved its simple cut and cuffed neckline; right: The gown she wore for the ceremony was a bespoke design by Suzanne Neville. (Photos: Alex Wysocki)

“I’d always planned to change outfits for dancing and was very glad I did, because the big dress was cumbersome. We also had a boat trip after the meal which would have been tricky in my first dress with its hoop and layers of underskirts.”

She slipped into the Alegra gown by Eva Lendel for the evening which she also purchased from Perfect Bridal Rooms: Kate loved how simple this dress was, and was particularly taken by the cuff detail around the neckline. “This gown was much easier to move in – perfect for being thrown into the air by my friends during ‘Loch Lomond’ at the end of the night!”

Lauren McKinnon had a few key elements in mind when shopping for her look, and struck gold with her Atelier Pronovias gown

For her wedding to Mark at Ayr’s Roodlea Barn, Lauren wanted a dress with a chic, modern silhouette, made from a sleek material – and ideally with something a little different about it. As soon as she slipped into the Red Sun gown by Atelier Pronovias at Anne Priscilla Bridal in Glasgow, she knew she’d found exactly what she was looking for. “I’d tried on lots of gowns that were almost right, but this one had the stylish edge I wanted,” she tells us.

She adored the statement shoulders and sleeves (getting married on Bonfire Night, she knew she’d need something to keep the chill at bay so sleeves made sense), and she loved how easy it was to move about in the dress, so spending all night on the dancefloor would be no problem. The simple train and buttons down the back just added to the cool, unusual look that appealed to her. “I couldn’t have been happier with my choice,” she smiles. “I’m so glad I went with my gut instinct and picked a dress that was very me!”

Real bride Lauren
Lauren was won over by the statement sleeves and simple train on her gown from Anne Priscilla Bridal. (Photos: Crieff Photography)

Everyone was wowed by Jodi McPherson’s Enzoani gown

“I’d browsed online before I began dress shopping – but the Narine by Enzoani was the very first gown I tried on at Emma Roy of Edinburgh. It gave me all the feelings I hoped to get from finding ‘the one’ (and it got the right reaction from my bridal party!). I tried it on three more times to make sure, but it wasn’t until I looked again at the first dresses I’d seen online that I realised I’d loved this one all along.”

Jodi says she wanted something extra-special and “didn’t want to play it safe” on her big day. She liked the idea of a fishtail gown, and loved this silhouette when she tried it on: the dress was comfortable yet flattering and made her feel confident. “I love all the details on my dress – the 3D floral motifs, the sweetheart neckline, the long, layered soft tulle train with its subtle sparkle. The detachable straps were brilliant too – a low-key change for the evening so I could dance freely.”

Everyone was impressed: “It took my husband by surprise and lots of guests said they’d never seen a dress like it, which I loved!”

Real bride Jodi
Jodi didn’t want to play it safe with her w-day look – and her 3D floral-covered fishtail gown certainly made a stunning statement. (Photos: Ezra Studios)

For her w-day at Carlowrie Castle, Kayley Souttar played princess in two Enzoani looks

“I probably tried on 50 dresses, but none of them made me feel as confident or suited my shape as much as the Enzoani gown I wore for the ceremony,” says Kayley, who married John last May. She fell for the McKinley’s low back, the diamanté finishing on the straps, and the lace detail on the bodice which complemented the plain ivory skirt: “The figure-hugging material was really flattering,” she smiles. Another stand-out feature was the long, detailed train. “The way it lengthened out just blew me away. I felt amazing!”

The train might have been impressive but it was also heavy, so the bride opted to change into a second gown for the evening – the Evangeline, also by Enzoani. It too was purchased at La Novia in Edinburgh. “Changing in the evening was the best decision as it allowed me to still wear my dream dress, but I could relax and feel comfortable later,” the bride tells us. Although the two gowns were similar, the Evangeline was fully lace with dreamy off-the-shoulder elements. It was also lightweight – which meant a fabulous night of dancing.

Real bride Kayley
Left: Kayley switched to the Evangeline gown in the evening – it was lighter and more comfortable for a night of dancing; right: Kayley looked amazing in her figure-hugging McKinley gown. (Photos: Stacey Clarke Photo)

Anja Ormiston opted for a sleek suit for her intimate Glasgow nuptials

As a violinist who plays at weddings with the Arta String Quartet as part of her job, Anja always knew she wanted her day to be very relaxed, which is one reason why she opted to wear the chic and stylish Charlotte suit by Nadine Merabi: “I felt it fitted the laid-back vibe of our day. Sean and I got married at 23 Montrose Street in Glasgow, had dinner with our family at the Ubiquitous Chip in the west end, and then celebrated with a party at our house.”

After getting engaged, Anja had been browsing Instagram for her look when she spotted the suit. She fell in love with its wide-leg trousers and the pearl detailing down the jacket sleeves. (This, incidentally, then became a theme for the day, as she bought a pearl headband from Arianna Bespoke, shoes from Rainbow Club and even had tiny pearls on her nails).

As perfect as her two-piece was, Anja had it tailored by Made by Laura Couture and this, she says, made such a difference to the overall fit and feel of it.

Real bride Anja
The just-married Anja and Sean in Glasgow. Wearing a suit rather than a dress was a better match for her day, believes the bride. (Photos: Danielle Stewart Photography)

Ayisha Yau Raskin wore two Galia Lahav gowns on her Perthshire big day

“I wanted to go with something that showed my personality and put a modern twist on traditional wedding dresses,” Ayisha tells us. “I tried so many different gowns but I didn’t feel myself until I put on these Galia Lahav looks.”

She purchased her dresses from Trinity Bridal in Hong Kong, where she and husband Iain were living at the time. For her, the 3D flowers and backless detailing were the best things about her daytime frock (style G104): they made it look adventurous and unique, which Ayisha felt was a great match with her character. “It was fun and light to be in all day.”

Her second dress (style G502) was “more sparkly and great to dance in,” she notes. “Its A-line shape made it look considerably different when going from day to night.” The dress was covered in sequins which caught the light as she took to the dancefloor: the skirt was also slightly see-through and made for a jaw-dropping silhouette during the couple’s first dance.

Real bride Ayisha
She felt her daytime look was playful and really matched her personality; right: Bride Ayisha slipped into something more glitzy for the evening celebrations. (Photos: Taylor and Porter)

It was an elegant Suzanne Neville gown that set Mhairi Pottage’s heart aflutter

With clean lines and simple details that oozed sophistication, Mhairi knew that the Amber gown by Suzanne Neville was ‘the one’ before she even tried it on at Rachel Scott Couture in Edinburgh. She wanted a fuss-free dress that was striking enough to hold its own for her wedding to Robert at Edinburgh’s Mansfield Traquair.

She liked the idea of sleeves too, since the pair were marrying in winter. “The venue was so grand and had a classic feel, so I needed a dress to match,” recalls the bride. “The Amber was modest, but it had the wow factor. The square neckline was a showstopper, and when I tried it on I felt like it was made for me.”

Taking inspiration from Kate Middleton’s wedding to Prince William (and in particular bridesmaid Pippa’s classically simple frock), she was aiming for stylish but elegant. The finishing touches came from an extra-long, stitched-edge veil from Rachel Scott’s accessory store, and she added sparkle with a pearl headband.

Real bride Mhairi
Mhairi’s long-sleeved gown was modest yet packed a punch – exactly what she was looking for. (Photos: Derek Christie Photography)

A skirt and bodice from two different dresses were combined to create Ciara McCartney’s look

“I picked my dress when Arran and I were trying for a baby so I had everything crossed I’d have a little one there on our day,” Ciara tells us. The couple welcomed their son exactly a month before the wedding at their home in Arisaig. “I chose something that I thought would look good postpartum, as well as what was ultimately my dream dress.”

For this look, she visited the now-closed Olive Jones bridal boutique in Edinburgh and created a one-of-a-kind gown made up of the Piora skirt by Charlie Brear and a bodice (style 2150) from Mikaella. Ciara had been looking for a gown that was memorable and unique, and that’s exactly what she got. “I loved how fun my gown was. I think my favourite feature was the feathers on the skirt,” she adds.

Sophia Webster’s Wifey for Lifey heels completed the look. “I’d had them saved on Pinterest for about ten years! They could have counted as my ‘something blue’ but my baby boy was the best blue accessory.”

Real bride Ciara
Left: Ciara and Arran tied the knot on Bonfire Night surrounded by 46 of their closest family and friends; right: The couple’s adorable baby boy sported a handmade cardigan from Milk Belly Boutique which was their ‘something blue’. (Photos: PJ Phillips Photo)

For her Scottish elopement, Kasey Chapman wanted a unique dress that would make an impact

American bride Kasey and Aussie husband Connah decided to elope to Glen Dye for their big day, and although they weren’t having a ‘proper wedding’, Kasey knew she wanted a dress that would make her feel like a real bride: “I wanted something that was classic, but also unique enough to make a statement amid the dramatic Highland scenery.”

She purchased her gown at Two Hearts Bridal Studio in Brisbane, Australia, where she was able to customise the Sophia design by adding lace balloon sleeves – and once these were on, she knew this was the dress for her. “I absolutely loved it – I wish I could wear it every day!” she laughs. “I felt so beautiful in it and loved how it suited my body shape. It was also incredibly comfortable.”

For others choosing a destination wedding, Kasey has some sound advice: “I would highly recommend picking a dress that can be easily crammed into a carry-on bag. I unrolled my dress after 24 hours of travel, and it didn’t even have a wrinkle! Having to steam or iron my dress would have added extra stress to an already busy day.”

Real bride Kasey
Left: Kasey loved that her dress was both comfortable and beautiful for her big day; right: The couple had an outdoor dinner and reception in September last year. Photo: Caitlin Joyce

Amy Smyth wore a Berta gown from Opus Couture for her winter wedding

From the minute Amy tried on her Berta gown (style 15-107) at Opus Couture in West Kilbride, she felt it was made for her. “I was so impressed by the amount of detail on it. The dress was handmade with totally unique embellishment. It glittered from head to toe – it really was a work of art,” she recalls. ‘Stephen and I married in the evening at Enterkine House Hotel in Ayrshire, and the candlelight made it glow beautifully.”

Amy says she has always loved figure-hugging gowns with plunging necklines, despite not being particularly body-confident, so when she spotted this Art Deco-inspired frock she was worried it wouldn’t work for her. “But when I tried it on it was perfect! Having had three children, I knew I needed support in all the right places and this dress gave me that. I felt totally secure, even with the low neckline,” she says.

“I knew I’d be bending over to pick up children throughout the day and wanted to be able to dance the night away without feeling restricted. This dress allowed me to do all that.” She has nothing but praise for the staff at Opus. The boutique is the exclusive Scottish stockist of Berta.

Real bride Amy
Amy chose this dress from Opus Couture because she loved the Hollywood glam styling, but still wanted to feel like herself. Photo: Francis J Smith

A ballgown wasn’t what Angela Mathews originally had in mind, but the dress was a dream that surpassed her expectations

Angela’s quest for the dress took her to The White Dress in Bathgate. “Despite not wanting a big gown, that’s what I ended up with,” she smiles. “The boutique assistant suggested I give this Très Chic Bridal one a try – and, as clichéd as it sounds, I just loved how it made me feel. Being a bigger-chested girl, I also loved that it was supportive enough that I didn’t need to wear a bra!”

That wasn’t all she liked about the gown – in fact, her favourite part of it was the lace detailing across the bodice and on the illusion sleeves, which kept the chill at bay as she wed Rob at Cornhill Castle near Biggar on Halloween. There were glass buttons down the back as well, another reason the bride fell in love with it.

Real bride Angela
Angela fell for her lace-and-satin ballgown after one of the boutique assistants picked it out for her. Photo: Bear and Butterfly Photography