Many years ago, in 1988, a young Alta went shopping for her wedding dress. She was very excited, and couldn’t wait to try on some beautiful gowns like the ones she’d seen in the magazines (Google wasn’t invented then!) So she and her Mum skipped down to the shops, and couldn’t wait to find ‘the one’. Unfortunately, they were very disappointed… no shop had more than one or two dresses to fit her size 16 figure, and none of them could supply a wedding dress in time for her wedding, which was three months away. They left the local bridal shops empty handed. Eventually Alta found a second hand hire dress for the wedding, and whilst it was pretty, she didn’t have the special experience she’d been imagining.
This got her thinking, and after much research, planning, and scribbling on the backs of envelopes, Alta opened her first bridal shop, Angels Bridal Boutique, in Pudding Lane in 1992. She offered a range of gowns in all sizes, and a quicker delivery for those brides who needed their dress in a hurry. After three years the tiny boutique was proving too small, so a move to the top end of Week Street followed in 1995.
Alta Costura Bride is launched…
Whilst I loved our beautiful little shop, the business continued to grow! Happily, the fantastic premises we’re in now became vacant, and I decided it was time to take the plunge and make the big move to a shop which was four times the size! At the same time, we re-branded, changing our name to ‘Alta Costura Bride’ (meaning ‘High Fashion Bride’. And also, it’s got my name in it. See what I did there?!)
Our brides were starting to ask for lower prices, more choice, and Designer gowns that they could purchase straight from the rail. Always happy to oblige! Alta Costura Bride opened in November 2008, offering many more wedding dresses and a hugely successful ‘Ready-to-Wear’ range – one of the very first outlet-style stores in the country.
Alta Costura today…
We have grown over the last 24 years, to offer a vast ‘Ready-to-wear’ outlet range of over 200 designer gowns, with up to 75% off the recommended shop price. We have a great Curvy Collection department (up to size 36) , probably the biggest plus-size collection in Kent. We found that not all of our brides want to purchase an ‘off the rail’ dress, so we now also carry over 80 sample wedding dresses from the designers Mori Lee, Phoenix Gown, and Special Day, and are main Kent stockists of these ranges. There is a large Bridesmaids department, and a great range of beautiful, sensibly priced accessories on offer. We had a major refurbishment in 2015, and added some much needed extra changing rooms (and some pretty awesome wallpaper!)
Some things haven’t changed – our mission is still to give every bride who walks through the door the special experience that she deserves. We still offer a full in-house alterations service for all of our dresses. We are always ready for a chat with our brides over a cup of tea or coffee and biscuits. (Sometimes, these might even be chocolate Hobnobs!). Our fun, friendly staff are much the same too, although there are now more of us… and we have clocked up over 60 years of experience in bridalwear between us. We’re looking forward to making it a century!