Wedding Dress Ideas ~ Who is River Elliot Bridal ~ Cambridge
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Who is River Elliot Bridal and what can you expect?

If you have found River Elliot Bridal, then you may have been thinking about wedding dress ideas. But, stepping away from the traditional bridal boutique may feel scary. To stop the panic, I’ve put together a quick blog post with photos explaining just what you can expect when you visit me and my bridal studio in Cambridge. 


Draping wedding dress ideas on a mannequin

Clare Szabo Head of Design at River Elliot Bridal.

Who are you?

First off, this is me. My name is Clare and I’m a very friendly, relaxed person. I am open-minded, non-judgemental and welcome all people into my bridal studio in Cambridge. Outside of sewing, I have an eclectic mix of interests from watching old movies to sewing vintage clothes. I love nothing more than being curled up on the sofa watching an old black and white movie, preferably starring Robert Mitchum or Bette Davis, but I’m also a little addicted to Netflix! I love fashion and always keep up-to-date with the latest trends and wedding dress ideas, however, my passion for the environment means I am more interested in the latest innovations that are making fashion more sustainable. On a personal level, I think I am super kind, friendly and compassionate. I love meeting and working with a diverse range of people and am so excited when spouses-to-be come to me with cool, interesting ideas for their wedding outfit. First and foremost, when you visit me at my River Elliot Bridal studio in Cambridge, you can come with confidence knowing you’ll be in a safe, private space.  

Where are you based?

I am located in Trumpington, Cambridge. It’s a lovely area that is easy to get to by public transport. There is a Park & Ride service just a short walk away, as well as free street parking if you’re coming by car. There are of course a few bridal shops in Cambridge, but if you’re looking for a more private, personal service that can offer you a wedding dress or bridal attire in Cambridge that truly reflects who you are, then bespoke is definitely for you. If you live further afield, do contact me. I have bridal clients from London, Essex and surrounding areas who have come to me because they are unable to find the right wedding dress ideas or bridal outfit. 

What are your qualifications and how experienced are you?

I have been sewing and making clothes for over a decade now. After teaching myself to sew and partaking in various evening classes, I quit my job to undertake a full-time course in Advanced Fashion & Design in London. Over a year, I learned how to make patterns, fit and finish garments with couture techniques. I focused primarily on evening wear, and loved making early designs that featured vintage-inspired dresses. From there on, I knew I had found my passion! During that course I also studied beading and embroidery, but I developed that further last year when I undertook an intensive course in The Netherlands learning the beautiful art of Tambour Embroidery. 

What’s the first step in contacting you?

First of all please don’t hesitate to telephone me, or send me an email or private message on social media. I am always happy to respond to initial queries. If you’d like more information or to discuss your wedding dress ideas and bridal wear in more detail, I always request we meet for an initial consultation in person. This lasts up to 60 minutes and is free. The first wedding consultation can be at my bridal studio in Cambridge, your house or even a cafe or pub in Cambridge! It’s a great chance for you to meet me and find out more about what I do, as well as discuss your wedding dress or bridal outfit. Bespoke wedding dresses aren’t for everyone, so I completely understand if you instead choose to go elsewhere. The consultation starts with an informal friendly chat about your initial wedding idea using inspiration pictures or internet links that you can send me in advance or bring to the meeting. And if you don’t know what you want, don’t panic. I meet many bridal clients who do not have the faintest idea of what designer wedding dress or outfit they’d like – so they choose me to design them a truly unique piece. 


This is a drawing based on a sketch I did for one of my bespoke pieces. You can see the full look and photos by clicking on my gallery page

Beautiful sketch for wedding dress ideas

What does your bridal studio look like?

I work from my house in Cambridge and am lucky to have two dedicated spaces for my bridal work. My workroom is located out of the way, so thankfully you won’t get to see all the nitty gritty of a dressmaker’s life – from threads to pins and needles, it can get hectic and messy! Instead, you’ll be welcomed into my beautiful bridal room, which is a very private space. Featuring a stylish pink sofa and art deco inspired decor, there’s also lots of fashion books and magazines from vintage wedding books to up-to-date wedding magazines available for you to read to expand your wedding dress ideas. We can also use the internet to find wedding styles that you like, or you can rely on my expertise.  

Beautiful art deco inspired bridal room in Cambridge

Beautiful wedding dress room in Cambridge

What kind of access is there?

My bridal studio in Cambridge is located on the ground floor of the house. My front door measures approximately 71cm in width, which unfortunately does not meet the standard requirement for wheelchair access. There are no external steps to my house just a standard pavement curb and driveway. However, if my studio is not suitable for your access needs, I can travel to you for your consultations and fittings.

What kind of bridal fabrics do you stock?

While we are discussing your wedding dress ideas, I have a huge range of fabric samples for you to look at. My primary focus is my wide range of ethical and sustainable materials that are perfect for wedding attire. Looking after the planet and doing what I can to keep my business AND the wedding industry eco-friendly is very important to me. I have spent a long time looking and sourcing ethical and sustainable fabrics that I believe are luxurious yet kinder to the planet and the people that make them. You can read more about ethical weddings on the Magpie Wedding blog .


If you are interested in more traditional bridal fabrics, I do have various lace examples from embellished to Chantilly lace, as well as satins, silks and tulle. 

During the consultation we can look at various fabric swatches, which will also give me a better idea of what you like the look and feel of, as well as the cost of your final wedding dress or outfit. We’ll discuss many important aspects such as what kind of wedding fabrics and colours best suit you, and you’ll have the chance to hold bridal fabrics up against your skin to see if they will work with your colouring. And, if I don’t have anything that you like I can order more swatches and post them to you free of charge. 

The bridal toile and fitting sessions

Once you have confirmed that you would like to work with me, I create a collection of sketches for you to choose from. The sketch you choose is never final, there is always opportunity to change or tweak the design within reason. After the sketch has been approved, I then create the pattern for you and the first mock version of your wedding dress or bridal outfit. This is made using calico cotton, which is a cheap bland cotton used in fashion design for toiles. The toile (mock dress/garment) allows me to assess fit and the both of us to assess the style. If you hate the neckline, we’ll change it. If you want the skirt or trousers to fit a little tighter, I’ll change it. You’ll always be able to express how you feel about your wedding dress or bridal outfit and I’ll always listen to any concerns or feedback that you have. 


Wedding dress ideas take shape in bridal fitting session

The bridal fitting session


How many bridal fittings will you need?

There will be approximately 4-5 fitting sessions depending on the complexity of your wedding dress or bridal outfit design. The fittings are essential to the process and they are only done in my studio in Cambridge in person unless we agree that I travel to a more convenient location. During the fittings I assess how the toile (mock garment) fits your body according to the full body measurements I took previously. While you are wearing the toile, I pin any changes and make thorough notes, checking with you on specific features such as necklines. I also explain to you what I am doing and why so that you can understand the process and how the design is working with your body shape. It’s a fascinating experience giving you a really good insight into how clothes are made. 


When will you see your final wedding dress in Cambridge?

After we have completed the fitting stage and both fabric and style have been finalised, I will start the proper construction of your final custom made wedding dress/outift. This is where the magic happens! I am trained in couture techniques and these will be applied with individual care and skill to your beautiful wedding dress or bridal outfit. Typically the third fitting session will be in your final bridal fabric, which will take place in my bridal studio in Cambridge. 

Choosing a bespoke designer wedding dress or bridal outfit is truly one of the most special experiences you could have leading up to your wedding day. You’ll feel incredibly important and special, treasuring the journey for the rest of your life, especially as you look back on your amazing wedding photos. If you’d like more information or would like to book an appointment with me, please use the form on my contact page or email 


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