I bet you love your job, don't you?
Yes. Absolutely, completely and with passion, but not for the reasons you might expect. Working in a Bridal shop is a dream job. Every day we come to work, play dress up, drink tea and when the doors are closed you'll find us wearing veils and tiaras, playing dress up like when we were children. It's a wonderful thing to be part of someone's wedding dress experience. We love seeing our brides on their wedding day and oooh-ing and ahh-ing over the photos and sometimes babies that follow, from families that often become our friends. However working in a bridal shop isn't easy. We have to be organised and focused, after all, there is no margin for error. We have deadlines, paperwork plus the added pressures of a one time event that quite often the bride has been planning since she was little. We have to diffuse situations when tensions fly high between family members and friends. It is a very emotional environment. Sometimes a "difficult" friend/sister/daughter or an over opinionated aunt or mother in law can ruin not only the experience, but the brides self esteem. There is always an unspoken reason for unhelpful behaviour. Secretly pregnant bridesmaids, scars, weight concerns or sometimes even a bit of jealousy, it takes a lot of tact, experience and empathy to keep everyone happy. We are self esteem builders. Every day we see ladies who are nervous or embarrassed. It doesn't matter if you wear an 8 or a 28, if you feel uncomfortable, it doesn't matter how many times someone says you look great, you will still feel it. A throw away comment about weight or an imperfection can stick with someone for a very long time. We have to be understanding and careful in our approach. We are stress relievers. We get calls from brides who are so stressed they can't think. We are always here to talk to and help. We have planned weddings that have been brought forward due to an unwell member of the party. We are there when the bride says that she wishes her mum/dad/nan could see her in her dress. We are there when weddings are called off and we are the first person they call. It is an extremely emotional and difficult job. Most ladies who have bought their dress from us have heard why Beas began. Usually as I have to explain why I am welling up! I got married 6 years ago, and I had an awful bridal experience. I got married in a dress that didn't fit and wasn't what I wanted. I found the experience embarrassing and at points, humiliating (yes I was one of those girls who got stuck in a size 10 dress being a size 18!) When I look back on the photos that will last forever, be passed down my family and confront me every day on my mantel, I see my arms looking huge, my boobs falling over the top of my dress and I feel sad that I had one shot at "the dress" and I got it wrong. When I started Beas I knew that none of my ladies would ever feel like that. We don't just sell dresses, we do so much more than that. We remember every bride. The dress she has, her sister's name and about her mum's tomatoes. We remember the bridesmaid who wants sleeves to cover the tattoo her mum doesn't know she has and the ladies who call to tell us SURPRISE they will be 7 months pregnant at the wedding. We take the call when a broken ankle means a last minute change of shoes and an additional fitting to shorten the dress or to remind us not to mention the West Ham colour scheme in front of Arsenal supporter Dad. So yes, I absolutely do love my job. Be it exhausting, challenging, demanding and stressful, I feel we change peoples lives, even if it is in the smallest ways. Sometimes the smallest things make the biggest difference, and when you smile as you look through your wedding photos I like to think we had a tiny tiny part in making that happen