Grab that coffee, sit back and enjoy reading this week’s interview with Annalisa Jones, our invited wedding expert. She offers an amazing wedding service for you – designer wedding dress hire!
Charlotte Balbier, Jenny Packham, to name but a few…
In fact I’m just about to use the service myself – I’ll be registering as a lender for my own Charlotte Balbier dress very soon. Read on to find out more…
Your Wedding Dress Hire Business Has A Great Name – To Have and To Hire – Where We Can Find You?
Hi 40+Weddings! I’m Annalisa Jones and owner of a fantastic new wedding concept called To Have and To Hire. It’s essentially a designer wedding dress hire business with a twist. I run the business from home in the Vale of Glamorgan, and it’s something I do purely for the love of design (as I also work at Cardiff University as an Economic Development Officer). I’ve been operating for 4 months now and have a great collection of designer bridal gowns for hire from Jenny Packham, Ian Stuart, Pronovias, Cymbeline, Maggie Sottero and Charlotte Balbier.
In these economic times, not everyone wants to spend a fortune on a wedding dress they’ll only wear for a few hours, and now they don’t have to. For the very first time, brides-to-be can access designer wedding dresses for a fraction of the price, and it’s all thanks to a collection of private lenders willing to share their dresses of exceptional quality. This is what makes us unique. All our dresses belong to women looking to make a return on their investment – without having to sell.
How Did You Come Up With The Idea Of Designer Wedding Dress Hire For Your Business?
It was accidental really. The idea stemmed from a conversation I had with a friend of mine who was struggling to find the right dress for her wedding day. She already had her partner and family, and so didn’t feel comfortable paying out huge sums on a designer wedding dress – but she did want to look fabulous. I volunteered my Ian Stuart dress, which fitted her perfectly (thanks to the standard of tailoring) – and started to consider rolling it out to other brides. As soon as I pitched the idea to a few friends we were in business!
What’s The Most Challenging Wedding You’ve Had?
We’re lucky in the sense that we’re able to stand back from the chaos of wedding day preparations. Our dresses are hired out over a 5-day period, so we only get to see brides-to-be when they’re quite calm(-ish). Our role is to ensure that the dress is pressed and ready for it’s date down the aisle.
What Can You Offer In Wedding Dress Hire That’s Different or Unique?
To Have and To Hire isn’t a shop, so when women arrive for a fitting it’s in a relaxed atmosphere that they feel comfortable in. There’s never any pressure to hire one of our dresses, as having no overheads means I’m not looking to cover any costs. Hiring wedding dresses has never been a serious option in the past, as the quality is often poor and there’s never been a terrific range to select from. So having the opportunity to access top end designer dresses is truly unique. Not only that, we also run a request service. So if a bride-to-be has something specific in mind, we’ll do our best to source a lender. Like a matching service!
What Advice Can You Give A Bride Who’s Not Sure What She Needs?
Take your time and try dresses of all styles and shapes. Chances are the dress in your head is not the dress on the day. For my wedding, I wanted vintage 50s glamour, but I fell in love with a Victorian dress with a bustle – and it was plum in colour!
Have You Dealt With Many Brides In The 40+ Age Group?
Yes, we get lots of enquiries from brides-to-be (and new brides) in their 40s, and I chat to plenty at the various wedding fayres I attend. What strikes me about the 40+ age group is that there’s less sense of panic you experience with younger brides. They seem to have more confidence about what they’re looking for in a dress, perhaps as they know what works for them and their shape. They also don’t like to waste their hard earned money on things that are just not worth it. They’re great to work with.
What Happens In An Emergency – Who Oversees My Wedding Dress Hire?
Yes, I have a business partner who I consult on various issues. In an emergency she would fill my shoes as she knows the fitting procedure inside out. We have other emergencies that we must consider however, and an important one would be the non-availability of a dress that’s reserved for hire. This hasn’t happened yet and I hope it never does, but you need to be prepared. In those instances we would try our best to source a replacement dress in good time. Most designer dresses are named (and not bespoke), so are widely available for purchase and so it’s unlikely that this would cause a major problem.
What Do You Think About The FortyPlusWeddings Blogsite?
It’s a great site. I love the classic, elegant look that seems to sum up the 40+ bride perfectly.
What Are Your Contact Details If Someone Wants To Get In Touch?
If you’d like to know more about our designer wedding dresses for hire, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll send you an information pack. You’ll find the website here and can also follow us on Twitter @2haveand2hire – that way you’ll be the first to know when new dresses arrive.