Designer Wedding Dresses


Sarah Howat, Head of Business Development, at Joyce Young gave me an insiders view into the designer wedding dress experience. Joyce Young OBE, is an Award-Winning Designer of wedding dresses, mother of the bride outfits and bridesmaid dresses in Glasgow and London.

Joyce Young (left) and Sarah Howat

Joyce Young started her business 25 years ago initially designing cruise wear pieces before quickly being asked to design a bespoke bridal gown and since then has never looked back! Joyce also brings her Scottish heritage to the company, through a range of unique designs using silk and wool tartans for weddings.

Photograph by Alan Peebles

Sarah tells me that: “Joyce is based in Scotland and will come to London once a month for a week at a time – to meet all of our couture brides and anyone who wants a really bespoke design. Joyce works very much hand in hand with the bride from start to finish.”

Joyce’s gift for colour, fabric, style and detail give the outfits she creates a very distinctive look that is instantly recognisable as a “Joyce Young” design. Backed by a loyal and talented team of experts in styling, pattern cutting, sewing and fitting, together her team will create the dress of your dreams.

Sarah adds that: “Joyce really understands what makes a bride happy and excited. She puts her design knowledge and source of fabrics together to create a truly stunning collection.”

She highlights that: “Our customers become friends. They come for their initial consultation and then they will come back for three to four fittings. It’s a very personal experience. We really get to know our customers. We have lovely customers that come from all over the world.”

“It’s not one size fits all. Everyone is different. Everyone is bespoke in themselves.”

For brides, Joyce Young provides two collections – a studio collection and the couture collection. The couture collection is completely bespoke and made to measure from their factory in Glasgow. The studio collection gowns can also be customised to the bride so offer something really unique. Sarah adds “A common request from brides is to add a sleeve to a sleeveless gown, most bridal retailers cannot do this but as we have our own factory, we can offer this flexibility”.

Sarah tells me that: “For our own couture collection, Joyce sources the finest silks and laces from all over Europe. We love to make brand new designs for our couture brides.”

The couture wedding gown experience is a very exciting and a special process. It’s fully bespoke. A couture gown takes four to five fittings. It’s very personal, including the choice of fabrics, the styling details, everything about it is bespoke.

“The signature ‘Joyce Young’ look is very feminine and sophisticated. It’s not all about trends, it’s about a really stunning, elegant and timeless gown.”

Wedding Show Oct 2017, photograph by Alan Peebles

Popular options in terms of fabrics are always lace, mixtures of satin with lace, tulle with lace. Joyce has also introduced a new range of bridal gowns in a simple crepe cloth which are well fitted, and so elegant in their simplicity.

Wedding Show Oct 2017, Photograph by Alan Peebles

Ivory, white are always the classic colours to go for, however, some gowns are now have coloured linings so the colour shines through. The champagne colour is popular too, but again rather as coloured linings.


“Most shops say a 12 month wait for a wedding dress. Quite exceptionally, we have been asked to turn around a wedding dress in one month! If we can do it, we will do it!”

Sarah’s top tips for brides:

  • First and foremost, relax and enjoy!
  • Give yourself enough time. The first consultation takes about an hour and a half.
  • Come as soon as you can and don’t put off the dress shopping for losing weight etc. It’s an exciting process. Come the sooner the better! If weight goes up or down, we can cover all that in the fittings anyway.
  • Come once you have got your venue sorted because you can then picture yourself in the venue. Knowing the venue really helps to focus thoughts for the wedding gown.
  • Last but not least, wear comfortable shoes! We sell a great range of shoes. You will be wearing them all day so it’s very important to be comfortable!

Joyce’s tips for brides can be found on her website.

Sarah’s final words are that no two brides are the same:

“It is your day and we put you first.”

Many thanks to Sarah Howat at Joyce Young

Catwalk images: Alan Peebles
All images © 2018 Joyce Young By Storm Ltd