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Home Our Journal No Coronavirus Delays to KWH’s Australian-Made Wedding Dresses
The Audrey gown by Karen Willis Holmes, a blush polka dot wedding dress, shown with detachable sleeves.

No Coronavirus Delays to KWH’s Australian-Made Wedding Dresses

Ladies, we hear you. Your dream wedding was just around the corner and now it potentially isn’t. What should have been a joyous time planning this event has just turned into an amount of stress no one could have imagined. If your wedding day was planned for this time, you most likely have been affected by COVID-19. Postponing your wedding seems inevitable for most until you can be certain you can move forward with the wedding you have always dreamt of.


We all know now how serious Coronavirus is in Australia and that we all have to do our part to keep the vulnerable safe.

 

This blog post will help give you some guidance around COVID-19, your wedding dress and the processes put in place at
KAREN WILLIS HOLMES in order to help deal with this pandemic the best we can. We are not experiencing any overseas delays as our wedding dresses are made in Australia and we have an ample supply of fabric stored at our office so sourcing of materials has no implications for our business.

The Audrey gown by Karen Willis Holmes, a blush polka dot wedding dress, shown with detachable sleeves.

Annabelle gown with covid mask in South of France by Jessica Ruscoe

Take the worry out of Dress Shopping during a global pandemic.

It’s no secret that 2020/2021 has not been the best time for the bridal industry. And while vendors, designers and venues alike have felt the impact of COVID-19, no one has been more personally affected than the many brides planning their dream day. Never has there needed to be more compromise, never has there been the constant fear of cancellation and the overhanging despair of abandoned plans.

Karen talks to clients at One Fine Day Bridal Market
Designer reusable bridal face mask for social distance weddings made in silk brocade by Karen Willis Holmes

Wedding planning has changed, and many of us are not sure how to cope.

The journey of wedding planning has in the past been just that. A journey. With twists, turns, ups, downs, adventures, and triumphs. The love fuelled bliss that accompanies a newly engaged couple is mixed with the excitement and delight of planning what promises to be one of the happiest days of that couple’s lives together. The pinnacle for many brides, being the experience of finding their dream gown.
And while brides around the world are rising to the challenge of organising a wedding during a global pandemic, many are asking how are you supposed to choose a gown, when you may not know if your wedding will go ahead as planned?
A wedding gown may take up to 12 months to create and, with the uncertainties that COVID-19 has thrown at event planning, these timeframes are often rendered utterly pointless. How can brides possibly be expected to ‘say yes to the dress’ when they may not even have a concrete wedding date?
Most importantly, how are brides expected to enjoy the process of finding ‘the one’ when the whole venture seems fraught with uncertainties?

Karen Willis Holmes 20th Anniversary of Australian bridal picture of LUXE beaded wedding dresses hanging on rack
Cutting table-flourmill studios Karen Willis Holmes

Wedding dress shopping is sacred, a treasured experience between a bride and her trusted few.

As a bridal company with over 20 years’ experience in the fashion industry, this has been one of our main focuses for every bride that walks into one of our boutiques. With the ever-fluctuating restrictions and rules around weddings and large events, we strongly believe that at least one aspect of wedding planning should remain steadfast and stable, and that this should be your dress.

At KWH, we work closely with each of our brides to create the perfect gown for their perfect day. Our stylists really get to know each bride who visits our boutiques. We hear about their wedding plans, their love stories, how they met their partner, who proposed and how, but most importantly we hear about their worries. “Does this shape suit my body?”, “I never pictured myself wearing beads!”, “Can I pull off this style confidently?”.
With the growing uncertainty around weddings, these concerns seem to be veering more towards “What will I do if my wedding is postponed?”, “What if my body changes?”, and “I haven’t been able to look at gowns, how can I have one made in time?”

All these concerns are real and valid. A wedding dress is an investment that not many brides take lightly. To top everything off, the often exciting and highly anticipated process of wedding dress shopping has now been dampened, leaving brides mourning for the adventure that they should have experienced.

So, just how can you feel at ease while on the hunt for your dream gown? Further down in this post, we speak about how the majority of our gowns are made in Australia, which allows brides to rest assured that their gown won’t be affected by potential shipping and manufacturing delays.

Curvy real bride Lucy wears the Bobby gown; a modern lace wedding dress with custom sleeves by Karen Willis Holmes.
Karen dresses bride in Wild Hearts dress at One Fine Day Bridal Market

It is incredibly important to support local, so our brides can feel confident in the knowledge that their gown is lovingly made in our Sydney workroom.

Having our workroom based in Sydney not only provides the comfort and security of an Australian Made wedding gown, it also means that we are able to ease most of our bride’s concerns around committing to their dream dress.
Firstly, and most simply of all our solutions is the storage of your gown. Australia wide, we have had over 250 of our KWH brides postpone or alter their wedding date. Each of these brides, as well as any future brides who may also need to postpone their ceremony, were able to have their gown safely stored in our Newtown Head Office.

Whether their date was postponed a month or even two years, each and every bride was, and is, able to keep their gown with us. Giving them peace of mind that their gown is stored correctly, is being checked on and looked after, and is away from the prying eyes of curious fiancés.

But what happens if you decide to bring your wedding forward?

Many brides are forgoing the wait and instead are opting for a small ceremony in the here and now. What if you suddenly find yourself requiring your gown earlier than originally planned?

Generally, we begin work on your gown as soon as our workroom receives your order. This means that, in some cases, we can have your gown ready for you when you require it. Of course, this is all dependant on the gown you order and how quickly you require it, but in many cases, we can be flexible with shorter timeframes.

wedding rings-london wedding with Karen Willis Holmes bride
Karen Willis Holmes 20th Anniversary of Australian bridal picture of LUXE beaded wedding dresses hanging on rack

Perfect for brides still without a gown, whose wedding dates are fast approaching.

This may mean that we need to fast track your gown through its production, or instead look towards our LUXE range which is sold off-the-rack. Sometimes, we even have existing stock of other popular gowns, ready to go for brides who have faster turn-around times.

Because our gowns are either made right here in Sydney or are otherwise a stock item, our brides can be certain that we will do everything in our power to ensure that they have their gown for their wedding. And no, we absolutely will not charge a rush fee if your wedding has been affected by COVID-19.

Having your gown ready to go is great for brides with fast time frames or who bring their wedding forward, but what about the many brides who have their weddings more than 12 months down the track? Many brides use this additional time to tone up in the lead up to their wedding, others plan on starting a family, some just know that their bodies fluctuate as normal bodies do. For these brides, having their gown ready for them so far out of their wedding date is not ideal or practical.

We always recommend purchasing your gown at least 6 to 9 months out from your wedding date. This allows time for your dress to be made, any detailed embroidery to be created and your gown to be fitted. While some gowns can be made with shorter lead times, this isn’t always the case across the board.

KWH bride Bonita getting ready. Wearing the off-the-shoulder Lauren wedding dress; with an open back and button details..

When you know a dress is ‘the one’, that is the right time to order.

We can’t always guarantee that a lace or fabric will remain available, and while we carry certain amounts of our fabrics, we can never promise that the fabric you want will always be available. So, even though your wedding may be a year or two away, if you are certain you have found your gown, it is always best to order sooner rather than later.

So, how do you decide what size to order when you have no clue what size you will be for your wedding? This is not a new concept for us. We have always had brides plan major body changes in the lead up to their event. For these brides, we recommend what we call a ‘resize appointment’.

This is an appointment 4 to 5 months prior to your wedding date, where we remeasure you in your chosen gown. This allows us to begin the initial work on your gown when you order it, then when we have your updated measurements, finish off your gown accordingly. From there, most body changes can be addressed during your gown alterations.

We find that this is helpful, not only for brides who are planning major changes but also for brides who may be worried about committing to a size so far out of their wedding date. This way, you don’t need to worry about what the future may bring. We have you and your body covered, no matter what.

Real bride Lidia & Dayne dancing at wedding reception, bride wears the Vivienne gown, a lace wedding dress by Karen Willis Holmes.

The pandemic has brought many challenges, your changing shape should be one less challenge to overcome.

At the end of the day, after all that this time has thrown at us, don’t ever forget what is at the end of this seemingly everlasting tunnel. Your wedding. A day where you celebrate the love you and your partner share. It may seem like an impossible task at times, but revel in this process and enjoy as much as you can. Devote some time away from the mundane of this period to wedding planning and let your creativity soar!

We are waiting for you, with a warm (contact free) embrace, an ear to listen to all the madness of this time, and an eye for what you are going to look killer in! We can’t wait to see all our KWH brides rise from the ashes and shine like they’ve never shone before!

Book your appointment with us today.

Real bride Penelope getting ready for wedding with bridesmaid, wearing the Cassie gown; a long sleeve art deco beaded wedding dress from the Luxe collection by Karen Willis Holmes.

Where is a KWH gown made? Has production been affected?

The majority of our wedding dresses are made in Australia, which is really important right now as you are choosing to buy a gown that doesn’t have to leave the country to be made which means it hasn’t been affected by international delays due to Coronavirus related shut-downs.

Gowns from our BESPOKE, WILD HEARTS and CURVE collections are all made in Sydney Australia. As of 23 March 2020, our workroom remains open and we are still making your dream dress!

Our LUXE collection is hand beaded and made in India. Because these special pieces are part of our ready-to-wear collection, we carry stock of these in our head office so lead-times of these gowns are not being affected.

Supporting our proudly Australian designed and made brand during this difficult time will help the future of the business so whilst our physical locations may not be open…we are still here!

We have an online store that you can shop any time of the day or night and a customer service team ready to help you with any questions you have. We have informative instructions on our website teaching you how to take your measurements to help your online purchase. You can also purchase our veils and detachable trains through our website so if it is just the final touches you are trying to organise, we have got you covered!

There may be some slight delays in postage times, however, we will be in contact with you should this be the case, any concerns just give us a call or chat to us via our Live Chat.

The wedding dress collections by Karen Willis Holmes

Past brides

You are waiting to pick up your gown or have picked up your gown and now have your wedding postponed.

 

We will call you to arrange the pickup of your gown. It is safest stored in our boutique so if your wedding isn’t for a while, rest assured that we are looking after it.

If you already have your wedding dress at home with you, we recommend visiting your local dry cleaner to give you some long term storing solutions to make sure your dress is preserved.

Karen Willis Holmes Bespoke

Caring for your gown

We do sometimes store gowns for long periods of time in our workroom and stores and we have not had any issues in doing so.

We recommend storing your gown in the following conditions as this is how we store our gowns:

1. Cool (between 15-25 Degrees Celsius),
2. Dry (not humid),
3. Dark, out of sunlight/daylight (AND your future wife or husband’s curious eye!!)
4. The gown can be hung from the ribbon hanging loops (found at the armpit).
5. It also needs to be stored in a fabric bag that can breathe (the KWH bags are Plastic bags, which are brilliant for short term and travel but are not suitable for long term storage).
6. If you do not have hanging space, your gown can be lied flat in a fabric bag and hung back up closer to your wedding. It may need a steam afterward. Running a hot steamy shower and hanging your dress on the back door of the bathroom works wonders on light creases.

 

We do suggest a trusted dry-cleaner for further recommendations.

 

We recommend the following in the locations we have boutiques:

Sydney – Silver Service Bridal Drycleaner

Melbourne – Syndals Drycleaner

Brisbane – Kathron Drycleaner

Perth – Stannards Drycleaning

The Esther gown by Karen Willis Holmes, off the shoulder wedding dress. R_KarenWillisHolmes_BESPOKELumiereHR5

Present brides

You have placed your order or are in the middle of fittings with us.

Please be patient – we are getting around to calling all of our brides in order of urgency, wedding dates and individual requests. Your dress is likely already made as we have always worked ahead of time with production.

All fitting appointments will be re-scheduled whilst our stores are temporarily closed from COVID-19 related government advice and we are in the process of contacting everyone to make arrangements. If there are any further developments, you will be notified ASAP.

If you have ordered a dress through a stockist, rest assured it will still be on its way. Please contact the boutique you purchased your dress through for individualised updates on the delivery of your gown. From our end, we are prepared with your gown but there may be some delays depending on international shipping regulations in your country depending on Coronavirus government advice.

Bride in wedding dress in Karen Willis Holmes Perth

Future brides

You have tried on dresses but not ordered yet or you are planning for a future wedding and are yet to start dress shopping.

Brides who were ready to book their gown but didn’t, we are still offering purchases to be made if you have a tentative booking on file as our store managers have Eftpos machines and tentative folders at home with them. Please call your store manager to organise.

We also welcome you to book your dress through our ONLINE store – this is especially great if you have already visited our boutiques and know what dress you want!

Simply measure yourself with our guide and add your dress to the checkout. After we have received your order, we will call you to discuss the details of your gown.

We can also re-size you 4-6 months before your wedding so choose your closest size now and make a note in your file that you want a re-size at a later date.

You were planning to visit a KWH boutique to find your dream wedding dress but now can’t?

This is a PERFECT time for research! Head to our Pinterest page to get inspired, ‘love heart’ any gowns that catch your eye on our website and really work out what you are loving! Our Journal Brides and Real Brides are a great source of inspiration too – see how different brides wore gowns that you are interested in offers valuable insight you wouldn’t usually get until you actually try on dresses.

Have you considered a dress from our new BESPOKE collection? – Enjoy the experience of creating your own custom gown and supporting our workroom during this time. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to spend quality time with your KWH stylist to create a gown made for you once we re-open. Our must try’s at the moment are Audrey, Penelope and Scarlett.

BESPOKE wedding dresses by Karen Willis Holmes

Need help now?

We want to make this difficult time as stress-free as possible for you and that is why our customer service assistants and store managers are working from home and are still available to answer all your enquiries.

Our stylists are available on our Online Chat feature and also through Instagram DM’s so please reach out if you would like any advice on what will suit you and your wedding.

When we re-open, we understand we will be working with a lot of brides with shorter lead-times. Our workroom will be ready to work with these time frames and will be very compassionate around this.

If you are really concerned about not getting a dress made in time, consider a dress from our LUXE collection which is ready-to-wear – meaning they are already made and we have your size sitting in our workroom waiting to be sent to you!

Some of our favourites are Cassie, Margareta, Anya and Georgina.

Do you still have questions? Feel free to call us on + 61 2 9519 3901 or email us at info@karenwillisholmes.com

Hand beaded wedding dresses by Karen Willis Holmes
Real bride Mia wore the Wild Hearts Kristy wedding dress by Karen Willis Holmes.

Suppliers:

Campaign photography by Gretl Watson Blazewicz  /  Perth in-store photo by In The Wilds  / KWH bride photo of Mia photographed by Ivy Road Photography

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