Looking for The One

Almost every bride I’ve come across has expressed their utter dismay at wedding dress shopping.

They hated the process, the hunt, the feeling that you’re being rushed and pressured to buy (no matter how far in advance you start shopping!), the fact you have to squeeze into sample sizes designed for teeny tiny models, and most of all the fact that it just didn’t feel “like the movies”. That it wasn’t special and that the right of passage they had so looked forward to, was a myth.

Of course there are the lucky few who stumble upon their dream dress right out of the gate, but as far as I can tell they are the exception that proves the rule.

It turns out that shopping for “The One” is almost as tricky as it was choosing “The One” to marry!

But for any brides out there who are losing faith, don’t.

Take a deep breath, try and get some perspective and start a fresh.

I did just that, and it was then that I found a place that renewed the romance, the excitement and the joy of wedding planning.

Phillipa Lepley.

A little shop on The Fulham Road, with a lot of heart.

More boutique-y than some of the other, bigger wedding dress shops.

Stepping inside feels intimate and immediately relaxing.

You’re met with ivory gowns in every shape and style imaginable, along with a small team of beaming girls, all eager to help.

You’re offered champagne and invited to take a look through the dresses, to see what jumps out at you.

They then use your picks to suggest others that may suit, and will scurry into back rooms to find others they think you’ll love!

I visited with The Mother of The Bride and the Maid of Honour, leaving us in one big giggly, swooning mess!

Still utterly unsure of what I wanted or what even suits me best, I opted for a variety of styles and ended up with quite the dressing room downstairs.

First, The Acanthus Leaf Dress.

A real Princess dress and as classic as they come.

But it’s only as you get closer that you see the twist on this classic.

What looks like lace is in fact embroidered little leaves, all intricately sewn into place.

It’s as though your fairy godmother just swirled the forest floor into a gown, fit for a princess.

Bibbidi bobbidi boo!

Next, Lily of the Valley.

A corseted slipper satin dress with Lily Of The Valley petals delicately placed on a tulle overlay.

Like a flurry of blossom caught on the breeze.

Light, flowy and very romantic.

I couldn’t resist trying The Sophie Wood Anenome.

Hand embroidered with tiny flowers, and tied with a pretty pink sash.

Complete with matching veil.

Which made us all cry, again.

Then there was Sabrina.

I am besotted with this dress.

It’s something I would never have thought of, and I just think it’s heavenly.

Made with structured heavyweight duchess satin it pulls in the waist, flatters and elongates, and just feels a million dollars.

A red carpet number, I think.

Back in Princess land, I slipped into The Olivia.

A signature Phillipa Lepley dress: An A-line that skims over the hip and falls into a structured full skirt. Two layers of silk organza give a beautiful, frothy softness to the silhouette.

A light and airy look, styled with a nude tulle top embroidered with lace and organza flowers that glitter when they catch the light.

All tied up with a matching satin sash.

Followed by something much sleeker and as light as air.

The delightfully named Venice Crepe Buttercup.

The skirt skims over the hip and puddles into a mid-length train.

All finished with the most beautiful, buttercup lace.

And then there was The Bolshoi Ballet Ivoire Scroll, perhaps the most elaborately named dress I’ve ever tried on!

But doesn’t it live up to its name?

A sumptuous structured dress, nipping in at the waist and highlighting the decolletage, finished with a French corded-lace overlay and delicate little satin belt.

It seems that as much as I thought I wouldn’t be into Princess styles… I just can’t stay away from them!

Deep down inside, I simply must be a Queen in waiting!

But no I’m spoiled for choice and need your help.  I can’t quite decide on a style… what do you think?

Light and sleek?

Structured and glam?

Lacey Princess style?

All comments gratefully received!

And for any brides to be out there, gather your dearest,book an appointment and pop in to see Phillipa. She’s a game changer, and will revitalise your wedding butterflies. It really should be fun after all, or what’s the point?

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  • GoldenJoyRecords

    I love, love, LOVE the Lily of the Valley dress on you! The shoulders, the flowy A-line. It looks like you are floating! By far my favorite. Similarly, the Bolshoi Ballet gown has elegant lines and shows off your best features (well, besides your legs!). I thought the Acanthus was too heavy a pattern for you but is still a beautiful gown. Princess A-line with delicate lace pattern and petite shoulders is the way to go!

    • Rosie

      Good advice, thank you!

  • SomethingBorrowed

    I think the Sabrina, Olivia & Bolshoi fit you the best. Something to elongate your upper body and neck. I wouldn’t go emphasizing the shoulders, because it makes you look shorter. Either drop shoulders or some pretty lace sleeves. But nevertheless, you’ll be a beautiful glowing bride! <3

  • Vihra Rampre

    I absolutely loved the Sabrina dress and The Bolshoi Ballet Ivoire Scroll! I think you look gorgeous in every style and I think you will know when you try it on, which one is THE ONE. 😀 Happy shopping. 😀


    • Rosie

      Thanks V!

  • Cremaluisa

    You look great in all of them but the Olivia is my favorite. Good luck.xx

    • Rosie

      Isn’t she lovely? I should have made a video so you could see the sparkles… so pretty in the light! xx

  • Wow, all of these look stunning on you!

  • I had a Phillipa Lepley wedding dress, she really is the best!

    • Rosie

      Oh how perfect! What was yours like? x

  • The Bolshoi Ballet Ivoire Scroll is THE ONE. Simply stunning on you. xx

  • I think the Lilly of the Valley is especially beautiful – I love the style of the straps and the veil is so delicate looking! I think the overall effect is really rather magical!

    The Bolshoi Ballet Ivoire Scrol is really beautiful, but perhaps a little showy for a wedding? Just my personal opinion, but personally I’d maybe go for something a bit more modest?

    KatieJane | Soup&Champagne

  • Anne-Sophie Biland

    Sabrina looks best on you!

  • Rachael

    My fave’s are the Sabrina & the Olivia.. totally different but perhaps go with two? One for the ceremony and one for the evening, very on trend, very glam 😉

  • Octavia

    You looks beautiful in all, but I think the off the shoulder styles suites you much more, looks far more elegant on you, they are all so fab, wish I had an excuse to try on such gorgeous dressses!

  • Rébecca Bouteveille

    lily of the valley with no doubt and then the bolchoï! the shoulders, very light and delicated. They best fit your upper body! You look gorgeous!!!

  • Alice

    Lily of the Valley – you look like goddess! The rest are all pretty (Sabrina is second for me!) but none have the jaw drop factor of Lily <3

  • Leslie Skibo

    my daughter had her gown made by Phillipa. We live in the US and my daughter flew in from Geneva. They made the whole dress shopping experience magical from finding The One through to the fittings. She chose a form fitting dress with peacock feather sparkles. Married at sunset on the beach she was breath taking when the last rays of the sun hit her dress. People are still talking about the wedding five year later! You look beautiful in every one but I really loved Lily of the Valley. Enjoy the experience with Phillipa!

  • Selin Colakoglu

    Sophie wood anenome!

  • I LOVE the The Bolshoi Ballet Ivoire Scroll dress on you. It’s gorgeous. No, you are gorgeous! Can’t wait to see which dress you picked! Lots of love


  • Maëlle Bloret

    I love the Sabrina on you! It’s simple yet very modern and elegant.
    I chose a dress with a skirt like this (they told me that it was a “tulip shape”: very structured but not too voluminous). I found my dress not too long ago but as you said, it wasn’t the dreamy experience I was expecting at first. It was so weird to see myself in a white gown and I didn’t feel comfortable trying on the first few dresses. I’d say you have to get used to it! 🙂 I hope you’ll find your dress soon and good luck on the preparations!

  • Pia

    Sabrina or bolshi ballet, the latter looks beaut on you!!!!

  • Freya Van Wijnsbergh

    The Olivia screams Rose!

  • Jenny

    These are all so lovely! I think the Olivia (Princess + A Line) looks the most amazing on you.
    Though I would definitely save the Sabrina for a hot date or formal event!

  • Hayley

    I know it might sound super daft, but I found the easiest way to pick my wedding dress was to pick my hairstyle first. I always wanted my hair to be up, because I always have it down, so I chose something which had a lot of detail on my shoulders. I adore the Sabrina on you, that’s such a flattering style! Best of luck with your decision making, I too found it to be a total nightmare, only picking my wedding dress 5 months before the big day! Eeeeek! Good luck! X

  • Flic

    Lily of the Valley caught my eye (reminds me of my own dress!)but that Venice Crepe Buttercup… made for you!


  • Mary

    Definitely the Olivia!

  • Melanie Law

    All of them look stunning on you but the Lily of the Valley, Sabrina and Venice Crepe Buttercup are my favorites! Thank you for sharing your wedding dress shopping experience with all of us. You will be a beautiful bride no matter which dress you decide upon!

  • warrender

    Sabrina, hands down.

  • You look amazing in them! Good luck in choosing! I was so lucky when I was getting married that my Mum had a recommendation for a lovely bridal shop, so we went there and the first dress I tried one was the one I wore on the day, which I couldn’t believe. My Mum spotted it and she just knew it was perfect x

    Jenny | LuxeStyle

  • The Sabrina dress is everything. I never would choose a dress like that seeing it on the hanger but oh my gosh! It look so amazing on and has such an old Hollywood glamour. highly recommend

  • wow those dresses are just gorgeous!

  • Ana Rocha

    It’s so funny because I always thought I’d want a princess dress, but have been drawn to more sleek as I’ve been trying them on. But on you, I love the princess look…I think the last one is my favorite! Ah and those veils! So perfect, I want a blusher too 🙂
    Do you happen to know what headpiece you were trying with the Venice Crepe Buttercup? I want a similar look!

  • Di

    The Bolshoi Ballet one is beautiful! Not too princess-y, it seems more understated than the other more voluminous ones. And the bodice/neckline is very flattering. Good luck!

  • Stephanie Blum

    The Sophie Wood Anenome is my favourite I think… I love that little hint of colour. You also looked stunning in The Bolshoi Ballet Ivoire Scroll. Enjoy dress shopping! Such a special time! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  • Emilee

    Structured and glam is very timeless and beautiful!!

  • Wedding dress shopping is nothing like I imagined, it’s fun but it can be stressful and no where near the fairy-tail we’re led to believe exists.
    I set out looking for a boho style gown, loose, floaty and floral – I fell in love with a fitted white dress with lace sleeves (I said previously no white, no sleeves) and ended up buying a fitted, detailed and embellished dress with the finest rose detail in the softest pink (!).
    My advice is let people pick dresses for you to try, especially the assistants. I loved how the Sabrina nipped in your lovely little waist and I felt Bolshoi Ballet gown was my favourite on you, it felt young, fresh and it showed off your shoulders and beautiful hair.
    Have you tried Half Penny Dresses yet? some are absolutely dreamy…

  • bunbunwetz73

    I think it depends on what kind of wedding you’re having, but I ADORE the Sabrina! That is timeless and classic. It looks amazing on you!

  • Molly the Bean

    They’re all so beautiful! I really love the Bolshoi on you. I think the bodice is incredibly flattering. I also loved the Sabrina, so unique! I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like it. I think you should go with whatever gives you the most joy.

  • rose

    I think the Sabrina was the most unique and stylish!

  • Stephanie

    The Sabrina is the most gorgeous dress I have ever seen! 100% yes!!

  • Roxanne Schreiber

    You looked simply marvelous in all of them but the SABRINA… be still my heart! It is a very sleek and elegant choice. But I also loved the Lily of the Valley dress as it is romantic and ethereal!
    On a side note I loved the shape of the Bolshoi ballet dress on you, but I felt like the lace was too much… it reads very heavy in pictures.

  • Cat Kittlitz

    So loving the Sabrina, I think it lets your natural beauty shine through without all the lace or detailing!

  • Brianne Lutz

    Oh my goodness the last style is STUNNING on you!! Isn’t it funny how the style you think you’ll avoid is one you gravitate towards? When I bought my wedding dress it was the polar opposite of what I envisioned.. couldn’t be happier with it though! Good luck with your hunt!

  • Estelle

    I think you look good in everything but I absolutely adore you in the last Bolshoi dress. It looks amazing on you, just like a real life princess !

  • Adrienne de Nerrgaard

    First of all, you looked stunning in them all, but I think the Bolshoi Ballet Ivoire Scroll and The Sabrina looked the best on you. Maybe you can find a dress in between both styles or find someone to create it for you? /from Sweden 🙂

  • Ruby

    I love The Acanthus Leaf Dress(first dress) & The Bolshoi Ballet Ivoire Scroll (last dress) they’re absolutely beautiful!

  • I absolutely LOVE the Sabrina and I surprised myself in that because it wouldnt be one I would choose for myself but seeing it on you makes me definitely want to try that style. It’s so flattering, classy and beautiful.

    Abigail Alice x

  • Ruby

    I love The Acanthus Leaf Dress (first dress) and The Bolshoi Ballet Ivoire Scroll (last dress) they’re beautiful!

  • Rebecca Shannon

    Wow! They all look wonderful on you! The Acanthus Leaf Dress and the Sabrina look incredible though!

  • Katelyn from Alaska, USA

    You are, of course, lovely in all of these! It’s hard to tell through pictures, but you seem the most pleased with yourself in the Sabrina, and isn’t that really the most important part? :o)

    As you’re asking our advice though, I agree with the sentiment stated already that maybe a cross between the Sabrina and the Bolshoi Scroll would suit for a wedding. The Sabrina is very sophisticated, but it does read more red carpet than bridal, in my opinion.

    Obviously whatever you feel the most beautiful and magical, and elevated in will be the right one! Good luck on the hunt, I’m glad it’s been enjoyable for you again! I can’t wait to see what you pick, and just love seeing you so, so happy! <3

  • You look stunning in all of them! The Lily of the Valley dress is especially beautiful on you.

    Sincerely, Sarah xx

  • Emilie

    Hello. The Sabrina is absolutely beautiful on you. Very elegant. It’s very different for most dresses and that’s what is nice. Good luck picking out!!

  • Rachael Capuano

    Love all the dresses, but the first and the last one are my favourites ! I think they really flatter you body and off the shoulder is a definite must , it’s such a beautiful look fro you . Enjoy these moments 🙂

  • I absolutely love the lacy princess ones. You’re stunning in all of the, but you look like a certified princess in that Lily of the Valley and the Olivia. Also, the Bolshoi ballet is gorgeous. Get the Sabrina for the reception!!! It looks glamorous on you but not wedding worthy. Definitely reception worthy though!!

  • You look absolutely beautiful. How exciting! Xxx


  • Peppermint Dolly

    Oh my goodness that Sabrina dress is INSANE! I totally agree – I’d for sure smack it into another colour and red carpet it!!


  • Desislava

    Even though the princesses styles are amazing, my personal favorite dress is Sabrina! <3
    And you look perfect in ti!


  • Tracy

    You must also go to Emma Victoria Payne in Chelsea – I felt the same way about dress shopping and Emma was just so lovely!

  • Janice

    I vote Sabrina! Perfect.

  • I’d definitely say the first and last dresses flattered and showed off your best features, very classic yet beautiful details!

    Lauren x
    Britton Loves | Cruelty-Free/Vegan Beauty • Lifestyle • Photography

  • The Acanthus Leaf Dress and the Venice Crepe Buttercup dress both look perfect on you!

  • Jessica

    All beautiful, but I love the The Bolshoi Ballet Ivoire Scroll.

  • Amanda McCabe

    Oooh, I love the San the best, so elegant and classic! But I also love the bolshoi and the lily of the valley, like fairy tales. Really, can’t go wrong with any of them at all!!!

  • I love the Lily of the Valley of the dress. It’s so lovely. It’s so important that you feel good in your dress. I remember shopping for mine and when I put on The One, my mother, soon to be mother-in-law and maid of honor all told me my demeanor changed when I put that dress on. It was a cliché (the feeling that comes with putting on The One) but it was such a lovely moment. When you put on the one you love, you’ll just know!

    xx, Stephanie

  • Sarah

    Rosie, I am in love with both The Olivia and The Bolshoi Ballet Ivoire Scroll. The A-line dresses really seem to suit you! The Lily of the Valley is stunning, as well. Of course whatever you choose will look beautiful on you. Go with your gut feeling!

    <3 Sarah

  • Bryn Skibo-Birney

    The Sabrina, all the way. It’s stunning and you’re a classic, sophisticated beauty in it. Maybe go back for another round of trying (oh darn!)? For a less “red carpet look,” maybe go back (oh darn!) and ask to try on the first dress on their website (the first in the slide show): it’s a contemporary (minimal, clean lines) take on the A-line in heavy satin so a combination of the modernity of the Sabrina and the feminine shape that you’re are drawn to; maybe a good balance between the other dresses and the Sabrina?

    Regardless, if you go with a Lepley dress, the magic *really* starts once you pick it out. If it’s a custom fit, you’ll be lined up for numerous fittings with the crew in the workshop, who are both amazingly talented and incredibly warm and accomodating. If you’re interested in dresses and how they come to be, it’s fascinating to watch it all come together – from a cotton sack (literally) to a gorgeous gown. I loved my experience with them.

  • They all look gorgeous on you Rose but I particularly love the Sabrina and the Bolshoi Ballet Ivoire Scroll! Good luck choosing the one! Steph x

  • Bobbi Harman

    Sabrina all the way!! Looks absolutely beautiful on you…

  • Ashley

    Sabrina is STUNNING! I mean come on, they all look amazing on you, but the Sabrina stood out to be and is very flattering!

  • The Sabrina is absolutely gorgeous on you! It’s so different then what most brides wear these days and that is perfect for someone as gorgeous as you. Good luck with your search! I hope you find the dress that makes you tear up!

  • TheGem

    What a stunning lot! The Ballet Ivoire looked amazing! Where are you getting married ? Remember the setting can effect the style (or size of dress) too! I bought my dress from Sassi Holford -(Just down the road from Phillipa Lepley) she had so many beautiful gowns – I definitely recommend a visit!

  • You suit them all, which is very lucky indeed! I love the Sabrina as it looks so glamorous, but no idea what you’re wedding “theme” is going to be and if you’re getting married in Italy, probably a bit too fancy? Good luck though, you’ll make a lovely bride and Mr Londoner is very lucky indeed!

  • Chantelle Bartlett

    the Boshoi looks like the one to me, you look so beautiful x

  • I thought the Sabrina dress looked incredible on you! Although I agree that it’s more of a red-carpet dress, the style suited you to a tee. I think an off the shoulder structured style that’s nipped in at the waste would suit you and even though it’s cliche of me to say – when you try the right one on, you’ll know. I used to work in a bridal boutique and whether they knew instantly, or it was the dress they kept coming back to try on – there was always one dress which jumped out at the bride! x

  • Oh my goodness, Sabrina is just heavenly. That dress style is made for you, although I think you definitely need more of a Princess style for your wedding. You need to get Sabrina for another fabulous event!

    Katie <3


  • Sarah D

    I love the Sophie Wood Anenome… it’s lovely, unique and suits you perfectly! The Bolshoi Ballet looks amazing on you and it is beautiful. I can absolutely see you waltzing through the streets of Puglia in the Sabrina, looking like the most glamorous Old Hollywood bride anyone has ever seen. Nevertheless, you will look exquisite in any dress you choose! I’m so happy for you!!!

  • Regi Taylor

    The leaf dress. Looks absolutely stunning.
    Good luck on the big day Rosie. Xx.

  • Love this blog post! I used to pass this store on my commute everyday and gaze at the dresses in the window wondering what it was like inside…
    I think the Lily of the Valley one looks magical, but my favourite is the Bolshoi Ballet Ivoire Scroll, the cut is just perfection.
    On a side note the Sabrina is stunning and really should be worn on the red carpet somewhere.