From Designer Day to Wedding Day!

The bride to be.
“Louise is all about high standards and perfection and has worked at CBC for 11 years and quite frankly I was dreading dressing her as she knows too much” – Carina
Louise Allberry-Hobday…

I am one of Carinas fitters/seamstresses who also manages the fitting room schedule itself. I liase with all the brides and designers to ensure that everything arrives on time and every bride is booked in at the right time for the right appointment to ensure a smooth journey with us.

I began working for Carina nearly 11 years ago, starting as a trainee seamstress a year after graduating at University with a first class honours in Costume production. Within the first year, I was starting to look after my own brides and very soon after, I began managing the fitting room. I love the variety of ‘hats’ that I get to wear at Carinas and the diversity within the job roles. I adore looking after brides and helping to make them look and feel their most confident!

It was such an incredible experience to be on the other side, letting go of the reigns and have the girls take care of me and my bridal journey. ❤️

Saying ‘YES’ to the dress.
Meeting Suzanne was a really exciting experience – she is such a kind, warm and friendly person who is extremely talented (yet humble) despite all of her accolades. Being able to speak to the designer in person and discuss any design changes, thoughts and ideas with her was a true privilege. She can use her many years of expertise and knowledge to help guide the design.
At the end of the appointment, once you once you choose your dress, Suzanne sits and sketches your design. I have mine framed!
Bespoke dress.

I fell in love with the Sapphire gown as soon as it came into the boutique but over the years, there were other designs and fabrics that I also really liked but knew they wouldn’t necessarily work on my figure as well as Sapphire. Being able to combine two designs together, gave me my dream dress. 

Made to measure. 

Due to my height and proportions, I do not fit into standard size garments. I have a short nape to waist which means that any standard size bodice would always be too long and I also have a big bust so having made to measure, meant that I could get the style lines in exactly the right place. 


A toile is a calico mock up of your chosen dress made from the measurements your fitter has taken. This is then fitted to the brides body and any adjustments made can be made to the dress pattern before the final dress in created.

Having a toile means that you can see the silhouette of your dress and style lines before they are cut in the main fabrics. This then gives you the freedom to make any changes that may not be possible once a garment has been made – for example, neckline to be made higher, sleeve lengths to be longer. 

It was also extremely beneficial to me to have a toile made as the standard size sample gown that I tried on in my appointment was too small so I couldn’t get exactly the right feel and support for my bust. Having the toile gave me the confidence that I would have the support that I needed and could finally see how the back would look done up.

For a toile fitting the bride should wear a good fitting bra with straps so we can advise the correct support.

The dress arriving.

My dress arrived about 6-8 weeks before my wedding date. 

I felt like a child again on Christmas Day. I couldn’t wait to see it in person and then to try it on for the first time was really special. 

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Shoes – It is imperative that the correct shoes are brought to the first fitting so that the hem can be pinned correctly. I chose Harriet Wilde shoes – a brand which I have adored for many years after seeing them at a London Bridal fair nearly 8 years previously. I wanted shoes that I knew I could wear again and once I had seen the Hetty in the soft shade of blue, I knew they were the ones.

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Veil – after making many bespoke veils myself over the years, I knew this is what I would have for my own wedding day. Knowing that I was going to have quite a lot of offcuts from the hem of my dress, I wanted to incorporate the lace into my veil to bring the two together. I was lucky enough to have my wonderful friend and colleague Mollie to help design it especially for me. 

We did it at second fitting once I had the fabric offcuts but I had booked my time in with Mollie well in advance so it was in her schedule. We do offer accessories appointments at CBC as its easier to find your perfect accessories whilst you are in your dress!


During the toile fitting, there were some alterations made to the shaping around the bust and nipping in at the waist. I could already start to see how my dress would look. 

At my 1st fitting, my waist was a little smaller so the dress had to be taken in and other tweaks had to be made to make the most of the silhouette. Then it was hemming and bustling.

My fitter Alison is absolutely wonderful. She made me feel at ease in every fitting and nothing was too much trouble. Her attention to detail is second to none and I knew I was in very safe hands. She has many years of experience and expertise so helped to make me look and feel incredible with all the fine tuning of my fittings and alterations. All the seamstresses at CBC are incredible (even if I do say so myself) we strive for perfection!


I was so excited to wear my dress – I couldn’t quite believe that after all these years of working on SN gowns, I was finally going to be the bride and able to wear one myself. The moment felt very special and made me feel even more excited for my wedding.

The dress was all pressed and packed… the bodice was stuffed to hold its shape, the entire dress was encased in tissue paper and zipped in a water proof dress bag. On the top of the hanger was a little blue ribbon bow and any fabric offcuts were placed in the little pocket along with a dry cleaner recommendation.

The Special Day

Surreal, all a bit of a whirlwind. My bridesmaids had not yet seen me in my dress so it was a really special moment – there were a few tears.

I felt like an absolute princess! I have never felt more beautiful or confident in my life. I couldn’t stop smiling all day and did not feel ready to take my dress off at the end of the night. I am able to look back at my photos and know that this dress was me and my personality in fabric form. I will treasure it for the rest of my life.

After the wedding

For dry cleaning I used the CBC recommendation of Terrington Burchett. I know that they have the knowledge skills, and expertise to look after my dress properly. My dress was quite dirty and dusty along the hem from the venue as we spent a lot of time outside and after it was cleaned, this was pretty much gone and not visible anymore. I also wanted it to be packed properly and neatly ready for storage until I decide what to do with it next… 

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