By Karen Carruth

Tucked away down a lane on Kilwinning’s pedestrianised Main Street, is Sharon’s Bridal Boutique, a stunning little bridal boutique that turns bride’s dreams into reality.

Sharon Pearce has only had the shop space since July, she previously worked from her home, but expansion forced her into taking larger premises and it has taken the business on to a new level of success.

There’s no bridal shop pretension here, a down-to-earth and homely welcome awaits the brides who choose to spend time in the shop.

Being a small, independent shop hasn’t held back the business in any way, and it has again been nominated for the Best Retailer in the upcoming Scottish Wedding Awards, which is a nod to the customer service that you can expect from Sharon.

Sharon prides herself on offering a one to one service, when a client comes for a consultation, the door is locked, the blinds are drawn and it is all about finding out what the bride imagines her dress to be, and then, she says, 95% of the time that idea changing to being a completely different style of dress than what they thought they would suit.

If the shop is open (and the blinds are up), then you are welcome to come in and have a look around. There is in the region of 110 dresses in the shop at any one time, from the smallest sizes up to size 26, and they have samples in all these sizes in the shop, there is no problem with trying on all different shapes, sizes and styles.

The shop is stocked with a variety of gowns from various designers. Philippa Grace from Knightsbridge, British Bridal of Yorkshire, and Sharon is proud of her own range of gowns that she works on in collaboration with a bridal designer down south. She also stocks Bianco Evento which is a German designer, which supplies gowns, shoes and accessories.

The style has moved on from the strapless gowns that were so popular, and now sleeves are back in, prompted by the Megan Markle dress with its plain lines and long sleeves. Lace and silk sleeves are very much part of this season’s range.

Also in the shop is a large selection of bridesmaid dresses, page boys and flower girl outfits and shortly there will be a range of prom dresses as she is constantly being asked whether she stocks them.

Sparkling in the corner is a large range of tiaras and accessories made exclusively for Sharon’s shop by a local designer label called Glitz. There are veils, shoes, and those all important little extra touches that can transform a dress.

Sharon shows me a very plain dress of silk which she explains can be transformed quite easily. Brides now want to effectively use their dress as two outfits, one for the ceremony and then transform it into an evening dress for the reception. For the ceremony the dress can have the addition of a lace overlay on the bodice, or a bolero, and for the evening it is taken off, and a sparkling belt or glittery brooch can be added to give a completely different look.

Sharon enthuses about how much joy she gets from her brides when she puts them in the dress of their dreams. “I always ask them what they envisage, and I get that for them, and then I also suggest that they try some other dresses that I think may suit them better. When they step into the right dress, their faces just light up – quite often there are tears.”

Around the small shop there is also a selection of artificial bouquets that are provided by Daisy Dee Does, which is a local florist. Sharon likes to recommend local people to her clients. She has alteration companies and florists that she has total trust in.

The turn-around for a dress that has to be ordered in, sits at around 12-16 weeks, however, if it is a standard size that is requested, Sharon says that British Bridal can turn around a dress in 48 hours.

If buying doesn’t suit your budget then renting is an option from Sharon. You can rent any dress that is currently in stock for £300. There is a £200 deposit required, but to have a beautiful dress for £300 is a terrific deal.

Also available is the option to buy the ex-display dresses, or cancelled orders, at a fraction of the price. You can basically buy them off the peg.

If a corset is involved in your dress then you may want to invest in their dressing service, which involves Sharon or her trusted staff, appear on the day of your wedding to get the bride and all the bridesmaids into their dresses and feeling comfortable. She comes along armed with her steam iron to iron out any issues with the dressing process, she says she often is called upon to steam out the various aunty and grannies dresses that have become wrinkled on the day.

The message overall is that going into the larger bridal shops doesn’t always mean better quality, service and choice. Some of the smaller boutiques offer a personal service that is unrivalled and a friendly atmosphere which is priceless when you are choosing such an important purchase.

See the website for more details, or the facebook page for the latest styles The shop is closed Tuesday and Fridays.