Your wedding day is one of the most special days in your life for so many reasons, and part of what makes the big day so exciting is all the preparation leading up to it.
When the time comes for a bride to choose her wedding dress, it marks a momentous milestone in the wedding planning process. It's the moment when everything suddenly becomes real, and brides begin to picture themselves walking down the aisle.
However, a wedding dress is no ordinary dress, and no one knows that better than the woman behind Eternal Weddings, our very own Maria Claydon.
Bringing a dream to life
When Maria was a bride seeking the perfect dress for her own wedding day, she found herself underwhelmed by the service and options available at the time. A seed of the idea which would eventually turn into Eternal Weddings was planted in her head, cultivated during her time spent in London working in bridal shops.
Upon returning to Australia, that was when Maria decided she'd take a chance on her idea of bringing a special bridal experience to Melbourne. She opened up shop with her mum, who did the alterations work, and the rest is history.
Creating the bridal experience
"It's a fun time of a girl's life, trying on dresses. You want to feel like a princess, you know?" Maria muses. "So it's about making them feel relaxed, and not pressured in any way."
With so much choice out there when it comes to wedding dresses, it's important to allow brides as much time as they need to try on lots of different styles, Maria explains, as the experience can be quite overwhelming.
"With the experience that we've had, we can always suggest dresses," says Maria. "We're always honest with the girls, but then again, we won't give our opinion unless we're asked for it."
Eternal Weddings aims to create a nice, relaxing environment where brides can come away feeling like they've had fun. When asked about the typical Eternal Weddings customer, Maria doesn't believe they cater for one type of "cookie cutter" bride.
The showroom sees women in their 20's to women in their 50's, of all shapes and sizes, some preparing for a second wedding, even some that come across from New Zealand to find and fit their perfect gown.
Finding the perfect dress
The journey to finding the right wedding dress is different for everyone. "It's a lot of money to invest. You're not just going into the mall and just picking a dress off the rack," says Maria. "This is the most important dress of your life, so we're here to help."
Maria is hoping that moving into their new showroom will help to make the experience even richer, a moment the team is really looking forward to.
"For us personally, it's great because there'll be more space so we can showcase more dresses from the collections we stock. There will be beautiful spaces where people can sit and enjoy the experience, a few chandeliers… the idea is once you step in, it's like a fantasy just being in the shop and trying the dresses on."