The Dream Life of Bridal Boutique Buyer Alera Kingham

She lives a dream life, surrounded by beautiful couture bridal gowns all day, jetting off to Barcelona to buy the gowns you will wear on your big day and sharing in that “Yes to the Dress” moment. We wanted to know more, so we barged in on Alera Kingham at White Lily Couture to find out all the goss. 

Alera, you have a beautiful collection of dresses in your store. How do you choose the gowns to put on your racks? 

It’s very easy as a bridal buyer to select styles based on your own personal taste… If I could have every gown I loved in the store it might as well be called Alera’s closet! Seriously though, when choosing collections there’s several factors I take into consideration. Current and future trends, feedback from our clients to help us fill gaps in our collection, available colours and options and suitable price-points are always on my check-list.

How often do you shop for gowns, and what’s the process? 

Depending on the designer we either order small capsule collections via catalogue or attend bridal buying showings every six months with our suppliers. However, I love being able to view the gowns in person and am lucky enough to be attending the Pronovias 2016 Fashion Show in Barcelona this year, which will be such a thrill.

Who are some of your favourite designers or labels? 

I genuinely love all our designers for totally different reasons. This is a good sign that I am doing my job! The range in our collection is varied enough to attract brides with different tastes, whether it be a traditional look from Mori Lee or a cutting edge statement from Enzoani

Do you cater for more traditional brides or alternative brides? 

I would say a combination of both. As our collection has such a varied range of styles, it’s rare that we see a bride who cannot find a single gown that they like in store. We certainly maintain a level of sophistication and elegance through all our styles and I think this common thread is what makes our gowns so sought after.

Is vintage wedding fashion still big? 

It is, but we’re seeing more and more designers taking a vintage style and putting a contemporary twist on it. Lace in bridal is still hot and will continue for many more seasons. It’s the way the designers are working with lace to create visually striking gowns with a new and fresh style that means this trend isn’t going anywhere.

Which styles are brides gravitating towards in 2015? 

This year it’s all about fitted gowns. Mermaid and Fit and Flair styles with structure and lace detailing are huge right now. We’re also being asked for low backs or covered tattoo backs every day and many brides are definitely steering clear of strapless gowns.

What is the price range at White Lily Couture? 

Our gowns range from $1300 to $6200. We always aim to cater for all budgets and also offer a 10% discount when ordering on your first appointment which is great for those who are budget conscious.

Do you stock veils, jewellery, accessories and shoes? 

No bridal ensemble would be complete without them, so we stock a beautiful selection of veils, headpieces, jewellery, shoes and belts. There’s nothing like seeing the whole picture when finding your gown so we love playing with these pieces.

What do you do when a bride enters your store with no idea of what she wants for her bridal gown? 

This isn’t uncommon as many of us don’t know what we like until we see it. At White Lily Couture each bride is assigned a dedicated Style Consultant for the duration of their appointment and the process starts with a consultation phase to narrow down taste, budget and vision. We often suggest trying a range of shapes during your first appointment and you will quickly start to see your preferences emerge.

Is there a moment in the dress-choosing process that motivates you to keep doing what you do? 

Saying Yes to the Dress for sure! Nothing beats that emotion-filled moment when tears are happy, hugs are all-round, and dreams come true… It’s addictive!

Do you watch “Say yes to the dress”? Is what we see on TV true to life? 

Believe it or not the show is not that far-fetched! A true bridal moment can’t really be faked and we see that kind of reaction and emotion each and every day. Needless to say we also see our fair share of controlling parents, meltdowns and tantrums too… Where’s Randy when I need him?! 

Do you ever tear up when you see a bride in her gown? 

Definitely. These days I spend less and less time on the floor with my Sales Consultants however there have been several brides with whom I formed a close personal connection to and I felt genuinely overjoyed for them as a friend rather than a stylist.

Is playing wedding dress ups all day a dream come true for you? 

Sometimes I have to pinch myself that my job involves working with such a gorgeous product! I am so blessed to have the freedom to do what I do, make the choices I make and come to work at such a beautiful boutique every day. Whilst the job comes with its fair share of stresses and pressure, I truly love what I do and I think it shows.

How did you get into the wedding industry? 

When I lived in Cairns I was a wedding planner for nearly 10 years. I was offered a great opportunity after completing my qualifications as a Certified Wedding Consultant and planned many elopements and small weddings in the north Qld region, Then I did a stint in retail management and soon discovered that combining the two industries was like my magic ticket.

Hi, I’m Sally, Founder and Editor of The Bride’s Tree. Over the past 13 years I’ve written thousands of articles about all things wedding from tips and trends to etiquette and ideas. On this blog I bring you the best of Sunshine Coast and Brisbane weddings.