Expert answer: Russell Blackburn on shopping for your wedding dress

Expert answer: Russell Blackburn on shopping for your wedding dress
The Sophia dress from Blackburn Bridal Couture. Photo: Claire Graham

Russell Blackburn founded Blackburn Bridal Couture 15 years ago, having amassed a wealth of experience as a magazine fashion director. The showroom specialises in directional wedding-day dressing for the contemporary bride

I had spent ten years as a fashion director at a national bridal magazine when I made the decision, back in 2004, that I could bring something different to the market. I had lots of contacts across the world and knew I could bring a modern, contemporary and directional edge that wasn’t available here at that time.

The market has changed hugely – especially now that we have social media and brides are faced with almost too much choice – but Blackburn Bridal stays true to its directional approach, with exclusive and original pieces that are not widely available. Brides fly in from places like Dubai and Switzerland to see us. Our labels include Australian designer Anna Campbell, as well as talents such as Anna Kara and Rish. My label Blackburn Couture follows this directional idea – the Timeless 2020 collection is inspired by starlets from bygone eras and the ethos of timeless and elegant beauty.

Chey from the Anna Kara collection at Blackburn Bridal

I always advise brides to research what they like before they start shopping. Shortlist designers and then try on a few gowns to narrow down. Do keep an open mind, especially in first appointments as you may find the dress you love on social media just doesn’t suit you. And never take too many people with you – two or three people you trust, more just gets confusing.

“The market has changed hugely and brides are faced with almost too much choice, but we stay true to our directional approach”

Sweet Pea Cape from the Blackburn Bridal Couture collection.
Photo: Claire Graham

When brides come to see us they can choose from a one-hour session with one of  our stylists or a VIP session with me. We keep things relaxed and informal, starting with a chat to get an idea of their personal style, their wedding style and their likes and dislikes. I invariably know what will suit a bride, but it’s about understanding what she wants to wear – whatever she chooses has to feel super special. Most importantly, she needs to feel like her. The right wedding dress is always an expression of the bride’s personality.

Expert answer: Russell Blackburn on shopping for your wedding dress
Carmen off-the-shoulder gown by Russell Blackburn. Photo: Claire Graham

Blackburn Bridal Couture is at Tranquil Vale, Blackheath, SE3. For appointments and to find out more about designers, visit


Sheila Harding of BOA Boutique, Richmond on finding your dream dress