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Bridal beautiful

Black Swan boutique in Wallingford offers cool, modern and accessible dresses for modern brides. Love it.

One of the bits of my job that I love most is bombing around Bucks and Oxfordshire every week, checking out anything that sounds interesting, cool or properly different. When I find somewhere that’s all three, I pretty much combust. So it’s *ka-boom* to Black Swan bridal boutique in Wallingford because frankly I didn’t see this one coming.

red brick country house with stable doors and balconies

Off the main road and in a private driveway is this stunning premises (above) for brides in-the-know, with the entire top floor given over to a light, super-stylish and squeak-inducing boutique that caters soley to brides, and just happens to have the accolade of sole stocker of stunning new season Alice Temperley wedding dresses in Oxon & Bucks  (Bicester Village holds discounted older stock), plus Australian designer Karen Willis Holmes and celeb favourite Gemmy Maalouf.

The boutique describes itself as catering for ‘the confident, edgy, modern bride’ and there’s no doubt that it’s stunning gowns deftly swerve meringue territory. The whole feel of the boutique is about standing out and an enjoying a stylish aesthetic.

Seriously, how beautiful are these dresses?

I chose my own wedding dress in a rather snooty Islington boutique and I remember it as a slightly baffling and unpleasant experience. I had ended up in a row with the bolshy owner about whether I had or hadn’t ordered accessories (not the kind of thing you forget to do before your wedding day), and she had later sent me some flowers in a grudging acknowledgement of mea culpa. Still, the memory irritates me after all these years.

I so wish I’d had somewhere like Black Swan to go to – the whole ambiance and styling is exactly up my aisle and as soon as you walk up those stairs it feels you’re special and frankly that’s what you want as a bride-to-be.

The look of the boutique is stunning, in a riverside setting and light, bright and with exposed beams and dramatic windows.

Owner Chloe has a vision after 20 years grinding it out in banking and corporate business, and that vision is this: to help women locally who might otherwise have to trudge to London or belt down the M4 for an hour or more to find something beautiful closer to home. Wouldn’t want to have a glass or two of bubbles, choosing your wedding dress with a view like this onto the Thames?

The balcony on the first floor

I’m also a fan of the accessories range here – not massive, but beautifully chosen and presented.

Black Swan only caters to brides and there are no plans to extend this remit to bridesmaids or mothers of the bride, so if you’re hoping to sort everything in one shop this isn’t for you. Also let me say right now that these designers don’t come cheap (it’s £2k plus) so if you’re looking for a bargain, go high street with the likes of Whistles, Monsoon and TopShop.

If you think someone you know would want to know about this gorgeous boutique, share the love and send it on – Cupid will thank you for it!

The Black Swan Bridal Studio, Wharf House, Castle Lane,Wallingford, OX10 0BN. Tel: 01491 599 632/ o7714 202 016.




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