What Would They Know? Alera Kingham of White Lily Couture

by | Fashion Wisdom, What Would They Know?, Wisdom


Polka Dot Bride

Choosing your dress for your wedding day must be right up there as one of the greatest joys and stresses of the whole wedding planning journey. Alera of White Lily Couture has two stores – one in Brisbane and one in Rockhampton stocked to the brim with dresses at different price points and many different styles. So where do you start? Both stores have stylists and consultants to help you choose the perfect gown for your personality and figure. Try the dresses on in a private bridal lounge with professional and personal service at your fingertips – you’re sure to leave feeling that your experience has been very special, and knowing that your gown will make you look and feel beautiful. Here’s Alera’s story.

Where are the White Lily Couture boutiques located?

We have two boutiques in Queensland. Our flagship store is in Milton, Brisbane and the second is in Rockhampton.

Why did you start your boutiques?

We took over White Lily as an existing business about 3.5 years ago. It was much smaller then and I saw so much potential for where we could take it. Having been a wedding planner for many years and also working in retail, I loved the idea of combining these two passions. I am a very creative and ambitious person so the idea of having my own business where any of my ideas could be put into action was utterly exciting!

What is your aim in setting up White Lily Couture?

Our aim has always been to set ourselves apart by offering a highly personalized and professional service. Every bride deserves to feel like our only customer regardless of their budget and our boutiques make sure that each bride is treated as an individual. Ultimately it is really about creating an environment that makes you truly feel like a beautiful bride.

What are some of the labels you stock?

We stock one of Australia’s largest selections of gowns from Pronovias, Enzoani, Mori Lee, Augusta Jones, Nicole Spose, Erin Clare and Nicolina. We always aim to offer a varied range to ensure that every bride can find a White Lily gown to fall in love with.

Are the labels that you stock all from overseas?

Some are. Pronovias for example is a Spanish label. However we have recently began stocking the beautiful range from Erin Clare who is based on the Sunshine Coast.

How do you decide which labels and which gowns within the range to stock?

I research constantly about the trends internationally and the changes within the fashion and bridal industries in Australia. I also pay close attention to the feedback provided by the customers and my consultants. If there is a gap in our range I want to ensure that I can fill it so I am always tweaking the collections. I always consider price point, wide sizing, colour options and fabrics when selecting. Some would say that I am a bit of a risk taker. If I see a gown with a unique neckline or an unusual use of fabric or lace work I will generally always select it. We are regularly complimented for our variation in the collection so I feel that I am on the right track when I hear that feedback.

How do stay abreast of the latest trends?

Trends in Bridal tend to follow fashion but can be a few seasons behind. For example off-the-shoulder styles were really popular in mainstream fashion last year and now we are seeing an emergence of this look in bridal gowns. I also follow hundreds of bridal designers from around the world to look for trends and make sure that our range is competitive.

Who is the bride you are targeting?

Our bride is a traditional but with a modern twist! Their budget is within the medium price-point and they are searching for a gown that is elegant and stylish. A WLC bride also appreciates service and knows that the memory of shopping for her gown should be one for her to keep for years to come.

Are you able to accommodate brides of all sizes?

Absolutely. Our samples in store range from size 4 all the way through to size 24. Whilst not every gown will fit every bride, we always want to offer as many options as possible regardless of size. Many of our designers can offer gowns up to a size 30 proving that beauty has nothing to do with the number on the tag.

Aria by Erin Clare – image by Erin Clare

Please describe your private bridal lounges?

Every bride who books an appointment with us are assigned a dedicated bridal stylist and private lounge for the duration of their one hour appointment. Offering a comfortable, relaxed space for each bride and her guests as well as a consultant who is 100% focused on them is part of what makes our service unique.

How many people may accompany the bride to the appointment?

Every group is different. Sometimes brides shop alone or just with one close family member such as their Mother. Other times they arrive with a large entourage of ten. We always do our best to accommodate all sizes of groups and have larger appointment lounges just for this reason!

Please describe the customer experience you are creating? What does giving the customer ‘VIP treatment’ mean to you?

VIP treatment ultimately is about going above and beyond for each and every customer. Offering more than what is expected and ensuring that they walk away happy regardless of whether they Say Yes to The Dress. We listen and genuinely care about what our brides say. It is so much more than just a sales transaction to us and that makes all the difference.

Nicole Spose gown image by Kait Photography

What is the role of your Senior Stylists and Style Consultants?

Our Senior Stylists offer a wealth of experience. Most of which have been working in bridal for many years. Our Style Consultants have however been given a comprehensive training program to ensure they deliver the same experience. Sometimes however a Senior Stylist may assist them to ensure that a bride’s special request can be delivered.

Many brides have their heart set on a particular style of gown and end up choosing something entirely different? What magic happens – to change their minds?

Often brides have an idea in their mind of how a style will look on them. It is completely normal that the style may not live up to our expectations once we finally try it on. Some may feel disappointed having their heart set on a mermaid for example, only to discover that it does not accentuate their best features. It is our job as professionals to make suggestions on silhouettes that are flattering to each woman’s figure. It is such a great feeling when a bride tries on a shape that she never expected to like only to see herself in a new light. Ultimately the way that the dress makes you feel is where the magic is, regardless of what silhouette it happens to be.

What if a bride has no idea of her ‘bridal style’? How do you guide her?

We will try to discover as much as we can about each of our brides during their consultation. Their wedding venue, their own personal style, their wedding concept… All clues! However some ladies may not know where to begin in what can be an overwhelming decision for some. In this case we tend to use trial and error to narrow down her likes and dislikes in various gowns. Trying a range of shapes, fabrics and necklines will soon have her in the driver’s seat of discovering what type of bride she wants to be.

Image by Capture The Moment Photography

Are you able to give us a few tips on what makes a gown look perfect on a particular body shape?

Bridal gowns are all about proportions. Once we have seen a couple of gowns on a bride we can determine how to find a gown to suit her shape. For example if she has a broad, athletic torso and narrow hips, we would suggest trying gowns in Ballgown or A-line shapes to balance her shoulders with her hips. She may find that trying a very fitted silhouette only draws attention to her upper body rather than creating a flattering result that shows off her best features in an elegant way.

How do ensure that the gown fits perfectly on the wedding day?

We work closely with alteration specialists who can fit each gown to each bride. As we order based on each designer’s size chart, 99% of brides will need some minor alterations to ensure the perfect fit. We always recommend this takes place about 4-6 weeks before the wedding to make sure the fit is a perfect as can be.

Do you stock a range for bridesmaids?

We stock a beautiful range of Goddess by Nature multi wear gowns in both boutiques. These styles can be worn in endless ways and come in so many beautiful colours. We are also about to expand our Bridesmaid offering in Rockhampton to provide more options for our central QLD bridal parties.

Image by Capture The Moment Photography

What is the most special and satisfying thing for you and your consultants about being in the wedding industry?

Sometimes it is really important to remind ourselves that we are so very blessed to share in moments with people that mark such an important decision in their life. Choosing a bridal gown is often an emotional time and being there, sharing in that is something that makes everything we do so worthwhile.

How do you and the team celebrate the end of the working week?

Investing in our team is something that I have always been passionate about so we always celebrate our successes! We have regular team social events as well as team meetings and training sessions over a glass of champagne. This year we will celebrate our 4th year in business which we mark annually with a Gala for our staff and their partners to share an evening of celebration and gratitude.

Thank you Alera for sharing your story.  Such care and experience will ensure that you choose the gown of your dreams. To find out more about White Lily Couture visit the website.

All images courtesy of White Lily Couture unless otherwise stated.

Headshot courtesy of White Lily Couture.



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