Bride bags dream designer dress worth £1,175 for just £199 thanks to Yorkshire business

Ruth Howarth and husband Louis
-Credit: (Image: Arrival PR)

Choosing the perfect fairytale wedding dress is a day most brides-to-be dream about for years – but few are lucky enough to pick up an on-trend, designer gown for just a couple of hundred quid.

According to a recent report, the average amount brides will spend on a wedding dress in the UK in 2024 is £1,300 – so for most, it’s a case of saving up the pennies well in advance for what is usually a costly purchase.

However, a leading UK bridal specialist based in Yorkshire is offering savvy brides a rare opportunity to snap up one-off sample designer wedding gowns worth thousands of pounds – at a fraction of the cost.

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Off-The-Peg – part of the award-winning Dotty Bridal business - stocks exclusive ‘sample’ designer wedding dresses which have previously been tried on by brides-to-be, making them available at hugely discounted prices both in store and on its website.

The dresses are ‘one offs’ – but often prove the perfect style and fit for brides – making them the ideal option for those with a wedding fast approaching, or those simply looking to pick up a designer dress at a super discounted price.

Every few months, the store has a ‘flash sale’, offering even greater reductions, and that enabled bride Louise Duckenfield, 32, from Salford, Greater Manchester, to snap up a designer gown by Sweetheart, which retailed at £1,175 – for a staggering £199.

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Louise, who married husband Matthew in April this year, said: “I saw through social media there was a flash sale, so I took my mum along on the off chance. I had a one-hour appointment and tried three dresses, and mine was the second one I tried. I wasn’t sure but Amy, the bridal consultant, encouraged me to try the dress and I just looked at my mum and said ‘this is the one’.”

Louise, who is head of operations for a mental health treatment company, says she was staggered to find her perfect dress so easily, and at such a good price.

“My mum has worked as a seamstress, and she said you couldn’t even buy the fabric for what I paid for it. Something similar online is a couple of grand,” she said.

Louise Duckenfield
Louise Duckenfield -Credit:Arrival PR

“I felt wonderful in it, so comfortable and confident, and my husband loved it. The price was just too good to be true, so I just took it straight away.”

Business established specifically to offer brides affordable designer dresses Off-The-Peg was founded by Shannon Marin, a former contestant on BBC’s The Apprentice, who also owns the ‘experience led’ Dotty Bridal boutique in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, which was named ‘UK Bridal Retailer of the Year’ at the prestigious 2024 Wedding Industry Awards.

She opened the outlet as a way for brides to access designer gowns for a fraction of the price, with many brides telling her outlet stores were still out of their budget.

Shannon, who has built an enviable reputation as one of the most-followed bridal experts on social media, thanks to her often-viral content on platforms including Tik Tok and Instagram, said: “Sample wedding gowns are a great alternative for brides on a bit of a budget who don’t want to compromise on quality and style.

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“They’re one-off designer gowns and once they’re gone, they’re gone. But if you find the style and size that suits you, you can literally take it away that same day and also save a fortune in the process.

“We have brides that spend hours with us, creating a special day with their family and friends at our Dotty Bridal boutique, but at Off-The-Peg we see brides wanting to come in the shop, take a dress off the peg, and walk out with it that same day, and they’re delighted to secure an amazing designer gown for a staggering knockdown price.

“Our flash sales are hugely popular, and we treat all of our brides the same, regardless of budget, as we want to always ensure that every bride should feel special on her big day.

Shannon Martin, owner of Dotty Bridal, quit The Apprentice in 2023 after just two tasks
Shannon Martin, owner of Dotty Bridal, quit The Apprentice in 2023 after just two tasks -Credit:Arrival PR

“When a bride-to-be to come along, finds a dress she loves, then finds it fits, it is a truly magical moment as they know there any then that they are taking away a designer dress that day, which would cost hundreds, if not thousands more, if it had been specifically made and order for them.”

"I vowed not to spend more than £1,000 – and got my designer dress for £699" - Yorkshire Bride Ruth Howarth, 34, from Rawcliffe, York, said she was left feeling “flat” after visiting designer dress outlets in the run up to her wedding in May this year.

“I visited three different stores and the dresses were costing upwards of £1,000, and I didn’t even find any I liked,” she said.

The bride, who wed husband Louis, also 34, in York, added: “I absolutely didn’t think I was going to find a dress I was happy in. The cheapest I had found until I went to Off-The-Peg was £1,200.

She said the experience in the outlets was also a miserable one. “Every dress I put on I was just like ‘no, I’m not feeling it’ and standing on a podium in my pants with other brides on podiums, all hoicking up dresses in front of massive mirrors was not a special experience at all,” she added.

When she saw a flash sale of sample dresses advertised at Off-The-Peg she booked an appointment slot, and after trying a few dresses, she knew she’d finally found the one in the Pronovias ‘Ladd’.

“I’d given up a bit really, and didn’t think I was going to find a dress that made me happy. But the dress I had in my mind, which was completely plain, just didn’t flatter my body.

"Holly at Off-The-Peg chose a dress that had lace and beading at the top and was plain at the bottom, and that’s the one I bought. I had a little tear later as I was so relieved I got it.”

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Ruth, who works as a receptionist, paid £699 for the designer gown, which would have been £2,200 at full price. She added: “I was really happy as I had budgeted £1,000, and it meant we could use the extra money to put towards something else, and my husband absolutely loved the dress too.”

Off-The-Peg stocks designer gowns from world-leading designers including Pronovias, Madi Lane, Justin Alexander, Allure Bridal and many more, in sizes from a UK 6 to a UK 26.

Their next flash sale is on Saturday June 29 and Sunday, June 30 where designer gowns will be available from £299 and £699. Visit thr website, here.