Hello, I’m Louise and I’m the very proud co-owner of brand new fashion-forward bridal boutique, Churchgate Porter.
We’ve just opened our doors to stylish brides in the picturesque village of Fletching in East Sussex. Stocking a handpicked selection of independent, international designers such as Sarah Janks, Charlotte Casadejus, Patrick Casey and Anne Bowen, as well as accessories by Flo & Percy and shoes from Freya Rose, we’ve chosen everything from the décor to our stock with free-thinking, creative brides in mind.
We’re so excited for the future, but we always want to keep sight of how, and why, we got here. That’s why I’d love to tell Rock My Wedding readers all about our journey to becoming bridal boutique owners – and why we’re different to your average pastel pink wedding dress shop.
I first ventured to the small and charming, quintessentially English village of Fletching in the winter of 2008, with my then husband to be. It was an extremely romantic scene. Cold, dark and frosty – the air felt a little bit magical, the centuries-old buildings were illuminated by twinkling Christmas lights. We enjoyed fresh Bloody Marys by an open fire in the dimly lit 17th Century Inn and instantly felt very, very at home.
In love with the ambience and community spirit, we bought a lovely house called Churchgate Cottage and married in the village church in 2009. It was a very pretty place to say ‘I do’ and also rather perfect as a gate leads directly from our back garden into the churchyard. The day we married was like a wonderful dream – I tiptoed out of the gate in my bright pink Louis Vuittons wearing a simple but stunning Italian dress, and skipped my way up the aisle, my heart skipping along with me, to meet my husband Adam.
It all sounds like a fairytale, and, to be honest, it still feels like one, but fairytales usually end with a wedding. My wedding was just the beginning of an incredible journey for me. I realised that Fletching, the scene of my own, private fairytale, was the perfect place showcase my love for the arts, fashion and all things bridal, The breathtaking location would make a fantastic day out for a bride and her bridal party – with a real vision in mind I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I knew I had found my passion. I knew I wanted to open a super little bridal boutique.
Something Chic But Simple
I set about making plans for my dream boutique. As a bride looking for a dress, I wanted something different, something chic but simple – I didn’t want a meringue, and pastel pink wasn’t really my thing. I loved the idea of juxtaposing a stylish, industrial-feel boutique against the backdrop of the Sussex countryside. Using the 17th century design features of the building to create a feeling of the warmth and cosiness we first fell in love with when we visited Fletching, I gave the space an NYC high-end fashion makeover. This really married the best of both worlds and represented my fairytale – the fashionista in the countryside. I could have literally taken the moment I stepped down the country path in my Louis Vuittons and translated it into a concept for a boutique for likeminded ladies.
I have spent several years building my business, and now at last I’ve flung open the doors and invited the world in! Finally, Churchgate Porter is born. Located at Churchgate House, next door to the village church, it’s a combination of a fashion-forward boutique and a porter service. We welcome the creative, quirky, unique and style-conscious bride who knows her own mind, and then we give her the advice, support and tools they needs to make her day a true representation of who she really is, or who she wants to be.
I’m not a big fan of fussy over-styled shops with over-the-top service, which translates into the type of bride that comes to visit me. She is independent and wants to relax into choosing her dress in her own way – no pressure and no cupcakes (or meringues, for that matter) here. We offer advice when it’s wanted and needed through style consultations and our one-on-one by-appointment-only service means that brides get our full care and attention from the minute they step over our threshold to the day they cross over their own!
The designers have been each handpicked by me with a lot of care and thought. The very definition of the word “individual” means that there’s no one way to be an individual – that’s why we have such an eclectic mix of unusually beautiful dresses. From the timeless vintage style of Charlotte Casadejus to the graceful and sophisticated designs of Patrick Casey and Sarah Janks, to the simple and elegant gowns all the way from New York by desiger Anne Bowen – we have pre-selected our brides’ dream dresses – they’re just waiting to be discovered.
If you’re a bride with eclectic and artistic tastes, with a strong mind and a big heart, please do get in touch or visit our website churchgateporter.com, we would love to hear from you and take care of you until you say “I do”.
We look forward to welcoming you soon.