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Plastic Champagne flutes and quarantined dresses as bridal shops reopen

Many couples had to postpone their big day due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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A dress fitting appointment at Allison Jayne Bridalwear in Clifton, Bristol (Ben Birchall/PA)

A dress fitting appointment at Allison Jayne Bridalwear in Clifton, Bristol (Ben Birchall/PA)

A dress fitting appointment at Allison Jayne Bridalwear in Clifton, Bristol (Ben Birchall/PA)

Plastic Champagne flutes, dresses put in quarantine and face masks for fittings are some of the measures in place as bridal shops reopen.

In England, the shops have been able to welcome customers since earlier this month and weddings of up to 30 people will be allowed from early July.

More than 250,000 weddings usually take place in the UK each year, though many couples have been affected by lockdown restrictions that came into force in March.

Jessica Letheren, 27, from Swansea, runs the Bristol branch of third-generation family business Allison Jayne Bridalwear.

“Some brides are hopeful that their weddings are going to go ahead in July and August,” Miss Letheren said.

“That applies to very few with the restrictions, but they are planning to go ahead.

“Those brides have come in for fittings because we need to get the dresses altered in time.

“They’ve been quite pleased with how the process has gone and they’re really excited to get married.

“It’s nice and light-hearted when they come in here.

“They’ve been very stressed so it’s nice to be reassured that they can get out the house and try on their wedding dress.”

Miss Letheren, who has worked in her family’s bridal shops for 14 years, was herself due to get married in Marbella in September.

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A wedding dress is quarantined after being tried on (Ben Birchall/PA)

A wedding dress is quarantined after being tried on (Ben Birchall/PA)

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A wedding dress is quarantined after being tried on (Ben Birchall/PA)

She was about to start searching for her wedding dress in March, but this was put on hold, along with her wedding.

“It’s been stressful but there are worse things going on,” she said. “As long as everyone’s got their health, it’s nothing that can’t be changed.

“We’re hopeful to do it next year in May but we’ll see what happens.

“Everyone is in the same boat. Everyone has their individual stories, but I think it’s quite comforting to know that people can relate to each other.

“It’s not just one individual that’s going through it, it’s been everyone that was due to get married since the end of March.”

Since reopening, the bridal shop has introduced a range of measures to comply with social distancing rules.

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Face coverings are worn in the fitting rooms (Ben Birchall/PA)

Face coverings are worn in the fitting rooms (Ben Birchall/PA)

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Face coverings are worn in the fitting rooms (Ben Birchall/PA)

Customers must book in for an appointment, which lasts between 90 minutes and two hours – with a 30-minute clean taking place before the next slot.

Brides-to-be choosing their gowns are allowed to bring one person with them, with FaceTime and Skype used to include other friends and family members.

Hand sanitiser, face masks and disposable gloves are available, with face coverings worn by both brides-to-be and staff in the changing rooms.

Once a dress has been tried on, it is sprayed with disinfectant fabric spray and quarantined for 72 hours.

Champagne is poured into glittery plastic disposable glasses, with a poster displaying coronavirus guidelines on view as people enter the shop.

Customers showing symptoms or feeling unwell are instructed to reschedule their appointments.

“We’ve tried to make it as normal as we can for them,” Miss Letheren said.

“We do have hand sanitiser, we wear masks when appropriate, but I’d like to say that the environment and the experience hasn’t changed too much.”

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