Wight Wedding Blog


Isle of Wight wedding dresses


Supplier feature

We’ve written previously in our blog on what to expect when looking for THE wedding dress on the Isle of Wight. Taking your mum and bridesmaids along for the spree and searching through the rails full of so many different dresses in the wedding shops. You may well be looking for something quite specific while hoping they will have that style in your size, in the right length AND there will be sparks flying (we don’t want much, do we girls). Most likely you will find a wedding dress that is as close as possible, that needs some adjustment with additional touches to make it your own, and the way you were imagining. The Isle of Wight has a number of great wedding dress shops that stock a variety of brands and styles that are on trend right now and that try to cater for the many individual personalities of the many brides choosing to get married here on the Isle of Wight. All in all, they do a good job of catering for all the brides. But have you thought, and we mean properly, about having your dress made for you….from scratch?

Many of you may throw this idea straight into the imaginary ‘leave that idea alone it’s too expensive’ bin you’ve created after your initial search on the internet and flick through a glossy wedding magazine. A little advice, why not at least explore the idea a little more, as it won’t hurt. It’s always best to explore the possibilities, even if it is just an initial quote and consultation to establish if having a dress made specifically for you is, right for you.


Top and bottom right - Emma Watts Photography, Bottom left - Chris Cowley Photography 

There are many advantages to having good high standard adjustments to your dress, with the main one being that your wedding dress will fit you like a dream and you will feel like a million pounds if everything is just right. Going one step further and having your dress made in a specific style and material to fit your wedding theme exactly (and wedding budget), or to your body precisely as you would like it to means you are spending money on a perfectly fitting dress in more ways than one. We live in an image conscious world, but we don’t think what you look like is the most important part of being head over 3 inch heels in love with your dress, it’s most definitely about how you feel in it.

Dornellie is an Isle of Wight based design business run by Karen Robb, an experienced dress, veil and headpiece designer who can create unique and bespoke wedding dresses that are the perfect fit for you and only you. After a consultation with Karen to discuss what kind of dress you would like to feel great in on your wedding day, work starts to source the right materials for your budget and style, before designing a unique to you dress that will fit like a dream. In fact, possibly the one you had the other night of you coming down the aisle on your wedding day (we blame wedding planning taking over your dreams!).

We wanted to find out more from Karen on why she started designing beautiful dresses, veils and headpieces, her newest venture the Rainaway Bride and how she managed to design and create costumes for Pirates of the Caribbean 2 (yes, you read that right). Although she doesn’t mention it herself, we decided we would bring it up.


All above images Chris Cowley Photography 

When did you start Dornellie and why?

Dornellie was launched in 2009. I had been working as a costume maker for 9 years and although I loved the job and my work, I still had a need (which I had from 8 years old) to be a designer in my own name. I had made some amazing costumes (including Jason Donovan’s frilly knickers!!!) but at the end of the day I didn’t get a mention and I craved recognition for my work. I also felt I had a lot of creativity within me yet to be released. (Sounds a bit 'grand' but its how I felt!)


Why did you decide to base your business on the Isle of Wight and what are the benefits?

Primarily I live here! Selling online, as most of my work is, meant I could stay here and work in a safe, quiet stress free place rather than my original home of South London.


How has Dornellie grown since you started?

Dornellie started as just veils but I developed unique headpieces and then my bespoke gowns, Mother of Bride headpieces, Bridesmaids headpieces and even a dabble in grooms and ushers waistcoats. A great excuse to use Savile Row fabric!!


Who are the team behind Dornellie?

Just me – Karen Robb.  It makes a peaceful workplace.



All above images Chris Cowley Photography 

How did working on such great films as Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and Prince of Persia, along with west end shows like The Lion King come about?

When I first came to the Island I felt a bit lost but applied for the position of workroom assistant with an A-list costume maker who had himself relocated to the island. I didn’t think I would get the job but he took a risk and I stayed for over 9 years. As he has a most prestigious reputation, all the work he had was for top notch film, theatre, opera and ballet productions. Lots of interesting and exciting work.


What are the main wedding services you offer couples?

I can cater for all the bride requires for her outfit, dress, veil and/or headpiece. I can do everything from scratch or add to the gown if she has already bought one with a complimenting veil, lace jacket, etc. Accessories for Mother of the Bride and bridesmaids too. Possibly a waistcoat for the groom and I would be tempted to do more in menswear if the project was exciting and unique.


Do you offer anything that a bride or bridesmaid might not know about and may be of interest?

I have created the Rainaway Bride, a wedding dress cover to protect brides from rain and wind on their day. It is unique to me and only available to buy or hire through me or recommended bridal suppliers.

All of my work is bespoke and therefore will be unique to all brides and will be made to fit not fitted.

I was the organiser behind the Bridal Champagne Tea at The Royal last year too, and hope to plan another event in the future.


What is the future for Dornellie, any new developments for the future?

The future will be taking the Rainaway Bride around the world. Australia and America are already interested and hopefully Dornellie will continue to grow.

Lots of ideas for promotion this year and a second Bridal Champagne Tea is a possible again.


Top image - Ugg Photography, All other images above - Emma Watts Photography

What do you think differentiates you from other bridal wear designers?

I take a lot of time to work with my brides and don't just obey the 'rules' of what dress suits each person. I take into consideration the brides personality and any body issues. I like to embrace and accentuate body shape but detract from anything she isn't happy with. I also take the time to find the best fabric/materials within whatever budget is available.

The best testimonial I have had was from a husband who said ‘you have made my wife’s personality into a dress’, she wore it on a bouncy castle at her reception!!!! 


Well we are certainly sold on how exciting and personal a uniquely handmade dress could be to unveil on your wedding day (and how having a bouncy castle at our wedding would be all kinds of fun). Karen sounds very passionate about her work and by all accounts has experience to a high level, who wouldn't want a dress, veil or headpiece made by someone who worked on hollywood movies and west end shows?!

If you would like more information from Karen on creating a bespoke dress, veil or headpeiece for your day then go to the Dornellie profile page in the Wight Wedding Days directory and use the enquiry button to ask all the questions your heart desires. 

Wight Wedding Days X

This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some of these cookies are essential to make this site work and others help us to gain insight into how it is being used.
These cookies are set when you submit a form, login or interact with the site by doing something that goes beyond clicking some simple links. We also use some non-essential cookies to anonymously track visitors or enhance your experience of this site. If you're not happy with this, we won't set these cookies but some nice features on the site may be unavailable. To control third party cookies, you can also adjust your browser settings. If you wish to view any policies or terms of usage that you cannot find on this website, please contact us. You can change your mind and opt-out at any time by clicking the ✻ icon above.
I consent to cookies
I don't consent to cookies