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The Whitley Bay Bridal Shop Meeting the Desires of the Modern Bride

wedding dress model
September 2023
Reading time 3 Minutes

MRS W is the North East's newest bridal shop, its sole purpose to meet the desires of the relaxed, modern bride

With minimal, effortlessly cool wedding dresses, separates and accesories that you won't find anywhere else, we caught up with founder Lauren Whitaker to find out what makes MRS W so sucessful.

While many people dream of working in the wedding industry from a young age, Lauren’s route into bridalwear actually came later in life. ‘My background is not actually within the bridal industry, nor retail for that matter,’ Lauren explains. ‘I finished up a Business and French degree back in 2010 and moved into a corporate role for a global manufacturing and engineering company where I worked in various roles within sales, marketing and business development. I got the opportunity to move to Melbourne, where I lived for around four years, and it was there that a lot of my ideas for MRS W were generated.  

‘At the time, non-traditional gowns were less popular, and highly embellished, traditional lace gowns very much defined bridal style here in the UK. I specifically remember standing outside Toni Maticevski's atelier in a suburb in Melbourne thinking that I'd never seen anything like these statement bridal gowns before and wondering why outside London, these styles were not accessible to women or brides in the North East.’

Lauren decided to remedy this, bringing her modern bridal edit to the North of England, Whitley Bay to be precise, and MRS W was opened at the beginning of 2022. ‘Although its inception was in the summer of 2021, we officially opened in February the next year,’ explains Lauren. ‘MRS W was born with the modern woman in mind; for fashion- influenced, confident, cool, contemporary brides, with similar tastes to my own.’

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Prea James

What makes MRS W stand out from other bridal shops is the unique and carefully curated selection of brands. ‘We don't stock hundreds of dresses,’ explains Lauren. ‘What we do is curate a selection of unique, hard-to-find modern gowns from independent bridal designers from across the globe. MRS W stocks a selection of bridalwear from globally-sourced designers, chosen, not only for their authenticity, but also their ethos. All our dresses are made-to-order in house from designers that practice sustainable, slow fashion.’

When deciding which brands to stock, Lauren looks for designers which share their own ethos and epitomise the MRS W bride. ‘We look for three things when selecting which brands to stock: fashion-led collections, premium design and authenticity. The designers that we stock, the location of our store and the relaxed environment that we have created connects to the modern bride. We find that we often appeal most to the bride that never imagined getting married, the brides that don't identify with the mainstream bridal industry, looking for a more minimalist gown.’

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The edit on offer at MRS W is also particularly inspired by Australian bridalwear – after all it was the inspiration behind the business in the first place. ‘I am definitely influenced and inspired by Australian bridal designers, blogs and the real weddings that I see there,’ Lauren explains. ‘The Australian designers we currently stock include Prea James, Lola Varma and Bowie Rae, and they’re all understated, refined, cool and very different from the traditionally popular Australian bridal designers that you’ll see elsewhere.  

‘I love these designers, especially as they are made for brides who are quietly confident in themselves and for brides that are fashion forward but not led by trends, who will wear what they want to wear and not what is expected. They are still elegant and timeless. If I had to get married again I’d go for a Prea James or Lola Varma dress – both contemporary but relaxed.’ 

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Visits to the MRS W bridal shop in Whitley Bay are by private appointment only, but once you’re there be prepared for a fun, friendly experience in a relaxed environment. ‘MRS W promises every bride a genuinely unique experience, in a really relaxed environment, where we can spend time and support your vision for your wedding day. We have carefully considered the space and the experience and are extremely proud of the reviews we receive from our brides that come into the store. Our two-hour private bridal appointments allow brides to really explore the dresses and styles we have in store, unhurried and with a one-to-one dedicated stylist.’

For the brides-to-be struggling to find their dream dress, Lauren has some wise words of advice. ‘I really sympathise with brides today and the impact that social media is having on them,’ she says. ‘Whilst being so powerful to inspire brides, I am finding that they are often overwhelmed with the choice and number of stores and dresses out there. And although they feel great in a gown, they are unable to say yes for fear that something better is still out there.  

‘I would advise brides to remember most importantly how they feel when trying on a dress and to trust their instincts.  It's important to know that you will always see other dresses, but be confident in your decision. For MRS W, I hope to be recognised as the North East's leading bridal store for the fashion-forward bride and will continue to provide brides with a unique selection of dream dresses they simply won't see everywhere else.’


An item you couldn’t live without?
My daily planner: I still love a physical diary for all of my to do lists.

Your go-to lazy dinner?
Chicken gyros.

Advice you’d give to your younger self?
I read this quote today that I loved. ‘It's the small habits – how you spend your morning, how you talk to yourself, what you read, what you watch, who you share your energy with, who has access to you – that will change your life.’

What do you love most about being based in the North East?
You're never too far from the city or the beach.  

A hidden gem in the region?
Not so hidden and I may be slightly biased, but it has to be Whitley Bay where my store is located. It is home to so many independent cafés, cinemas, theatres, shops, restaurants and bars and the incredible coastline.

For more information, to browse the collections or book an appointment visit

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