SISTERS Kelly Merrifield and Lauren Wade are realising a long held dream with the launch of their bridal shop.

Mili Mili Bridal had its grand opening in Sir Isaac’s Walk, Colchester, at the weekend and the duo are hoping it will be a huge hit with brides-to-be across north Essex and beyond.

Lauren, 27, says being made redundant from her bank job was the catalyst for starting a business with her sister, who also wanted to forge a career which would fit around the childcare of her three-year-old daughter.

“I had been working as a financial adviser for a bank, so I had that background in retail and dealing with customers and I also have experience in finances, both for individuals and businesses.

“Doing something like this was something I had always dreamed of,” says Lauren.

The sisters, who both live in Colchester, have raised the capital for the venture themselves and have done months of research and work to drum up interest via twitter and Facebook.

Lauren, who has a 16-month-old son, says they are going for a modern approach to the bridal dresses they stock and are the only shop in Essex to stock gowns designed by Charlotte Balbier.

“Brides seem to really want known designers now and so we wanted to specifically go for classic, but modern at the same time.

“We have also decided to just concentrate on bridal dresses at the moment, because we did not want to compete with High Street shops.

“A lot of brides tend to go to those places for their bridesmaid dresses and shoes, so we thought we would leave that for now,” adds Lauren.

Kelly, 29, says their plan is to pamper brides-to-be and their wedding parties when they come in.

Women will be free to pop in and browse, but the shop will operate an appointment system for trying on.

“We liked this shop because it has a section out the back we are using for the dressing room. We wanted to have teas and drinks and we have got a sweets station for children as well, to make it as comfortable as possible,” adds Kelly.