AS all businesses know, repeat custom is a real boon, proof of a satisfied customer. It’s the same for Susan Brodie, although in her case it’s sometimes tinged with sadness.

That’s because, as the owner of a long-established bridalwear company, it can mean a marriage has sadly ended.

Mrs Brodie, 57, who has run Wedding Belles on Darwen Street, Blackburn, for 33 years, for many of those with former business partner Lynn Jennings, has seen many changes over the decades.

Fashions may come and go but marriage is always on trend - with Mrs Brodie having helped many women second time around, and three brides for three marriages each over the last 20 years.

Mrs Brodie, who lives in Tockholes, said: “I always say thank you for coming back. They do so because they know we look after them. It’s never a case of ‘just another bride’.

“We do get a lot of repeat customers and I have done work for families where it really follows through.”

That’s a reference to the big staging posts of family life for which formal wear is needed - christenings, communions, proms and weddings.

Mrs Brodie added: “Civil ceremonies have been a massive change, while proms have become massive.”

It all started for Wedding Belles on April 2, 1984. Mrs Brodie and her former partner spotted a gap in the market when they each made their own wedding dress.

Mrs Brodie said: “I did realise there was a gap in the market. I did the creative side and she had a flower shop, so we got together.”

The firm, first based on Park Road in Lower Audley, does everything in house and has a turnaround time of four months. Bridal dresses range in price from about £800 to £1,500 and, perhaps surprisingly, ivy has usurped white.

The next designer weekend at Wedding Belles is with Amanda Wyatt on November 10 and 11.

Mrs Brodie wishes all customers every happiness but over the years has developed an instinct for knowing if a marriage is likely to survive.

She said: “It always interests me how long they have been together. You do kind of know but of course you keep that to yourself.”