Best Bridal Shop continues adapting to changing designs and stylesBookmark this
When Bride ‘N Groom owner Kelly Brister learned her business had won Best Bridal Shop in NWA for 2018, she was stunned because “I didn’t even know we’d been nominated!” She and store manager Meghann Swafford are excited to have been chosen by voters in the annual contest run by the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette recognizing outstanding businesses in the region. It’s their first time to get the prize.
The shop is distinguished on several counts. For one, “We’ve been here for 40 plus years in downtown Springdale. We have moms, aunts and sisters who are now bringing younger generations to us to purchase their wedding gowns,” Brister said. She bought the store in 2009, known then as Bridal World, and opened two months later.
Because Bride ‘N Groom is an independent business, not a chain franchise, “we get to decide which direction the shop goes as far as what lines we carry and what we want to feature, what we’d like to have for ladies to come in and look at and purchase.”
Design trends have changed considerably in 10 years, and both Brister and Swafford keep current by attending VOW New World of Bridal in Atlanta every spring. Long sleeves on gowns are back in style, which they attribute to Duchess Meghan Markel’s influence. Another factor is that June is no longer the wedding month of choice, but October, when the weather is cooler and, in Northwest Arkansas, colorful with autumn leaves.
Prices at the store are designed to fit most every budget. Wedding gowns range in price from $800 to $2,000 and vary in size up to a 22. A special feature is “Hidden Treasures” where brides can buy dresses for as low as $100. “These are discontinued lines, so we can’t order them in different sizes. That means we pass on savings to the customer.” Bridesmaid dresses, veils, jewelry, and prom gowns are also for sale, and the shop offers in-house alterations. Tuxes are for rent, or rent to buy.
This fall, customers will see a new private label for plus sizes. “We’ve curated our own line. Most of our brides now are about size 14. We want to cater to them and make sure they have the same styles every woman has.” The gowns, which are not advertised, will be unique from what is seen on runway shows or in wedding magazines.
Brister believes positive customer experience is one of the main reasons voters chose Bride ‘N Groom as Best Bridal Shop. “As they come in, we want to celebrate them. We’re really excited to see their ring and hear their story, meet their family.” She said sometimes family members “well up in tears. It’s a big day. We get to be part of this life moment with them.”
"It's a big day. We get to be part of this life moment with them."
She said they also have a “counseling” service for brides-to-be. “They get so nervous about it because they want the day to be perfect. We talk them down off the ceiling so they can actually enjoy their wedding. We always tell them, “Just remember to breathe. And if anything goes wrong, just act like it was supposed to happen that way.”
This article was presented and sponsored by Bride 'N Groom. For more information, go to NWABrideNGroom.com.