When I saw that a new bridal boutique was opening in South Walton, I knew I wanted to stop in and say hey to the owner! Maggie opened Margaret Ellen Bridal at 30Avenue this year, and it has quickly become a popular spot to say yes to the dress! Margaret Ellen Bridal features some of the most insta-worthy gowns and dress designers– including Hayley Paige, Martina Liana, and Liancarlo. The coolest thing about making an appointment at MEB, is you get to hang out with your bride or dies in the store alone- uninterrupted by other customers 😍😍 Read more below about the Margaret Ellen Bridal experience and dress shopping tips from Maggie herself!
Creating the MEB experience
✨I know you share a little bit about how you got started in the industry on your website, what made you decide 30A needed a bridal boutique?
There has not been a bridal boutique on 30A or even in South Walton County. With the number of weddings that happen each year on 30A and in the surrounding areas I knew this was the best place to open my store. I have also been TOTALLY IN LOVE with 30A since vacationing here in high school. There is so much to offer in this area. I am excited to offer a bridal experience here and to serve the women here locally and others who enjoy this area as they visit.
✨What about the Margaret Ellen Bridal experience is different than shopping in an off-the-rack bridal salon?
The experience is my main focus and the mission of Margaret Ellen Bridal. Finding the gown is one of the most emotional experiences and purchases for a girl. It deserves to be remembered and remembered in a positive way. Like many owners in the bridal shop world, I did not have that memorable experience. My goal is to pamper the bride and her guests as soon as she walks through my door.
The biggest thing I do that all my brides have enjoyed and commented on is that I close all doors during their appointment. This means that the bride and her family and friends are the only ones in the salon at that particular time giving them a private appointment. They get my one-on-one attention and do not have to worry about others in the salon. I also serve my brides champagne and sweet treats which just add to the fun of the day! Margaret Ellen Bridal also carries designers that allow custom changes to be made to the gowns. I have had some girls that loved a dress but wanted to change a thing or sometimes even five things on the wedding dress. They are able to do this with the majority of my designers which is so unique and helpful! Who doesn’t want to take part in designing their own gown?!?
Every bride that I have had thus far since opening in January 2018 has become a friend, and I think that is the best experience. When you really get to know someone and connect is just amazing!
✨How does an appointment at Margaret Ellen Bridal usually go? What can a bride expect of the experience?
The appointment really starts before the appointment. When I get an appointment request I call the bride. I do this to get to know them, hear their wants/needs, and to relax them before coming in to their appointment. Dress shopping is sometimes intimating and girls tend to get nervous, so I really try to take that away from them and ensure that the day will be perfect. Also before the appointment, I stalk their Pinterest or take a look at pictures they send to me so that I can really get a vision of what they think they want.
When they come in for their appointment I greet them at the door, take them for tour of the store, and get their drinks while they look through dresses. I have the dressing room filled with three dresses that I have picked out from their pictures or Pinterest board to really see what they like and go from there. A lot of my brides have actually chosen the dress that I had ready for them in the dressing room which makes it really cool. They love that I did my homework and really got to know them before coming in. Their family and friends sit out in the sitting area and then the bride comes out in the dresses she tries. The family always looks forward to when the bride turns the corner and comes down the hallway. It is their first glimpse of her in the gown. Appointments last two hours to ensure that there is plenty of time to find their dress and not a rush in doing so. Again, it is an experience that is treasured and no one wants to rush through such a fun day!
Dress shopping Tips + Tricks
✨When going into a dress shopping appointment, what are some tips you would like to share with brides?
My biggest tip would be to come in with an open mind. You may think that something is not going to look good on you or the dress doesn’t look good on a hanger, but there are so many surprises with wedding gowns.
Tip 2: Bring in those who are closest to you and opinions you trust and appreciate.
Tip 3: Give yourself plenty of time. Gowns typically take 4-5 months to come in and then alterations need time to be completed.
✨I had two dress shopping experiences. The first one, I knew exactly the dress I wanted and after trying it on, nothing could compare. My second experience, I knew the silhouette and designers I liked, and arrived with an open mind- and it was a hard decision choosing between a few gowns! Should brides have some idea what type of gown they are looking for before arriving to their appointment?
I have seen it both ways. Some girls know exactly what they want from pictures or from other appointments and then others have no idea and come in with an open-mind. I love it when a bride can give me a couple of pictures to give me an idea of what they want. Of course I like to put them in other silhouettes as well to make sure that they don’t like it more than what they thought. This goes back to my experience dress shopping. I never was put into a ball gown or A-line. I wanted mermaid because that is what I always had in high school. Now fast forward five years to opening the store and trying on ball gowns and A-lines and I LOVE them. I think that brides should try on an array of styles to really know what they want to wear on their wedding day.
✨TIMELESS or TRENDY – Wedding trends come and go quickly, should brides try to be timeless or embrace the trends and look back 20 years from now for a good laugh?
I think a bride should determine whether she wants to be timeless or trendy! Someone has to wear the trendy dresses, ha! However, I do ask my brides, “Would you still be happy looking at yourself in this dress in 10, 30, 50 years when you look at yourself in the gown in a picture hanging on the wall?” They immediately think about that and can decide!
Tackling Sample Sales + Trunk Shows
✨I recently drove 15 hours to Kansas City to attend a Sample Sale featuring all of my favorite designers. How often do bridal boutiques have sample sales, and what are some things brides should consider when attending one?
Since I just opened in January I have not had a sample sale. I plan to have one around Christmas-January this year. However, I did find my dress during a sample sale five years ago. Bridal boutiques usually have a sample sale 2 times a year. Brides should keep in mind that the dresses may have a little wear due to being “loved” on from being tried on by others. The sample sizes are typically sizes, 10 and 12. The amazing thing about sample sales is that dresses are discounted AND the bride gets to take the dress with her that day so that is a win for a bride who is getting married quickly and doesn’t have the time to order a gown.
✨I know you are hosting a Blue Willow Bride by Anne Barge Trunk Show in June, what is a trunk show, and what can brides expect when they attend one? How should a bride tackle a trunk show?
Yes! Our Blue Willow Bride by Anne Barge trunk show will be June 15-23, 2018. A trunk show is when the designer sends the store the newest extended collection. The store keeps the collection over a weekend. It is a perfect time for brides to come in because there are dresses in the store that are not usually there which gives the store about 15-20+ more dresses for brides to choose from. There are times when the designer or a representative from the collection comes in to share the collection and answer any questions. Finally, what people love the most is the discount or incentive from the designer that is offered only during trunk show weekends.
Can’t you just see yourself boomeranging the heck out of your appointment, sipping champagne with your girls, and twirling around the store like a scene from sex and the city? Contact Maggie at Margaret Ellen Bridal to make an appointment and find your dream dress!