Wedding gowns carry an incredible emotional and cultural weight to them. Working in the wedding industry it’s hard not to be a bit obsessed with them…
Yes, I know…I’m a dude…but I still love the dresses. And it’s New York Bridal Fashion Week!!
And I love working with Gabriella Bridal! Gabriella has always been super helpful when I need to borrow a gown for a styled wedding shoot, including this awesome black lace Marchesa couture dress that I used on my “Big Black Dress” shoot – you can see more of that shoot by clicking here.
So I sat down to talk with Gabriella about the wedding dress business…
Approximately how many brides do you normally work with in a year?
That’s a lot! What’s your favorite part about working with couples who are getting married?
Being that we just do the dress, we don’t get a lot of contact with grooms, unfortunately. It’s very cultural – in different asian cultures, the guy is present and has opinions. We do have it on occasion, more than 90% of women stick with the tradition.
However, I think we have the BEST part of the wedding planning process because we get to be there when a woman finds her gown. That moment is magical every time.
On a regular basis, people are crying tears of joy. I don’t think many people get that in their jobs.
I still cry when they cry, I can’t help it!
What’s your favorite part of the wedding day?
When the bride begins her walk down the aisle.
I just love the anticipation and the moment everyone gets to see her for the first time!
For the record, my second favorite part is cocktail hour for obvious reasons.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to engaged couples if you had the chance to tell them before they met you?
I tell anyone who will listen that at the reception, the bride and groom should make a pact to stick together. This is one party that you’ll want to experience completely together.
With so many friends and relatives, it’s very easy to get split up at your reception, so make the plan beforehand. You’ve got the rest of your lives to work the room separately!
How did you start doing weddings?
I went wedding dress shopping with two engaged friends and was disappointed by the experience. I wanted the stores to be small and personal and instead it felt corporate and rushed.
I decided right then and there to open the kind of wedding dress shop where I would want to get my own dress.
What did you do before working weddings?
I worked in the buying offices of Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein prior to opening my shop.
How was that different from the wedding world?
The biggest difference is that when I was working at Ralph Lauren, it’s a luxury brand, there’s not as much emotional weight attached to the purchase. We’d sell $3000 gowns but it wasn’t as emotionally complicated a purchase as a wedding dress.
What would your dream job be if you couldn’t do weddings?
Not to be cheesy, but I do feel that I have my dream job (most days).
If I had to do something else, I would love to be a professional musician. And no, I do not have ANY musical talent, but you said “dream”, so….
What do you feel you bring to your clients that no one else does?
Good vibes. Seriously.
We offer our clients a really really really great experience. Every girl who walks in our store has fun and is embraced with kindness by our staff.
We take every single detail extremely seriously to insure that our brides can relax and have fun not only in their appointments but through the entire process right through the day they pick up their gown.
We try to be very accommodating and provide luxury service without the attitude. While others might give great service, they’re not very chill. We bend over backwards with a smile. We keep it very low key.
It’s about the staff and the music and the atmosphere. We don’t make people feel bad about showing up late to their appointment. That response, let’s be cool and do what we can, makes a big difference. It’s all about asking, “What can we do to help you?”
What are you listening to/watching/reading lately that you think other people should check out?
I’m listening to the podcast Slow Burn by Slate, which I HIGHLY recommend.
You’re the third person who’s told me to listen to that podcast. I should get on that…
I also love the podcast, The High-Low. I’m reading The Cost of Living by Deborah Levy, which is a really interesting read about being a woman, particularly a married woman and how that impacts your individuality.
How would you advise couples to take care of themselves leading up to the wedding – does not have to be wedding related, just how they can practice some self care?
Take a break from wedding planning.
I knew I had to take a pause on it when my fiance came home from work and said “okay, tell me what I have to do for my second job, now” in reference to planning our wedding. I didn’t want it to feel like a job!
We also started taking morning jogs together. I swear we planned 50% of our wedding on these jogs and because we were exercising at the same time, it just never felt like work. Plus, we were getting in shape a the same time!
What’s your guilty pleasure and why?
Snapchat’s Discovery page. I love it so much. I save it for when I really need to take a break from whatever I’m doing. It gets me fully caught up on all of the “news” in the world. I am especially addicted to the E News Rundown on this page, it just gives you all the gossipy news you need in a super short time frame. Otherwise, I would never know what is going on with the Kardashians and what kind of way is that to live? ; )
Do you have anything coming up that you’re really excited about?
Yes!!!! We are hosting a trunk show with Suzanne Harward October 9th-11th, literally the day after the collection is presented at New York Bridal Fashion Week!!!! This designer is a personal favorite from Australia and we are among the first to have her gowns in the US. They are TO DIE FOR!!!
Want to learn more about Gabriella Bridal NY or that trunk show this week? Click here to head over the website and get more information – or check out Gabriella Bridal NY’s Facebook and Instagram profiles!