Reflecting on 2020: COVID-19’s Effects on a Bridal Shop

Reflecting on 2020

We’ve said it all before, but no one could have predicted that this would be the way that 2020 would have ended. Although there is a sense of hope in the air from the development of vaccines and treatments of COVID-19, there are still a lot of apprehensions.

Many businesses have been vocal about their experiences during this time. Now, more than ever, it is time to listen. For many small businesses, their adaptability and ability to share their stories are the difference between survival and closing their doors for good. The wedding industry is no different. Any wedding vendors will tell you about all the postponements they have experienced. And if one thing is certain, 2021 is going to be an INSANE year for most of us. But in our sector, the wedding date is just half of it. Bridal shops operate from a year in advance all the way to the day before wedding. 

We want to take this time to reflect on this year and the COVID-19 pandemic as a whole. The following is everything we have learned and been through the past year!

In Marketing

“During the shutdown, our marketing goals changed dramatically. No longer did we want to entice brides to come to our shop. Instead, we wanted to keep ourselves on the mind of brides and keep them entertained so that when we did open, they wanted to come to us. When we finally opened up shop in June, we again had to change course. Now we had to make sure everyone was aware of all the precautions we were taking as a business. It was a time to make sure everyone felt comfortable coming out of their homes to our shop. And with that, we wanted to make sure that their trip was worthwhile! We had to ensure that we had enough dresses, trunk shows, and promotions that Brides were excited about. Overall, the name of the game of marketing during the COVID pandemic was adapting to new and scary circumstances!” 

– Alexa, Marketing Coordinator

In Alterations

“Since opening back up, there has been a major shift in how we approach the dress’s fit. Before, Brides used to want to sacrifice comfort and practicality for the look. But now that we see more intimate weddings, brides are looking for something more comfortable and practical for their big day. We have brides eloping at the top of a mountain, getting married in their living room, and getting creative to celebrate with close family. These brides don’t want to worry about navigating their house in many layers of tulle or not being able to sit. They want to feel like a bride while still maintaining the mobility to do what they need to do in more intimate settings. Similarly, I have never seen so many brides asking to cut off their trains! 

Our alterations department sees our brides right before they walk down the aisle. When talking to them as their wedding approaches, we have seen an amazing shift in how they see their big day. It used to be so much more about the glitz and glamour of getting married. Now, brides care less about having the most impressive wedding day, but rather, they are just excited to be marrying their partner. It has been wonderful to see our brides rediscover what getting married is truly about.

One of the best things that have come during this alteration season is the relationships that we have built with our brides. We went from asking questions like “What color are your bridesmaids’ dresses?” to really getting to know our brides as they navigate through such a tricky time. We hear of all the stories of challenges and curveballs being constantly thrown at our brides, and we feel for/with every single one of them. They’ve all been through a lot, and we are just so happy to be a part of their journey. It makes dress pickup day all the more special!” 

– Katie, Bridal Stylist & Alterations Coordinator

In Appointments

“Our screening process has always been important to get an idea of what our brides are looking for during their appointment with us. Now, it has become the most crucial aspect of getting the bride prepared for their appointment. When we reach out to the bride to touch base on what they are looking for, we inform them of our COVID-19 guidelines, including a two-guest limit per bride, completing our COVID Screening Form before their appointment, for both themself and their guests. The two-guest limit has been both challenging and productive for us. Although we completely understand and sympathize with how difficult it is to narrow down to just two people, it has allowed our brides to really learn what they love and want in their dream dress and hear the thoughts from two very important people. 

This year has been challenging (to say the least) for every single person. We have all had to make changes in our lives, oftentimes changes that we do not want to make, but they are made to have everyone’s safety as the top priority. I think it has been so important to remember that we are all going through this unknown territory together and understanding that each person is processing this difficult time in their own way. Being understanding, kind, and compassionate are such important skills to get through these times together. 

I think that having the incredible blessing to come out of lockdown and get back to what we love has been the most uplifting part of this experience. Working with brides again and finding their dream wedding dress has taken on a whole new meaning of loving what we do!” 

– Nicole, Manager and Lead Bridal Stylist

Our Customers

“Our customer goals very much changed once we opened up. Many new brides started with an unclear vision because of the uncertainty that shutdown and COVID had left us with. When first working with a bride, we always ask about where and when the wedding is and details of a theme, and so on. This provides us with a background of what they might be looking for, and instead, Brides responded with a lot of “I don’t know,” “I am not sure yet,” “well hopefully.” It became hard for brides to pinpoint what they were looking for. The ambiguity of their search has become the biggest struggle for them. 

Also, the priorities of our Brides have changed because their event has had to change. Brides who originally had a summer wedding have had to change gears to plan a winter wedding. Brides who imagined a 200-guest event are now curating an intimate 40 event. The unwavering element is that no matter what the changes brides have had to make, they still want to look and feel either best, and we are here to support them to get to that spot.” 

– Meghan, Bridal Stylist

In Business

“One of the most challenging sides to any business is the financials. For small businesses, this is always the case, but this year has been especially taxing. As a business owner, I have had to be more creative than ever. I have had to remain transparent for my customers to reassure them in uncertain times. Brides just wanted a piece of mind that their dress will be completed, shipped, and remain safe at our shop, hoping to one day be able to pick up their gown. In this time, honesty and communication were key. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared at times. How could I continue to pay my suppliers with no revenues? Working with our understanding brides, we cultivated a new policy to ensure the designer is paid and the dress arrives promptly.

Another concern was the shift in our alterations schedule. The majority of our brides decided to postpone their weddings until 2021. As a result, our 2021 alterations book was nearly full. Knowing that brides wanted a piece of mind when it comes to finding a trusted seamstress to work on their gowns, we wanted to develop a plan before we started turning new brides away. We needed to come up with an agreement between our brides and us. As a result, we now require a deposit to secure our alteration services. This has helped us tremendously when it comes to a forecasted cash flow and scheduling for 2021.”

Many of my main concerns during this whole COVID-19 pandemic was my staff. At Angela’s, we are a tight-knit group, to say the least. We rely on, inspire, and motivate each other in every possible way. I have to give thanks to PPP. Although it was not much, it was necessary and helped buy me time before starting to take appointments again. I simply can not run this large volume business without my incredible team. Without them, I would be pulling my hair out. 

I have learned so much through 2020. It has been a whirlwind of a year, and I feel blessed to be on the other side of it with my team and our brides. Although 2021 shows promise to be another crazy year, I am optimistic, and quite frankly, we are up for the challenge.”

– Janet Cooper, Owner

New COVID-19 Bridal Shopping Protocols

The New Normal : New COVID-19 Bridal Shopping Protocols

COVID-19 Bridal Shopping Protocols

We are so happy to announce that we are officially reopened!

Because of COVID-19, we will have some new guidelines to keep our customers and staff safe. Please read through them before booking an appointment.

The following guidelines will be upheld by many other bridal shops in the Capital Region.

  • All shops are by appointment only. No walk-ins will be allowed in the shop for any reason.

  • Brides will be allowed to bring a maximum 2 guests at appointments.

  • Everyone must wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth at all times.

  • All gowns and surfaces will be cleaned after every appointment.

  • Shops will undergo deep cleaning daily.

  • Brides and their guests must fill out our COVID-19 Survey before their appointments as a way to screen customers and prevent potential exposure. Please complete this the week of your appointment. Fill out the Survey here.

  • All patrons coming in from out of state must quarantine for 2 weeks if the state they are coming from is on the list of the restricted states provided by New York State.

The following states and territories meet the criteria for required quarantine:

  • Alaska
  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Guam
  • Iowa
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • Nevada
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

*This is based upon a seven day rolling average, of positive tests in excess of 10%, or number of positive cases exceeding 10 per 100,000 residents.*

We are all so excited to get back to business as usual, but these protocols will be strictly enforced to make sure everyone has a safe bridal shopping experience.

 

Silhouettes: A-Line

A lot of brides go bridal shopping with very open minds (which we love) and just want to find
something that goes with their personality and flatters their body. In this series, we will be
breaking down each Bridal silhouette to help you figure out what you want in your gown.

This week, it’s all about A-lines! You would not believe the amount of times we get brides
saying they don’t want something fitted, but don’t want something cupcake-y. Don’t worry girl,
A-line are the perfect solution for this request!

The Fit:

A-line gown are named such because the skirt of the gown mirrors the letter “A.” This means the
skirt will not be fitted and will flare out at the natural waist of a bride. Most of the time, the
bodice, or top part of the dress, will be fitted to really showcase the flare. Bonus; this silhouette
will make your waist look extra tiny!

The Body Types

The best part of A-line gowns is that they look good on most body shapes. The way a-line gowns
are constructed accentuate an hourglass figure. Additionally, the natural flare of the skirt will
never swallow a shorter bride!

The fabrics:

For a softer and more romantic look, many A-line gowns have skirts made out of silk organza,
chiffon, or tulle. These fabrics are thinner and tend to be layered and gathered to make a big skirt
without feeling too heavy.

For a more structure and fancier look, choose an aline with a thicker fabric like mikado or satin.
Typically, these gown gowns are one layer and have some crinoline to give a little volume.

The Bustle:

Although you and your seamstress can customize the bustle to your liking. Here are the bustles
we most often see with A-line gowns

Traditional Bustle – This bustle is one of our favorites! This method involves the skirt begin
lifted and attached following the waist of the dress. Because of the nature of a-line gown tends to
have more flowy skirts, this bustle looks very natural and tends to mirror the way the front of the
dress draps.

Reverse Bustle – The reverse bustle is the method of having the train fold underneath and be
attached on the inside of the skirt of the dress. This bustle tends to be best on gowns with a more
structured material like a mikado.

French Bustle – French bustles have the attachment points under the dress and fabric is
folded in. This gives a ruffles arc effect to the back of the skir t. This bustle is also best
used with a thicker fabric like crepe or satin.

No Bustle

French Bustle

Reverse Bustle

Traditional Bustle

Bridal Breakdown: Who to Bring to your Bridal Shopping Appointment

Bridal Breakdown: Who to Bring to your Bridal Shopping Appointment

So, you have your bridal appointment booked! Yay, so exciting! The representative you spoke with might have asked you how many or who you are bringing to your appointment. Although you might not have thought about this before, the number of guests you bring can really affect your appointment!

Although there is no exact science or number for every bride, you want to make sure you are getting the most out of every appointment you have. You can bring anyone you’d like to your appointment, it can be your Mom, Grandma, Sister, Cousin, Bridesmaids or Maid of Honor. We even have brides bring their fiance or a close work friend!

The main thing is that you want to bring people who will be honest and a cheerleader for you. It is a very special day in your wedding planning process, and understand that many people will want to be there for you and involved. Just remember, picking out your wedding dress, is about you. Your opinion is the most valuable and should hold the most significant influence on your decision. You want to bring guests who value your opinion and support you and help you make the best decisions.

We usually recommend brides bring not many more than four people. Four is a good number because it is enough people to give you good feedback, but not too many where it can become overwhelming. The dynamic can be different with every group of people. Still, in general, larger crowds can create more noise during the appointment. If there are a lot of people who want to go bridal shopping with you, bring the four closest people to you to the initial appointment. Then bring in the rest of the crowd once you have it narrowed down to the dress or two favorites! This way, you can find the dresses you really love while still having your entourage feel included!

Regardless of who you bring, we recommend that you follow your heart. The selection of your wedding dress, like selecting your partner, is an emotional decision and should always be special. At Angela’s Bridal, we will work with you and your squad to make sure saying “Yes!” will be a special moment that you will remember for the rest of your life!

Fall 2019 Trend Forecast

Fall 2019 Trend Forecast

Going to Bridal Market is a time our staff looks forward to all season. It’s not only an opportunity to curate our collection and bond as a team, but a chance to become more inspired and enthusiastic about the world of bridal fashion! By attending the market, we were able to handpick the best of the best styles with the most reliable quality for our brides.

We traveled as far as Barcelona to buy the most extraordinary dresses, so our brides are left feeling unique on their wedding day. We cannot wait for you, beautiful ladies, to fall in love with them.

With our new dresses about to arrive for the season, here are the trends you need to know about!

Fall 2019 market stood out to us because many elements our brides have been asking for were not only featured but re-imagined.

Sparkle has been utilized in a very new and fresh way. Many of the dresses had a gentle touch of sparkle detailing.

Floral Imagery

Floral detailing is in ladies! Whether it’s a floral lace pattern or applique, floral imagery has been seen all over the bridal runway.

This Pronovias is a perfect example of a re-imagined floral. The back beadwork creates a statement piece that is bound to turn heads. You can try on “Bellatrix” in the shop now!

Crescent Necklines

The next bridal trend is crescent necklines. This type of neckline is very new to the industry but is so unique and flattering. A crescent neckline is rounded at the top as opposed to scooping downwards or outlining the bust.

This Allison Webb dress is to die for! She perfectly pairs the crescent neckline and sparkle trends with this amazing matching bolero.

Subtle Sparkle

As we mentioned before, sparkle has become more and more popular in bridal. At bridal market, we saw delicate laces paired with sequin details throughout the fabric. This technique gives a very different sparkle effect than beading or glitter caviar because it creates more of a sheen. It’s more delicate and light than a full beaded dress too. This also means it will be priced lower than a fully beaded gown! Plus, this beauty from Marchesa Notte has just arrived in our shop!

Corset Detailing

Corsets are back but don’t worry; the uncomfortable fit is not! Designers have used vertical boning, stitchwork, and cups to create a corset look without affecting your breathing.

This Marchesa Notte gown embodies this trend perfectly by outlining the cups and boning to give a corset look rather than a corset structure. The texture applique and soft fabric make it feminine and soft but sexy.

5 Things to Know for your Wedding Dress Fitting

5 Things to Know for Your Wedding Dress Fitting

For many Brides, alterations can be super stressful. By the time you start your alterations, its down to the wire. The added stress of the little hiccups from all the details of the wedding is understandably overwhelming. To help ease the stress of the process, here are the 5 things you should know about the alterations process before starting the process:

Five things to know about the alterations process:

  1. You should start your alterations six to eight weeks before your wedding!

    You may be thinking… isn’t that too late? A lot of brides expect to start their alterations three months before their wedding, but we don’t advise this. The reason being is that you want to be the closest to your wedding day size as possible. If a bride starts alterations months before the wedding, they might end up gaining or losing weight during the alterations process. The extra modifications from your body changing will end up costing you more money!

  2. You must have your shoes selected and with you by your first fitting!

    Make sure you bring the shoes you are wearing on your special day to all of your fittings! It doesn’t matter if you choose to go a heel, sneakers or flat, the exact shoes is essential for your alterations to be done properly. Your shoes will directly affect the length of the hem, which is the first step of the alterations process. Please note, If you end up bringing heels to your fitting and wear flats the day of your wedding, the gown may end up begin too long or vice versa. With this in mind, try to find shoes you will be comfortable all day long.

  3. Use your voice, ladies!

    Alteration fittings exist so that your seamstress can make your gown perfect. Ask all of your questions and concerns to make sure that you’re the happiest bride to be. If something isn’t looking right, express exactly who you feel to your seamstress to prevent adjustment later on and the anxiety for you! Similarly, we recommend that you either come by yourself or with only one other person to fittings. Like when picking out your dress, too many voices can sometimes disrupt the image of what you want. You are the bride and you know what you like. If you would like to bring a larger party, we suggest for them to come to the gown pickup so they can see the finished product!

  4. Bustle’s are custom!!

    Many brides are surprised to learn that bustle’s do not come pre-done on any of the dresses we carry. The main reason being that bustles dependent on the brides height and preference! Therefore, it will be done in your alterations appointments. Make sure your mother or maid of honor learns how to bustle your train before picking up your dress!

  5. Know the pricing!!

    Lastly, budget budget budget! The average cost for alterations lies between 500 and 700 dollars. The lower end of prices usually includes a hem, bustle, and the bodice. If you need to lengthen your train or have any significant take in’s, you’re looking at spending more money. It is important to remember when buying your dress to take into consideration at least an extra 500 dollars to get it altered!

Photo by: Andrew Franciosa Studio

SURPRISE! We’re Getting Married! – Steps to planning a Pop-Up Wedding

Albany Bride Guide - By Angela's Bridal

SURPRISE! We're Getting Married! - Steps to planning a Pop-Up Wedding

Do you like surprise parties? The anticipation of seeing the reaction when the guest of honor arrives is certainly entertaining. Then the celebration with family and friends can truly begin!

What if we told you some people have surprise weddings? You might be thinking, “How do you even go about planning that?” Well, Angela’s Bridal was lucky enough to be a part of a surprise Pop-Up Wedding this summer.

LDT Productions put together this touching video that summarizes the steps of planning a Pop-Up Wedding that led Lauren and Shawn’s dreams to come true.

Check out the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uJEYq6BcXk&featur%20e=youtu.be

Step 1: The first step is to decide what traditional elements of a wedding you would like to keep. For Lauren, this meant having the gorgeous attire. We were honored to be a part of Lauren’s special day. We helped find the perfect dress to fit her vision. How amazing does she look in this beautiful Paloma Blanca bridal gown?

Lauren found her adorable flower girl dresses through Flower Girl Closet, which such a convenient and easy way to get these charming little dresses!

Step 2: The next step is to decide how to make it a surprise. Lauren and Shawn decided to invite everyone to a pot luck barbeque. In the summer, this is not at all suspicious, and the guests were shocked when they opened up a fortune cookie that read “Lauren and Shawn” and that day’s date. They then received more formal wedding information created by Caroline Corrigan.

Step 3: Next, you need to gather a team to make the magic happen. Lauren chose some awesome vendors to assist in her special day. Split Pea Photography captured these beautiful images shown throughout the blog. Claire Harris did an amazing job with hair and make-up in just 40 minutes, making Lauren feel absolutely perfect. Lastly, B. Darling Floral created the perfect arrangements for Lauren’s theme. They incorporated wild berries into the bouquets, and colorful centerpieces that brought the whole look together.

Step 4: Now celebrate your wedding! Enjoy the thrill of the surprise, and the fun throughout the day with family and friends.

Congratulations Lauren and Shawn! We feel so lucky and honored to be a part of your special Pop-Up Wedding. We’re so happy to help your dreams come true!

Black Friday, White Dress

Albany Bride Guide - By Angela's Bridal

Black Friday, White Dress

There’s no doubt Black Friday is one of the most popular shopping days of the year-if not the most popular. Black Friday, the day after thanksgiving (as most of you already know) is the time for millions of people to do some major holiday shopping.

Ever since the start of the modern Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in 1924, the Friday after thanksgiving has been known as the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season. The term “Black Friday” was coined in the 1960s. “Black” refers to the stores moving from “red” to “black” when accounting records were kept by hand and red indicated a loss and black indicated a profit.

As you know, retailers offer their best deals of the season on Black Friday and in doing so, draw huge crowds. Many stores offer door busters which causes customers to wait outside for the stores to open.

Recently, Black Friday has been taken to a new extreme. Stores have been opening earlier and earlier. First 5am, then midnight, 8pm and now even 5pm! It’s actually pretty sad in my opinion. Especially with people getting injured and even killed because of the crowds and the desire to get the sale first. I’m still shocked that one man was trampled to death when the doors opened at a Walmart in Long Island. People aren’t truly celebrating thanksgiving anymore with things like that happening.

I have always worked in retail and I find it sad that I used to regret the holiday season because of Black Friday, especially when thanksgiving is my favorite holiday (SO much food!!). Fortunately, this is the first year I’m actually excited for Black Friday weekend because we at Angela’s Bridal are not taking this day to the new extreme.

Although we do extend our regular hours for the day, we do not open at obscene hours. We extend our day from 10am to 6pm in order to fit the most brides we can for our BIGGEST promotion of the year without going over the top. Angela’s Bridal values the importance of spending holidays with family and friends. Janet Cooper, the owner of Angela’s Bridal, is a very family oriented woman herself, and recognizes the fact that we couldn’t truly enjoy thanksgiving if we had to open our store at midnight.

I think this is the way other retailers should view black Friday as well, from an employee viewpoint. None of us here at Angela’s will be working through the night or waking up at a crazy hour, so we will be rested, ready, and best of all- EXCITED, to help our brides find the dress of their dreams! We will be enthusiastic rather than dreading the day. We are so excited to keep the spirit of Black Friday alive while keeping it in-check.  We can truly provide the top-notch service we value so strongly.

Are you ready for our biggest promotion of the year! Exclusive promotions will apply to new appointments during our “Black Friday, White Dress” Event. These days always fill up quickly so call today to ensure your appointment. This is a very special time to purchase your bridal gown! We may not have hordes of people waiting for our doors to open at 10am, but we are SO excited to help you find the dress of your dreams!

Join Our Newsletter