"Girl Meets Gown" is a new reality TV show that follows Southern belle brides on their quest for the perfect dress. The show centers on the Dallas based StarDust Celebrations, the largest bridal salon in the south. Brides fly from all over just to get the expert opinions of the two owners, Marsha Ballard French and Jennifer Cline. Since they've been in the biz since 1999, Marsha and Jennifer had plenty of advice to share with us about how to find the perfect wedding gown.
1. What makes a Stardust bride different from the others?
Our clients are usually from the South, Midwest and of course Texas. The Texas and Louisiana bride has self-confidence, usually a sense of fashion and is all about making a statement. Our Midwest brides seem to search for quality and want to find something that is not available in their local communities.
2. What kind of experience are your brides looking for when they shop?
It's a toss up, many brides want a group experience with friends and family shopping with them; others want more privacy and want to keep the gown choice a secret, but regardless of group attendance or privacy, they all want to have an experience befitting a princess.
3. What kind of experience do you offer your brides?
The experience at Stardust includes an interactive encounter where the bride and an assigned personal stylist select a group of gowns to try on. Thereafter, the stylist will select gowns that the bride may have overlooked. We have spacious dressing rooms and the bride can decide to stay in her private space or step into a very large area with floor to ceiling mirrors. The stylist is a well trained experienced professional who knows body shapes, fabrications, laces, trimwork and the structure of wedding gowns. Our stylists are expected to be familiar with different types of wedding locations in order to advise the bride on what she may experience when she wears the gown, such as sand, wind, heat, etc. After a bride makes her wedding gown selection, the celebration begins! We serve champagne, take pictures and if wanted, the bride can strut down a long hallway which mimics a long aisle. A few weeks later, the bride usually returns to select her veil and jewelry and then it's on to bridesmaids, mother's gowns and tuxedos. Our goal is to style the entire wedding including the groom!
4. How do you think a bride should feel in her dress on her wedding day?
How a bride should feel on her wedding day is as varied as trees in a forest! Yes, sexy is okay for some, but demure is better for others. We mostly believe brides want to feel "pretty" and there are many brides who want that "WOW" feeling.
5. What's the most outrageous request a bride has made?
We were asked one time if a bride could take a dress home to show her dad; she promised to bring it back within a week. Honestly, I can't think of any request that is outrageous except sometimes brides ask for large discounts, which our designers do not allow us to offer.
6. What's the worst thing a bride can do when she goes in to try on bridal gowns?
There will be many photos that the bride will see and she will just know that the gown is for her, but when we see her, we know the gown will probably not be good for her body type. Hopefully she will try on other things. Also, some brides are so close-minded about trying on gowns with lace or gowns with beads, etc. So what if lace is not her favorite? The shape of the gown may be perfect and the designer will make it without the lace. All in all at Stardust, I think the worst thing is to not listen to our stylists and give them a chance to provide the education and service that we are trained to give.
7. When brides come into your shop and don't have any idea what they are looking for, how do you decide what to have them try on?
The date of the wedding, the location of the wedding, the shape of the bride and her height are four key factors. For instance, a lightweight silk organza gown may not be perfect for a winter wedding, but the beautiful silk satin gown may take five months to make and the bride is getting married next month. And, obviously, the shape of the gown really must be flattering to the shape of the bride. It is difficult for almost anyone to wear an all white/ivory gown, honestly, who would choose an all white dress even when we are at our ideal weights? Our stylists are keenly aware of the need to select a gown based on the bride's shape and height.
8. How will she know when it's the dress?
Usually, we can tell from the emotional reaction immediately after the gown is zipped up. If not then, the bride will begin to "pat" the fabric, she will smile in the mirror; you can tell she is dreaming of her wedding day. Sometimes she cries.
9. Who should really go dress shopping with the bride?
Ideally, someone who the bride really trusts -- most often this is her mom or a best friend. The fewer the better. It is better to take a group of friends to the first fitting "after" the bride receives her gown rather than during the selection process.
10. Any wedding gown nightmares you can share?
Yes, several years ago, we had a mom get so excited about the gown, that she jumped up from her chair, tripped over a stool on the floor and broke her arm! Jenny and I were nurses in the past, so we administered first aid, called for the paramedics, sent her flowers. The mom was so embarrassed that they never came back!
"Girl Meets Gown" premieres on Sunday, April 25 at 10 p.m. EST on WeTV.
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