Whether you are in the market for a damask, A-line dress with a sweetheart neckline or a Shantung silk, drop-waisted, strapless number, wedding dress shopping conjures euphoric images of white, even for the most level-headed bride.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the emotions of buying a wedding dress, according to Karen Whitaker, owner and operator of Encore Bridal and Formal Wear. It can also be costly and time consuming to hunt for the perfect gown.
That’s why her consignment shop is so popular, she says. Encore Bridal is always accepting wedding dresses in good condition, so there is a constant influx of new styles and sizes. Wedding dresses start at just $50.
A recent acquisition of dresses from a closing shop in Smyrna helped Whitaker decide it was time for a change. She moved across the square to a bigger shop at 123 N. Maple Street earlier this year.
The brightly painted shop has expanded dressing rooms, more room for wedding accessories and an entire room full of gently-used wedding dresses.
“We do get brand new dresses in,” Whitaker assures customers. Her stock also comes from liquidators and factory direct sales, or from brides who change their minds about the dress. Unworn dresses are still considered used, and Encore Bridal can offer quality gowns at drastic discounts.
How It Works
Brides with dresses less than 5-years-old can visit the store to negotiate a consignment. Encore Bridal considers wedding dresses, bridesmaid’s, flower girl’s and mother’s dresses all year. Not all dresses are accepted.
Incoming dresses are expected to be clean and in pristine condition, preferably dry cleaned or new. Whitaker keeps dresses in the shop for nine months, and each party receives 50 percent of the sale price.
“Girls bringing in dresses that cost $1,000 originally can expect it to sell for few hundred dollars, maybe,” Whitaker said. She also cautions brides that dresses go down in worth the second they are no longer new, and to keep expectations realistic.
Business is Good
For the past three years, Encore Bridal has won local awards and recognition from the community as a cost-effective bridal boutique. In a struggling economy, it’s easy to see why.
“We drive all the way from Smithville,” said Debbie Austin, a visiting customer. “They really just have the best selection. It’s worth the drive.”
As a local business, Encore Bridal supports other local vendors by posting business cards on their announcement board and carrying business cards.
Additional information about Encore Bridal is available on their website at EncoreBridalandFormalwear.com