by Shannon Hurd, Editor in Chief, VOWS Magazine


Dear Brides to Be:

Congratulations on your engagement! This is such an incredibly special time in your life filled with love, family bonding and precious memories! We are thrilled for you and wish you a lifetime of happiness to come!

Under any circumstances, planning a wedding can be stressful. This year, with the addition of the COVID-19 pandemic to contend with, there are unique challenges and considerations to bare. I want to reassure you that, amidst all the turmoil, there is one stable element you can always count on: Your local bridal boutique.

Independent boutiques are family owned and operated by people with deep ties and great love for their communities. These owners put their heart and soul into their businesses, aiming to bring you high-quality merchandise, extensive expertise and friendly, personalized service throughout the entire dress shopping process, from initial contact to the day you say “I Do” (and often beyond, as lifelong friendships are frequently made!)

Independent boutique owners and their stylists are experts in bridal, often with decades or more of experience. They eat, sleep and breathe this industry, working overtime to stay abreast of current trends, styles that best flatter each body type, timeline requirements, manufacturer/designer specifics and much more.

They carry extensive, reputable product lines and are skilled at helping you find the perfect dress, styling brides and bridal parties, and bringing your wedding vision to life. They have relationships with expert alterationists who perfect each dress for your exact figure, and they meticulously follow the entire process from dress order to receipt to ensure your gown arrives on time and in perfect condition.

In the rare instance a problem does arise they will fix it for you, made easier by the fact they have long-standing relationships with multiple manufacturers and designers, as well as other wedding professionals and businesses.

Their boutiques are created to give you the very best shopping experience. The décor and ambiance, the welcome gifts, the amazing selection, the luxurious dressing rooms, the ability to accommodate guests both in-person and virtual…these are just a few of many highlights.

During COVID-19 they have been diligent about implementing safety precautions to protect you without detracting from the personalized, joyful experience that is bridal shopping. Many have fun surprises in store for brides and unique ways to celebrate your “Say Yes!” moment.

Shopping at an independent boutique isn’t just about picking out the perfect gown but rather having a complete experience. That’s a rarity in this day and age and 100% worth experiencing.

So many owners have interesting stories about how they came to work in this industry, but one common theme is a passion for bridal, often recognized from a young age.

Helping you find your perfect gown and all of the happiness that goes along with that is what makes them light up inside. Making an appointment at your local bridal boutique should be one of the first things you do as you begin planning your wedding. These owners and their amazing consultants stand excited and honored to help you!


Shannon has been the editor in chief of VOWS, the leading trade magazine for the bridal retail industry, for more than a decade. She maintains an extensive network of wedding professionals, including boutique owners, manufacturers, designers and consultants, and specializes in delving deep into pertinent topics that reflect her sensitivities to the issues of brides-to-be and those of independent bridal click and mortar businesses.