In the last issue, I told you I know a lot of people getting married in 2020. Of those closest to me: My brother, Kevin, and his fiancée, Tara.
    In case you’re curious, Kevin proposed with the help of his Golden Retriever, Griffey, who came into the room wearing a special customized tag that said “Marry My Dad?” He told no one in the family ahead of time (apparently we’re too gossipy), but suddenly surprised us all via a text chain that included photos of the dog tag (K + T was etched on the other side) and a gorgeous ring.
    Now comes the fun part: Tara and I talked quite a bit about dress shopping, and I coached her on how to be a great customer. She booked appointments at three independent salons, to which she planned to bring a tiny group – her mom and sister. She had a reasonable budget, a general idea of what she liked, an open mind and a true desire to find The One. Any boutique would be thrilled to have her.
    Until. . . one Saturday, while visiting family in Ohio, she decided on a whim that she wanted to check out a local boutique. Her scheduled appointments were still weeks away in another state but on that particular day her mom was available, and there was a cute boutique nearby and shopping sounded fun. . . so why not?
    Tara called last minute and the boutique got her in that morning. The following experience was relayed to me via text (paraphrased): The consultant, who was super friendly, had Tara pull some dresses first and try them on, to get an idea of her style. Then she pulled other possibilities herself, once she knew what Tara liked.
    Tara never once felt pressured or rushed; altogether she spent about an hour and a half trying gowns on. They were “super respectful” of her budget; if a gown was over, they’d tell her the price first and ask if she still wanted to try it on. In particular she loved the fact they encouraged her to go down a size rather than up if she fell in-between two (prior to shopping, Tara had worried boutiques might encourage her to get a bigger size “so they could make a ton of money on alterations”).
    Truth be known she didn’t really think she’d find her dress that day but the second she tried on The One, magic hit. She told her mom she was done shopping and ended up purchasing it on the spot. The dress fell under budget, so she splurged on her veil, which they had placed on her head unsolicited to complete the ensemble. They celebrated with champagne and photos, and Tara left surprised and happy, a bit sad the fun experience was over, but overall “so excited!” for her fitting.
    This is not an unusual story. . . it plays out in hundreds of boutiques every day. I couldn’t help but think, however, how differently things might have turned out had the boutique she contacted made assumptions that, as a walk-in, Tara wasn’t a serious buyer or there was no way she was going to say “Yes” that day because it was her very first appointment.
    You never really know someone’s mindset or how things may play out – sometimes the bride herself doesn’t even know! If you take anything from this story, let it be the encouragement to remain open minded and enthusiastic with every customer, and the reminder that there are still plenty of brides out there who appreciate what you do and value the full-service shopping experience. Moments like this are beautiful. Thank you for making my future sister-in-law so happy!