By Brian Lawrence

Over the years, I have stressed the value of a strong website. Many bridal store owners feel busy enough with their current flow of traffic and do not realize the hidden opportunities that an improved website would bring to their business.

            Your website is your virtual display window: people peek in and if they are not impressed many will just pass you by. If you are not visible on Google for search terms like wedding dresses, Indianapolis, you miss out on potential clients without ever knowing.

            A common perception about designing a new website is that it can be very disruptive to a boutique’s day-to-day business. And in busy times when cash flow is good, that often would hold an owner back from getting started. During slower times when there is more bandwidth, there is less cash flow.

            Why should you consider hiring a web designer rather than try to do it yourself? After all, templated approaches like Go Daddy and Weebly may allow a website to be created without requiring design skills. Some stores may have had success creating their own site in Wix or Squarespace.

            Often, however, the lack of uniqueness, strong graphic design elements and understanding how to express “the why” of the store is noticeably absent. In addition, crucial behind-the-scenes implementation that helps Google rank the site is done incorrectly or not at all.

            You can expect turnaround time to vary between two and four months and pricing to be between $2,500 and $10,000+ if you hire a professional web designer (prices vary depending on the functionality, amount of products showcased, level of detail and if you want e-commerce). This is a one-time fee, empowering you to autonomously make sensible changes to your site like adding text or imagery, adding an employee to the About Us page or creating a new event so you are not subject to extra charges per change or a flat rate monthly for updates.

            A few years back I was introduced to Sue Maslowski, founder of the National Bridal Sale Event. If some of you remember, the original site strictly promoted the sale with a visible countdown clock to the date of the sale along with some details. I shared my vision of a site that was more visual, more perennial and would showcase retailers and manufacturers. I ended up designing the site, which is still serving the event in a much better way than the previous site.

            In late 2020, Elicia, owner of Country Bridals in N.H., responded to my offer of a 30-minute free consultation on ways to improve wedding vendor websites and SEO. Elicia and her mom, Cathy (the boutique’s former owner), had been thinking about a new website, checked out my wedding industry experience and set up a meeting.

            In particular they felt strongly about having an extensive gallery of styles with multiple images of each selection and a well-written description so their website could truly be a great resource. They also wanted to be empowered to do their own updates after the site was live rather than being obligated to continue to pay additional design fees, a perfect match for my business model.

            I spoke to my art director, Vanessa Ploski, and we researched many other bridal sites. We had worked on numerous wedding industry sites in the last 10 years and were happy to have a chance to show the bridal industry our talent with a new site for a respected store. What ensued was a very close collaboration that resulted in expanding the original thinking of the site.

            The site opens with a very clean home page that represents Country Bridals as a welcoming store with great service. It offers vast selection with very easy access for site visitors to find styles to browse while having distinct calls to action to make appointments every place on the site. Wedding dresses are organized by style rather than brand with descriptive terms that not only help guide the viewer but help get individual designs and images indexed well on Google. There is also a special section for curvy brides. Other categories such as bridesmaids, prom, formal wear, mothers and accessories have robust landing pages with strong imagery.

            To bring the client experience to life, the home page shows a gallery of actual clients. Each image links the viewer to a separate landing page showing an actual photograph of the couple on their wedding date, something personal about the couple and a credit for the actual photographer and venue location, which is both authentic and good for SEO.

            With so many different types of appointments that can be made during the purchase and delivery cycle, each appointment option is clearly explained to manage expectations and set parameters for time frames that flow best with other activities in the store.

            As part of the full-service personification of the store, the home page also includes a prominent callout to its full in-house alterations team and a specific page that discusses the details and process.

            The footer, an often under-utilized section of a website, shows the hours, some awards and contact info that can be accessed on every page.

            The Frequently Asked Questions page was tastefully designed to show all the questions and let visitors click to reveal the answers to prevent an over-abundance of text that would make the page less readable. That is one of the most important intentions of the site: make every page very easy to understand with well-thought-out text in smaller clusters complemented by diverse fonts, text colors and backgrounds.

            The About page is very focused on making it more about the store’s vision to create a great client experience and how they do it. There is also an easily accessible page to meet the team and get some fun facts about each person to create rapport and positive anticipation about having a very friendly and easy to work with group of employees.

            Placing demands on owners’ time with ongoing questions can be true with many designers that are generalists who have to be led down the path throughout the design process. You will find designers may do one page at a time and get feedback before going onto another page. Our design firm along with a few other wedding-focused designers make the process much easier by bringing a knowledge of the bridal business to streamline the site design process without placing such a micromanaging need on the owner.

            As someone who has been in the wedding industry my entire career, I take it even further by adding lots of new ideas to expand thinking. With far more wedding-focused viewers online in your local area on a daily basis than foot traffic, investing in and maintaining your online real estate can bring you that much further on your success path.


Brian Lawrence, a former VOWS columnist, has designed more than 50 websites for the wedding industry and also focuses on online visibility. A former multi-store owner for numerous wedding services, he has spoken at Wedding MBA and for the NBRA. His website is and you can reach him at