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Score Big During National Bridal Sale Event

The Bridal Collection in Centennial, Colo., awaits eager brides, while a chalkboard sign relays important sale rules and other information to guests.
The Bridal Collection in Centennial, Colo., awaits eager brides, while a chalkboard sign relays important sale rules and other information to guests.

The fourth annual National Bridal Sale Event kicks off on July 20, 2019. This event, created by Sue Maslowski, owner of Jay West Bridal in Haddonfield, N.J., unites nearly 1,000 independent, locally owned bridal retailers in the United States and Canada as they offer brides deep discounts on designer gowns.

VOWS asked storeowners who have run unique and successful NBSEs in years past to provide their best tips for making your event a hit. 

 

Kelly James, marketing director, The Bridal Collection, Centennial, Colo.

This will be the third year that The Bridal Collection has participated in NBSE, and each one has been a hit. Marketing Director Kelly James says the store doesn’t regularly hold sales so this – now annual – event draws a lot of excitement.

The Bridal Collection holds a one-day-only sale on samples and discontinued gowns. Regular appointments still run on that Saturday, so the store gets rearranged a bit and extra staff members are called in to accommodate the influx of traffic. 

“We clear out our prom department,” James says. “Sale customers come in a separate door and they have to line up outside.”

Having rules helps everything run smooth. Only ten parties at a time are invited inside, and they have a 45-minute time limit. Brides are only allowed two guests each. 

In the past, customers have started lining up for the sale, which begins at 9 a.m., about two hours early. To keep them happy and excited, a party atmosphere is key, James says. 

“Last year we had a DJ and a makeup table set up,” she says. “We served mimosas and every half hour we did a giveaway. We kept the energy up and when brides came out of the sale everyone would cheer for them.”

This year, The Bridal Collection is planning to run a similar NBSE. James plans to work with many of the same vendors including a local coffee truck, a brewery that provides a lunch coupon to anyone who purchases at the sale, and a DJ. As well, she will hire a photographer. While employees snapped a few photos of the crowd in the past, James feels having professional photography will be a great asset for sharing and promoting it in future years. 

 

Jan Fericutti, owner, Bridal Elegance, Ottawa, Ill.

Jan Fericutti, owner of Bridal Elegance in Ottawa, Ill., has run a number of different NBSE promotions. Her most successful has been a mini bridal expo that she set up in her boutique. 

The expo was held in addition to the discounts being offered on dresses. It featured 12 local bridal-related vendors, from DJs to men’s formalwear to florists. Vendors were not charged to participate and Fericutti listed their names on all of her marketing materials. She says this helped to build relations in the wedding community. 

“If I treat them well and they have someone to refer to me, that’s great,” she says. 

Brides were also treated to a fashion show and had the opportunity to win prizes, like three free bridesmaids dresses. This event brought in a ton of traffic and garnered a great deal of excitement for the sale, which she runs for the entire week. 

Another fun promotion that Fericutti coordinated was a dash for the dress race. Brides who signed up were provided an old gown to wear and raced several yards for the chance to win a $500 gift certificate. 

Fericutti begins to promote the sale a month out through Facebook and Instagram. Promotions include $50 off special ordering, and dresses from the store’s outlet section are reduced $99 and up. And she also gives discounts on veils and other accessories during the event. 

 

Cami Mann Hester, Aurora Unique Bridal Boutique, Melbourne, Fla.

Although the trend has been to run NBSE promotions for the whole week, Cami Mann Hester, owner of Aurora Unique Bridal Boutique in Melbourne, Fla., keeps hers to one day. 

“I market it as a first-come-first-served event to build excitement,” she says. 

For the sale, Hester resets her entire store. She puts all sale gowns down the center aisle arranged by size. Then she stations staff around the room to help brides to a dressing room. 

“We get people dressing in the middle of the floor,” she says. “It’s kind of crazy. We typically will sell 30 to 50 gowns that day.” 

The sale is only on in-stock dresses, offered at 50 to 60 percent off, a discount she says is impactful enough to get people in the door. 

“Some stores do 10 percent off but that excites no one,” she says. “I’m not making any money on the [dresses that are] sitting there so I’d rather get cash in my pocket and move on.”

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