an interview with a & bé bridal
A & Bé Bridal just moved into Boise and damn the shop looks good. I first worked with A & Bé while photographing weddings in Seattle and the greater PNW. Many of my brides wore dresses purchased from A & Bé so you can imagine my excitement when they opened a location in the heart of Boise.
I sat down with store manager Tori to chat about all things wedding. She’s been in the wedding industry her whole life. Her mother was a wedding planner and the rest is history. Tori says, “I found the job listing to be a wedding dress stylist in Boise and got the job. I was like, I love this.” I definitely relate to her, the wedding industry is so fun.
What are the values of A & Bé?
A & Bé’s values are authenticity and just being who you are, having fun. We are completely bride focused and love putting up the best experience that we can. I fully believe that we have the best experience in Boise because we want you to have a great time and we’re transparent about absolutely everything. Transparency is huge here. I won’t put you in a dress you’re uncomfortable with and I’ll tell you the price to make sure that you’re comfortable with that because I don’t want you to fall in love with something that’s not comfortable price wise.
What is the wedding dress shopping experience start to finish?
We like to get to know our bride and when she comes in. We have a consultation and then show her around our designers and talk to her about what makes our designers so special. Then we ask permission to make sure that it’s okay to be in the fitting room with them and pinning them in the dresses to make them look like they would when they’re tailored. Then it’s just facilitating this fun experience with an open floor where their family and friends can communicate their feelings and the bride can communicate hers. From there, we just navigate through all of the information that we’re getting to find her her dream dress.
Is there a set number of dress styles I can look at?
Nope! If she has no idea where to start, I will show her the full scope of bridal. Everything bridal has to offer we will put on her. I am really well trained and so are my stylists on how to glean information from a gown. From one gown I can glean a lot of information about what she likes and what she doesn’t. And our polling process is really different that way because we can get so much information. So I’ll put her in every neckline and everything I can, to really narrow in to what she wants.
Do you have an example of how you help narrow it down?
Lace is a really good example since laces are so different. There are so many different kinds and all are named after where they were created. So if I pick a Chantilly lace which is a small delicate lace, some might describe it as doily and some brides really love it. Chantilly lace isn’t for everyone. More crocheted chunkier knit lace isn’t for everyone either. So it’s putting her in one lace and saying, “Okay, so tell me what you love about this.” An example is she loves the flowers. Great. But she doesn’t love how chunky it is. Okay, great. So I’m going to take those two pieces of information and I’m going to find a gown that is more her style to get closer to exactly what she’s looking for.
Do I need to wear anything special to a wedding dress fitting?
Just nude underwear! If she traditionally wears thong underwear or plans on wearing that on her wedding day I’d recommend it because they’re seamless. If you plan on wearing something that’s a little more textured like lace I’d recommend bringing that too so you can see it under the material. But you’ll have time too, so it’s not super important. I’ve had plenty of brides come in in black underwear. So just whatever they’re comfortable in, whatever makes them feel beautiful. Some brides can get really hung up on like, oh, I can see my underwear through this. Okay, well you have time to get a new pair of underwear that is going to go better under this or you could just wear another pair that you already have that’s going to compliment this fabric better underneath. So we talk them through that process, but some brides have a hard time picturing it. So if you know you’ll have a hard time picturing the final look wear underwear that’s as close to your body as you can without lumping and bunching, especially if you want a fitted gown.
Do I need to wear a bra to my appointment? Or special shoes?
Bras are not needed. Most women don’t wear bras on their wedding day because you don’t have to anymore. The bra is either built in or the seamstress can make it that way. Some brides bring shoes, but it’s not necessary.
Wait, but what if I’m busty?
Still not necessary for the fitting. I’m also busty and I’m not wearing a bra on my wedding day. [insert Lynnsey visibly shook] The alteration specialist can put them in!
How many dresses do you recommend a bride tries on?
Most brides find their dress in the first 10. We tell our brides that because many of them feel like they have to keep shopping saying, “Oh I have to see more. I have to be sure”. But you can be sure. Especially when we walk you through the whole process and we’ve listened to what you’ve told us, “I like this strap, I don’t like this neckline, etc.” and we’ve checked what boxes we need to check for you. And when we get you back into your favorite that check those boxes. So we do a lot of poking and prodding when you’re in the dress. We’ll ask a the right questions to figure out exactly what you like and why.
What are the most popular wedding dress trends right now?
Ooh, every bride is so different. I hear a lot of requests for clean and classic. So Alyssa Kristin, very clean and classic. Archie by Made with Love is very popular gown on everyone’s mind. And our brand, The Label is all sleek. So clean has been a requested look lately. But also gowns with special details like Anaise. That’s a really good one for not wanting the fully clean. She puts in some really special details.
What is something brides should know going into a fitting?
A lot of people have crazy expectations for the [wedding dress shopping] experience like, oh I have to cry or I have to see 8 million dresses. And you don’t, you don’t have to! You have permission to stop when you find your dress. You’ve permission to stop when it’s not fun anymore. This is supposed to be fun. You’ve done the hard part. You’ve dated and found the love of your life. This is the easy part.
Most brides do not cry. I put it to them this way when they’re like, “I don’t know, I just feel like I’m supposed to be crying right now”. I’m like, “that’s because the media you’ve seen has told you that you should. Do you cry when you find a sweater you like?” No.
It doesn’t move everyone to tears. It does for some, absolutely. Because some people get really wrapped up in the moment of “this is what I’m going to see on my wedding day, my fiance’s reaction, my reaction and it’s like this big culminating moment”, but that’s not how it is for everyone. There are logical people, there are emotional people and sometimes it’s a big switch when you get in a wedding dress. You’re not always sure. It’s hard to predict that reaction, but the expectation isn’t that you should cry and it shouldn’t be. That’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself. And if the dress makes you feel confident and beautiful and happy and you still feel like yourself, then it’s your dress.
I think it’s also helpful for brides to know how they want to feel on their wedding day. So three words. I wanted to feel elegant, timeless, and comfortable. So when I got in the dress, that was my confirmation to myself. I feel elegant. I feel timeless. I feel comfortable. I feel insanely pretty and I still feel like myself. And that’s when I knew it was my dress. It checked all those boxes for me. It’s not anything I expected. And I think that that’s a lot of brides’ experiences too. Especially coming in with this idea of something that they’ve always thought they’d want and then loving something else can be hard. But just go back to how you want to feel and if the dress makes you feel that way then go with it.
Should you match the dress to your venue?
It does’t need to match your vibe because you are the vibe. However you want to look and feel on your wedding day is probably going to aesthetically match for you. I don’t need to know those details to help you pick your dress but what I do need is full transparency. If you do or don’t love the dress, that’s okay, you’re not going to hurt my feelings. It just helps me do my job and provide that experience. So I think that those details about the wedding aren’t important for the dress finding, but it’s important for my relationship with the bride.
What made A & Bé want to come to Boise?
Anna the owner came here and loved the environment, loved the atmosphere and thought that we would fit in really well. And I think that we do. We have a really good place here in Boise. But she started this company in general because her and her coworker were talking one day and they were both really unhappy with their experience finding their wedding dresses. And then a couple weeks later, Anna called her coworker and was like, “I think we should go to drinks”. And I guess she showed up at this meeting and sets down this binder and she says, “So this is the bridal shop I think we should open”. And they opened it and that was Anna Bé. Anna Bé has been open for 15 years and A & Bé is the little sister of Anna Bé.
Is A & Bé size inclusive?
Yes! I worked really hard to create our collection to be for the everyday woman that’s not only a bridal size six or only a bridal size eight. So I tried to make it really size inclusive and understanding that we have all types of women coming in. So having dresses to accommodate all body styles and shapes was important. That was a big way our collection achieved that. But in general for Boise we just want a space where everyone’s welcome. Boise downtown area itself really prides of self on pride and inclusivity and that’s the environment we bring here.
How far in advance do you recommend a bride should find her dress?
Dress production takes about four to six months. Alteration is about two to three months. We’re still in a pandemic, so I’m padding that a little bit because it’s not fun to be stressed over your wedding dress. But a lot of shops sell samples, so if you have a really tight timeline where you only have a few months, finding a sample would be better. Or a quick ship option, which is something that a designer might have one done and I can try to get faster but since we’re so new, we aren’t selling samples yet.
Let’s wrap it up! Where do Boise brides find you?
A & Bé Bridal Boise is located on 5519 W State St, Garden City, ID 83703. Hours and appointment information can be found at aandbebridalshop.com/boise. Be sure to follow them on Instagram (@aandbe__boise).
Thank you Tori for having me! It was such a blast chatting all things wedding with you and trying on a gown that caught my eye!
Check the gallery below for more shop images!