Having grown up in Zionsville, Natalie Miller always felt that this was a picture-perfect town. When she moved away after high school, she dreamed of one day returning to her roots but was unsure of what she wanted to do with her life. She was interested in fashion and design, but it wasn’t until she was shopping with her sister for her sister’s wedding gown that her vision came into focus.
“I realized that I wanted to own a bridal shop of my own,” Miller says, who opened Brick Street Bridal on N. Main Street in 2020.Although it was nerve racking starting a new business during a global pandemic, the fact that it was a private boutique worked in her favor. The store takes 60- to 90-minute appointments one at a time, which enables brides and their entourages to enjoy an intimate shopping experience.
“We close our store when we have bridal appointments,” Miller says. “That allows the bride and her bridal party to have a one-on-one experience with our consultant.”
This intimate atmosphere puts the bride at ease when trying on gowns, particularly if the gowns don’t fit perfectly. Plus, this ensures that no two brides are trying on the same gown at the same time.
“They appreciate that because it can feel awkward comparing yourself with another bride,” Miller says. “Private appointments allow the bride to really focus on herself and her style.”
One unique aspect of Brick Street Bridal is that they invite brides to go through the dresses on the rack.
Their bridal collections begin at $1,000 and go up to $5,000. Couture collections begin at $5,500 and go up to $9,000. Some brides come in with a strict budget while others have an unlimited budget. The most Miller has ever had someone spend on a gown is $12,000, though the average price is usually around $2,000.
“We’ve had brides who have an unlimited budget and still get the lower-budget gown because it doesn’t matter what budget you have as long as you find a gown you love,” Miller says.
The store also offers a selection of off-the-rack dresses that are under $1K for the budget-conscious bride or for someone who needs a gown right away. These gowns are heavily discounted (around $400 and up) but are in great condition.
Brick Street Bridal carries the following designers: Lihi Hod Couture, Temperley London Bridal, Omélie Bidal, Rings by Justin Alexander, Brydealo, and their newest—Zuiu Ila, a Taiwanese designer. They also sell accessories such as veils, earrings, necklaces, hair combs, headbands, tiaras and belts to add a bit of sparkle to plain gowns.
Currently, Miller is seeing brides gravitate towards timeless, simplistic, classic dresses. Also popular are 3-D floral lace pieces that go over the top of the dress. Many brides are opting to shy away from white and ivory gowns and instead choosing non-traditional colors like vintage rose, soft pink and sand.
“They find these other colors compliment their skin tone and hair color or it really makes the lace and beading pop on the gown,” says Miller, who recommends that brides begin looking for their gown a year before their wedding as it can take six to eight months to order a gown and an additional two to three months for alterations.
Prior to the appointment, Miller asks a bride to share her inspiration photos so that Miller can pull some dress options that align with the bride’s style preferences.
“This gives us an idea as to what gowns to point out to them,” Miller says. “It allows the bride to make the best of her time because while we don’t have a limit on the number of gowns a bride can try on, we do have a limit on the amount of gowns they can try on in a certain time period.”
Miller has had brides try on as few as four gowns and as many as 18. On average, most brides pull between eight and ten dresses during their appointment time.
“As consultants we feel out the bride’s emotions as she’s trying on dresses,” Miller says. “We listen to the words she uses when describing them because that’s very telling.”
Miller notes that many brides will try on a gown and comment on how beautiful it is. But then they put on a different gown and gush, “I love this!”
Miller always lets brides know that there’s a difference between a pretty dress and a wedding dress.
“You’re going to try on a lot of pretty dresses, but there is only that one wedding dress for you,” Miller says. “It has to make you feel like a bride and you have to love it enough to show everybody on your wedding day!”
Brick Street Bridal is located at 40 N. Main St., Zionsville, IN 46077. For more information, call 317-344-0116 or visit www.brickstreetbridal.com.