After her own experience wedding dress shopping came up short, Kristy and her new hubby Paul put their corporate careers on hold and decided to open their own bridal boutique. The vision? To create a space for brides to be inspired and excited without judgement or anxiety.
For all their management and finance know-how, these newlyweds were brand new at the bridal game. Pushing past the terror of getting it wrong, Kristy and Paul jumped straight in and opened Embrace Bridal in Geelong and haven’t looked back.
Carefully curated, the range at Embrace is intentionally diverse, offering local brides plenty of styles and options without the need to travel to Melbourne. With home-grown and international designers like Daughters of Simone, Daalarna, Rembo Styling and Jack Sullivan (to name a few), these guys are pretty confident you’ll find your dream dress with them.
Showing off the best of their stomping ground, Embrace Bridal teamed up with a bunch of Geelong-based creatives for this serene editorial at Lorne Beach Pavilion, captured by White Shutter Photography (scroll down to credits for details of the full team).
We recently chatted with Kristy and Paul about their boutique’s beginnings and how the adventure’s going so far.
What are your backgrounds and what was the path that took you to opening Embrace Bridal?
The path to our bridal store started as a result of our own wedding and my search for a wedding dress. When I went shopping for my wedding dress, I had to travel to Melbourne to look, as all the styles and designers I liked were only stocked in Melbourne stores. The process was very daunting and being that I was not a small build, I was absolutely terrified.
I did find a beautiful dress in Melbourne but found the experience to be uneventful (I didn’t feel special) and also thought there were not a lot of options available to me. The sales assistant, although nice didn’t provide me with the services I expected when making such an emotional purchase.
After my experience, we had been talking about opening our own business and the different options available to us and Paul said “why don’t we open a bridal store? Then you can help brides experience the things you missed out on.”
Paul has a Project Management background and I come from Finance. Both coming from a Corporate background, we knew the business planning, process and finance side would be easy for us, it was the sales and purchasing (picking the right styles) that terrified us. We didn’t want to regret not giving it a go though, so we just jumped straight in to doing some due diligence, creating a business plan, obtaining some finance etc. It all happened very quickly.
How does Embrace differ from other bridal boutiques?
I believe we differ from other stores in that we have tried to create a more personal boutique experience. We don’t want our brides to just feel like a number, we want them to have a wonderful experience from start to end. We believe this is a once in a lifetime experience that we’re honored to be part of.
What’s a typical experience of an Embrace Bridal bride?
Our brides are booked with expert friendly consultants, these are not sales women but a team of beautiful ladies that love what they do and love the industry. The consultants work with our brides on selecting the styles they love as well as some options that they may not have considered. We help dress them, get their feedback on styles the they like and help them find that one dress that they just cant live without.
Of course you shouldn’t play favourites, but (just quietly) do you a fave designer?
Unfortunately I don’t. We have selected designers that are all unique and have different styles. We didn’t want to stock 10 designers who all made similar dresses so as they are all different, we love them all. We have classic bridal, boho, modern, chic through to couture. We believe we have something for everyone!
Who are some other wedding professionals (stylists, photographers, florists etc) you admire?
In Geelong, we are so lucky to be able to work with a large variety of amazing vendors. Whether we’re working with vendors through our brides or working with advertising or on a photoshoot – we’ve worked with some really lovely, talented people, as you can see from this shoot with Lorne Beach Pavilion, there is a lot of talent in the region!
What are some of your go-to sources of inspiration?
Like everyone, Instagram is a huge source of inspiration as well as Pinterest. We try and follow as many designers, creative teams, planners, decorators, industries leaders and bloggers as possible. You can never get enough information about what is trending and what people like. Fashion moves so fast that we always try to keep on top of every designer (not just those we stock) to ensure we are able to guide our brides and ensure we have variety of styles available for them.
Any exciting projects or developments on the horizon?
We do have some projects on the go. We are in discussions with a brand designer and also working on some major trunk shows this year.
Finally, do you have any words of advice for brides thinking about their dream dress?
Keep an open mind and don’t leave looking for a dress till the last minute. A wedding dress can take months to be made and you have to also allow for any alterations once the dress arrived!
Images White Shutter Photography | Dresses Embrace Bridal | Venue Lorne Beach Pavilion | Stylist Wanderlust Creative | Flowers Beachside Blooms | Cakes Sweet Designs By Claire | Stationery Danger & Moon | Hire Peppa + Peach | Management Cherry Soda Events | Hair Cassandra De Bruin | Makeup Makeup By Tania | Groom's suit Briggins | Videography Zephyr Productions | Models Bride | Groom |