Bittersweet Goodbyes, Beautiful Beginnings
I sold my first wedding gown on June 5th, 2010. It was to a sweet bride named Adrianne and she purchased Paris, by Amy Kuchel. I still remember that moment like it was yesterday.
Today, 9 years and a handful of days later, I’m going to take my last bridal appointment, and this is my final blog post for Altar Bridal. Don’t worry, Altar Bridal is not going away, just getting new stewards. I call them stewards (even though they are now the new owners) because I believe this business is more than just selling bridal gowns. It’s an opportunity to be a part of a very special moment in a bride’s life and at least make sure the role we play is as smooth and stress-free as possible. And we’ve always tried to live up to the words on our website, that “Altar Bridal was created for brides that want to shop for fresh and fashionable designer gowns in a relaxed and personal atmosphere.” I think we did a pretty good job of living up to that motto and I know the new owners will take this motto to heart. They are super cool ladies!
There are so many memories to look back on that I can’t even begin to put them all into words. And I’m sure after this is posted I’ll think of a hundred other things I wish I would have said. But I’m going to give it a shot at hitting up the highlights.
- Sweet Sara. By far the sweetest and the most genuine person I have ever had the privilege of working with. If you had the opportunity to meet Sara and work with her, you know what I’m talking about. The best. But for me, Sara was a true partner in this business with me. She started right when we opened and eventually went full time and basically ran the day to day operations of the store. I will certainly miss our talks, laughing with you, and even crying over both silly and big things. It has been the best roller coaster ride of my life and I can’t imagine anyone else sitting there next to me through the twists and turns of working in a bridal shop. I love and adore you like a little sister Sara, you truly are THE BEST!
- Bridal Market in NYC! Bridal market is the craziest 2-3 days you will ever experience in NYC. You are running from one studio to the next, to big trade shows, back to hotel suites. Eating? Probably not until you hit up a restaurant at 10pm and stuff yourself like crazy. Time to buy souvenirs for your kids? Nope. Good thing mine preferred all the candy I would swoop up at the designer’s booths for free.
- Kansas City Wedding Vendors – You guys are some of the greatest most creative and dedicated to your craft kind of people I’ve had the privilege of working with. Seriously, it kind of feels like one big twisted and crazy family that I love. For any of you that referred a bride to us, included us in an open house or a photo shoot – THANK YOU. Altar could not have been as successful as it was without your support. I will miss all of you but will be sure to crash a few bridal open houses for some catching up on all things wedding related in KC.
- To all the ladies that have ever worked at Altar Bridal, from the part-timers, our interns and of course those that had longer stints of employment – you ALL were so fun and great to work with. It has also been really fun seeing many of you grow into your current careers and personal endeavors. Each of you brought a special personality and spunk to Altar Bridal. Thank you for all the time and effort you put into your positions – whatever it was. You helped make Altar the store it is today.
- A shout out to all the designers that have ever been represented at Altar. We definitely picked the good ones because we NEVER had a gown not be delivered timely and ready for the big day. There of course were some not so perfect moments, but your willingness to be our partners in business made all the difference in our ability to deliver the service we expected of ourselves and that we promised to our brides.
- To each and every bride that purchased a dress from us. You all were just the best. We may not remember all your names…but tell us the dress you wore and that is likely how we will remember you. I have a lot of very specific memories of different brides over the years (some better than others) but at the end of that day, you all made this journey give us all the feels.
- To my store owner besties, you know who you are😉, invite me to come to market with you! I’ll definitely miss seeing and picking out the best of the best in bridal. I’m going to need my bridal fix somehow!
- To family and friends that showed up, had an encouraging word or a high five when it was needed, referred a bride, or simply shared a post on social media…I couldn’t have done it all without you. Whether you showed up to do a shift at the store or a bridal show, watched my babies (no longer babies, sigh) while I attended an event or had to stay late at the store, THANK YOU. I really have one of the best cheering squads and am so freaking blessed. People would often say, I don’t know how you do it Dede. Well, I certainly don’t do it all alone. My people are pretty awesome people. Love you all – you know who you are.
- Last but not least, to my husband, the biggest cheerleader of them all. You have been quite the trooper through this journey. From putting down the wood floor at my first store location (only to have a pair of stilettos put dents in it all over the place) to working through the second store build-out with a staph infection in your leg….you still showed up for me. I could write a 1,000,000 words here and still not fully be able to express the gratitude I have for you and your support of me. I love you Benny. You are one of the good ones. Not sure what I did to deserve your love but I’ll relish in it for the rest of my life
And I think I’m going to leave it here. 9 highlights for 9 years…seems about right. Don’t worry, there will be a party in the future where Sara and I will say one last farewell to Altar and of course the opportunity for the new owners to meet all the fabulous people we know and to celebrate the next chapter for them as the new owners of Altar Bridal. If you are in the area of Park Place – you should definitely stop in and introduce yourself and meet Sarah and Nancy. Officially the cutest mother-daughter duo in bridal.
And with that, I’ll sign off as the former owner of Altar Bridal, of which I will forever be proud of and thankful that I had the opportunity to start and run this business. What a ride.