What is your name and the name of your business?
My name is Ashley West, and I manage The White Magnolia Bridal Collection, Tampa.
Tell us about your company and how it became.
The White Magnolia initially started in Jacksonville, FL. Kerrie Hileman, the owner, really wanted to give brides a true “experience”, rather than just feeling like another number at a large salon. She opened The White Magnolia to make sure that each and every bride who walked in had a fun, relaxed, and memorable day wedding dress shopping!
How would you describe your product/service design style?
The overall theme of The White Magnolia is “chic, elegant, sophisticated”. I feel like all of the employees at the three White Magnolia locations have a somewhat similar style that sticks to this theme. We love soft and romantic dresses for the classic bride that wants just a small twist. We think brides should have a stunning gown that she would not regret choosing when looking back on photos in 20 years! Think Lace, tulle, and soft fabrics.
Tell us about your first order.
I will never forget my first bride! Her name was Rachel, and she was the sweetest thing! She is actually one of the few brides who brought her fiancé to the appointment and they chose the dress together. It was a gown by Mikaella- a fitted, allover lace gorgeous dress that was perfect for her figure. From then on, I was hooked. I knew my passion was helping people have a “dream come true” bridal moment!
What makes your product/service different than your competitors?
With us, there is absolutely nothing to be nervous about when it comes to wedding gown shopping! At The White Magnolia we block off our entire shop just for the bride and her group, every single appointment is 100% private! This is so she can browse all the gowns with her friends, take her time, and know that she is only surrounded with people that she loves. All of our consultants absolutely love working with brides looking for all different types of wedding gowns, and we really just want our customers to know that we truly care about them, their wedding day, and their wedding gown vision. Every bride who walks out of our shop tells us that it was relaxing, fun, and exciting!
Any upcoming excitement for your company?
At The White Magnolia we have at least one designer trunk show or sale every month of the year, so there is constant excitement in the shop! Be sure to check our website for the updated calendar of events- www.whitemagnoliabridal.com
What is your favorite part of the wedding planning process?
Finding the wedding gown of course! ( maybe I am a bit biased ;) ) I encourage every bride who shops to try a variety of styles and fabrics- even the brides who say they know exactly what they want! Going outside of the box is crucial when shopping for a wedding dress, and so often we find brides purchase a dress that is nothing like they thought they would even try on! I really try to get an idea of the vision of each bride’s wedding day and everyday style. This can help a lot when I am choosing gowns for her so that they match the feel of her wedding, and that she is comfortable wearing!
What are some trends that you are seeing this year?
I would have to say that the majority of brides this year are requesting a gown with straps or sleeves, rather than strapless. We are also seeing a lot of color! Brides are not set on the traditional white or ivory anymore and are leaning more towards soft hues of blush, champagne, and even purple!
What is one tip to stay on budget?
I always encourage brides to come up with a price point and then stick to it! I don’t ever encourage trying on dresses above budget, even “just for fun”. You never know when you could fall in love with a dress, and it would be just awful to have your “bridal moment” in a gown that would bust your budget. We have a wide range of dresses starting at $1200 and sample dresses starting as low as $600, so I like to think we have something for every brides preferred price point!
What is one overall piece of advice you would give to brides?
Only bring the important people to all of your wedding planning appointments, and don't fight the moment. If you find the dress, don't be afraid to embrace that special time! You only have one "first time" that you put on your future wedding gown, don't walk away regretting that you didn't allow yourself to fall in love with a gown your gut was screaming for! There is nothing more satisfying in the wedding planning process than deciding on what you are going to wear as you walk down the aisle. The rest of your wedding vision becomes crystal clear! This goes for every decision in the wedding planning process- flowers, photographer, décor… always trust your gut!