Hello everyone, and sorry for my long absence from the blogging world. I am slowly climbing out from under the rock that is graduating from college. And let me tell you, it has been a heavy, mossy rock :). But I promise I was there all along, lingering over Bryan's shoulder and making...ahem...."helpful" suggestions. We want to introduce you to our dear friends at Ania Bridal Collection. Ania is a couture bridal boutique run by some seriously fabulous ladies! The place is simply oozing with personality, and I dare you to find one Ania employee who doesn't make you laugh. Plus, the store is filled with everything white (or ivory) and beautiful! We have enjoyed a wonderful friendship with them, and last Sunday they let us invade their space before the doors opened. It definitely involved the eating of cupcakes, coffee drinking, picture taking, and just general silliness. I can't say enough good things about their kindness and creativity, so I'll just let you read about them for yourself!
These were written by Karyn, a bridal consultant for Ania.
Leah: Tell me about AniA. What are your goals as a business and what do you think you guys do best?
AC: At AniA, our primary focus always has been and always will be customer service. We want our brides to feel special; this is one of the most beautiful times in their lives, and they should feel catered to and important, always. We know that getting to be a part of someone's wedding planning is a privilege, and there truly isn't much that compares to the joy of seeing a bride recognize her perfect gown for the first time. We're all in it for that moment - and to make sure everything that follows goes as smoothly and stress-less-ly as possible.
Leah: Tell us about one of your favorite wedding dresses. Why do you like it and what kind of bride would it be best suited for?
AC: We are surrounded by beautiful things all the time, so our favorites are constantly changing. Currently, Rachel is in love with this simple mermaid by Alvina Valenta. Alvina's style is simply elegant and she favors architectural elements over a lot of lace or beadwork. This dress works best for taller brides that have some curves. Hips are necessary! I'm still hung up on Jim Hjelm 8912, which is absolutely the perfect combination of innovation and tradition. The shape is classic and extremly wearable, but the details are so unique and almost handmade-looking. Love, love, love it. Great dress for a creative bride who is having a down-to-earth ceremony, maybe in a backyard or park, but still wants to feel unbelievable on her wedding day.
Leah: What do you like about working in Portland?
AC: Michelle puts it best: "People are friendly here." The attitude in Portland is unlike any other city - people are open, relaxed, and willing to have a little fun. This makes our appointment experience far less stressful than that of some of the major boutiques in New York or San Francisco - though we have the same beautiful dresses and a similar process, people here are more willing to kick off their shoes and laugh a little during their bridal appointment. You have to love Portland.
Leah: What advice would you give brides about choosing a dress and planning their wedding?
AC: First and foremost, this whole experience should be fun. This is one of the most magical times in a girl's life, and she should be treated accordingly. Expect, no, demand to have fun as you are going from vendor to vendor, and don't stay in a situation that stresses you out. As far as the dress is concerned, don't get too caught up in what's trendy or the terminology, or even what you think should look good on your body type. Be open to everything, be willing to try on things you might not immediately gravitate toward, and let your consultant make a suggestion or two- we spend an awful lot of time seeing brides in dresses, so we have a few tricks up our sleeves. Most importantly, trust your gut feeling. The right dress should give you butterflies and make your heart speed up a little. At the end of the day, that feeling is the only thing that matters - not what your friends have to say, or if the gown suits your venue, or if it is right on trend. You simply have to feel like the very best version of yourself- no room for compromise there.
Leah: Anything else fun we should know about you?
AC: Rachel plays cello in a rock band. Michelle is a Halloween-oholic. I'm a sucker for kitschy roadside attractions. Morgan has a tendancy to speak in a Scottish Brogue. Helena is Depeche Mode's biggest fan. Lisa is an incredibly talented artist. Pamela loves step aerobics.
Just for fun, here are some pictures of a few Ania gals being their hilarious selves. If a white dress is in your future, you should definitely go see them!