Gorgeous Gowns with House of White
Choosing the perfect wedding gown is never easy, but Andrea Whitehead of House of White Bridal Boutique is here to make your gown search a little bit easier. As a firm believer in "styling" a bride rather than simply putting a dress on her, Andrea will help you see the full picture and of course, help you find your dream dress, at House of White.
Kentucky Bride Magazine: According to the "About H.O.W." section on your webpage, you’ve always had a passion for fashion. You even spent a while interning for a couture bridal designer. How would you say your experience in high-end fashion, both in school and at your internship, has helped you create your own successful dress boutique?
Andrea Whitehead: Oh my goodness – I learned so much working in a couture design studio, everything from how to properly hem a gown, to how to beautifully style each model for a cohesive runway show. I definitely became a perfectionist about the proper fit and tailoring of a wedding gown, but also developed an artistic eye for fashion when it comes to styling brides. Plus, knowing how a wedding gown is constructed helps me select quality gowns for my shop, and show brides how their gowns can be customized and altered to suit them perfectly.
KBM: One of your main goals is to style a bride, rather than just sell them a dress. What is it about a bride actually being styled that you believe contributes to a more positive dress-shopping experience?
AW: Getting dressed on your wedding day is never as easy as throwing on a gown and heading down the aisle. It’s about achieving a complete head-to-toe look that expresses your personal style. All of the components have to work together: the hair, the veil, the gown, the jewelry, and makeup. Brides can often get overwhelmed with putting this all together, which is where I come in! I help our brides create a look that will highlight her best features, photograph beautifully, and suit her personal style.
AW: Absolutely! My brides are always inspiring the blog, and in turn, the blog inspires other brides. It’s a great domino effect! I’ll have a bride tell me she’s having a hard time finding fashionable wedding shoes with a low heel, so I’ll do some research for her and put my findings on the blog. Then I’ll hear from other brides who read the post and say “Thanks so much for posting about shoes! You found exactly what I was looking for!”
KBM: At House of White, you all like to work one-on-one with your brides, bridesmaids and mothers of the bride. In order to do this, they need to schedule an appointment ahead of time. How far in advance do you recommend they make an appointment?
AW: Booking an appointment is always advised to ensure I am available and ready for you when you arrive – but walk-ins are always accommodated when possible. Early in the week, we can usually accommodate a client same-day. For a Saturday or after hours appointment, it’s best to call a few days in advance. Trunk Shows tend to book up quickly, so I recommend calling a week or two in advance for any special event. Appointments can be made by phone at 812-858-2998 or at the ‘Save Your Date’ page on our website.
KBM: Not only do you offer wedding gowns, you also offer dresses for bridesmaid and flower girls. Do you offer styling or fitting parties for these other types of dresses? If so, what is included in the bridesmaid or flower girl experience?
AW: Bridal parties are always a lot of fun! I usually recommend that the bride and I meet to create a plan before bringing in the entire party. Then we’ll have the girls in so they can relax, sip a cool beverage, try on dresses and get measured. Now-a-days brides are often allowing their maids to pick a style of their choosing, all in the same color or fabric. This usually involves a little more time and swapping dresses in and out of change rooms…but it’s all the more fun!
We also host accessory events throughout the year. Twice a year we have larger events that require us to remove all of the gowns from the store to make room for all the jewelry, belts, headpieces, and veils our vendors send us for these events. We also host smaller cocktail party-type events called ‘Style Nights’. House of White will stay open late and our clients are welcome to walk-in, browse and work with me to put the finishing touches on their look. As always there are delicious refreshments. It’s a great atmosphere for brides to chat with one another, too!
KBM: What goes into choosing a dress collection, whether for bridesmaids or brides, that you offer at your boutique?
AW: I like to consider both what my brides are asking for, and always look ahead to what fun new trends and styles are on the horizon. It’s believed by some that style moves slower in the Midwest and therefore it’s less important to provide options that are fashion-forward or on-trend. I completely disagree! My brides most definitely want to see the latest and greatest in bridal fashion, so I’m always keeping an eye on current trends for my brides.
KBM: House of White has an exclusive collection of bridal accessories. How do you choose which accessories to sell in your boutique? Are these the same accessories used to style a bride during her fitting?
AW: Accessories are so important, and can usually take a gown from ‘like’ to ‘love’. We feature accessories from Thomas Knoell, who travels to House of White from New York twice a year to style our brides personally. It’s important for the accessories to be suitable for a bridal look, rather than pieces more suited for prom or other special occasion. The accessories are the icing on the cake, and help pull the whole look together. My one bit of advice for brides is to always have one element of sparkle in your accessories; you’ll be surprised how it will catch the light in your photographs and make your whole look come alive throughout the night.
KBM: Coming up on November 29th and 30th, House of White will be hosting the White Friday Event featuring the Alyne Collection. What should a bride expect when attending a House of White event such as this one?
AW: We’re so excited about our ‘White Friday Event’ - we figure while the rest of the world is waiting in lines for Black Friday savings, our brides can gather their loved ones at House of White for a relaxed day of fun! We’ll have the entire new collection from Alyne here in the store for the weekend, and all the gowns will be on sale. Also since shopping the day after Thanksgiving is all about getting a good deal, we’ll have major savings on bridal accessories for brides who say “yes” to the dress at our White Friday Event.
AW: We’re booking appointments now, and there is still space available! We always do our best to accommodate our client’s schedules for their convenience.
KBM: Walk us through a day with a House of White bride who has scheduled an appointment and has come to find her dream dress.
AW: The bridal experience at House of White begins with a conversation. I always sit down with my brides and have a dialogue about the wedding, and the bride’s personal style. This conversation is probably the most important aspect to the entire appointment; usually by the end of this conversation I have four or five gowns in mind that I’m ready to show the bride. At this point we show the bride’s guests to a private sitting room to sit on a plush sofa and enjoy the experience. As the bride-to-be begins trying on gowns we discuss each one individually and also start playing with accessories, veils, and hairstyles to complete the look. Once we’ve seen a good variety of dresses, we re-visit the favorites and she says “Yes” to the dress! At that point it’s all about celebrating, taking lots of pictures, and getting her measured so we can order her the perfect gown.
KBM: At Kentucky Bride Magazine, we like to educate and inspire our brides. Give us a few words of wisdom that you believe can achieve both of these goals.
AW: Be open-minded - especially when you’re coming to House of White to be styled! The beauty of putting yourself in the hands of a professional like myself is that I may introduce you to something you never imagined. I think brides often do so much research online and on Pinterest that they’ve narrowed down a specific criteria, and are afraid of anything that doesn’t fit in those parameters. Be open-minded, play, and be adventurous! Allow yourself to be surprised! When brides find their gown at House of White, it’s very often they say “I’m so glad you showed this to me - I would have NEVER tried this on!”
KBM: At the end of every interview, we like to give our vendors a chance to tell us more about their business if they feel we missed an important aspect of it during the interview. Here is a little extra info from Andrea.
AW: I know we talk a lot about special events here at the store, but this is just one of the ways we strive to set ourselves apart, as well as make the gown shopping, and wedding planning process in general, more enjoyable for our brides. One other service that we do provide to our brides is use of the store for bridal showers! The House of White team will rearrange our large sitting room to accommodate guests of the bride for a pleasant afternoon lunch, or cocktails, or both! We’ve included a picture of a recent bridal shower that we hosted at the store so your readers can see what a beautiful atmosphere can be created for their own shower.
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