A "Fabulous Bridal" Wedding Gown Shopping Experience

Donna Salyers' Fabulous-Bridal, or "Fabulous-Bridal" for short, has everything you need in your search for gorgeous wedding gown. Check out our interview with Rachel Bake of the bridal boutique in Covington. Kentucky Bride Magazine: When did Fabulous-Bridal first open? Is the Covington store its original location?

Rachel Bake: The store on Madison Avenue in Covington opened in 2005, and it is the original location. But Donna Salyers has been in the wedding business for more than 20 years, and she owns our sister company, The Madison Event Center.

KBM: We've been to your store, and it is absolutely gorgeous. Fabulous-Bridal carries hundreds of dresses, but how do you decide which dresses to carry?

RB: Our buyers go to bridal markets in New York, Chicago, and L.A. two or three times a year. The runway shows and trends we see at the markets allow us to see what will be trending for six months to a year from now. Our buyers always try to consider different body types, styles and price points.

KBM: How far in advance should appointments be made for bridal and bridesmaid appointments?

RB: They can be scheduled anytime and we do take walk-ins, but generally two to three weeks before your desired appointment time is more than enough lead time.

For bridesmaid dresses, we recommend ordering them six months prior to the wedding and the bridal gowns nine months to a year prior to the big day.

KBM: Can you walk our readers through a bridal appointment at Fabulous-Bridal?

RB: Initially, our brides will be greeted on our first floor and asked about some specifics of her event and to pick out a few gowns that she's immediately drawn to.

The fun really begins on the second floor of the store where the bride and her guests get to see the majority of our gowns and start trying them on! Each bride gets a private fitting room with seats for whoever they brought with them. Our experienced consultants will bring more dresses for the bride to try based on how her desires evolve throughout the appointment.

After the bride finds her perfect gown, she'll start looking for accessories. We carry a wide variety of headpieces, veils and jewelry that were chosen specifically to coordinate with out gowns.

After that, we invite them to the third floor where she can complete the look for the bridal party as well. The appointment ends with our team walking the bride through her next steps and scheduling a "Maids" party for her bridal party.

KBM: Tell us a little about your Maids Party. How is this different from a bridesmaid appointment?

RB: Our Maids Parties are definitely an experience unique to our boutique. After the bride has narrowed down her selection for bridesmaid gowns during a typical bridesmaid appointment, she can invite her bridesmaids and even moms and flower girls to a Maids Party. We reserve a table just for her on our third floor where the entire party will be served hors d'oeuvres, champagne and other refreshments while the bridesmaids are fitted for their dresses. It's a way for the bride to thank everyone for being a part of her day, and allows the party to meet each other prior to the big day.

The bonus for the bride is that she knows her order is complete and all the maids have been fitted since the whole order can't be placed until everyone has been measured to ensure the dresses are all dyed the same color.

KBM: How far in advance should a Maids Party be booked? Do you have a maximum number of bridesmaids you will host?

RB: They're typically on a first come, first served basis, and with limited availability we recommend that you book your party one month in advance of your desired order date for the gowns--so about six to seven months in advance of your wedding date.

We don't set limits on how large or small the party is, but we do recommend the bride only invite the individuals directly involved with the wedding or who will be wearing specific attire associated with the wedding.

KBM: If a bride doesn't see something she likes in-store, do you offer catalogs to order from as well?

RB: Most of our brides find their gown or multiple favorites, but for the few that don't we certainly have options. Our designers make so many gowns that it would be impossible to carry all of them in-store! We go a step above regular catalogs and allow brides to try on a gown from the catalog--they can go to most of our designers' websites, find a gown they love, and we can "borrow" it from the designer for them to try on in the store.

KBM: How does your dress selecting process cater to each brides' needs?

RB: Our experienced buyers and consultants make the difference. We carry a wide variety of dresses at different price points to accommodate the bride's budget. We also carry our Curvaceous collection to accommodate size 16 and up. Our designers also offer accessories such as belts, straps and jackets that can help the bride get the look she wants!

KBM: What types of custom services do you offer as far as dress color, tailoring, etc.?

RB: We allow each of our customers to choose their own seamstress so they can ensure they are getting someone they get along and share a vision with.

Each of our designers has different options for their dresses, from basic changes of the color and fabric to the very extravagant changes of neckline, fabrics or even silhouettes. Give us your vision, and we'll give you option!

KBM: How do you select the accessories you offer at Fabulous-Bridal? Can any of these be ordered from the catalog as well?

RB: We get our accessories when we travel to the bridal markets around the country. Because we carry so many different designers and they each have such a large collection, we do not create a catalog. We recommend that brides look online at the designers we carry because we an order any of the pieces from their collections.

KBM: I see that you host many trunk shows. If brides wish to attend these trunk shows, how far ahead should the schedule their appointment?

RB: Some shows, like the Essence of Australia and Martina Liana shows, book up very quickly. So if a bride knows she wants to come in for a particular designer, she can schedule that as far out as she likes.

KBM: What other types of events do you offer for brides and bridesmaids?

RB: We host various types of trunk shows, and we truly test the market for new trends in bridal fashion because we are considered a "tester" store for a designer's new designs. So some of our gowns could truly be one of a kind!

We also host traditional trunk shows where the designer sends us their entire collection for the season--we'll have the whole collection in-store for the weekend, and they'll be gone once the weekend is over.

We attend all the bridal shows in the tri-state area and participate in fashion shows where we bring ideas from New York, Chicago and L.A. markets to the tri-state. We also occasionally host our own bridal show, Veils and Cocktails, at the Madison Event Center!

KBM: At Kentucky Bride, we like to educate and inspire our brides. Can you give our brides a few words of advice to that effect?

RB: Before you shop, consider what type of experience you want to have. Consider the venue, your personal style and overall feel of the event. Also, limit the amount of people you bring with you--too many opinions can be overwhelming and influence your thoughts regarding your style and what you really want. Be open-minded and enjoy the moment!