The anxious bride is taking on new meaning in the age of the coronavirus pandemic.
To try to soothe the nerves of many brides-to-be who don’t have the option of visiting stores for final fittings or browsing the slew of wedding gowns in stores, many companies are Zooming with prospective clients or setting up virtual consultations.
One of the more novel approaches was taken by La Ligne, which e-mailed about the self-distancing bride. La Ligne didn’t just showcase potential looks for the bride, but also cleverly provided ones for “the justice of the peace officiating from a fourth-floor window, the friend celebrating from a socially safe distance of six feet, the exuberant passersby cheering from their car’s sunroof and options for the self-quarantine honeymoon.”
Anne Barge hosted its first “Wedding Wine Wednesday,” with 13 retailers last week, a virtual event where brides-to-be pour themselves a glass of wine and drink in wedding gown fashion advice. The next edition was slated for Wednesday and to accommodate those with children at home, the virtual meet-up will be held in the afternoon.
In addition, the company launched a Health Hero program offering 20 percent discounts for health-care workers at any of its 38 retailers. That offer will be extended through December 2021 at Kleinfeld, Kingsley James Bridal and other stores. Anne Barge is also waiving rush fees for summer and fall wedding dress purchases.
Anomalie’s cofounder and chief executive officer Leslie Voorhees Means said sales have tripled compared to six months ago. Team members have been doing Instagram live-streams to offer tips, share brides’ stories, provide updates from workshops and showcase new dresses and designs. “One of our core principles is transparency and this is a great way to interact with brides and be direct,” she said.
On another front, the DTC company has donated 10,000 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-certified face masks to health-care workers in U.S. hospitals by leveraging its supply chain and manufacturing in China where Anomalie makes wedding dresses.
Chelsea Tyler-McNamara, owner of Everthine Bridal, has scheduled virtual appointments with five to seven brides each week. Enthusiastic that brides are adapting, she said that is reassuring and “it’s been really exciting and uplifting to hop on a Zoom call to an excited bride, who isn’t letting the current situation dampen her spirits.”
The retailer prepares with a pre-meeting chat, and turns up with Pinterest boards for every bride, as well as mannequins, mood boards, tripods and trying on the gowns themselves. Tyler-McNamara said, “No one is there to clip us in or fluff our train. You are forced to be 100 percent authentic with a complete stranger, which has honestly been really fun.”
She was also candid about the financial struggles at hand and how the company has applied for a PPP loan through its local bank. “No one has any definite answers for how long this will take. But small businesses cannot withstand many more weeks without this. Hopefully, the process will be quick and we can receive funding to weather the storm,” she said.
Looking at the week ahead for the spring 2021 bridal season, Carolina Herrera Bridal will be hosting a special Zoom gathering on Wednesday at 1 p.m. EST. In lieu of a presentation with bridal gowns, the event will include a 40-minute panel featuring industry figures discussing the challenges and ideas for planning a wedding amid the COVID-19 pandemic, followed by a 20-minute Q&A. The panel will be moderated by celebrity and bridal stylist Micaela Erlanger and include Alexandra Macon (cofounder, Overthemoon.com); Lisa Vorce (celebrity event planner); Camille Russler (owner of Ever After Boutique); Taylor Patterson (owner and florist, Fox Fodder Farm), and Christian Oth photographer).
“As you know, the Carolina Herrera Bridal Collections have always been about the celebration of alegría de vivir with a fabulous, joyful and optimistic attitude. We wanted to bring this to our virtual gathering to stay in touch with our community of brides and brides-to-be,” the team said, adding that RSVPs and questions can be submitted for the limited space event at email@example.com.
Additionally, Justin Alexander Signature will be hosting a digital presentation and Q&A on Zoom for his spring 2021 on April 17 at 2 p.m. EST.