My sister-in-law, Rebecca, invited me to join her entourage (aka family) to try on wedding gowns at Ava Laurénne Bride in Fredericksburg, Virginia. It was so special to me to be invited because you hear the sad stories about how some in-law families are exclusive or rude to the "out-laws" (as the tv show This is Us phrased it). Eight years into being married to Zachary, his family is still the same caring, kind and inclusive kind of people that I met when we were dating. I'm just saying (and I hope more often than not) that your future or current in-laws are a true blessing!
Okay. On to the bridal gowns... Y'all, I wasn't planning this going into it, but before we left, I was so blown away by the intentional experience Ava Laurénne gives their clients that I snapped a few photos on my phone to share.
When you first walk in the door, you're greeted right away by a smiling staff member while picking your jaw off the floor... the interior itself is stunning! The building was originally a bank, so you see beautiful stone walls, vaulted ceilings, and a literal vault from the entryway. Gorgeous dresses hang from nearly every wall you can see-- on the main and gallery levels! The breadth of selection alone is encouraging that they'll have the exact options you are searching for, and for my sister-in-law, they absolutely did!
There was a specific dress Rebecca saw on their Instagram that she fell in love with and wanted to try on (and really was the primary motivation for making an appointment with Ava Laurénne). That dress was, of course, perfect on her! Every dress she tried on was gorgeous! We were all so happy for her when she did find her perfect wedding dress and reserved it on the spot!
I don't want to give away their "secret sauce" or spoil the experience for any future brides, but if you decided to purchase your dress from Ava Laurénne you become an Ava Laurénne bride. As soon as you establish yourself as an Ava Laurénne bride, they invite the bride and the people she brought with her that day into a really special experience that's designed to make the bride feel extra loved and encouraged. It was something unexpected but made it all the more memorable.
I think I especially loved the experience because there aren't many times in life that we slow down to share our actual thoughts and feelings for those we love... or there are lots of opportunities to share and we just don't always take them.
Outside of all the feelings, they had a cool way for the bride-to-be to hear from the owners of Ava Laurénne and lots of photo ops! Their interior is a space where you really can't take a bad photo, but they had a designated and well-lit "magazine cover," basically a Barbie box, for your group to take a photo in (hello Intagram-able moments!).
From a business perspective, my "awe" for the folks at Ava Laurénne just grows. In a world that rushes you on to the next thing (especially, to be blunt, after closing the sale), it was a pleasant surprise when they invited you into a special space reserved for Ava Laurénne brides and their entourage.
The special lounge area was the first thing you saw walking into the door, and as a business, could have been utilized for another gown fitting area. From that business perspective, more gown fittings means more brides in the door and more sales. But no, they used the prime real estate in their building to care for their brides. In business-speak, it means they made zero extra dollars that day by offering each bride's group to stay a little longer and enjoy some complimentary snacks and beverages.
The world would tell you that time and space both equal money. Even though that adage may be true, the owners and staff members at Ava Laurénne operate outside of those norms in the best way. They not only welcomed you and yours to enjoy the experience a little longer, but they also invited you to grow closer together.
Truly a wonderfully memorable experience that I wish every bride could experience!
Ava Laurénne Bride now has two beautiful locations-- one in Fredericksburg, Virginia and a second in Greenville, South Carolina!