Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Out and About: Blue Bridal Boutique

It's very rare that I'm blown away by customer service. Having worked in both retail and the restaurant industry for a combined 10+ years, I know my expectations are high. But I also know it isn't really that hard to make someone feel good by simply smiling and being polite. I've had several recent experiences at some of my favorite shopping and eating establishments that have left me less-than-impressed due to sloppy (and even rude) customer service. With so much competition, I just think it's sad to treat customers that way.

I recently went wedding dress shopping with my mom, my sister, and my sister-in-law. After a disheartening first appointment at Serendipity Bridal, I was feeling down and not the least bit excited about finding the perfect wedding dress. The lady who helped us there seemed disappointed that I would not be spending several thousand dollars, and would hardly talk to me as I tried on the very few dresses that fell into my price range. It was obvious that she was ready for me to leave so that she could get on to her next appointment. Not really the way you want to feel when you've been looking forward to what should be a special day.

And then there was Blue Bridal Boutique. Our second appointment was at this adorable store down on South Congress. It turned out the owner of the boutique, Ruthie Broughton, is friends with a girl who I have known for ages. Our friend had nothing but great things to say about Ruthie and her store. When I called to make the appointment, I was honest about what I was looking for in a dress. Since it's a second wedding, with a late morning ceremony, I knew I was not looking for a traditional bridal dress. But I still wanted something special that made me feel really good while wearing it.

Jaime, a sales associate, met us at the door and introduced herself to our group. She had detailed notes from my appointment conversation and did not bat an eye when I told her what my budget was. Ruthie was also there, and assured me that my tight timeline would not be an issue in ordering and altering a dress. Jaime gave us a tour of the store and pointed out sections that would be of more interest to me. They use a system of hanging tags to mark dresses you would like to try on. It was fun to pass them out so that everyone could choose a dress that they wanted me to try on, and Jaime collected them and took them to the fitting room for me. There is a fun seating area in the back of the store (think crisp white couches and fancy chandeliers) that provided a private spot and allowed us to enjoy the experience together.

At my first appointment, I tried on a few longer gowns, and then a couple of short ones. I got bit by the "wedding dress bug", and decided that I did want a longer gown after all. The selection at Blue Bridal was mostly long dresses, so I had plenty to choose from. After a few near-hits, and several misses, I put on a dress that fit like it was made for me. And when I saw myself in the mirror, and imagined walking towards Hank on the day we get married, I got tears in my eyes. I turned around to look at my mom, sister and sis-in-law, and they all had the same reaction. We had found the perfect dress.

Throughout the whole process, both the owner and Jaime were so patient and helpful by bringing different options to try. Not once did they go over my budget, and I appreciated the fact that Jaime always asked what I thought of each dress, regardless of other opinions. She never pressured us over any decisions, and even brought us wine to celebrate when we finally said "yes to the dress!" She followed up by email later in the day and that personal touch really summed up the whole experience.

I left the store with a serious dress high, and just so excited that I was able to find something that I loved so much. The overall experience at Blue Bridal made the afternoon such a fun and special one, and I was so glad that my family was able to participate in it. Not only do they offer stellar customer service, but they also offer a wide variety of dresses in a price range that is much more affordable for the average bride. The quality of the dresses was amazing, and the smaller, more personalized service made a big difference as opposed to trying on dresses with other groups of people around you. I would recommend to anyone with an upcoming wedding, to start at Blue Bridal. If you are wanting a true bridal dress experience, there really is no other place to go!

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