This week’s episode is really fun! We’re talking with Nancy Spirito the owner of Bridal Finery. Bridal Finery is a local, small shop on Main Street in East Greenwich RI. When Nancy reached out about being a guest, I was so excited because she offers a very unique service we think more couples should know about! She’s an expert in all things fabric and garment related – from custom pieces for your wedding day to heirloom pieces afterwards. Nancy has actually created pieces for Sara’s wedding day that she’s now used for her little girls’ newborn portraits – so this episode is extra meaningful to us all! Let’s dive in and talk all things bridal accessories with Nancy!
I’m the owner and operator of Bridal Finery. My business is basically made up of three components. Originally, I began making wedding dresses but I no longer do that. However, it led me right into creating custom accessories for brides like hair pieces, veils, and more. Once you have your dress, you can come to me and find the accessories you want for your look! I also offer on location services for the day of your wedding to help prepare your garments – like steaming a veil or dress. And finally, I take those sentimental items and turn them into pieces of a bride’s look, home decor, or something else that will allow that heirloom piece to live on.
Tell us more about what it was like designing bridal dresses!
It was crazy! This is actually my second career but I’ve been in the textile world for my entire career. I actually started out as an interior designer, selecting textiles for hotels and all that kind of thing. But I was also interested in the bridal world. I thought I could just jump into making gowns as a part time thing. So I did. It was out of my house and along the way things changed. I got married, had a kid. So I felt I needed to choose one career and so I concentrated on the bridal world.
As I worked, I got into the accessories and that brings us to where we are now with Bridal Finery. I’ve had a few locations over the years but am currently in East Greenwich. I love working with the brides who come in after choosing their wedding gown, so that we can finish up their look!
How do you choose accessories as a bride?
First, make sure you’ve picked your wedding gown first! That’s the only prerequisite for brides coming into my shop to purchase pieces. We have to know what you’re wearing so that we can accessorize properly. You want to be sure that whatever you pick is a reflection of your personality, and fits your dress. We want it to look fantastic to you and complement every part of you! It’s also important that we know the time of year and venue you’ve selected so we can choose the perfect pieces for your look. Brides can look at what I have in my shop then we can decide how we might want to customize the pieces for their look, body type or hair.
And if you’re worried about the price point, come in anyway! There’s so many options from fully custom to semi-custom, to off the shelf. I get that not all brides budgeted an extra line for accessories, so we try to be mindful of the cost for you!
What are some trends you’re seeing right now with bridal looks?
We typically follow what’s happening in the main fashion world, but the layered look with chains and other necklaces is very popular right now. Brides are still doing classic updos – it’s very romantic – or at least something with a lot of texture in their hair. It’s also common to see a little bit of color in the bride’s accessories right now.
What’s a tip that you can give our listeners about looking for a hairpiece for themselves?
The biggest tip is all about knowing your personality and personal style. You obviously need to consider your hairstyle for the wedding day as well and the type of makeup you’re going for. Are you going very dramatic or down to earth, and low-key? The other factor is how you keep things in proportion for your look, meaning: where do you want your eyes to go? You just have to find what works best for your face, body, and look.
Can you tell us more about the on-location services you offer?
So I came to it by accident, actually. I got a call once from a wedding planner friend who was flying into the area for her wedding. She arrived in town and found out her ball gown had been rather crushed on the flight up. She was calling to find out if I had any suggestions. At the time, I went to help her out on location and started to think… this can’t be the only time this has happened to someone! Since then, I’ve offered similar services to other brides on the day of their wedding. I help prepare the gardments the day of or night before for the wedding – the bride’s dress, bridesmaid gowns, the tuxes, the veils. Anything that needs to be prepped!
Lots of people think it’s just the bride’s gown or bridesmaid dresses, but the guy’s tuxedo sleeves and suits can also be wrinkled from travel or just sitting in a bag. So we want to eliminate those creases and make everyone look great! I’ve even been known to tie a tie or two to help get everyone down the aisle looking fabulous.
I know that people can bring their own steamers and prep themselves, but there’s something to be said for having a professional on site. Fabrics react to water – and steamers can spit. A professional will know what to do. And wouldn’t you rather be able to relax and know it’s taken care of properly? Pricing for this is based on the design of the garments, the number of garments and their fabrics.
Do you have any tips for our listeners about what they can ask their bridal shop about to help them leading up to the wedding day?
Of course! Whether you go through your shop or somewhere else for alterations, ask if they’ll stuff your dress with a cardboard bodice. Keeping the shape of the gown will help tremendously when it comes to traveling from point A to point B.
Awesome. Okay, now can you tell us about your heirloom pieces?
So this is year 25 for Bridal Finery and this is something I’ve been toying with offering for a long time. Brides often bring old gowns into the shop and want to know if anything can be salvaged off of them to use for something else. A popular option is Christening dresses or Baptism gowns for their children. They also come in asking about preserving their gowns or using pieces of the old dresses for their veils, accessories, or something similar. So I help them figure out what to use it for then create those items. It’s really an emotional thing for all of us involved. I’ve had brides come in and cry as soon as they see a veil with lace from their family’s gowns. Even 25 years later, it never gets old!
What are some key points brides should consider when she’s selecting accessories?
Consider what your vision is for your wedding day. You’ve picked your dress for a reason, make sure your accessories fit that vision.
Think about where your event will be held and the time of year. Your accessories should reflect that! Black tie is not the same as a garden party!
Be mindful of proportions. You don’t want one part of your look overwhelming another! Don’t let your accessories wear you – you wear them!
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