Emerson Bridal owner Katie Homrighausen didn’t have a very good time when she went to choose a bridal gown for her January 2020 wedding. It was the only part of planning her wedding where she felt she didn’t have an amazing experience. Having wanted to own her own business for some time, the idea of creating a bridal store providing a better shopping experience suddenly made sense.
Homrighausen wanted to create a store where there was a feeling of inclusivity, safety, and empowerment. But most of all, she wants every bride to feel brave, strong, and stunning through their entire appointment.
That’s the reason she chose “Emerson” for the name of her shop – Emerson means brave.
“I believe my bridal shop is a unique experience because I only book one appointment at a time, which works very well with COVID-19. There is also an optional toast with champagne or white grape juice if the bride says ‘yes to the dress’ at the end of our time together. It makes brides feel very special.”
Besides booking only one appointment at a time, she is keeping her shop sanitized, and she does require masks. She also limits it to five guests who may accompany the bride during this time.
With the bridal season fast approaching, now is the time that many brides order their gowns. Because of COVID-19, it can take longer to receive a dress, up to 20 weeks, and three additional months to get it altered. Like most bridal shops, Emerson just carries sample sizes — 10, 12, and 18. If it’s too tight, the dress is left open during the fitting, and if it’s too big, the dress is clipped in.
Currently, Homrighausen carries three designers, Tara Lauren out of Los Angeles, Theia Couture from New York, and Emmy Mae from Australia. She handpicks each gown so she can offer a curated selection of the most up-to-date, modern and chic styles, that also feels timeless. She looks at all of the hottest elements that make up a bridal gown, including fabrications, cut, lace, color, and detailing.
“I have personally seen minimalistic crepe gowns, slip dresses, and tulle skirts be very popular with local brides,” said Homrighausen. “In spite of COVID-19, brides want their perfect wedding gown.”
Emerson just carries wedding dresses, no bridesmaid dresses, or anything for the mother of the bride.
“Nude and Champagne underlays seem to have brides’ attention right now,” said Homrighausen, “and ivory dresses!! They are all about ivory!”
Gown choices reflect current wedding themes. While there are still lots of barn weddings, they are becoming more chic and modern, as well as going back to very dressy weddings with black or white tie tuxedos. Wedding themes depend greatly on where the bride lives. Homrighausen’s brides are looking for a nice mix of styles.
Weddings on the formal side often have minimalistic décor and muted colors, but at the same time they are fun and relaxed. Currently, weddings are smaller, so brides are creating a more intimate experience for guests that include small seating areas where they can gather to talk, or family groups can stay socially distanced from those not in the same living group.
Following in the footsteps of Meghan Markle and celebrity brides, some local brides are choosing two dresses, one for the ceremony and one for the reception that is more casual and can be danced in. Homrighausen has had clients talk about it, but she has not had any of her brides order two dresses. However, she does carry one gown in stock with removable sleeves that feels like two dresses in one.
“I’ve always dreamed of owning my own brick and mortar business, but I didn’t know what it would be until last August,” said Homrighausen. “I’ve had many ideas in the past, but when I decided on bridal gowns it all clicked! I’m only 26 and learning as I go. I want to inspire younger women to take hold of their dreams, work very hard
to make them happen!”
130 North Church Street
Hours: Fittings by appointment only
Tuesday through Thursday, 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Closed Sunday and Monday