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Bridal Gown Industry Finds the Positives

When your business is selling wedding dresses, there aren’t a lot of options to pivot to when a pandemic strikes — no tearing apart dresses to make the material into masks or anything like that.

Instead, some in the Greater Lansing bridal industry found a lifeline doing what they’ve always done, but with adjustments to work around the coronavirus.

“We’re doing it like we always did, but better,” said Sarah Samson, manager of Pierre’s Bridal in Lansing.

Moving to private appointments only and reducing the size of bridal parties sampling dresses to comply with pandemic restrictions resulted in an epiphany.

“Honestly, the atmosphere is a lot better. It makes it more private and more one-on-one for our brides and our mothers and our bridesmaids, so the atmosphere itself is just more relaxed than it used to be pre-COVID,” Samson said.

The pandemic also created some unexpected opportunities. At The Dress Shop in Howell, business is up. Brides had small weddings this year while planning for larger receptions in 2021.

“So we were getting a lot of brides who were contacting us for a second dress because they didn’t want to wear the same dress two years in a row,” said owner Jessica Brooks.

The shopping experience “changed a little bit” with social distancing and limited guests, Brooks said, but the shop made those changes as subtly as possible.

“What’s most important to me is that brides still feel like a bride … not like a COVID bride,” she said. “What I mean by that is I want COVID to cease to exist for the couple of hours that they are here.”