And that’s exactly what every bridal, prom goer and woman or man who wants to glam up for a night out wants — a wonderful experience.
Kendra Bailey, with 16 years of work and knowledge to her credit, is the owner and brainchild behind this full, high-end bridal shop concept, Ever After Bridal & Formal Wear. She started her first bridal boutique in California before moving to Cleveland 6 years ago with her two sons, Conner, now 14, who goes to Ocoee Middle School, and Caeden, 8, who goes to Hopewell Elementary School.
Her staff also has many years of experience, individually between three and five years, and collectively about a dozen bridal and high-end boutique expertise.
This “California-style,” upscale boutique experience has only been in Cleveland for the past five years, first at Old Woolen Mill and just recently moved to 215 Inman St., roughly diagonally across the street from the Five Points Museum.
When the shop moved, it not only increased more than twice its original size, from 2,000 square feet to 5,000 square feet, but also increased its inventory.
“It’s a passion with me,” Bailey said of her love for her career. “This is not just a job. It’s about making the lady and gents special day an event, especially for the bride.”
People are always getting married. But every wedding is unique and the biggest day for each individual bride. “She wants to be treated like a princess. They are looking for that special, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Especially with it being the height of prom and bridal season, the number and selection of styles, as well as bridal services, is crucial.
“We’re fashion forward,” Bailey said. “We’ve brought a little bit of Hollywood to the South.”
But, in addition to her unusually large selection of gowns and accessories, Bailey prides herself equally as much on her high level of customer service.
Ever After Bridal & Formal Wear also sponsored the recent Distinguished Young Woman of Cleveland pageant, including providing all the opening gowns, along with shoes and other accessories, and almost all of the other gowns for the show.
Bailey offers six bridal shows a year, four in Chattanooga, one in Cleveland and another near Athens at Springbrook Country Club in Niota.
A prom dress can be bought right off the rack. But alterations to it are also available. It may just take a few extra days.
“We customize just about everything to meet a brides perfect image and desire for the bridal gown they have been dreaming about all their lives,” Bailey said. And customization doesn’t just involve alterations to fit, it can include adding sleeves, changing necklines, switching out bodices, and the like. A contract seamstress through the shop is available.
The normal turnaround for a bridal dress is typically four months. Ever After Bridal & Formal Wear, however, also carries a special line of bridal wear that can be ready in only two months. However, off the rack also always is a viable option.
The shop carries bridal gowns, including couture and one-of-a-kind, bridesmaids gowns, mothers dresses, flower girl dresses, prom gowns, evening gowns, pageant wear, as well as tuxedos.
“We also carry a variety of plus sizes and modesty gowns,” she said.
In addition, it carries headpieces, tiaras, veils, gloves, garters, strapless bras, underskirts, dyeable shoes, jewelry, ring bearer pillows and more.
A few of the bridal collections that Ever After Bridal & Formal Wear carries include: CB Couture, 2 Be, Maggie Sottero, Justin Alexander, Casablanca Bridal, Sarah Danielle, Bonny, Bari Jay, Bill Levkoff, B2, Belsoie, Forever Yours, Jordan Fashions, Landa, Alexia Designs, Tiptop, Sweet Beginnings, and Mon Cheri.
Some of the prom collections include: Tony Bowls, Tiffany, La Femme, Flirt, Studio 7, and Night Moves.
Some of the “hot” trends for the upcoming bridal season, Bailey said, are the use of flowers and rosettes, especially on gowns, color, but mainly for the bridesmaids, and layering, especially with jewelry. The Natalie Portman Swan/ballet look has already come and gone.
Now five elegantly appointed and elegantly named dressing rooms are available, named after some of the most influential and beautiful women of our time, such as Jackie O and Lady Di and, of course, the future queen of England, Princess Kate. And the shop also offers three individual platforms with mirrors for the budding bride to try on and select her once-in-a-lifetime gown.
But Bailey doesn’t stop there.
In addition to the typical bridal boutique amenities, Bailey offers two unique additional services. One, she also will offer suggestions to help find a photographer, caterer, florist, etc., AT NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE to her client. And, more importantly, two, Bailey can be hired as a director for the rehearsal dinner, the wedding ceremony and also for the reception, for a fee.
“We are not wedding planners,” she said. She just feels it is a natural extension of her bridal experience and boutique offerings to oversee some of the of essential parts of any wedding. “But it is natural for us to do this.”
“As I said, it’s a passion,” Bailey said. “I love the brides. They start as customers and leave as friends.”