I met Kara of Kara’s Bridal Boutique & Planning
a month or so ago. I instantly felt a connection with her simply because we’re both “new.” Kara’s adorable bridal shop opened up in August of this year, and as most of you know, I just moved to El Paso this summer. She is a wonderful expert in the wedding industry, and I thought it would be great for all of us to get to know her better!
Ivona: First, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in El Paso. After high school I left for college to become a chef but ended up getting my Bachelors in Hospitality Management with a concentration in Event Planning from UNLV. From there, I went to Dallas to work as a banquet manager at The Fairmont. I was always very involved with the weddings at the hotel. I stayed late and helped with the planning, and then they promoted me to catering sales manager so I could really start planning the weddings. I then attended classes to become a Certified Wedding Planning with the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners. I moved back to El Paso in 2008 and started working towards opening Kara’s Bridal
in August 2010.
I: How did you get to be a bridal shop owner?
I fell into planning weddings, hanging out with bridal shop owners and when I moved back to El Paso I started to see the need for a Bridal store that is all about the Bride and the dress. Many brides were going out of town to purchase their wedding gowns. When I asked them why, they said there wasn’t a good selection in El Paso. I started researching on how to open a bridal store. It took about a year; I attended several markets meeting with designers and people in the business. There, I was able to get an insight on how the bridal industry works. I went to market again in March of 2010 and decided on the three lines that we carry here at Kara’s Boutique and Planning.
And those three lines are:
I: Why those three?
is simple and is a classic line, great for a destination weddings.
Essense of Australia
has more traditional wedding gowns, but they are still modern and classic. The gowns all use Swarovski Crystals and Diamante beading, adding a very elegant touch.
is a higher end line. The dresses are very classic with a beautiful silhouette. These dresses allow the bride to be the main focus, bringing out the bride’s beautiful figure.
These three lines range from $950-3000, which is perfect for any El Paso bride.
I: How far in advance should a bride choose the dress?
K: Six to eight months is ideal. Remember that you need time for the dress to arrive, as well as time for alterations, if any are needed.
I: What are the top three things to look for in the perfect wedding dress?
K: You really want your dress to go with the theme and season on your wedding. Know where you’re getting married and what time of the year. Your dress dictates a lot about what your wedding is going to look like and how it’s going to be. Secondly, you want something that flatters your figure now and not something that you hope will look great on the day of your wedding. You can always take a dress in, but you can’t take it out. Find something that flatters your body at the time of dress shopping. Finally, find a dress that’s timeless. You want to look at pictures years from now and still love your dress. It should suit your personality and no one else’s.
I: Anything else?
K: I think it’s important to wear a veil, too. It makes you look like the bride and not just the girl in the white dress.
I: Where does your passion come from? What is it about weddings/bridal things that drives you?
K: I think it’s just meeting the different girls. One likes this dress, the next loves another dress. I really love making people happy and seeing brides happy. Brides come in and they’re so happy and excited to get married, and I love seeing that. It’s their wedding day and I enjoy dressing them for it. Every girl that I’ve worked with, they come in and say, “this is what I want to look like on my wedding day,”…and making that come true is very rewarding.
I: Finish the sentence.
K: I love it when a bride: is open to trying on different styles and comes in with an open mind.
I: Who should a bride bring when she’s looking for a wedding gown?
K: Bring people who you are closest to: mother, grandmother, best friend. But I wouldn’t suggest bringing your entire bridal party. Bring people whose opinions you trust and matter, but too many opinions will cloud your judgement. You’ll second-guess yourself if you’re listening to too many opinions.
I: Is there anything a bride should do to prepare?
K: I would research designers that you like or dress styles that you like. It helps the consultant know which direction you’re going in, but I would still let the expert help you get into the right dress.
I: Are there any “secrets” about wedding dress shopping that we may not know?
K: There’s a misconception that a “designer” dress might put you out of your budget. However, most designer dresses can be custom ordered to your exact fit which will eliminate the cost of any alteration fees. And alteration fees can be quite outrageous. You can either spend a fair amount on a designer dress, or buy off-the-rack and pay anywhere from $500 to $1000 in alteration fees.
For example, with a Mikaella
dress, for a very
small fee you can make the bust a size 12, and have the waist taken in to a size 8. If you were to purchase an off-the-rack dress, the alterations would be in the hundreds to make the same adjustments.
If you don’t have the budget for a designer dress, check in at the end of the season for sample sales.
I: Your services also include planning weddings.
K: I think it’s very important to at least have a day-of coordinator. You don’t want your friends or family working on your wedding day. You only get one wedding day, so there’s no need to put extra stress on yourself or family and friends. Leave it to a professional.
It’s also important that before you contract any vendors, check references. The last thing you want to do is get stuck with someone who isn’t going to do a good job.