Saying yes to the dress with virtual guests

Published: Sep. 18, 2020 at 9:22 PM CDT
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With COVID-19 requiring physical distance, many have turned to virtual options to stay connected.

Facetime and Zoom are used for classes, family gatherings, virtual happy hours and now for shopping.

One bridal salon is turning to technology to allow bride’s more guests at appointments.

When it comes to picking out a wedding dress a bride has lots of choices to make including cost, style and color.

One decision they shouldn’t have to make is how many people they can bring to the appointment.

Faced with new COVID protocols, one salon has turned to some virtual options to make sure everyone is included.

“We’ve got these fun stands that we can we can FaceTime or Zoom in a loved one or whoever you wanted to come in to view your appointment,” said Jenn Walker, Charlotte’s Bridal co-owner.

Charlotte’s Bridal in La Crosse is adapting to COVID with new policies.

Masks are required to be worn indoors, only stylists are going through the racks of dresses, and brides are limited to three or four guests in the store.

However, better WIFI, a Zoom account, and stands for phones were all purchased to make sure a bride can include more friends and family virtually.

“I ‘zoomed’ in my Grandma Vanderpool from Ohio and my cousin Courtney who was so close growing up and then I ‘Zoomed’ in a coworker as well,” said bride Katlyn Douglas.

Douglas got engaged August 19 and is getting married in May.

She says finding her dress takes one stress off of planning-- something that’s filled with a lot of ‘what ifs’ due to COVID-19.

One thing that made her day even better was getting to show her grandma the dress she will walk down the aisle in.

“She was bawling, it was so great--I loved it,” Douglas added. “I loved her reaction just to be here and even today putting on the dress that was my dress and to see her reaction was amazing.”

Charlotte’s Bridal owner Jenn Walker says brides are using the new feature often.

“We put the person with the rest of your group at that same level, so it’s almost like they’re here even though its through the camera,” Walker explained.

While the virtual options come with additional cost for the store, Walker says it’s well worth it to help out brides and will continue to offer it even after the pandemic ends.

“Sometimes it’s not feasible for somebody to come for an appointment either, like they live in Texas or California and that’s a really long trip to make for a bridal appointment," Walker added.

Charlotte’s says the number of guests allowed in-person can change based on the local COVID-19 risk.

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