Ashley Grace Bridal is a bridal boutique that opened in December to service brides. Actually on the outskirts of Lynchburg – in Forest – this shop was born out of a college conversation between the owner, Teresa Thomas, and her daughter, Lauren (who is the blonde in the photos below). I recently caught up with Teresa to ask her a few questions about her store. Her story is peppered in between photos of some of the dresses they carry. Enjoy!
How did the idea for starting a bridal boutique come about? The idea of starting a bridal boutique began after talking with my 17 year old daughter about options for a major in college next year at Liberty. While discussing choices and talking about things that she enjoyed, the show ‘Say Yes To The Dress’ came up. At the same time, I was also looking for a new challenge since I had been at home with my three children for 20 years. After a little research, we realized that there were no bridal boutiques in Forest. I also have a 12 year old daughter, and the idea of a mother/daughter business really intrigued me. We felt like this was a perfect fit for us as well as being able to serve brides and create a memorable experience.
How did you arrive at the name Ashley Grace? The name Ashley Grace comes from the middle names of both of my daughters, Lauren Ashley and Madison Grace.
One thing that makes a bridal boutique unique is the lines that they carry. Tell us about some of your lines. We carry five lines of designer gowns.
- Justin Alexander is a collection of mid-to-high end wedding gowns inspired by the 1950s and 60s and is well known for making the finest vintage and couture wedding dresses with an updated, modern twist.
- Lillian West is a line that we felt perfect for this area and the large number of outdoor weddings. It consists of beautiful sheer layered gowns, tiered skirts and long lace.
- Stella York emphasizes detail and distinction. The line is competitively priced and adds spectacular beading, glamorous laces,and enchanting fabrics to add a touch of elegance to each dress.
- Maggie Sottero is a well known and popular collection that channels grace and romance. It features shimmering embellishments and lightweight fabrics in a variety of captivating designs.
- Rebecca Ingram is the newest addition to Maggie Sottero Designs, making its debut in fall 2016. It offers timeless elegance and superior quality. We were fortunate to see its debut at the Chicago Bridal Mart.
What do you offer at the store? Ashley Grace caters to the bride with stunning dresses, exquisite accessories such as veils, jewelry, bridal belts, shoes. We also offer unique handmade flower girl dresses, tuxedo rentals and custom bow ties, gown cleaning and preservation, and lovely gifts for the special couple and the wedding party.
What makes Ashley Grace different? The day a bride chooses a wedding dress is a memory that will never be forgotten. At Ashley Grace, we want to make finding the dress as special as the day the bride wears it. Our goal is to give exceptional customer service and a unique personalized experience. Our bridal boutique was designed with an open floor plan to carry a large selection of gowns and finishing touches. It offers 5 exquisite dressing suites in private settings for our guests.
Are there any upcoming plans in the works? Even though we have only been open a few weeks, Ashley Grace is growing and expanding. The 2017 lines are coming in, new accessories and gifts are going up in the store. In January and February Ashley Grace will offer many opportunities for brides to get to know us better.
We will have a booth at the Virginia Bridal Show in Roanoke on Sunday, January 22 and our grand opening week will be February 19th – 25th featuring special events all week such as local vendor talks in our store, fashion shows, and prize giveaways. Follow us on social media and our website for a number of contests and giveaways. A couple of the most exciting events are a “cutest engagement photo” contest and a Justin Alexander dress giveaway.
Of course we love all things local – can you tell us how that connects with your business? This year our plans are to launch our own Ashley Grace line of dresses and accessories. We also love promoting local people and home businesses. Our store already carries custom bow ties for your special day from Twenty23 in Lynchburg, flower girl dresses and accessories that are made by a group of entrepreneurial mothers, and specialty robes from a home business. We would love to further support our community by having local wedding jewelry and accessories in the store.
We also think its very important to give back as we are blessed. Each month we will be donating a portion of our profits to worthy charities.
We at Hill City Bride had the pleasure of helping out on the photo shoot that you are taking a peek at. Here are the other vendors involved in showcasing some of the gowns of Ashley Grace Bridal.
Be sure to take a peek at the rest of the images and find Ashley Grace Bridal’s information at the end.
ASHLEY GRACE BRIDAL
- Monday, Wednesday and Friday 10 – 6
- Tuesday and Thursday 10 – 8
- Saturday 10 – 5
- Sunday by appt only