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Bridal Avenue: Say yes to the dress

January, 2020

A wedding day is often one of the most important, cherished, and memorable events to occur during an individual’s lifetime. But with all of the excitement and extravagance that weddings typically entail, all that really matters is underneath all of the food, flowers, and gifts remain two people who uniting in marriage. Kris Matthezing is someone who is well aware of this, which is why her business, Bridal Avenue, specifically dedicates its time to brides and brides only.

Located along Hawthorne Gate, Bridal Avenue is an intimate bridal boutique which personally assists customers in becoming the bride they want to be. Unlike other bridal shops where there are often multiple appointments taking place at the same time, Bridal Avenue offers customers its full attention by granting each bride-to-be private access to the entire studio for herself and whoever she may choose to bring along with her.

“They get the full treatment just like you would in a high-end New York City shopping place,” says Matthezing. Along with its private and personalized consultations, the bridal boutique also prides itself on its selection of only Canadian designed dresses and locally sourced accessories.

It wasn’t that long ago that Matthezing was working a nine-to-five job which didn’t suit her energetic, creative, and tenacious personality. She wanted something more. She knew she had always been intrigued by the bridal industry, and ever since going through the process of finding the right dress when getting married herself, the idea of starting her own bridal boutique began to brew. Without a stitch of experience in the industry, she made some calls, designed a business plan, and put it to work as quickly as she could.

“It was something I sat on for about five years and just couldn’t let go of,” says Matthezing. “I’d seen the opportunity in my community where we didn’t have this, and I just felt the fire burning and had to do it.” While it was a combination of many different factors that motivated Matthezing to officially open Bridal Avenue in March 2018, she says her two children were her biggest driving force. “I really wanted to show them that you can do anything you want in this life.”

Since opening, Bridal Avenue’s niche in the industry has really been its limited but unique dress selection. The boutique currently only carries the top selling dresses from Canadian designers Mikaella, Lea-Ann Belter, Astrid and Mercedes, and Jacquelin Bridals–all of whom are based in Ontario. “I don’t think we showcase our own backyard enough,” says Matthezing, who prefers designers with whom she can connect with on multiple levels. She adds simply picking up the phone and talking to different designers about what their goals are, why they started, and if they are keeping and creating everything in Canada is the best way to find out if they are a brand she will want to develop a professional relationship with.

When a customer is interested in visiting the boutique, they must first book an appointment–which is free–either via phone, email, or through the website. Once a date and time have been confirmed, customers are welcomed into the studio where they are offered water or wine and are then guided through the dress selection. Staff members will ask each bride about their wedding details, what their vision is, and what styles they have been looking at in order to help them find their dream dress.

While one might think that having a limited number of dresses is not necessarily a good thing, Matthezing says it is actually quite the contrary. Fewer dresses create less headaches for both Matthezing and her customers because there will always be a higher turnover rate, allowing for new, fresh, and on-trend dresses. As well, it is simply easier for brides to look at dresses evenly spaced out around the studio instead of clustered together on clothing racks. “The brides really do like the space when they come in, it’s not overwhelming and packed full of dresses, you can see everything we have,” explains Matthezing.

In under its first two years of operation as Spruce Grove’s only bridal shop, Bridal Avenue has certainly made quite an impact on the community. The boutique regularly receives visits from local brides, as well as others from Stony Plain and other surrounding areas for whom it is more convenient to drive to Spruce Grove than all the way into Edmonton. “I’ve had tons of people from the community and all over just come in and they’re very excited that this is here,” says Matthezing.

Matthezing says she’s already rolling out some of her plans for the future of Bridal Avenue. The main one being to partner with a Vancouver based, eco-friendly designer who creates sustainable dresses out of recycled material. “My one plan is gearing towards more of a green bride.” She is also optimistic about the possibility of one day opening a second location, but as it is still early days, she wants to keep her focus on what she currently has.

“This was a huge achievement for me, it took a lot of work to get here, especially not knowing anything or anyone in the industry,” says Matthezing. “I’ve seen a lot of repeat people in here bringing multiple brides in, so that makes me feel very solidified in my decision of what I am doing.” t7x

Bridal Avenue at a glance:

Location: 1-114, Hawthorne Gate, Spruce Grove

Specialty: Canadian designed dresses, private studio access

Fun Fact: Matthezing is one of the first members of her family to start a brick and mortar business