This week I spoke with Kendra Collins, owner of Ever After Bridal & Formal Wear in Cleveland and Chattanooga.
Kendra never planned to own a bridal boutique. However, when she moved from California to Tennessee she saw there was an opportunity and she siezed it. In January 2006, she opened Ever After Bridal in Cleveland.
“We opened the store just specializing in brides’ and bridesmaids’ dresses. However, we quickly expanded to mother of the bride dresses, evening wear, and prom. On our 5 year anniversary we moved to a larger location. And then, on our 10 year anniversary we opened a second location in downtown Chattanooga.”
What is the thing you love most about your job?
“Seeing the bride’s smile on her face and knowing that she has found the perfect dream gown that she has been waiting her whole life for. Seeing the bride happy and in love with her dress makes me happy.”
Kendra has also been able to meet David Tutera and Randy Fenoli.
Kendra and her team love sharing in the joy of when a bride says “Yes!” to the dress.
When a bride comes into Ever After, they are greeted with a friendly welcome and can expect to be pampered. They are asked to fill out a questionnaire to help Kendra hone in on exactly what they are seeking and learn more about their style.
“There are many tears that are shed here,” mentioned Kendra. “The moms, the dads, the friends. When the dads start crying, we all start crying.”
What key advice would you give brides who are trying on dresses?
“Try stuff. Trust us and let us pull some gowns that we know you will look fabulous in. I tell brides ‘Let’s try on a little bit of everything, that way you know for certain that you have found the right dress.’”
Do you have a favorite wedding moment?
“We had a bride who had been battling cancer. She brought her mom, dad and all of her family. She had just found out that she was cancer free so, everyone was really, really excited. It was a great day to celebrate. She was beautiful inside and out. Of course, everyone in the shop and even other bridal parties were cheering for her and so happy for her.”
What do you do when you’re not at the boutique?
“Well, I have three boys so my time is spent with them. I have a sophomore in college, freshman in high school and a fifth grader, so there are lots of sports and school activities. We are Tennessee football fans and basketball everything.” Kendra is also involved in her church youth department.
More about Kendra…
- Food: Mexican
- TV Show: Friends
- Character in Friends: That’s a tough one, but probably Joey.
- Starbucks Drink: Iced coffee with cream and white mocha
- NFL Team: Dallas Cowboys
Do you speak other languages?
“I took French and Spanish, but am definitely not fluent in either. I’d love to be fluent in Spanish. I did live in Germany for two years when I was younger, so I can speak a little German, too.”
What did you love most about living in Germany?
“The countryside. It’s gorgeous.”
If could only listen to one song or artist for the rest of your life who would it be?
If you had a million dollars how would you spend it, other than on bills?
“I would make sure to take care of my family first. I would invest the money to make sure that my kids were taken care of in the future and I would travel back to Europe for a nice vacation.”
If you could invite a famous person to dinner?
“There are so many choices, but I would have to say Donald Trump just so we could talk great nations and I could learn about what he has in store.”
At the end of the work day what keeps you motivated?
Brides, give Kendra a call to make your bridal appointment!
Ever After Bridal & Formal Wear is a full-service bridal and formal boutique. With two amazing seamstresses, tux rentals, flower girl dresses and even gown cleaning and preservation, you are sure to find your dream everything at Ever After Bridal & Formal Wear.