In this Q&A series, I sat down with Candice Richardson of Blush Bridal, which is located in Fayetteville, North Carolina. We discussed everything and anything from how she opened her bridal boutique, best tips for brides, and bridal resources for women of color. Also check out Blush Bridal’s variety of gorgeous gowns, I had so much fun taking these photos around her boutique. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
What’s your name and where you are from?
My name is Candice Richardson and I’m from Lexington, KY.
Tell me the history of Blush Bridal – how did an idea turn into an actual business and boutique?
Having been brides ourselves once upon a time, we both felt something important was missing from the bride’s experience: a personal touch. In 2014, we paired Faith’s skills as a business consultant and dress designer and Candice’s background as a business owner to open Blush Bridal in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Funny story – while owning the furniture store, I was taking a QuickBooks class and Faith was the instructor. We just sort of hit it off and from there we both discovered our shared passion for business… bridal. When our website launched our first ordered was out of Paris, France. We were so excited!e
What designers do you carry?
We cary such a variety: Watters, Wtoo, Willowby, Atelier Pronovias, Pronovias, Nicole Miller, Blush By Hayley Paige and Essense of Australia.
What is your favorite part about working with brides?
Okay , So I don’t want to be Cliché. But I love the helping the bride find one of the most important dresses she will ever wear in her life.
When the family or friends are extremely negative during the appointment. I don’t think they realize, they are stealing the experience from the bride.
What are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to picking out a wedding dress?
A) Don’t bring all your family and friends. It’s extremely hard to diffuse the noise of others’ opinions when you’re trying to focus on picking the perfect dress. Keep it small.
B) Do your research on boutiques before booking an appointment. Read reviews, Check the price range of their wedding dresses, what designers do they carry, are they in your size 16 or above? Brides need to understand the shopping experience is vastly different from any retail store in the mall.
C) Don’t try on too many dresses. This will just overwhelm and confused you. Try to limit how many you try on.
D) Be open to trying on different styles. I swore to myself that I wanted a mermaid gown and ended up wearing a ball gown.
E) Don’t be afraid to be honest with your bridal stylist. Telling her what you like and don’t like will help the process go much smoother.
F) Don’t wait until the last minute to go shopping for a wedding dress. I don’t know how many times I have stressed this to brides. Most gowns can take 6-9 months to come in – that’s not including delays, alterations and bridal portraits. Be smart…Buy early!
G) Wear the appropriate under garments to your appointment.
H) Please do your hair and makeup (not too heavy), it will help you vision yourself in the gown and give you a boost of confidence.
I) Don’t try on a dress outside your budget. What’s the point of trying on a gown you could
possibly fall in love with and you can’t afford it? Not the best feeling for a bride who is trying to have an amazing experience.
What are some current trends in the bridal style right now?
A) Wedding dresses with airy skirts and effortless fabrics.
B) We are seeing a lot of designers having off the shoulder dresses. Adds a little sex appeal but still elegant.
C) Wedding dresses with the detachable skirt. It’s like the perfect combo for a bride. She can have two different looks for her wedding day without breaking the bank.
D) I tell you every other bride that comes in our boutique is asking for some type of sleeve. Short sleeve, long sleeve or detailed spaghetti straps. I feel like brides are tired of the go to strapless gowns.
How should a bride know when to say yes to the dress?
So lets be realistic not every bride will cry. But “the one” should make you feel beautiful. You just know when you put it on.
How does Blush Bridal cater to the bride from the moment she steps into the store to her big day?
The experience is what sets us apart. We style the bride from her engagement to her honeymoon. We work with you one-on- one and by appointment, only so everything we do is about you and your wedding. At the boutique we give this personal attention to brides in and near North Carolina. Online, we share it with you worldwide through our website.
How did you get inspiration to design the interior of your store?
Honestly, my business partner, Faith, is amazing at interior design. We knew how we wanted the bride to feel when she walked into our boutique. So together we took our time in finding unique pieces to make our vision come to life.
Name 3 goals you want to accomplish in the next 3 years.
A) Expanding Blush Bridal storefront.
B) Grow our online business
C) To style for a top bridal magazine.
D) Start my own bridal t-shirt line.
What media/publications have you been featured in?
Our features list is pretty long and we hope to grow it every year. So far we have been featured in: Black Bride (Cover and Spread) Style Me Pretty, Green Wedding Shoes, Refinery 29, The Knot Carolina, Strictly Weddings, Artfully Wed, Munaluchi, Pop Sugar, Brown Sparrow Wedding, Ultimate Wedding Magazine, Southern Bride and Groom, CityView and Fayetteville Observer.
I love your creative shoots with local talent! What goes into coordinating these shoots?
So much hard work goes into these shoots. It’s a way for wedding professional to show their creative side on their terms. Here is a great link to how to organize a styled shoot.
Bridal media is extremely white-washed, I can’t say I’ve ever seen a black bride in a major bridal campaign or on the cover of a bridal magazine. How are you trying to change those standards through your creative shoots?
It’s extremely hard being under represented not just in bridal but in fashion in general. Coming from a background of being bi-racial one of my goals in bridal is to try to showcase all women… Black, Hispanic, Asian, etc. We deserve to be shown.
I recently read an article explaining that besides the lack of models of color in magazines, the hairstyle, makeup and skincare tips are also catered to straight-haired, light-skin women. Do you know of any good bridal resources for women of color?
Tell us about your wedding dress. I know it was unconventional.
Being in the bridal industry, I definitely wanted to do something different. So my wedding planner came up with the amazing idea to get married in a black dress. I was like “Well YES, I love BLACK.”
Do you think we are past the era of head-to- toe coverage, wrist-length sleeves and white gowns on the wedding day? Girls seem to be taking a more trendy approach to dresses than the traditional “wear your mother’s dress.”
A lot of brides, especially millennials, are moving towards non traditional bridal. You have a lot if these new cool bridal designers popping up. That cater to the non traditional bride. Now in the south you still get that southern belle who is more traditional with the ball gown and chapel/cathedral veil.
What are your favorite themes for weddings?
I personally am not really into themes. I just think your wedding should represent you.