In anticipation of the upcoming INSPIRE Wedding Shows, we'll be sitting down with a few of the show's partners and getting the scoop on their business, what they offer brides and grooms and what they're looking forward to at the next INSPIRE show!
Next up in the series is Betsy Manning, owner of Unveiled Bridal Collection in Little Rock. This beautiful bridal boutique carries a wide assortment of gowns from designers Monique Lhuillier, Anne Barge, and Amsale
Read on to find out more about Betsy and the story behind Unveiled!
What inspired you to start your business?
Betsy Manning: "After having the privilege of designing a high-end ready-to-wear line and being the creative director for Dillard’s, I was looking for my next challenge. I have always loved fashion, but I did not realize the true magic of weddings until my own. After I got married, I realized the impact that one day would have on the rest of my life.
A wedding planner friend of mine put the idea into my head, and once she did I couldn’t let it go. Your wedding day is one of the days in your life that you will always look back on and cherish, and there is a significant fashion aspect to that. Of all the things I could do with this love of fashion and God-given background, what a privilege to be a part of that day for brides in our wonderful state."
What’s one of your favorite things about your job?
BM: "One of my favorite things about my job is putting a woman in a gown that lights up her face, and that she feels beautiful in. You know it the minute it happens, whether the first gown or the 10th they put on. When she feels like the loveliest version of herself and has a newfound confidence, my day is made."
What’s a typical day-in-the-life like for you?
BM: "Well, I’m up by 6 a.m. most mornings getting ready and making sure my husband has a smoothie chock full of spinach and fruit to start his day, (this is the only green I get in that good ol' Southern boy). Then Emmy, our shop dog a precious Cavachon, and I head to the store. I usually vacuum the store, check email, and put fresh water out before we open every day.
On weekdays, we are fielding alterations appointments and women looking for a cocktail dress, gala gown, or Mother of the Occasion gowns. I am also working on orders or store numbers, and of course, always throwing in some social media prep or posting. Fridays and Saturdays are usually stacked full of bridal or formalwear appointments. We do have them during the week as well, but usually, Friday and Saturday are a non-stop parade of gorgeous brides and their tribe giving us the honor of helping them make their dreams a reality."
Tell me about the lines that you all carry. What are some of your favorites or the most popular?
BM: "For bridal gowns, my favorite lines we carry are probably Monique Lhuillier, Anne Barge, and Amsale. Monique Lhuiller is romantic with a timelessness that still feels very cutting-edge current. No one does the clean modern feel better than Amsale. She started designing clean at the height of the late 80s Princess Diana opulence and has mastered it ever since. Anne Barge is the reigning queen of classic elegance that girls dream of from the time they see their first Disney movie. Whether sleek elegance or classic ballgown, Anne Barge never disappoints.
The other reason these lines top my list is their impeccable construction. A well-constructed dress is that extra thing you can’t put your finger on that makes you feel secure in your gown and be obsessed with a dress!"
What’s your favorite gown silhouette?
BM: "Personally, I am a sucker for a clean classic ballgown. All you have to do is walk into our store and you will see my love of classic looks that never go out of style, but with a modern twist. We also love a good romantic lace, and we are in the south so there is plenty of sparkles, but personally clean classic with a twist is always my go-to."
What’s your go-to advice for brides looking for their dream dress?
BM: "I have two. 1. Try on something that is the exact opposite of what you think you are wanting. By all means, try on the look and the dress that you have always dreamed of, but if you think you want a clean ballgown, also try on a fitted lace. You may surprise yourself and fall in love with something completely different.
2. If you find a dress that you love, that you really wouldn’t change anything about, buy it! Living in this social media world where everything is at our fingertips is amazing! However, brides can think they need to see everything, try on everything, and sometimes that
can exhaust them. They miss the moment with the dress they love and it just turns into a sea of white. Go with your gut whether it is the first appointment or the third, I promise you will never be disappointed."
What are you looking forward to the most with the upcoming INSPIRE show?
BM: "My favorite thing about the Inspire show is that it helps you dream big and think outside the box. Every vendor brings their most amazing, most delicious, most original product to the brides of Arkansas. It pushes me to be cutting edge and to really use my background to help brides be their most original selves. No two brides are alike and the Inspire show celebrates that and gives creative content to help them shine on their wedding day!"
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