If you’re a bride-to-be in or near Whatcom County, you have enough going on with planning, planning, and, oh yes—planning. So you’ll be happy to know you don’t have to go far to find the most important thing for your wedding (besides the right spouse): the perfect gown. Thanks to Alicia’s Bridal, Belle Bridal and Gown and Glove, the newly engaged have all the choices they need to look spectacular on their big day.
I will be the first to admit that I love weddings. I always cry, no matter how well (or not) I know the couple. The level of emotion is so much higher than, say, an average Wednesday, that you just have to let it bubble up and spill over. Plus, every wedding offers hope that true love will prevail. And on top of all that mushiness, guests get the chance to gush over the gowns, the flower girl, the ring bearer and all the rest.
But first: the gown. Brides today have so many choices! Gone (for the most part) are the pure white strapless numbers we’ve seen for so many years. In are ball gowns, A-lines, lace sheaths and straps. I spent a recent afternoon checking out the selections at Bellingham’s bridal shops, and I can assure you, any bride would be super-pleased with what’s available. Looking for lace, rhinestones, satin and tulle? Look no further than Bellingham!
Alicia’s Bridal and The Formal House
Alicia’s Bridal, on State Street in Bellingham, has been making sure wedding parties are properly (and stylishly) attired for 58 years. Owner Pam Reed has been helping brides for 28 of those years at the family-owned shop. Alicia’s has a huge selection of gowns and accessories, and their adjacent shop, The Formal House, stocks over 4,000 tuxedos, ready to be rented or purchased. They’re the only place with that many tuxes, which is handy for last-minute planners and prom-goers.
This time of year is a busy one at Alicia’s, with fall brides choosing gowns, summer brides being fitted and prom kids seeking the just-right dress. From June through September, dozens of weddings will keep things hopping, and then it’s time to get ready for the January Bridal Inspirations Wedding Expo, presented by Alicia’s Bridal and The Formal House.
Pam showed me around her lovely shop, where I immediately started oohing and aahing over the gorgeous gowns. Seriously, I could not help myself—they are that beautiful.
I asked Pam about trends, and she clued me right in. Ball gowns are making a comeback, with tons of tulle, lace and rhinestones. Colors are in, as well, so Alicia’s has gold, Champagne, blush and other shades of ivory gowns in stock—all of which are very complimentary to a variety of skin tones. Straps are back in, too, and many brides are asking for them to be added to strapless gowns. Of course, that’s not a problem at Alicia’s. Pam says their “wonderful” seamstresses can handle any detail, including redesigning the top.
Dresses are arranged by style, so if you have something in mind, you can stick to just one section. Some of the many designers they carry include Alfred Angelo, Affairs, Mori Lee, Michaela Nicole, Sincerity, Lillian West and Justin Alexander. The experts at Alicia’s really know their stuff and will help you find the dress that looks amazing on you. Alicia’s also carries a great selection of plus-size gowns, up to size 32. Every bride is taken care of from the day she walks in until the day she walks down the aisle.
Pam also owns Alicia’s Bridal Outlet, where they sell discontinued dresses at huge discounts. Brides from Vancouver, BC and Seattle, as well as all corners of Whatcom County, flock to Alicia’s for the service and selection. Alicia’s is actually bigger than most Seattle shops, so brides can get all of their needs covered right here in the ‘Ham!
Alicia’s Bridal and The Formal House, 1400 N. State St., Bellingham, WA 98225
Alicia’s Bridal Outlet 1416 N. State St., Bellingham, WA 98225
Phone: 360-733-2563, Toll Free: 877-733-2631
Store Hours: M, T, Th, F, Sat: 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Outlet Hours: Saturday Only 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Alicia’s Bridal on Facebook
Belle Bridal is another Bellingham landmark, located at the corner of Holly and Commercial Streets in the heart of downtown. Belle Bridal is under new ownership, by Nicole Croney, who has years of experience in the business. Her shop was established in 1965, and she purchased it last November from her husband’s grandmother. It’s nice to keep a business in the family!
Nicole indicated that the vintage 40s look is back in, with sleeves, straps, lace and sheath shapes. Colors like blush and pink are in, along with softer-looking ball gowns with netting, but without the crinoline that makes the skirt so poufy. Nicole also showed me several ombre options for both brides and bridesmaids.
Belle Bridal has their own alterations department, and the shop provides private fitting rooms large enough for brides, moms and bridesmaids, too. Nicole carries several lines, including Maggie Sottero, Mori Lee, Essence and Stella York.
I always enjoy passing by the windows at Belle Bridal to see what creative idea they’ve come up with. And, they have a great selection of bridesmaids and prom dresses, too. Tuxes are available to rent, and they can accommodate both prom-goers and wedding parties.
Stop by Belle Bridal for unique looks and personal attention. Nicole and her staff will take great care of you!
Gown and Glove Bridal Consignment
Gown and Glove Bridal Consignment owner Anna Lorenz says she offers brides “The wedding of your dreams at a price you can afford.”
The shop features a wide selection of bridal gowns, bridesmaid and mother of the bride dresses, and special occasion dresses, all on consignment. Some are once-worn dresses, while others are new gowns that didn’t quite fit as expected—or weren’t worn for whatever reason. Bridal gowns range in price from about $100 to $1200.
Gown and Glove’s inventory is extensive, and it changes every day. So if you don’t find the right dress the first time, keep checking back in! They have a nice selection of jewelry and accessories, as well.
Gown and Glove also cater to prom-goers, with long and short dresses of all styles and colors, ranging from $39 to $200. And they even rent prom dresses! Rentals start at just $49. So, whether you’re getting married, going to a real prom, attending a prom-themed dress-up party or have a swanky event coming up, you owe it to yourself (and your wallet) to stop by and see what Anna has in store for you at Gown and Glove.
Each of these Bellingham bridal shop owners was super-nice and shared with me how much they love their work. I can see why; after all, not every business is geared toward love and happiness year-round. Seeing all these lovely gowns up close almost made me want to get married again (to the same guy, of course!). Scroll through the slideshow for more beautiful photos!