“I am in a business that helps people during a happy time of life,” says Christy Cinnamon of Blush Bridal in Port Warwick.
Co-owners Cinnamon and Carmen Harris bought the store in 2015. “I had been working here,” says Cinnamon, “and the owner wanted to sell. Everything fell into place. We made some changes, such as no longer handling consignments. However, we kept the name. It seems appropriate — think ‘blushing bride.’ I enjoy helping the bride with one important aspect of her wedding — the dress. As the center of attention, the bride wants to look her best.”
A visitor to the boutique is greeted by hundreds of beautiful bridal gowns on display in a comfortable setting. “We have 400 gowns on the floor, plus others in storage. Once the bride makes a selection we will order it. We don’t really sell ‘off the rack.’ We work with a number of well known designers and recommend that the bride shop eight to10 months before the wedding or portrait sittings,” Cinnamon says. The boutique sees brides by appointment only.
What if the bride has a shorter timetable? “We do work with some designers who can deliver more quickly, and we also have a small selection of gowns in the store that are available,” says Cinnamon.
What about current fashion trends? “White is still popular,” Cinnamon says. “However, there are many shades of ‘white,’ such as ivory, champagne, nude, for example. Pure white is less popular. This is not the case in Central and South America, where pure white is the only option.”
Lace and “bling” are popular. However, brides are trending to the “simple look,” thanks to Meghan Markle, the British royal family’s Duchess of Sussex. Classic satin (think 1930s) is making a comeback. Other styles include blush pink with a lace overlay, fitted or “poofy” and “mermaid” (fluffy skirt at the ankles). Blush Bridal carries plus sizes up to size 28.
“We work within the bride’s budget,” says Cinnamon. Accessories and alterations are figured in, too. “It is not wise for the bride to try on gowns outside her budget. If she finds something she ‘loves’ and can’t afford, she will be disappointed,” Cinnamon says. The dress needs to be comfortable physically and financially. “And it is important to feel beautiful,” adds Cinnamon.
Cinnamon urges the bride to be “open-minded.” “Sometimes a bride thinks she doesn’t want a certain style until she tries is on. This is true for strapless gowns. These gowns are well made and comfortable. They are sturdy enough to ‘stand alone,’” she adds.
Brides still wear “something blue.” Cinnamon says that there have been blue shoes and blue jewelry. “One bride sewed a heart cut from her father’s blue tie into her gown,” says Cinnamon.
Customers are seen during 90-minute appointments. “We ask the bride to bring no more than four people — supportive friends and family. A large entourage means too many opinions. We also request that there be no children under 10 years old. And no makeup,” she says.
Cinnamon is glad when brides bring photos. Frequently they do online research. “It gives us a starting point,” she says. “However, we always encourage a bride to stay true to her own personal style.”
What about “bridezilla”? “We don’t have any problems with that,” says Cinnamon. “Everyone is in a happy mood.” She does like the TV show, Say Yes to the Dress. One of her customers was filmed for the show but it never aired. “I think there wasn’t enough drama,” she says with a smile.
Their youngest bridal customer to date was 19. “Most are 25–35 years old,” says Cinnamon. “We had one who was 50 and it was her first marriage,” she adds. Surprisingly, the busiest wedding month is October, not June.
Blush Bridal also offers bridesmaid dresses. Styles are made to be repurposed. Trending now is allowing bridesmaids to choose their own style. Dresses may be different colors or shades of the same color. Black/white combinations are still popular.
Cinnamon and Harris both had a lot of retail experience before venturing into ownership. Cinnamon grew up in a military family and has lived in Newport News since high school. “Cinnamon” is a Scottish name; her husband’s family is in Tennessee.
What about Cinnamon’s wedding? “I eloped!” She smiles and says, “It has been 20 years and I never regretted it.”
TO THE POINT:
Blush Bridal Inc.
Address: 185 Herman Melville Ave., Newport News, VA 23606
Contacts: Christy Cinnamon and Carmen Harris
Business: Bridal wear, formal wear