A Day in the Life of Soliloquy by WeddingWire
Ever wonder what a Day in life of a bridal boutique owner is like? Lucky for you our friends at WeddingWire shadowed owner, Miriam Liggett to find out! You can visit the original article at WeddingWire.com HERE. Or just read below!
“As someone who’s never personally been through the dress shopping process, I was on a mission to find out how it really works behind the scenes, to see first-hand, what it’s like to help brides find their dream wedding dress. So I headed to Soliloquy Bridal Couture in Herndon, Virginia, a family-owned shop that opened its doors to the public four years ago. I shadowed Miriam Liggett, a corporate exec turned bridal fashion expert, in an attempt to learn the ins and outs of her bridal salon.
10:40 am– As soon as I walk into Soliloquy Bridal Couture, I immediately feel calm. Perhaps it’s the warm greeting Miriam Liggett, the store owner, gives me when I walk in. It’s not just a “thanks for coming to my store” hug, it’s like a hug you’d receive from your mom after a long time away from home, or one from an old friend you haven’t seen in years. Perhaps it’s the clean and tidy space which allows my eye to go straight to the opulent gowns and sparkly accessories that line the walls. Or perhaps it’s the mix of romantic music from Adele to Christina Perri that immediately sends a wave of relaxation over me. Whatever it is, I feel ready to find the dress of my dreams the moment I walk in. And then I remember that, unfortunately, that’s not why I’m here.
10:45 am– As soon as I politely remind Miriam that I am not, in fact, a bride, but rather her shadow for the day, she immediately begins to show me around the store. “For me this is kind of natural, I love this,” she says with a smile on her face. “Taking care of people, serving people, kind of exceeding expectations is what I try to work through every day.”
10:50 am– Photo collages of past brides adorn the walls and Miriam tells me snippets about their lives that she can remember. She shows me a photo of a bride and her maid of honor, and then a second photo of their roles reversed, noting that she remembers when both of them came into her store. I’m taken aback by her sharp memory, since she’s had four years worth of brides walk in and out of her door. “I may not remember the bride’s name but I remember their story.” She tells me that she opened the store an hour early that morning for a bride who ended up cancelling. But in what I’m learning is typical Miriam fashion, she shrugs it off. “I’m willing to do that extra work if I know someone really wants to work with us, and if I get burned, I get burned.”
10:55 am– Miriam tells me a little about how her store came to be and what hopes she has for the future. Miriam’s store is relatively new compared to others in the area. She left her job as a corporate executive because she was tired of traveling. Opening a salon allowed her to combine her her love for customer service and and bridal fashion “It’s personal and intimate,” she says of the store. “I think people appreciate that we’re human and don’t treat them like a number. . .people will buy from you even if you don’t have the dress they love if they like being in your environment,” she says.
11:00 am– The shop’s first hopeful bride of the day, Krista, arrives right on time. She has been engaged for less than a month and comes in with her mother. They tell their consultant, Vanessa, that they’ve been to a few different stores and haven’t found anything to match the picture in Krista’s mind. She’s in search of a clean, classic, and structured gown with no beading. Vanessa asks her about her upcoming wedding, which is taking place in a church next August, so she wants to stay more on the conservative side.
11:10 am– Krista, her mother, and Vanessa walk around the store pulling things that catch their attention and align with the bride’s desires.
11:20 am– The first dress she tries on is a strapless sweetheart fit-to-flare gown from Heidi Elnora, which happens to be the designer’s best-seller. Krista feels like a bride in the dress but wants to try something on with more of a scoop neck.
11:25 am– A bride comes in without an appointment and asks to be measured. She’s not here to a buy a dress, she says. She wants to buy it online. Miriam appreciates her honesty and takes her into a fitting room to be measured.
11:30 – 11:50 am– Krista tries on five other gowns, all of which she says no to within seconds of trying on. She doesn’t like one gown because of the oversized floral details, one she rejects because the back is too sheer, and one just simply doesn’t feel like her wedding dress. She wonders if she’s writing them off to quickly, and Vanessa reassures her that she’s not.
12:00 pm– Krista puts the Heidi Elnora dress back on and Vanessa adds a jeweled sash around the waist. The bride is surprised by how much she likes the addition.
12:10 pm– Krista tries a cathedral length tulle veil and both she and her mother agree that it’s a great fit for a church ceremony.
12:15 pm– Vanessa encourages Krista to walk around the store and test out her comfort level in the dress. She peruses through racks of bridesmaid dresses and discusses potential options for her wedding party with her mother.
12:25 pm– Krista knows she wants to buy the dress, but she seems concerned that she’s not having a typical Say Yes to the Dressmoment filled with tears and emotions. Vanessa reassures her that’s not how all brides react, that it’s okay to just feel comfortable, and Krista’s ready to buy her dream gown. She says she’ll come back for the veil and jeweled belt another time.
12:30 pm– Both appointments for this time slot cancel. “In the end it’s human behavior, what can you do?” Miriam says. I’m not the only one who’s marveled by how at ease she seems through all the craziness. “A customer said to me one time, ‘You’re so calm’ and I said ‘somebody has to be in this situation.’ Everything is not going to be perfect in situations where you’re dealing with dynamics of people, you’re not gonna have perfect situations.”
12:45 pm– Krista and her mom leave the store and thank Miriam and Vanessa for their help. They can’t wait to come back in a few months for dress fittings.
1:00 pm– A bride calls the store to say she’s getting married in three weeks and needs a wedding dress. Miriam tells me it’s typical and that brides who wait until the last minute are always the most picky. She can’t find time to come in, and Miriam and her two employees decide to order lunch from a local restaurant down the street.
1:10 pm– Miriam tells me all the services her shop offers. They offer in-house alterations, cleaning and preserving of gowns, bridesmaid dresses, flower girl dresses, accessories, and even custom gowns.
1:20 pm– Miriam notes that this particular bride coming in at 2 p.m. had been in a few days prior and was frustrated that the gown wasn’t fitting properly, to which Miriam politely responded, “It’s only your second fitting.”
1:45 pm– The bride arrives early for her appointment, and she waits for the seamstress to arrive.
2:00 pm– The bride goes into the fitting room to try on her dress for the the last time before final alterations are made. Today when the bride puts on her fitted lace gown, she is in a state of pure joy.
2:00 pm– A bride who is getting married in May comes in with five of her bridesmaids looking to try on floor-length chiffon gowns by Jim Hjelm.
2:10 pm– The bride having her final fitting is disappointed when she has to take her dress off. She notes this moment as being the highlight of her weekend. I look to Miriam and her smile is just as big as the bride’s, and I can tell, she truly loves her job.
2:15 pm– Women are running in and out of the fitting room trying different bridesmaid styles. When I ask Miriam how she deals with appointments like this, she says this is a small group compared to others, and notes that bridesmaid dresses is merely another service they offer. It’s not something she plans to expand on in the future.
2:30 pm– The bridesmaids continue to try on various styles and colors, sharing mirror space to see which one best flatters their figure.
2:40 pm– At the end of the day, Miriam tells me that she sees herself as a problem-solver.
“My job is problem resolution. If you’re not good at that, this is not the business to be in. My corporate background totally prepared me for this,” she says.
As I head out of the store, I feel as if I’m leaving an old friend I won’t get to see for awhile, and I already want to go back. And that’s when I realize, that’s exactly how Miriam intended it.”
Yes. We love our Soliloquy Brides and hope they all feel part of the Soliloquy Family. Thank you Sarah for spending the day with us! Hope to see you soon.