I know I am biased, but she’s our daughter and it’s time for some professional recognition.
Most everyone knows that our family business is named after our two daughters, Daria and Deanna. Deanna is now 13 and getting closer to potentially and hopefully joining us in the store. Daria has been full time with us since graduating from James Madison University.
Three years ago we brought her on as Director of Communications to increase our brand awareness. Three years later, some the events, changes, and growth – in our business, our family, and in her – are surreal and immeasurable.
She came on in June 2018 and for Daria’s second half of the year she became involved with industry organizations such as the Southeastern PA chapters of NACE (National Association of Catering and Events) and ILEA (International Live Events Association). Joining these groups afforded new partnerships and friendships that last through to today!
The next year included involvement in both the Lower Bucks and Central Bucks Chambers of Commerce, as well as an amazing partnership with Visit Bucks County. Daria is a 2019 graduate of the Leadership Program provided by the Lower Bucks Chamber and is looking forward to being a mentor in the 2021 program.
The partnership with Visit Bucks County afforded our company to be introduced to so many beautiful wedding venues and… we were offered the Premier spot in the Wedding Show held at Delaware Valley University. Our store was featured as the sole bridal, tuxedo, mother, and bridesmaid attire store and we put on a great fashion show!
In addition, we were selected by ILEA and Bruleé catering to do a fashion show at a venue called Moulin in Philadelphia at their wedding show!
We were approached by Peddler’s Village to participate in a photo shoot to highlight and advertise their wedding accommodations which we gladly did!
During this time, Daria personally became a wish grantor for the Make-A-Wish foundation. This is a very special and important position to her and we are proud of her for it.
Needless to say our brand awareness and partnerships were growing steadily! 2019 was an amazing year for us and we celebrated by taking a family vacation to Italy for three weeks in December! We celebrated our wins and were full of gratitude as we wandered the streets of Rome and Florence at Christmas time. In my life, I have never been more content.
As I personally look back on that trip, it means more and more every day. 2020 was about to happen and change everything.
Word of advice: Take the vacations.
January and February were solid months as we planned our 2nd Annual Visit Bucks County Wedding Show scheduled for early March. We were holding events of our own in the store and excited to begin offering dresses for our moms again. We had so many plans…
On March 5th, the first wave hit. A fever caused me to lose consciousness and fall. I would not be back home for five weeks while I re-learned basic functions of walking, dressing, using my hands… basically how to recover from and live with a severe spinal cord injury.
The second wave hit on March 19th. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all nonessential businesses to close. We had to lay off our employees. Our store would not open again until June 5th.
Daria moved back home in April. As a family we needed to be together to stay afloat, cope, and plan for what was to be – even though we had no idea what was to be.
We knew her position was going to shift immensely due to my condition and the needs of the store in the short term. There was so much uncertainty, but we had customers depending on us whether we were open or closed. Daria took over with communications and planning. Bridal and tuxedo video appointments were done while closed!
When the store did reopen in June almost exactly one year ago, she was in charge of organizing shipments backed up from 3+ months, communicating with designers, and reassuring frightened brides and grooms – these were enormous tasks but she handled them without a hitch.
By the end of August, she had us caught up. Not only caught up but had a staff hired that was incredible, and a schedule that was packed every weekend. A year back in and we are so strong, as a business and as a family.
On a personal note, it was incredibly exciting to me to see her take over with little assistance. As a parent, this is your job. Prepare them to be successful on their own. Let go of the rope and watch them fly.
Also as a parent, one of the most special memories is when your child takes his or her first steps to you. It was definitely a role reversal as some of my first steps, unassisted, were taken to her.
Since the beginning of 2021, we have held 12 trunk shows, added two new Bridal lines, added more to our mother dresses, were super happy to welcome prom back, and increased our tuxedo offerings. We have 12 more shows scheduled for the second half of the year, new Mom dresses coming this summer, and our text and chat communication options are customer favorites! Looking forward to expanding our family with new customers and staff members and jumping on any new opportunities that will pop up.
We celebrated our 8th year on January 7th and more than once we wondered what we would look like on that date. Well, we came out stronger on the other side, more compassionate, appreciative and grateful for what could have happened but fortunately did not. Through all of it, we continue to enjoy a 4.9 customer rating across platforms like Google, the Knot, Wedding Wire, and the Better Business Bureau. And we have been voted Best of Bucks Bridal 2013-2020.
As for Daria, to say I am glad she’s on our team doesn’t cut it. But I am. I am a proud and grateful momma. I cannot wait to see where we go as a company… and where that next family vacation will be… but you can be sure: we WILL take it!
Thank you so much for the support for our family business. <3 We can’t wait to meet our new brides and grooms and welcome them to the family!
About the author: Wendy Ianieri-Salerno is co-founder and co-owner of Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo, now in its eighth year in business. In that time the store has grown from a small bridal boutique to a full-service bridal store serving not only Bucks County, PA but the surrounding counties and even border states. With the customer experience in mind, Wendy steers the company by offering the best designers and wedding attire while creating a caring, family atmosphere. A life-long Bucks County native, she currently resides in Warrington with her husband and co-founder/co-owner Franco Salerno, and their two daughters for whom the store was named, Daria and Deanna.