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Feel Confident That Our Bridal and Tuxedo Store Is CLEAN and SAFE

Soon the restrictions will be lifted and we will all venture back out into the world. When I do, I personally expect that every establishment I enter knows how to clean in the age of COVID-19 and is committed to keeping me and their other customers safe.

But just how do we know that a store that looks clean actually is? Let’s take our own store as an example.

Our family owns and operates Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo and prior to the mandatory shutdown, we spent more time in the store than our own home. Since opening in 2013 we have always had store cleanliness as one of our top 3 priorities. We have used the same cleaning company for years: Bugajewski Facility Services.

We were introduced to this company when the owner, Ben Bugajewski, was the featured speaker at a Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce meeting. I didn’t think I would enjoy listening to a speech about cleaning, but when Ben started talking I was weirdly fascinated.

Ben and his company clean a number of medical facilities in the area and beyond, including both Pavillions at Doylestown Hospital. They have done this for years, and have always had a focus on exactly what “clean” means. If they didn’t keep medical facilities clean, then they weren’t safe.

I perked up a little bit after hearing this introduction. It only got better from there.

His knowledge of bacteria and germicides was incredible. He knew what bad guys made us sick and what chemicals killed them. He knew which chemicals were safe for humans and which chemicals required humans to stay away for a few hours.

Ben so easily pronounced names of bacteria, most of which had way too many letters, and I knew he was going to clean our store.

We could not be more proud to have Ben and his company continuing to not only clean our store, but also training us and giving us the products we need to make sure that you and your family are just as safe as we are when you enter our doors. There are products we use once daily and others we use throughout the day.

To that end, Ben sent us the certification he earned this month taking an online training course administered by the Global Biorisk Advisory Council regarding proper cleaning and disinfecting techniques with an emphasis on SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19. I can’t be sure of other stores, but we are prepared and ready to reopen!

Cleaning Certification for COVID-19

How has Ben’s cleaning procedures changed with the onset of COVID-19?

With the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, the EPA released a listing of  Products with Emerging Viral Pathogens AND Human Coronavirus claims for use against SARS-CoV-2 . “We began to use 2 additional RTU germicidal detergents with a 2 minute contact time against the virus compared to a 10 minute contact period. Due to the significant time period for delivery of these products we have sourced them directly from the two different manufacturers to maintain adequate inventory levels.”

In addition, he says, “We also are doing more frequent cleaning and disinfection of high touch surfaces, have used color coded micro fiber cleaning cloths for years, and have spent significant funds in the latest available cleaning equipment to assist our staff in removing soil prior to the disinfection process.

Since I started the company in 2004 we have always used two EPA registered quaternary hospital grade germicidal detergents for disinfection. One was an acidic based product and the other was an alkaline based product.

We used another EPA registered product which is based on free available chlorine Hypochlorous acid which is 4x more disinfection power that the hypochlorite ion. It is more active in the presence of organic loads and has a longer shelf life. It also has a label claim against c difficile spores which are extremely difficult to eliminate in a health care setting.

We are also doing additional education with our client base making sure that they are using compatible cleaning chemistries during the day for their internal cleaning.”

Now that you know our store is cleaned like a hospital, be confident we are ready for you!

Let’s get back to how do you know if a store is actually clean?

Ben published an article in 2005 in Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association that ranked store cleanliness as the most important attribute that a consumer was seeking. “A consumer in a retail clothing location focuses on the cleanliness of the front entrance, fitting room areas, cash check out areas and the store restrooms. There should be no visible soil in these areas of the store,” Ben wrote.

I then asked him how can someone feel confident that an establishment is clean? What does he look for when entering a store or restaurant? Of course, the all areas of the store need to look and smell clean, but beyond that he also looks for the following:

Are the employees wearing clean uniforms or clothing?
Are the employees taking any special precautions between clients/customers?
Are there adequate hand washing facilities available? (Hopefully they are not topping off their hand soap dispensers!)

Ben also intends on reviewing more frequently local health department inspection reports. GOOD idea!

We hope you enjoyed reading this blog. It was fantastic for me to write this as I have a renewed appreciation and confidence in Bugajewski Facility Services, and the cleanliness of our store!

We can’t wait to welcome you back – make your appointment here!

How To Say Yes When You Won’t Stop Looking

Have you asked any of these questions:

“Do brides say yes on the first time out?’

“Do brides really buy the first dress they tried on?”

“Do brides ever buy without going to other stores?”

“Do brides buy without asking all their friends what they think?”

The answer to all of these is yes. In this blog we will discuss the bride who can’t say yes and if it resonates with you, hopefully our advice will help you through saying yes with confidence.

The most challenging bride is the one who cannot stop looking. She brings with her a group of eight on a Saturday morning, tries on 15 dresses, finds one she loves. She cries, everyone loves it… and then the question: “Are you saying yes to this dress?” She looks completely confused and says, “No, I can’t buy yet/at the first store/until I sleep on it/without my grandmother/without looking elsewhere.”

Aren’t you looking to say yes? Why did you bring this group to give so much attention and love to you and then say no when you are crying and they are so supportive?

Bride continues to shop all day, ending exhausted and confused with a list of maybes and one she really loves. She makes more appointments at other stores.

This bride refuses to say yes for months.

She finally makes a return appointment to retry the dress on that she loves, the one that made her cry, the one she can’t stop thinking about. She obsesses over photos, looks at it online, gets opinions of strangers on wedding websites.

She brings her group back again, although fewer attend. She still loves the dress.

“I really think maybe this is it, but did you get any new ones in that I haven’t tried?”

I ask, “How many stores have you been to? How many dresses have you tried on?”

Some brides tell me they’ve gone to 10-12 stores, even some in different states. That is at least 100 dresses tried on.  One hundred wedding dresses and a bride still can’t pull the trigger. Not only that, her group is tired (“Just get it already!”) and the bride is stressed out (“Don’t push me into making this decision!”)  It has become a chore. Instead of that first perfect moment to say yes with the emotion and the hugs and the support, it is now a frustrating disappointment because you are over a month into looking and still can’t say yes to the dress you came back to.

Why?

“I’m not getting the reaction I want.”  – But you did the first time and ignored it…

“I don’t know if my fiance will like it.” – Your fiance loves you, and will love you in whatever dress you choose…

“What if I don’t like it later?” – You loved it the first time and you still do…

“I’m worried I might find something I like better.” – After 100 dresses, you think #105 will be the one when you’re back in the original dress?

“I don’t make decisions quickly.” – You immediately knew the venue, your bridal party, and you immediately said yes to the marriage proposal…

At some point, you need to be confident in your dress decision and move on with the planning. It’s your day and you will be radiant in the dress you choose!

The dress should make you feel gorgeous, you never want to take it off.  You want to wear it to work, out to lunch, everywhere. When you find that dress, SAY YES. Stop looking because you won’t find one to beat it. If there is a dress you compare all others to, that’s the one. It doesn’t matter if your to-be sister in law didn’t react the way you wanted, it’s not her wedding or her dress.

You now must also consider the health implications of going to so many stores.

Our advice is always the same to brides who call themselves “indecisive” but made many decisions already with no problem:

1. Don’t bring a large group. If you want to show them, bring them to your try on, or plan a reveal to show them what YOU chose. They will cry when they see you in it! Many stores now limit the number of guests due to social distancing so that decision could be made for you.

2. Limit the choices. It’s like going to a restaurant with a 10-page menu… you went in wanting the steak but now you might want something else, because it might taste better, even though you really want the steak…

3. Be your unique self. Don’t buy a dress that others love on you but you don’t, one that reminds you of everyone else’s, or because it’s trendy now. Find unique designers or ones you can customize if needed.

4. Trust yourself. The dress you love is the right one and everyone will love you in it.

5. Buy from a reputable store. Read reviews! Are they known for great customer service, responsiveness, and truthfulness? Do they adhere to new laws and regulations? (WE ARE, AND WE DO!)

Yes, brides do say yes on the first day out, at the first store, to the first dress, without dozens of opinions from the people with them. You can, too! Let us help you enjoy the bridal appointment process and trust yourself!

Do You Want Sleeves On Your Wedding Dress?

At the beginning of May, usually that winter chill is out of the air. I should be happily in a tee shirt right now but instead it’s a sweatshirt and my hands are freezing. This made me think of brides searching for their perfect dress and whether it has sleeves!

MEADOW | Madi Lane Bridal

Meadow by Madi Lane

Sleeves on wedding dresses are gorgeous. There are many different versions now, too, like off the shoulder, detachable, illusion, illusion with lace and buttons, full lace, etc.  Look at your Pinterest board – even if you aren’t considering sleeves I’ll bet you have one pinned.

Trying on dresses with sleeves is very interesting. Some brides know that’s what they want and do not try any on without them.

Others think they want them but when they try on they find them restricting of movement, itchy, irritating, or all three, and they move on to others perhaps with a cap sleeve or smaller strap.

Then there is the bride who never considered them who tries on and falls in love! It’s one of the “game changers” in dress hunting that we love!

With sleeves you will want to consider:

– Will you be married in the heat? If you are getting married outside in the sun or on the beach, these may not be for you. Think of your ceremony, play that out in your head, does it make sense? You can always try a dress like this, Lennon by Beloved Bridal with removable sleeves:

Style BL300 Lennon | Beloved By Casablanca Bridal

– Do you have sensitive skin? If a dress bothers you at all during the trying on phase, that is not your dress! This applies to all aspects, not just sleeves. You will be in it for hours, it needs to feel comfortable all around.

– Are you a “throw your hands in the air” type dancer? If so, unless you have detachable sleeves, you wont be throwing them very high. Isabella by Kitty Chen is an absolutely gorgeous show stopper, but you’re not going to raise your arms too high in this dress:

ISABELLA – Wedding Dresses | Bridal Gowns | KITTYCHEN COUTURE

– Is your wedding in the winter or a colder location? Sleeves are perfect for you, but they will not keep you “warm”. Unless you have a heavier lined sleeve – which further diminishes mobility – you may still need a fur wrap or cape if your ceremony is outdoors or for outside pictures.

For the best of both worlds, ask us for options like detachable on many dresses, or a pretty sheer matching jacket. Or we can have them made by our seamstresses at your fitting if you order the dress you love without them but are still undecided. We have capes, jackets, and fur wraps as well to customize your perfect look! Make your appointment with us here!

Three Things To Love About Crepe Wedding Dresses

Whether it’s a body-hugging mermaid or a romantic A-line, crepe dresses are sophisticated and timeless. No doubt you’ve heard about (and pinned) a few dresses in this amazing fabric, so in this blog we will go into more detail.

Crepe is a fabric that was traditionally made from silk or wool which is what gives some their “bumpy” appearance, but can now can be made from almost any fiber. Crepe georgette is very popular in dresses now because the georgette adds elasticity.

Crepe types vary from thin and lightweight to thick and heavyweight. Wedding dresses typically fall somewhere in between. They definitely aren’t thick and heavy because they would lose their beautiful drape and flow, however, they are not thin because then the dress could be somewhat see-through.

Wedding dresses in this fabric are not always lined underneath, but if they are it is usually with a satin or a charmeuse therefore need to have some thickness for proper structure and draping. A little thickness is also what gives crepe our first thing we love:

  1. Hug Those Curves! You work hard to keep that body of yours in shape and it shows at every angle in a dress like Fallon by Madi Lane below, a stunning crepe dress with buttons down the back accentuating the assets! The incredible fit with a little mix of a georgette fabric gives not only the perfect silhouette but also allows the stretch needed to sit, walk, and do those perfect dance moves. Not to mention it will knock your fiance out all night long. FALLON | Madi Lane Bridal
  2. Smooth and Comfortable. Are there any two better adjectives to describe a wedding dress? Besides the ones already used above? Smooth always looks classic and sophisticated, clean and timeless. Comfortable is not always easy to get in a dress. When a dress has lace and/or beading, multiple layers of crinoline, a fitted high structured satin, it can be a long day wearing it. Scratchy, heavy, tight – none of these describe crepe. This fabric is ideal for sensitive skin as well.
  3. The Color. Whether you choose white or ivory, the richness in this fabric is like no other. The whites are clean and bright with none of the “harshness” of other fabrics, the ivories are creamy and warm. Some crepe dresses are only made in one color so ask your consultant if there are swatches.

Here are some other crepe dresses in our store that brides love:

Madi Lane Finley

FINLEY | Madi Lane Bridal
 
FANTASY – Wedding Dresses | Bridal Gowns | KITTYCHEN COUTURE
 
Morilee Saskia
Saskia Wedding Dress | Morilee
 
Madi Lane Ferne
FERNE | Madi Lane Bridal
 
Beloved by Casablanca Honor
Style BL307 Honor | Beloved By Casablanca Bridal
 
Jessica Morgan MARCH, J1990 Wedding Dress | The Knot
Make your appointment here to see these and many more! We can’t wait to meet you!

 

The Strapless Dress: What To Consider

A few years ago, the strapless dress is all you saw. Typically it was a strapless fit and flare that looked great on all figures. As styles and trends change, so have the necklines, but strapless remains a very popular choice.

There are, however, details to be considered before saying “yes!” to a strapless dress. Most brides (and their guests) will agree it is not ideal for your dress to be falling down during your wedding. This is the main complaint of a strapless dress. This is able to be solved by the following:

  • The Construction of the Bodice – In order for a strapless dress to stay fitted, it must have a corset and/or boning throughout. The weight of the dress needs to stay on the ribs and hips, and the boning will keep the top stiff and in place.
  • The Cups – You must have the appropriate fitting cups. Too small will flatten and push you up and out. Too large will cause gapping. Neither are desired. Your seamstress will be able to assist you with this! If you are large busted, it is advised to go up in size in order for the appropriate cups to be sewn in and then taken in where necessary to ensure a tight fit.
  • The Neckline – Strapless dresses have several different neckline shapes: sweetheart, scoop, or straight across. Consider your bust size when choosing. If you are large busted and choose a sweetheart, make sure the dip is not too low and the sweetheart comes up high enough and goes just under your arm. You may want to consider something more modest such as a scoop which will give you additional support. Same if you are small busted as a sweetheart tends to have extra room between you and the dress. Alterations can usually fix this but it comes at a cost.
  • Strapless with Low or Illusion Back – These dresses are beautiful and can be a real “WOW”, yet are the most difficult we have seen to fit properly. A low back has no support at all and is nearly impossible to stay in place as you twist and move. An illusion back gives very little support, leaving the front to be fitted by itself. Consider having the back lined or you probably will be pulling it up regardless of alterations. There are undergarments that can help with these dresses, however it adds an additional layer between you and the dress that will require additional alterations.

Your wedding dress is the most important garment you will ever buy. It should be memorable and reflect your personality! You do not want your photos or your guests reminding you of dress malfunctions. Trust your stylist if she’s giving you advice or suggestions… We often have brides who fall in love with a dress that we know may cause problems or cost hundreds in alterations because of an ill-fitting top. Don’t be afraid to speak up! There are many ways to make the dress of your dreams fit your vision and flatter your figure to the fullest.

Thoughts From A New Bridal Consultant

Our newest Bridal Consultant, Jessica Hill, asked if she could blog about her position with Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo because she gets so many questions about working here.  She sent it over and said if I “didn’t like it” it wouldn’t hurt her feelings.

Franco and I speak often about how much we appreciate our staff, but hearing it from a brand new employee who is in her second month with us was the best feeling.  When the employees feel like family, they take care of our brides and grooms like family.  It is not just a sale here, or just a job, it’s a connection for a lifetime.

Jessica mentioned she always wanted a position like this, and we think she is perfect for it!  Read Jessica’s (unprompted!) blog below.

To me, Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo is a hidden gem. Popular with many but still undiscovered by some. Since starting two months ago I’ve been asked, “Hey how is it there?” and many similar questions.  Well I will be happy to tell you.

First, let me start by saying I am married and many of my best friends are married. I have said yes to a dress and I have watched them say yes to many dresses, so my experience is coming from both points of view. I remember how we were treated from those “bigger box stores”. It was great saying yes to the dress but what many do not realize is the process does not end there. You go back for alterations, bridesmaids and groomsmen and the list continues. What I have found is after you say yes to the dress in the bigger chain stores you are then a number, a sale and that caring consultant has moved on to the next one.

The customer service at Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo is unlike any place I have honestly have ever seen. The minute you walk in you become a part of the family. The best part you ask? Well you stay in that family even after you say yes and even after you are married! The sole purpose is to make everyone feel welcomed and have a great experience from the minute you walk in the door to the minute you walk down the aisle. By the way, the amazing and beautiful dress selections also make it easy for everyone to try on all different shapes and styles, making sure we cover all bases before saying yes.

Another amazing benefit to all brides and even potentially new customers is that you can call or text the store. The texting feature is amazing because if you have anything weighing on your mind it can be answered quickly and ease those worries. I’d say that would be a great feature for when the store is closed but Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo is open seven days a week to accommodate everyone’s schedule.

The kind, caring, and compassionate staff is what really sets them apart. Every time you enter the store you will see a familiar face. The owners Wendy and Franco are some of the nicest most hard working people I have ever encountered. They make sure everyone and everything is taken care of.

So hopefully I have answered some of your questions. I could go on and on but I think the best way for you to understand it is to come in and experience the Darianna difference.

 

Five Years In

I could start as Once Upon A Time, but then it wouldn’t be real. Sometimes it really doesn’t seem real that we are five years into a business that we dreamed up and executed, but anyone who has ever started or owned a business knows the feelings. Franco and I have lived and breathed Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo every minute of every day since signing that lease in 2012.

We opened in January 2013 in that adorable little old house on Easton Road. “Next to the Candy Shop,” we used to tell customers who weren’t familiar with the address. How do I convey just how much I loved that store – and how much I cherish the feelings I have when I think of those original days?  It just makes me so happy.  And proud.

I clearly remember one evening just a few months after we opened, standing behind the desk with our little Deanna hanging on my leg like a koala bear, a store full of people, and thinking, “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.” It was simultaneously thrilling and petrifying. Just the way entrepreneurship is: thrilling and petrifying.

So while we went and got ourselves a bigger boat, we decided to keep the original location and made it all about Prom! For two years, we opened seasonally for our prom customers and it was so much fun to have a “junior” version of Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo.

With every new year comes changes and decisions to be made and this one is no different. Our biggest decision for 2018 was hard: Do we keep the original store as prom or do we combine them?

As owners, our main goal is customer service and how we can make the shopping experience fun, offer great style options, assist with alterations, and make new friends while doing it. A list of pros and cons came down to one thing – having the owners present in the store. We couldn’t be at both places at once and that is too important for us to ignore.

We made the decision to combine them and we are thrilled to be all under one roof again – in a bigger boat!

 

Our little store turned into something pretty big. Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo is in the middle of major stores like Red Robin, Buffalo Wild Wings, Pet Valu, VisionWorks, Hair Cuttery, and GNC. Our sign is in the same sign cabinet as Walmart. Talk about not seeming real! This store offers so much more space with the same great service, same great selection of dresses and tuxedos (this year some amazing prom prices, too!), same convenient 7 day/week store hours, owners and managers on site, and the same fun-filled environment.

 

While I am a little crushed to say goodbye to our original Darianna baby, it needs to happen. One of my favorite photos ever taken is the Love sign over the original Darianna Bridal sign (thank you Sophia Yanik!) – a sweet and lovely little picture, just like that store, just like all our girls who worked there. Our very first prom staff (Class of 2013) is now a year out of college – Gabi, Dani, Jenn, Sophia, Brit, Nicole, and of course Daria! I taught them how to steam dresses and they taught me things like NEVER text back “K”. All those laughs I will keep.

Most decisions aren’t as difficult as this, but the right decision is rarely easy. Like with all babies, at some point, you have to let them go…

We can’t wait to see all of you for bridal and prom seasons in 2018!

The Seamstress

The dress of your dreams can turn into the stuff of nightmares with the wrong Seamstress.  Read on for tips to ensure your spot-on, perfectly-fitted dress!

In the weeks leading up to your wedding day, you will be meeting with your seamstress for any necessary alterations to make your gown fit like a glove.  These can be anything from a hem, bustle, take in, let out, and strap adjustments, to additional work to personalize your dress such as sewing in a handkerchief or other sentimental piece, adding buttons, changing the neckline shape, and more.

Some bridal stores charge a flat fee.  This is okay if you need lots of work done and multiple fittings, but definitely not great if you only need a few  changes.

Whatever alterations your wedding dress requires, there are some very important things to do prior to starting them.

  1. First fitting.  Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo recommends scheduling this 4-5 weeks before your wedding because you are closest to your wedding shape and weight.  You will put your dress on and consult with the seamstress on adjustments.  The communication must be clear and you must feel confident that she cares about you.  She will pin areas where the work will be done.  Also, bring your shoes for hemming and bustling purposes.
  2. Find out an estimate of costs prior to having the work done.  Hemming dresses with numerous layers, doing beadwork, removing/replacing appliques, these can add up so find out approximate cost first.  (If your bridal store charges a flat fee, reconfirm there are no additional fees involved.)
  3. If you feel like that particular seamstress is not a good fit for you, find another one.  Recommendations from other brides, community groups, and online searches/reviews can lead you to another who may provide you the peace of mind and confidence required.
  4. At your last fitting, make sure to take someone along for bustle instructions.  The bustle is the lifting of the train of your gown (using buttons or hooks) that is done prior to the reception, allowing you to dance and move about without stepping on your train.  You may even want to take a video of it, just in case a few glasses of champagne get in the way of remembering…

An idea to consider is to schedule your hair/make up trial just before your fitting, so you can see your look come together!

Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo has trusted and experienced seamstresses doing fittings both in-store and in-studio.  We also have relationships with numerous others who may be more of a fit for difficult schedules, locations, etc.

In addition, we work with bridal vendors who will do custom sizing, changes, petite cuts,  custom lengths, and various other changes directly to your dress as it is being made and this can lead to real savings in your alterations costs.

The outstanding women we work with – our bridal consultants and our seamstress partners – are committed to making your dress perfect so you feel beautiful and confident on one of the most special days of your life.  From the dressing room to the aisle, make your bridal appointment with us, find your dream dress, and let us take 5-star care of you.

 

 

How to Have a Wonderful Bridal Appointment

Bucks County wedding dressesFinding your gown is one of the most magical experiences you will have.  You are going to get married in that dress, and that’s extraordinary!

To keep that floating on air feeling, Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo offers some tips for a successful bridal appointment:

When do I start looking?  The best time to shop for and purchase your gown is 9 to 12 months before the wedding. You will see the newest collections and you still have enough time for it to arrive and to be sure the dress fits.

What day of the week?  If you don’t mind a crowd, Saturday is the day for you.  Saturday is the busiest appointment day of the week!  If you are a private, low-key type, a weekday afternoon would be perfect for you.

How long will my appointment last?  At Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo, you’ll spend 90 minutes with a bridal consultant who is dedicated and professional, but also fun.

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