Step into a nondescript, windowed building at 3204 Division St., tucked behind Sew N’ Sew, and you’ll encounter a space little changed from its insurance office days, except for a few colorful dress displays.
Walk a bit further into Suite A, and racks of dresses in rooms at Mae’s Formals, a new full-service bridal and formal shop come stunningly into view, nearly the sensation one feels when watching the 1939 Wizard of Oz film transform from sepia-tinted black and white into technicolor.
Owner and consultant Laura Royer is eager to show off gorgeous lace and satin gowns with beautifully intricate bead work and crystal, and dresses in a range of bright or subtle colors and designs ready for prom and homecoming dances.
Looking for a tulle ballgown, or neon, hot-pink or lime green prom dress? Visit Mae’s.
“Mae is my middle name,” explained Royer.
The shop has everything for the entire bridal party and carries top designers for bridal and formal events, such as tuxedos from Jim’s Formalwear and Geno’s Formalwear, luxury bridal accessories from Ariel Taub, and shoes from Benjamin-Walk.
Her favorite wedding dress?
“This Maggie Sottero white satin with pearl and lace appliques and a simple train. It’s just gorgeous,” she said.
Indeed, it is.
A crowd attended when Greater Burlington Partnership conducted a ribbon-cutting ceremony at noon Thursday at the shop.
“We are excited to be right here in Burlington,” Royer said.
Royer said she hopes the ribbon cutting helps to spread the word about the growing business.
Since opening her doors on Jan. 8, Royer said she has had a number of customers, and she’s hired another consultant.
“We’ve been very busy with prom,” she said. Some bridal gown-seekers “have been blown away by the selections.”
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Wedding dress shopping a ‘special emotional moment’
Brides-to-be tend to arrive with a style in mind, based on what they’ve seen on the internet.
“What you see on social media might not necessarily wind up being what you want to choose,” Royer said.
As a consultant, she helps brides find the dress they truly want, during special two-hour “Very Important Bride” quality appointments, whether they seek embellished, romantic, vintage, dreamy, or a sleek and simple style.
Wedding dress shopping, “is a special emotional moment for (the brides). I want to give them their time to find something they didn’t know they were looking for,” she said.
She’s well-schooled in designers such as Augusta Jones, whose dresses are designed to flatter all body shapes, and creations of Martin Thornburg, whose designs try to capture the personality of each bride.
New items arrive every day, and Royer on Thursday was awaiting a handmade veil by Taub. Those come with the option of monogramming it with the bride’s initials.
Brides sometimes purchase two gowns, one for the reception, and dresses with removable lace sleeves also are popular.
Measurements are taken and each dress is special ordered.
The shop also gives referrals for alterations.
Customers of Royer Body Shop probably have been helped by Laura, office manager of her husband’s auto repair business.
Her new endeavor came with positive support from family and friends after she pulled together an amazing look for her daughter’s homecoming dance, from her dress, to accessories right down to crystal rhinestone Nikes.
“My husband said, ‘She’s like your little creation when she’s all done,'” she said.
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Mae’s Formals hours, location
Mae’s Formals is located at 3204 Division St., Suite A. One-on-one bridal dress shopping appointments are available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and also on weekends. Walk-ins are welcome to shop for prom or other dresses from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
To learn more about Mae’s Formals, people can visit the business’ Facebook page or Instagram, or call (319) 209-2043. A website for the business will go live next week.