Susan Gray’s Grafton
business, Always a Bride, focuses on giving wedding dresses
a chance to shine again.
GRAFTON - For many years, the average
wedding dress has a pretty set lifespan.
being pulled into service for a few hours to assist a
bride in looking her most beautiful, it was sent off for
its very own dry cleaner spa day and then packed away
for a perpetual nap in tissue paper and a box that never
should be opened.
anymore, thanks to a new Grafton business that is giving
wedding dresses and other special occasion dresses a
chance to shine again, while returning some cash to
worked in consignment for 10 years and wanted to buy a
consignment business, but it fell through,” said Always
a Bride owner Susan Gray. “Then I was bitten by the
wedding bug after my own wedding, and I realized I could
do something different.”
opened Always a Bride, a wedding consignment shop, on
Aug. 1. While there are other consignment shops located
in the area, Always a Bride focuses solely on wedding
attire, décor and other special-occasion clothing.
the word out on Facebook and Craigslist and online and
the response has been great,” said Gray. “In fact, on
one recent Saturday, I had six former brides bring in
their dresses for consignment.”
it’s tradition for brides to hold on to their wedding
dresses, it’s a concept that is starting to fade.
Between changes in fashion trends and the differences in
sizes between mother and daughter, the odds are against
a wedding dress actually being reused within a family,
at least in its original state.
very rare for daughters to wear their mothers’ dresses,”
she said. “Sometimes parts are re-used or altered, but
it almost never happens.”
While most of the bridal gowns in Gray’s shop are no more
than 5 years old, she said she was attracted to and recently
took in a 40-year-old bridal veil.
According to theknot.com, the cost of the average
wedding dress in 2013 was $1,281.
“Because of their cost, when a bride consigns her dress
to Always a Bride and it sells, she receives 50 percent
of the sale price,” she said. “I also work with them on
deciding on a price because of the investment they’ve
made. If it doesn’t sell, we can always adjust it down
all other dresses - bridesmaid, special occasion,
prom/homecoming, quincea–era, First Communion - as well
as shoes, accessories and décor, Gray returns 40 percent
of the profit to the consignee. She also sells new décor
items and bridal/statement jewelry.
also take consignments of little boy’s tuxes,” she said.
“You have to just buy them outright now from the
menswear stores instead of renting them for a wedding
the most part, Gray only accepts items that are less
than five years old, though she will occasionally make
an exception. She currently has a 40-year-old bridal
veil that spoke to her, both in its condition and
quite beautiful, and it’s something I could see someone
wanting,” she said. “But in general, there’s just not a
lot of interest in vintage gowns here.”
Consignments are accepted on a continuous basis, and all
items must be clean, wrinkle-free, in good to excellent
condition and not in need of repairs.
Specific needs are listed on the store’s website and on
its Facebook page. The store is open Tuesday through
Sunday; hours vary slightly.
Always a Bride
1540 Wisconsin Ave.