One of the most exciting, and most difficult, parts of planning a wedding, is choosing your dress. Brides will spend months searching boutique to boutique for the right dress to match her style and her budget. I am fortunate to live in Oregon, where we never experience a drought of gorgeously designed dresses. We have some of the biggest names in the industry within our city limits, as well as some of the most beautifully curated bridal boutiques. One of my favorites is Ania Bridal, in NW Portland. Stepping into their shop is an experience, an experience I don't want you to miss! I got to chat with Elizabeth at Ania and ask her a few questions about what makes their shop so special. Please enjoy!
In three words or three small phrases, tell us about Ania Bridal!
Contemporary, serene, and chic.
What experience do you provide to your brides looking for a dress?
We want our brides to have an intimate and low-pressure experience, where their stylist is easygoing and fully focused on making them feel comfortable and beautiful. Ania is a full service salon, which means we are present with our brides from their very first try-on consultation all the way through alterations and up to their wedding day. We highly value inclusivity and welcome brides of every size and identity. Bridal shopping can be daunting, but it doesn't have to be! Ania is a stress free environment.
What is the meaning behind the name?
Twenty years ago, the original owners combined the letters of their own first names and named the store AniA Couture Bridal Collection. In December 2016, we underwent a streamlined rebranding and are now Ania Bridal.
How do you decide what dresses are sold in your shop?
The Ania consultants play a vital role in what gowns we stock from each of our designers. During each new bridal season, we select the gowns that most accurately reflect what our brides have been looking for. This helps us stay on top of every trend and have a wide variety of options for every bride.
How do your brides find their dream dress at your shop?
For their first 90-minute consultation, each bride is paired with an individual stylist who is fully focused on the bride's particular taste and needs. Many brides also choose to return for a second or third consultation with their stylist before making their final decision. Our team prioritizes listening above all, and never pushes brides into gowns that don't fit their overall wedding vision. The most important elements of a wedding gown are comfort and style, and our team members have carefully honed their ability to help each bride achieve both.
How many team members are behind Ania Bridal
Ania currently has nine team members-- six bridal stylists, two front desk staff, and the store owner. All of our stylists have been with Ania for between 1.5-5 years. Our team has a truly lovely sense of camaraderie, and we go on team outings together at least once a month. As we always say at Ania, we spend the majority of our days with each other so let's make it count!
Why Community over Competition?
Community over competition is absolutely our most important value! The majority of vendors in Portland are locally-owned small businesses, and we want to build each other up rather than tear each other down. Valuing that community has led to so many wonderful experiences beyond just business referrals. Ania has had the pleasure of collaborating on many local styled shoots, as well as hosting and attending various industry events-- all due to the wonderful community support of one another.
What is the dream or vision for Ania Bridal?
Our dreams for Ania are to be the go-to salon for the stylish Portland bride, for our values to shine as brightly as our bridal gowns, and to continue to foster strong relationships within the Portland wedding community.
What is the most important piece of advice you have for brides?
We have two pieces of important advice for brides. The first is to stop looking at other gowns once they find the one! Between Pinterest and online shopping, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the bridal gown rabbit hole. Our Ania stylists help brides feel confident about their gown choice, and are always there to provide support. The second piece of advice is for brides to always listen to themselves above all. As wonderful as it is to have friends and family be included in your bridal experience, at the end of the day you are the one wearing the gown! What you want is the most important part.