Having moved to Austin from New Braunfels a year ago, I have spent the past six months getting to know my fellow co-laborers in the wedding industry. Austin is a wedding mecca, a true destination wedding city. It’s a great thing to get to know others who work to make a bride’s wedding experience memorable and learn their process. As a wedding photographer, I want to know what the total wedding planning process is, and how I can best help you. One way to do that is to partner with other vendors and have strong relationships with them, working together to make your wedding vision a reality. I would highly recommend visiting Second Summer Bride and Blush Bridal Lounge for that perfect wedding gown.
(Below) The awesome staff at Blush Bridal Lounge and Second Summer Bride
I met the fabulous ladies of Blush Bridal Lounge and Second Summer Bride this spring. Both salons are owned by Erica Janke, a woman passionate about excellence and beauty. Immediately upon entering their boutiques, I was arrested by the stunning eye-candy: gorgeous, jaw-dropping designer gowns all in one space. Seriously, if you’re ever having a bad day, I recommend just going by these places and trying on a gown. It will immediately lift your spirits. I suppose it’s the equivalent of a man going and test-driving a Lotus or something. Kristin is the manager of Blush Bridal; she made me feel so welcome in her salon. She graciously took me on a tour and explained how Second Summer Bride is their sister store, which opened about a year and a half ago on West Anderson Lane.
Second Summer recently celebrated its expansion–in less than two years since their opening, they have doubled in size, adding 200 more dresses to their stock. Audrey, the manager and Kristin are great friends. They invited me to drop by for their expansion celebration. I spent a lovely afternoon watching brides come in for appointments and try on gown after gown. I finally couldn’t bear it any longer and tried on a stunning silk Matthew Christopher creation. Wow! If only my phone hadn’t died, it would have gone straight to Instagram. If you want great service and people who are invested in making you look AWESOME, then Second Summer should be your first stop.
The newly-added second room filled with amazing gowns and fun, modern furniture. Love the roomy dressing areas in the back.The beautiful and talented ladies of Second Summer: Natalie (who is a newlywed herself!) and Audrey, manager of Second Summer.(Below) I couldn’t stop staring at this Honorine by Rivini gown in the window.I saw a bride come in and try on this beautiful Udabe by Pronovias gown (left in photo)…..OMG she looked like something straight out of Midsummer Night’s Dream. The delicate beading and softness of the chiffon were dreamy.Definitely gives an Austin hipster vibe.
I asked Audrey how she came to work at Second Summer. Here’s what she said:
“I was first hired as a Saturday consultant for Blush and Second Summer in Spring 2013. Both stores were growing and evolving, and soon a management position became available at Second Summer. Before working for this company, I never imagined myself in the world of bridal…I had a preconceived notion that there would be a lot of drama and stuffiness. With our salons, the opposite is true! All of the women I work with are creative, bright, and welcoming. Our team is tight-knit and diverse–in that way, we are like sisters. We come from varied backgrounds and all bring something different to the table. Erica and Kristin have become two of my dearest friends and mentors. Our closeness and team-oriented attitudes provide our brides with the best possible experience. All of the consultants and managers love giving advice and pulling dresses for each other’s brides. Together we are able to curate the most beautiful and personal ensemble for every client we assist.”
The more I spoke with Natalie and Audrey, the more I saw this place IS like a family. There are a few girls getting married in the near future. I asked Audrey how being a bride oneself affects the way these ladies serve their customers:
“Emily, one of our newest Saturday consultants who very recently found her dress with me at Second Summer Bride gave me some great feedback. What she really appreciated about her experience was the personal approach to the appointment. As a whole, our consultants are very down to earth, lighthearted, and honest — all qualities she possesses and shares with her customers now. It’s her goal to showcase the wide variety of gowns we carry in a non-pretentious environment.”
Lazaro gownAudrey, manager of Second Summer, with Kristin, manger of Blush Bridal celebrating their expansion.So, I thought it’d be fun for the girls to try on dresses themselves. Each girl picked her own style–Natalie was drooling over this Coco by Hayley Paige gown and Audrey added a crystal belt from their many selections.
Um, anyone else think Natalie bears striking resemblance to Idina Menzel???
(Below, L-R) Coco by Hayley Paige, Kiki by Hayley Paige, and Alvina Valenta(Below) Kiki by Hayley Paige
(Below) Natalie’s gown, Coco by Hayley Paige. Audrey’s gown, Jim Hjelm 8155.
So what does the expansion of Second Summer mean for brides in south/central Texas?
“Prior to the expansion, our store had a highly edited selection of about 150 dresses at a time. With the expansion, we are able to now offer more variety (both in gown style and pricing) as we can house 300+ dresses! Our collection of bridal sashes, veils, and accessories has nearly double as well. The majority of our gowns are on consignment through other boutiques from all over Texas. Specific designers such as Kelly Faetanini & Matthew Christopher send their overstock or discontinued dresses straight to Second Summer. This gives brides the opportunity to find a fabulous designer dress at a fraction of the original price! Along with Kelly and Matthew, a few of our favorite designers are Alvina Valenta, Martina Liana, Hayley Paige, BHLDN, Lazaro, and Stephen Yearick.
Second Summer is a consignment shop which means that our inventory is given to us by former brides (about 2% of our stock), high end boutiques, or designers. Think of it as an art gallery — Second Summer is a beautiful place to display gowns but they are all available off-the-rack. The basic difference between our store and a full service salon is that our dresses are one-of-a-kind. When you visit Second Summer, the dress you try on is the same exact one you would wear on your big day! Our sister salon, Blush, is the perfect compliment to Second Summer in that every dress is available to be ordered in your particular size.
A bride’s experience at Second Summer is personal and patient. We take time to listen, learn what styles look best on you, and find something beautiful that flatters your body type. We go above and beyond to envision your dream wedding and make it a reality!”
Second Summer Bride: 1308 W Anderson Ln Austin, TX. Open T-F 11A-5P. Fri and Sat 10A-6P by appointment only
Blush Bridal Lounge: 1815 W 35th St Austin, TX. Open T-S 10A-6P, Saturdays by appointment only