Choosing your wedding dress could be the best aspect or the scariest part of planning your wedding. Luckily, Isabel O’Neil can assist in either side of the spectrum you may fall in. With gorgeous and detailed dress options lining the store, it’s impossible not to have a wonderful time choosing the perfect dress! We asked MaryIsabel Rooney, the owner and buyer at Isabel O’Neil Bridal Collection, about her South Tampa boutique and advice for when you’re looking for the dress.
What makes you different or unique from other bridal shops in the Tampa area?
We offer a truly personalized shopping experience for the bride and her party by being open by appointment only but also by tailoring each appointment to the bride and her interests. The boutique carries an exclusive assortment of couture gowns, veils and accessories. It is the only one in the bay area featuring wedding gown designs by Romona Keveza, Ines Di Santo, BLISS Monique Lhuillier, Alyne, and soon-to-come Kenneth Pool.
How do your appointments work?
We provide an intimate bridal experience for each bride-to-be by scheduling private appointments. During these appointments, we take the time to get to know the bride, her style, and her vision for her wedding day in order to help the bride select the appropriate gowns to try on. We also offer our suggestions on other gowns that the bride may not have considered, as well as accessory and bridal party styling. We like to make everyone invited to the appointment feel comfortable and serve champagne to celebrate the occasion!
What is the general price range of your gowns?
The price range varies from $1,500 to $10,000 based on the style of gown but the majority of the gowns in the showroom are between $2,000 to $5,000.
How do you go about picking what designers to have in store?
We are very particular in choosing designer lines to offer at our boutique. They have to provide a certain level of quality and fit as well as beautiful design. All of our gowns are constructed of the finest fabrics with the majority of the gowns in the store made of European silks and laces. About 90% of our dresses are also made in North America and all of the gowns can be customized as they are made-to-order.
How do you predict what will sell or what will be in style?
We take notes from every appointment and every conversation with our brides on what they initially envisioned, pictures that they bring in, as well as what styles have continually sold the best in the store. We continually tweak our buying strategy at every market with the information we gather from our brides. We also share this information with our designers when they request feedback on what our brides are asking for.
How do you go about choosing a dress for someone who has no idea what they’re looking for?
We begin to talk to them about their personal style as well as what the theme or feel of the wedding will be. We can start the appointment with trying on several different silhouettes and once she has chosen what she feels the best in we can begin to fine tune the fabrics and embellishments they like best.
How early should someone look for their wedding dress?
The ideal time to shop for a dress is between 9 months to a year prior to your wedding. Some gowns may take up to 6 months to produce so it is important to order your gowns at the 9-month mark to ensure that it will arrive in time to begin alterations, order additional accessories, etc.
What is Bridal Fashion Week like for Isabel O’Neil?
Bridal Fashion Week is amazing! We go to New York twice a year to personally select each gown that will be offered in our showroom. It is important to see the gowns in person to see the fit and feel the fabrics. We have back-to-back appointments with our designers as well as runway shows and new designers to meet as well. It can be overwhelming but so worth it!
If you could give one piece of advice for a bride shopping for her wedding dress, what would it be?
Definitely be open to trying on a suggestion from the bridal stylist, sometimes gowns look so much better on you then on the hanger and you never know when you may surprise yourself by falling in love with a gown that was not necessarily what you thought you were going to buy!
Oh So Classy EVENTS loves the options and the personal touch that Isabel O’Neil gives to their brides. You can keep up with Isabel O’Neil on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
To insure an intimate and personalized bridal experience for each bride-to-be, bridal consultations are by appointment only. To make an appointment or discuss your wedding dress needs, you can e-mail Isabel O’Neil at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 813.251.1749. You can also visit them ON their website!
Photography: Pezz Photo