Retailers We Love: Great Lakes Wedding Gown Specialists
I had the pleasure of meeting Tami of Great Lakes Wedding Gowns Specialists at the New York Bridal Market this past fall. She willingly shared her bridal business experiences and was the first retailer to order the bridal hair accessories collection. Our shared commitment to creating wedding heirlooms for modern brides makes this an exciting new partnership.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to own Great Lakes WGS.
I grew up in the dry cleaning industry and then owned a bridal boutique for 7 years. Great Lakes WGS allows me to use the skills I have learned in those previous businesses by cleaning, pressing, preserving, and restoring gowns, veils, and other special items.
My husband Jeff and I live in West Michigan.We have two sons who are in college. Creativity is important to me, so when I am not working with wedding gowns, you will find me knitting, embroidering, or learning something new. I also love to read and play the piano. Business ownership brings a responsibility to be a blessing to one’s community and to always operate in an honest and ethical manner. We strive to be environmentally responsible, socially conscious, and generous.
What services do you provide brides?
When a bride purchases a wedding gown, veil, or wedding jewelry, she’s purchasing a memory. I want to help her be sure the memory is beautiful, tells her story, and is preserved.
Because we work with brides and their gowns both before and after the wedding, I often see a gown that is treated so carefully before the wedding and then stuffed in a closet or left in a corner with stains and wrinkles after the wedding. We work to educate brides about having their gowns cleaned promptly after the wedding so that it can be preserved or even sold if they wish. I’m a proponent of wedding gown preservation because I have heard so many women who have been married for many years bemoan the fact that they did not save their gowns or properly store them.
My team has worked with so many precious brides who are lucky enough to have their mom’s or grandma’s gowns and want to wear them on their own wedding day. Some of these gowns were properly preserved and stored, which leaves us so many options to restyle the gown or have the modern bride wear it just as it is. Sometimes we have a vintage gown that was not cared for in a good way. Our restoration process can still bring this gown to a wearable condition; and that means so much to a bride who has her heart set on wearing a family gown or veil!
You carry a variety of accessories, what makes you choose the brands you partner with?
We enjoy partnering with other bridal businesses that have the same values we do of honoring family stories, the environment, and being generous. We look for these hallmarks in our veil and jewelry suppliers as well as in vendors we partner with for bridal shows and events.
Tell us about your upcoming event.
Our upcoming event is A Modern Wedding Event on March 23. A fresh, intimate approach to the traditional bridal show for the modern bride and groom, our Wedding Event features Pop Up Shops, Inspiration Sessions, and a fun reception area where guests can meet with Wedding Experts, sample bites from our food experts, and both curate your day and cultivate your life! Great Lakes WGS will also be hosting an Accessories Trunk Show featuring Carrie Whelan Designs!
I’m so excited to be a part of the upcoming Modern Wedding Event. I couldn’t agree more with Tami that a bride is purchasing a memory when she buys her gown and wedding accessories. I look forward to working with brides from Great Lakes WGS; creating their new wedding heirlooms in the form of handcrafted jewelry and bridal hair accessories.
If you’re a bride-to-be in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area, you can find out more about this event here.