Satin versus taffeta, sheath versus mermaid, sweetheart versus keyhole. To most people, these words are foreign, but to those in the bridal industry, these terms are everyday vocabulary. Almost every little girl has dreamed of her wedding day: dressing like a princess and walking down the aisle to marry the man of her dreams. But every princess needs a fairy godmother, and many brides have found one in Nicole Moore, a bridal consultant and manager at Bridal Reflections in Massapequa.
Moore, 27, has been working at Bridal Reflections for the past 10 years. When her mother told her to get a job in high school, she didn’t want just any job.
“My cousin who worked here told me they were hiring for stock work. I was young and it fit my school schedule,” said Moore. “I think I’ve had the most unique job out of all my friends. It is glamorous, but it requires a lot of work.”
Moore cleaned the showroom, pulled dresses for appointments, helped in fittings and eventually worked in bridesmaids, evening wear and then bridal.
“I love being around the dresses and I love the positive energy here, so I stayed with it and never had any reason to leave,” she said. “This is the first job I’ve ever had and I’m not leaving until my daughter gets married…she’s only three and a little bit of a tomboy. It’s funny, I work in gowns and she loves Spiderman.”
Moore is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to dresses. She knows where each dress is made, the designer, material and what season it is from. She even knows the model numbers, where dresses are located in the salon and doesn’t need a picture to know which gown you are talking about, something she learned while straightening dresses on mannequins.
“I got my associate’s degree at Nassau Community College and never went to FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) because I felt my place was here. This has been such a learning experience,” said Moore, who started managing a few years ago.
Moore’s manager, RoseLynn Fiumara, is the general manager at Bridal Reflections and has been with the family business since she was in eighth grade.
“I grew up in this business and don’t see it as a job,” said Fiumara of Bridal Reflections, which opened in Massapequa in 1972 and recently underwent a renovation. “You’re dealing with a lot of emotions and a day that many girls have been thinking about since they were younger. You’re only as good as your staff and we have the best here.”
As for Moore, she was always artsy and creative, which is a huge plus when brides come in asking for custom gowns and a sketch to see the vision.
“If I have a blank piece of paper in front of me, I’m in love,” she said.
Moore’s creative talents also extend to putting together window displays, working with marketing and attending runway shows and bridal showcases, where she helps to select which dresses the salon will carry for the new season.
As for a walk through of her day, Moore said she has an idea of her schedule a day ahead of time.
“We are by appointment only and I’m usually in every one. We take walk-ins because I don’t like to turn people away,” she said. “If a bride asks for a particular gown we have it pulled and ready for her 90 minute appointment. Usually we have spoken to the bride beforehand and have found out about her style and a price point she would like us to respect.”
Moore also sets up the seating area for the bride’s guests with enough chairs, as well as equips the dressing room with shoes and pins for fitting the dress. Armed with a pin cushion wristlet and measuring tape necklace, Moore is ready to go.
“I focus on what she’s saying but I’m also looking at her outfit, how she’s wearing her hair, how she’s talking to me, because then I’ll know a little more about her style,” said Moore, who also keeps in mind a bride’s height, which can require more fabric for extra length and add to a bride’s budget.
Bridal Reflections has three locations: Massapequa, Carle Place and Manhattan. Many of the designers’ gowns are available at all three salons, but vary in different price points. For example, dresses in the Massapequa salon are $1,700 to $6,000, whereas Carle Place is from $2,000 to $10,000 and Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue location starts at $3,500 and has no limit.
“We have at least 40 designers that we steadily purchase from and have hundreds of gowns available,” said Moore, adding that popular designers like Ines Di Santo, Eve of Milady and Galia Lahav are designing dresses for today’s modern bride. “We make changes that can include adding a lace sleeve, bigger cup sizes and changing the color of the dress.”
When a dress is discontinued, Moore said that the salon holds onto them for donations. Bridal Reflections is proud to work with Brides Across America and sends dresses to
military brides and other local charities as well.
Moore and the other consultants know the importance of finding the right dress and that the process can be overwhelming with so many gowns to choose from.
“Consultants need to have a level of sensitivity, comfort and understanding,” she said. “Trying on dresses can be stressful for girls. I try to expand our collection to fit every bride.”
In the dressing room, there is a confidentiality that is struck between the bride and her consultant. Moore said that brides will confide in her what they won’t share in front of their family and friends.
“Styles are constantly changing so we try to keep the brides educated when it comes to extra lengths, alterations and embellishments so there are no surprises,” said Moore, who stressed that budget, size and height are the three biggest factors to take into consideration. “Order your dress nine months before your wedding, including time for shipping and alterations and try to make an appointment yourself.”
Towards the end of an appointment, if a bride says yes to the dress, Moore cries…all the time.
“My consultants laugh at me, but you don’t know someone’s situation. It’s very tough when a bride doesn’t have her mother, sister or grandmother,” said Moore, once again recalling a special bride whose story always stays with her. “I remember this one bride who bought her dress here and wanted to come in on a busy Saturday to show her grandmother. I let her come and someone ended up canceling an appointment.”
Moore said the bride was so sweet and appreciative that she made everything perfect: she pinned the dress nicely and gave her a veil and bouquet.
“The bride later told me that her grandmother was going blind so she wouldn’t get to see her on her wedding day. This was the last time she was going see her granddaughter in her wedding dress,” said Moore, crying. “Thank God I let her come in. This is why I don’t turn anyone away.”
After a decade in the bridal industry, Moore said that she appreciates marriage so much more. For her own wedding day, she would choose a classic and simple gown, having been around so many different dresses, she doesn’t feel like she’s missing out.
At the end of the day, Moore’s advice to brides is to keep stress at a minimum, because it is a fun experience and one she is happy to help with.
“I get to be a part of one of the most special days in a person’s life,” said Moore. “Nothing is better than that.”
Bridal Reflections in Massapequa is located at 3 Broadway, Massapequa. For more information, call 516-795-2222 or visit www.bridalreflections.com/massapequa .