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First Look: Vow’d courts brides-to-be with new stylish, fun shopping experience

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A company that aims to redefine wedding dress shopping has debuted a new store design that celebrates brides-to-be.

Vow’d launched in 2020 with a goal to offer “beautifully crafted” wedding dresses at an “honest” price, along with an “uncomplicated and fun” shopping experience. The dress assortment features exclusive bridal and bridesmaid designs, in sizes 0 to 24, and the company promises that orders arrive in days as opposed to months. 

Customers can walk in or book an appointment. The retailer also offers virtual appointments and try-at-home options.

The new Vow’d store, at Easton Town Center in Columbus, Ohio, is the company’s ninth brick-and-mortar location to date. It puts the focus on the experience — and celebration — of shopping in-person for wedding dresses, with a stylish design that combines custom touches with the brand’s signature hospitality and expert stylists.  Customers can even enjoy a glass of bubbly on the house. 

Designed by Chute Gerdeman, the 4,500-sq.-ft. space is warm and inviting, with bespoke sofas, a confetti chandelier and whimsical petal lights. (Vow’d will soon open its tenth location, a 10,000-sq.-ft.-plus flagship — also designed by Chute Gerdeman — in Denver.)

The new Columbus store encourages brides to support one another, cultivating a bridal community inside the shop that’s enhanced by communal viewing spaces, with generously sized mirrors.

The Vow’d brand comes to life in every interaction throughout the space, starting with the attention-getting exterior.  Details of flower petals, hearts and rings decorate the façade, enveloping the street in a warm pink glow at night.

The pastel-hued interior features accents that include dressing rooms gilded with hearts and confetti and walls adorned with vintage wedding photographs.

The large showroom offers space for every style  of wedding shopping – from public to private, or solo shoppers to large groups. Public and private fitting spaces are available to accommodate brides who bring friends and family as well as those who prefer a personal experience.

Vow’D and Chute Gerdeman designed a variety of key in-store moments for every shopper’s journey.

Personal style boards and inspiration are pinned in the dressing room upon arrival, showing that the bride is heard and in the right place.

Other moments such as the ribbon tying and confetti toss when she finds the right dress help to inspire memories. The celebration and feeling of joy even extends to the restrooms, with a ceiling and wall covered in streamers.

The modular furniture, all custom-designed, allows the option to shift around displays, sets, or simply make space for a larger party. Custom merchandising moments introduce accessories and shoppable moments throughout the store as a natural part of customers’ journey to find the perfect dress.

Rebekuh Browning, Vow’d director of brand marketing, noted that when people talked about bridal shopping, it always had an awkward and bad connotation.

“You wonder why people even go to these bridal shops,” she said. “We are working to destigmatize it and let people know it doesn’t have to be stressful. It is a huge purchase, and we understand that. It should feel that much more special. Our store teams just want to make women feel beautiful, and that’s really cool to see.”

The increased emphasis by Vow’s on the physical store experience as opposed to e-commerce reflects its customers' interests.

“We aren’t leaving digital—it’s more like the gateway to our (in-person) experience,” said Nicole Sewall, senior VP. “We can be transparent about our offerings and use the website more like a showroom.”

Sewall explained there has been a shift in how retailer uses e-commerce. While the Vow’d website is still a purchasing channel, its main focus is to drive appointments and showcase store locations and assortment.

“For us, our digital spend is geared toward store locations, not e-commerce transactions and product sales,” she said. “The business we want to create is hospitality rich. We don’t want to deter e-commerce, but we can’t give her our best in that experience. It feels impersonal for what is a very personal purchase.”

Vow’d is part of the Stand Out For Good portfolio, whose other retail banners include Altar'd State, Arula and Tullabee.

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