What's been going on at Church Street Bridal.??

So much has been happening at Church Street Bridal since I last blogged.  I must apologize that as an “oldster”….LOL….I’m not much on the social media blogging explosion that continues to baffle me.  However, I will try to be better about voicing the activities of the bridal shop….and my thoughts here on this blog.

Here are a few things that have happened since you last heard from me .....

Church Street Bridal has…..

**remodeled and decorated the terrace level of our historic building and moved the Bridal Salon into a beautiful elegant space worthy of our wonderful brides

View of New Church Street Bridal Shop.  

View of New Church Street Bridal Shop.

**held a Grand Re-Opening of the Bridal Shop in the new space with much community support….

**participated in several bridal styled shoots including one at the Lynchburg Design House

Nicole Kartowski modeling a beautiful Mark Zunino Gown at Design House.  

Nicole Kartowski modeling a beautiful Mark Zunino Gown at Design House.

**held our Annual Prom Dress Super Sale in the new Prom Shop on the 2nd Floor.

**welcomed new consultants (and sadly lost a few)

**And the list goes on….

In the upcoming weeks…I plan to elaborate on some of these events, with more pictures, details and fun facts about the happenings in this fun filled (sometimes chaotic) rewarding position at the Church Street Bridal Shop.!!

(love, Sheilah)….


Church Street Bridal visits NYC

Every year in June, the ladies of the YWCA pack a bag and head for the Big Apple.  So many of our generous partner/donors are in New York City, so each year we take the opportunity to go up and personally thank these wonderful people for their support throughout the year and hopefully solicit new partners.  This year the ladies who traveled with us were Sabrah Briers and Laurie Croft (Board members), Caroline Hudson (YWCA Executive Director) and myself (Sheilah –Bridal Shop manager).  ***A special thanks inserted here for Sabrah who drives us to and from NYC each year….and navigates the Manhattan traffic to our hotel destination.

Each morning of this working trip starts with a Starbucks drink and time to go over the day’s itinerary.  Then we were off and running….and sometimes it was actually running as we maneuvered the blocks of Manhattan and Brooklyn for 4 days….averaging approximately 14 miles per day.!!


We’re often asked if we bring back dresses when we go, and the answer is no.  The dresses are shipped to us as our car is full of ladies and luggage..!!

The week is spent running from one salon to another to spend time with current friends and potential donors!  We get the chance to drool over the beautiful designs in each salon while catching up with what’s going on in the bridal world.

So a few things worth mentioning….

**Jenny Yoo has a new “shimmer collection”

**RK Bridal moved to the Upper West Side in a beautiful new salon

**L’Fay Bridal and Angelo Lambrou have also moved into a new salon spaces in mid-town

**Kleinfeld was busy as always with a special guest in attendance

**Grand Central Terminal is still crazy busy

**NYC subways are super

**Mark Ingram Atelier is fabulous

**Tia Mazza is one of the most gracious ladies in NYC

**Here Come the Bridesmaids and Faviana joined us as new partner/donors

**Time Square is one of the most colorful places around

As always we were welcomed by all our friends (new and old) in NYC.  There were smiles everywhere and open arms and lots of fun to be had.  The days were long, the heat was hot, the miles were endless, but the benefits of this quick “thank you tour” pay off in the long run through the beautiful gowns, veils and accessories donated by over 20 different salons in NY we visit.

So to everyone who participated and to those who made the trip a success….thank you for all the love and support you give me, the YWCA and Church Street Bridal..!!!

Love, Sheilah

"Do I Need An Appointment" and other questions.??

I thought I’d write a quick blog that will answer a couple frequently asked questions about Church Street Bridal Shop beginning with the Most Asked Question of ALL….

Do you need an appointment to try on dresses.???

Absolutely Not..!!  During our business hours we welcome ALL walk-ins.  That doesn’t mean you won’t get first class service, it just means you can come at your leisure and know that you will feel just as important as everyone else.  You will be able to look through the racks full of gowns without feeling rushed.  If you are in need of a “special” appointment due to time constraints, we will try to accommodate your needs by bringing in a consultant to help you in off hours.

What are your hours.???

Church Street Bridal is open Tuesday-Friday, 3-6pm and Saturday, 10-4pm.

Are your dresses new or used.???

All of our gowns are new floor models / samples.  Although we have a few that may have a little bit of ‘love’ on them from trying on….most all gowns are in very good condition and they are priced with any defects taken into consideration.  With our prices…..you will still find a gown that is worth $1000’s…..but only pay a few hundred. 

How often do you receive new shipments of gowns.???

VERY often.  We never know when they’ll show up, but depending on the time of year, we can receive several shipments per month.  Sometimes they contain dozens of gowns….sometimes only a few.  But don’t worry…you won’t be disappointed with our selection.

Our Brides Come from Near and Far..!!

Thanks to social media and referrals from former customers…..we’re able to get our word out to brides across the globe.  Since coming to the YWCA Church Street Bridal Shop, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, dressing and celebrating with young ladies from all over the world.  Yes….all over the world…so we can boast about our reputation as a world class bridal shop..!!  Okay, maybe I’m embellishing a bit….but I’m very proud of how far we’ve come and how far brides are willing to come, just to buy a dress from us….because they want a couture gown at low price and they believe in our mission to help others. 

Brides have come to us from a few blocks away, a few cities away, a few states away, a few time zones away, and even a few countries/continents away…!!  Yes, I said continents.

Last week we had a bride visit us from Jordan….(yes, the country)…making her the one who came the furthest and shop at Church Street Bridal..!!  We’ve also shipped gowns to brides across the Atlantic, and into Switzerland.

Why do our brides come so far..??  Because they’ve heard about us via online web sites, or from trusted friends or family members who urge them to visit.

So…thank you to everyone who may travel across town or across country to shop for such a special occasion.  It’s definitely worth the drive..!!

(love, Sheilah)

What is a BLOG (to me)..!!

Here I am questioning myself about blogging..!!  When I was recently asked how often I blogged...I replied..."as often as I feel I have a blog worthy idea."  So I asked the young ladies who work with me...."What is blogging all about.??"  The comments I received ranged from a particular subject matter to telling you just how I'm feeling about a particular subject.  We all hear about and read "blogs" from individuals giving their point of view on a particular subject...so I thought I'd try the same.  If you get bored with my prose or have a comment about it....I welcome your thoughts and consideration..!!

Every day I unlock the doors to our shops, straighten our racks, and open our Facebook page to answer your questions and hopefully add to your interests.  There are times I ponder what you may be interested in seeing.  Do you want to see New Gowns we've received.?  Would you prefer to see what sales we may have in the future.??  WHAT do you want to see on our Facebook or Web page.??

I'm not a teenager .... but I'm not a Senior Citizen....so I hope to make this journey fun for both of us.!! When you come into our shop....we hope to make your experience one that's memorable, successful and fun..  You may or may not find your perfect dress at our shops....but either way you'll be glad you stopped into Church Street Bridal along your wedding "Super Hghway"..>!!

So....have I answered the question of "what is a Blog"..???  Probably not....but what I've done is open the door for me to offer my response to that question.  A Blog (to me)....is simply an opinion, a platform for sharing my opinions.....silly or not....about what happens at Church Street Bridal...!!   We sell fabulous couture gowns to our brides...and the proceeds benefit the victims we are responsible for.

With each dress that comes through our doors.....we have the opportunity to make a bridal dream come true.....and with the proceeds of each dress that goes back out of our doors we have the opportunity to take away the nightmare of a victim in our programs......!!!

So...in this girls opinion.....have I offered a "blog" worthy post...??  Maybe...!!  But either way.....Thanks for listening and watch for future fun posts as I get my feet wet in the "blogging world".!!  Have a super day and we'll see you on Church Street....Inside the YWCA building.!!  (love, Sheilah)....






Bittersweet Memories

The young ladies who work so diligently in our bridal shop come and go.....meaning they are usually college students who are seeking part-time employment while finishing their studies.  This post is in honor of those who have recently graduated and moved on with the next chapter of their lives.

Jenni Dickman - Bridal and Formal Consultant.....and Model for Church Street Bridal..!!  

Jenni Dickman - Bridal and Formal Consultant.....and Model for Church Street Bridal..!!

Our sweet Jenni was very instrumental in helping model gowns and organize/set up our formal shop.  She left Church Street Bridal a couple years ago after marrying her guy Robbie and moved to North Dakota as an Air Force wife.  She has since then returned to VA and the happy couple recently purchased their first new home together.  From time to time she returns to fill in when needed.  We miss her and wish her much luck.

Jordan came to us as an intern from the FACS department at Liberty University.  She quickly became an invaluable asset and was hired as a consultant.  After graduating with a degree in Fashion Merchandising she moved on to become a bridal shop manager with one of our fabulous donors.  Demetrios Bridal in Northern VA gained what we lost when she moved North.  We are proud to have had her on our team.  Good Luck Jordan…!!! 

Alyse Reasor - Bridal and Formal Consultant

Alyse Reasor - Bridal and Formal Consultant

Since leaving Church Street Bridal, Alyse has been traveling abroad on a missions excursion for Liberty University.  As part of the Greater European Missions organization, she has been working in Romania for these past few months and as of our last contact….she was headed for London.  She plans to return to the states in August and perhaps even return to Church Street Bridal.  We are so proud of all her accomplishments and look forward to her safe return to us.  Be safe Alyse..!!

Kelsey Foley - Bridal and Formal Consultant - Model for Bridal Gowns

Kelsey Foley - Bridal and Formal Consultant - Model for Bridal Gowns

Kelsey came to Church Street Bridal as a shy young lady from the FACS Department of Liberty University.  However, once she found her niche here, the shyness went away and she became a premier consultant.  As a super organized person, she quickly took on responsibilities of keeping the shop clean, organized and was diligent in modeling our gowns that we photograph for Facebook.   She recently graduated from LU and headed to New York City for interviews with several high end salons.  At last contact, she had been offered two positions with salons in the big city.  We can’t wait to see where she lands.  Good luck Kelsey….we miss you..!!

Ally Murray - (photo taken while filming episode of "the Price is Right")   Bridal and Formal Consultant - Model for Bridal Gowns  

Ally Murray - (photo taken while filming episode of "the Price is Right")

Bridal and Formal Consultant - Model for Bridal Gowns

Ally is probably going to give me a hard time for using the picture I did…..however this is how I remember her.  Happy, smiling and a bit nutty.!!  There was rarely a day she came in that she wasn’t in a good mood and always made our brides feel the same.  She was also a recent graduate of LU with a degree in Criminal Justice and has since left Lynchburg and returned to Pennsylvania to begin the next chapter in her life.  Good luck my sweet girl…..your sweet smile is missed everyday.!!


Today is "DENIM DAY"

Have you ever heard of "Denim Day"..???  Well let me tell you about it.

In 1992, an 18 year-old was raped on the side of the road by her 45 year-old driving instructor. She pressed charges and won her case. The instructor appealed, ...and in 1998, the Italian High Court overturned the conviction. A member of the High Court declared that since the victim wore very tight jeans, the Instructor could not have removed them himself; therefore, the victim must have willingly participated. The next day, women of the Italian Parliament wore jeans in protest and as news of the decision spread, so did the protest.
Today, we use the history of this protest to spread awareness as part of a movement to empower all victims of sexual violence, male and female

Our Denim Day Billboard on Highway 29 in Lynchburg.!!   

Our Denim Day Billboard on Highway 29 in Lynchburg.!!


So, now that you know about Denim Day....we ask you to share this story and help us raise awareness about this terrible offense against those who have been victims of such a heinous crime.  Put on your denim today and wear it knowing that you are aware of this cause and support our mission.  Tell others about us and let them know we're here if they need us.  And if you need the support of our SARP team (Sexual Assault Response Program)....don't hesitate to call the confidential hotline at 888-947-7273....HELP IS OUT THERE....just CALL and ask for it.!

Church Street Bridal exists for this purpose (and others).  We are here because of the love and generosity of our caring donors and beautiful brides.  We look forward to seeing you here on Church Street.!!

Have a Super Day....and I'll see you soon.!!

Love, Sheilah


Rachel and Nathan Got Married..!!!

Ceremony program.jpg

Last Friday, (March 6) our sweet Rachel married Nathan, the man of her dreams at the Old Pate Chapel on Thomas Road.  She came to us in early 2014 as a bride-to-be to find her dream wedding dress and brought Nathan with her.  Of course we asked him to “wait outside” so he wouldn’t see the designs she was trying on.  It seemed only a few minutes before Rachel was saying “Yes” to her fabulous dress.!! 

Rachel was so impressed with our mission she came back in the spring as a volunteer and was quickly adopted as one of our premier consultants.  Rachel consulted with numerous brides making them feel as special as she had when she found hers.   We all fell in love with her and their love story and enjoyed many days of laughter.   I adopted her as another of my CSB daughters as she called me “Mom” when I offered unsolicited advice.   Nothing made me smile more than her asking me…”mom what should I do about…….”..!!!

As time went on, Rachel got busy with wedding planning.  She had to find a church/venue, pick out colors, order bridesmaids dresses, choose her flower arrangements, decide on a menu for the reception, have alterations on bridal gown, find a photographer and the list goes on.   There came a day when I asked if she were having “bridal portraits” taken….She had not added that to her list.  

So I got busy…..I was on a mission to make sure Rachel had a day all her own….in full bridal glory… without the expense.   There was one photographer I knew I could call who would probably be willing to donate a photo session to the YWCA.   Thomasina Walters of ElvisDog Productions jumped on board and even got makeup artist Desiree Baughman to volunteer her time for the bridal styled shoot in our historic downtown building on Valentine’s Day. See a sample of the gorgeous bridal portraits in the slideshow below.

Last week, I was lucky enough to attend the wedding.  It was a beautiful service that began with worship through song.  As I watched Rachel walk down the aisle on her father’s arm….singing “Amazing Grace”…..I got a little misty.  That silly bride-to-be I had met over a year earlier was getting married.   Such a bittersweet moment in time……I had been a part of this beautiful journey…..and am now witnessing a union blessed by God…..I couldn’t be happier….. 

Love, Sheilah

Congratulations to Rachel and Nathan Cantu from everyone at Church Street Bridal.....

Thanks to:  Thomasina Walters of ElvisDog Productions – Bridal Portraits

                  Desiree Baughman – Bridal Portrait Makeup Artist

                  Ally Murray – Bridal Portrait Hair Stylist

                  AnnaMarie Barksdale – Bouquet for Bridal Portrait

                  Facebook - Wedding Ceremony Photos

What's been happening at Church Street Bridal

Since this is my first blog post on our new website and my first blog “Ever”, I felt a good start would be to recap a few things that have happened at Church Street Bridal in the last year.

In April of 2014 we celebrated 10 years in the bridal shop.  What started as a small fundraiser has grown into a thriving service to our community and to those we serve.  10 years ago, an idea was formed and with the dedication of the YWCA and its staff we have dressed hundreds of brides throughout the years and in doing so, were able to care for thousands of domestic violence and sexual assault victims through the proceeds of our sales. 


Today we have hundreds of beautiful couture wedding gowns all donated by our caring and generous donors.  Salons such as Kleinfeld Bridal (“Say Yes to the Dress”), RK Bridal, Bridal Reflections and Jenny Yoo (to name a few) in NYC, Becky’s Bridals in Buena Vista, Bridal Elegance in Richmond and more, ship gorgeous gowns to our shop because of their passion for our mission. 


We were so excited to have added 3 new dressing rooms in the Fall in order to accommodate the numerous brides that visit our shop.  Since we only had 2 dressing rooms, we had outgrown the space and needed to add more. 


A couple more new additions this year include our new Facebook “Like” page and this new Website.  Unfortunately, our old Facebook “Profile” had gained such a large following that Facebook voided it and forced us to convert to a “Page”.  During the conversion, all the information, posts, photos and etc were lost in cyberspace.   But, we are working to get the word out on our new page…Go to Church Street Bridal on Facebook and “Like” us..!!! 


I’m not sure if this blog post relays what I wanted to….but I promise to get better with all this as I find my “creative” side..!!