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Big Rock Little Rooster Breaks the Mold

Melanie McIntyre Melanie McIntyre
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The display windows at Big Rock Little Rooster are brimming with spectacular wedding dresses, but upon entering the airy space at 654 N. High St. it’s immediately obvious that this is not your standard bridal shop.

First, store manager Kristin Cooke greets each visitor warmly and enthusiastically, even encouraging them to touch the gowns on hand. (I’ve visited quite a few bridal shops in my 27 years and I’ve never once been invited to finger the merchandise.)

Second, I haven’t been aware of a bridal shop’s soundtrack prior to my trip to BRLR, where George Strait’s “I Saw God Today” was followed by Ne-Yo’s “Mad.”

Such music choices not only lend the shop a hip aura, but also jibe with its slogan: that BRLR is a store for “cool chicks” who are “a little city, a little country.”

BRLR’s target customer is a young woman –in her late 20s or early thirties− who might visit the store in flip flops and Levi’s, but hits the town in Rock & Republic jeans and Louboutin heels, says Cooke.

“She gets fashion and loves to rock out in today’s style trends, but she’s a down-to-earth, great girl,” she adds.

For additional proof that BRLR is a break from the bridal norm, look no further than its dresses.

The store carries a total of 30 wedding gowns by Christos, Romona Keveza, Amy Michelson, Kenneth Pool and –drumroll, please− Vera Wang. (In fact, BRLR is the only authorized Vera Wang bridal collection boutique in Columbus!)

“No two are alike,” Cooke says. And I have to agree; the dresses are well edited, ranging from frothy, tulle confections to sleek, silk satin ones. Some are tinged with color while others are sparkling white. Embellishments include large bows, sashes, and Swarovski crystals.

Prices start at $2,500.

Twenty bridesmaids’ dresses and four flower girl dresses, all by Vera Wang, also are available at BRLR. However, the store plans to stock other maids vendors beginning next spring.

In addition to dresses, BRLR −which opened August 14− offer veils, tiaras, headbands, jewelry (half of which is made by local artisan Jamie Linscott), books on weddings and style, picture frames, and Maddison Avenue soy candles.

“It’s about fashion and having fun, not the bridal experience,” Cooke says, uttering the last two words in a low, slow manner that made me laugh out loud.

The decision to set up shop in the Short North was obvious to BRLR’s owners, Rebecca Reeder and Scott Osborne, Cooke says. Not only is the neighborhood in the heart of Columbus, its proximity to Rose Bredl Flowers, On Paper, and Jacob Neal Salon makes it “a one-stop shop for brides.”

Despite having been open for just a few weeks, BRLR has already placed “a few orders and more are in the works,” Cooke says. “Buying a dress is something that shouldn’t be rushed. We want our brides to feel comfortable enough to come back two or three times to try again, and know they’ve found the perfect dress for their perfect day!”

Weekend trunk shows, “which are a lot of fun and allow us to bring more styles in for variety” are slated for the fall, Cooke says, starting with Vera Wang this month; Kenneth Pool and Amy Michelson shows will take place in October and November, respectively.

Big Rock Little Rooster’s store hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., though Cooke says brides can make appointments at any time. To do so, call 614-754-8116.

Over the course of my interview with Kristin Cooke, it became clear that she is very knowledgeable about current and future wedding trends. Below are her observations about:

Wedding dresses

  • Knee length is trendy, especially for garden weddings and beach weddings.
  • Colored sashes, colored edging, or full-on colored gowns are gaining popularity.
  • Eco-friendly dresses with “green” elements, like remnant fabrics and vegetable dyes, also are on trend.

Veils

  • Many brides are choosing to wear shorter veils, especially birdcage styles, or forgoing veils entirely.

Bridesmaids’ dresses

  • Deep jewel tones, particularly dark purple, are huge this fall.
  • Softer purples, greens, and roses are popular for spring.
  • Monochromatic color schemes in neutral shades, such as crème and beige, are trendy for the bridal party (as well as the groom and groomsmen) since they look great against green grass, tree lines, and sunsets.

Photos by Cat Meyers.

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