Let’s face it—picking out and purchasing a bridesmaid dress doesn’t often top your list of favorite bridesmaid duties. Prices can be sky high and no matter how many times we say we’ll wear them again, we rarely do. Enter Style the Aisle, a genius bridesmaid dress rental company stocking some of the top styles from designer bridesmaid lines like Lula Kate and Johanna August. I asked cofounder Erica Gellerman to share a bit of background on how Style the Aisle came to be, which designers are next on her wish list—and what bridesmaid traditions she loves (and can’t stand).
So tell me, how did Style the Aisle begin?
My good friend Meaghan [and now Style the Aisle cofounder] was married two years before I was and during planning I asked her for a lot of advice. After my wedding, we started talking about what the most frustrating part of the wedding process was and I said that for me it was picking the bridesmaid dresses. That really struck a chord with her and we started to brainstorm what would have made finding the right dresses easier. With that, we came up with the idea for Style the Aisle.
How did you choose dresses for your own bridesmaids? Was it difficult to find something that ticked all the boxes?
It was incredibly difficult! That’s really what started the business. When I was planning my wedding, I lived in North Carolina and my bridesmaids were scattered around California, which made trying on dresses together nearly impossible. I also really wanted to keep the dresses affordable while still being gorgeous. I knew they likely would only wear them once, so price was really important to me. I scoured the internet and actually did look for bridesmaid dress rental options, but I didn’t find anything that was quite right. In the end, we chose cocktail dresses that everyone could buy online, but they weren’t the perfect dresses.
Tell me about the process of choosing designers for Style the Aisle. Who is on your list of dream designers to add?
Choosing designers was such a fun process. Meaghan and I already had a list of designers we admired, but we wanted to do thorough research. We bought stacks of magazines and scoured the blogs pulling out any dresses we loved. After that, we made a prioritized list and started reaching out to them one by one. We weren’t sure what to expect, but to our surprise, everyone was really friendly and interested in the idea.
Our next priority is adding on dresses from our current designers. They have such beautiful collections and we really offer such a small taste of their gorgeous dresses. So before adding anyone else we want to make sure we’re doing justice to their collection and brand. After that, we have a pretty short list of designers we want to add, but on the top of the list is Amsale and Jenny Yoo.
What has been the most exciting or rewarding moment of launching Style the Aisle so far?
I would have to say our best moment so far was the moment when our first order came in. It was such an exciting moment to sit back and realize that a perfect stranger had seen what we were doing loved it, and trusted us enough to dress her bridal party. We also get so excited every time we get an email or a photo from a bride after a wedding. It makes us remember exactly why we started this business.
What bridesmaid trend or tradition do you love the most?
It’s not so much one tradition that I love the most, but I love all of the festivities where you can really celebrate your friendships and spend quality time with the amazing ladies in your wedding. These are the people who know you best and who have been with you through all of your highs and lows over the past years. I love celebrating those special friendships as well as celebrating the excitement of your marriage.
Ok, we have to know the flip side…which bridesmaid trend or tradition would you like to see disappear?
All of the drama and headache that goes into bridesmaid dress shopping!
One last question: I see that you’re a Duke fan. I went to Wake Forest undergrad. Can we still be friends? Also, name one thing you miss the most from North Carolina.
I think so…but definitely not in March.
There are so many things I miss about North Carolina, but number one is the BBQ! I also miss the gorgeous trees and picturesque country roads; it’s such a beautiful place.