Park Avenue Bridals in Verona has held the title, awarded by New Jersey Monthly, since 2010. Last year the bridal salon also won Best of Essex County in Suburban Essex magazine’s readers’ choice awards.
“We were thrilled,” owner Andrea Burggraf recently said of the honors. “It’s nice to be recognized,” she acknowledged, “that you’ve done your job right.”
Burggraf, who runs the third-generation family business with her husband Gary, said she and her staff recognize the significance of the event in a woman’s life.
“It’s our mission to make the girls feel special,” said Burggraf. “It the most important time of their lives.”
To that end Burggraf said her store is staffed with experienced and knowledgeable bridal consultants who are committed to helping the bride find just the right dress.
“Nine out of ten times the consultant will pick the dress,” Burggraf emphasized. “They listen. They know what they are doing. They have experience, and they enjoy it.”
Burggraf noted often the consultants know the dress the bride will choose before the bride even knows. Brides may hesitate or decline a gown suggested by a consultant at first, but Burggraf said her wise consultants find a way to persuade clients to try a dress they originally dismissed.
“Of course that dress in the end is the dress they wind up picking,” she said.
But who can blame the brides? Walking into a bridal salon overflowing with white silk, satin, tulle and lace to select the perfect dress for the singular most important occasion of their lives can be, in a word, overwhelming. Park Avenue Bridals carries more than 700 different styles for brides to choose from.
“It’s as if you’re shopping at four different stores because the selection is so big,” Burggraf said. But she noted her store offers a simple solution.
“Here’s a wonderful bridal consultant. You can leave it up to her.” Burggraf stressed, “Our number one goal is customer service.”
Burggraf provides her customers with exceptional service in other ways, too. Throughout the year she holds trunk shows to present clients with designers’ upcoming collections.
“It’s a sneak preview of what’s to come,” said Burggraf. “You’re seeing it before the rest of the world sees it.”
Trunk shows, held weekly during the winter when Burggraf said, “everyone gets engaged,” showcase a designer’s entire new line and provide an opportunity for brides to try on the new collection. During the rest of the year, Burggraf invites a different designer each month, including recently featuring designer Stephen Yearick’s Fall 2012 collection.
“I don’t do middle of the road,” said Yearick, who is known for ornate beadwork and European flair. “I design a beaded ball gown, and it stops traffic.” He added, “I want something to truly make a statement.”
Statements are certain to be made in any one of Yearick’s dresses. Each elaborate design is adorned with opulent beading, soft, flowing feathers or dramatic trumpet bottoms.
So spectacular are his designs that Mariah Carey was named best dressed by People magazine when she wore a Yearick dress at last year’s People’s Choice Awards. Another client of Yearick’s, Ms. America, has donned his glamorous designs as well for the ultimate test of beauty.
These unique opportunities present brides with a chance to meet the designer, receive special discounts and discuss custom arrangements with the designer Burggraf said.
But brides need not attend a trunk show to customize a dress at Burggraf’s salon. The store works with a significant number of custom designers and provides many clients with custom details – altering necklines, sleeves, even trains – to ensure the dress is exactly as the bride envisioned.
“We do anything,” Burggraf explained. “Then you get everything you want.”
Park Avenue Bridals
Pilgrim Shopping Center
341 Pompton Ave.
Verona (973) 239-7111