HELENA — Tens of thousands of couples getting married this spring are making changes to their nuptials, according to theknot.com.
For some, that means postponing to safer dates. For other couples, it means going with a "socially distanced” ceremony or other backup plan.
But no matter what option a couple chooses, changes can also impact wedding vendors.
One bridal shop owner in Helena is adjusting her business as needed to help brides during a potentially stressful time.
"Montana brides are wonderful,” said Linda Campbell, who owns Linda’s Bridal Images & Mr. Tux. “I always say, they're the best brides in the world. They're down to earth, more calm.”
According to Campbell, her vendors are shut down right now but still shipping out dresses.
One person typically works in each warehouse, and they ship gowns to Campbell’s home, all to make sure no brides go without their dream dress.
"I'm getting phone calls, you know, just calling, is there something I should be worried about?” she said. "And we check their ship dates, and we let them know when their dresses come in, and we work through alternations. We try to help them understand, it will all be fine, and you'll have your dress when you need to have your dress."
Linda’s Bridal Images is also using new and creative methods to help brides choose dresses while COVID-19-induced social distancing prevents groups from coming into the shop.
“The first thing we do is try very hard not to say the ‘C word,’ as we call it,” Campbell said. “This is not about that. This is about their wedding."
She's offering virtual bridal appointments, where people can take dresses home to try on.
Shannon Mariegard was the first bride to use that option to find her dress. She and her fiancé Andrew are planning a wedding for early September.
“Even in the middle of all this weirdness, I had just the most at-home, with my mom and my sisters, dress try-on experience,” Mariegard said. “We all got to go, ‘Yeah, that's the one.’”
“They had a blast,” Campbell said. “If they need me, they call me. And I’ll walk them through some things, but they just had a blast with the dresses, and then they came back and she bought a dress.”
Campbell said wedding venues will more likely feel the economic impacts, since many women will still buy a dress, whether they postpone their wedding or get married in their backyard.
But she expects a happy ending for the bridal industry.
“We’ll probably have way more weddings in the fall and winter,” Campbell said. “I see it rebounding.”
Linda’s advice to brides: try to keep your wedding about the people, go with the flow, and keep celebrating.
“My heart goes out to these girls,” she said. "I know how difficult it is to say, keep celebrating, keep having a good time when so much is going around them. I’m just hoping we’re going to be able to take some of the pressure off of them and let them know it’s going to be okay. We’ll all get through it.”
You can reach the bridal shop at 406-442-4982.