“We go to market in Chicago or Las Vegas. You see all the latest things there and we keep up by seeing what clients are asking for,” Murphy said. “Things don’t change drastically year to year, it’s more subtle.”
In some areas, however, basic needs overrule hot trends. Bill Vistad, owner of A-Z Rental in Mankato, said most of his wedding business is geared toward the unflashy necessities such as tables, chairs, and PA systems.
But he, too, is affected by trends such as more outdoor weddings.
“We rent the portable dance floors and the big tents. The entertainment has moved toward the DJs - we rent the sound systems.”
Bridal gowns still the focus
After the proposal and maybe ring shopping, most brides’ attention turns to the bridal gown, the star of the show come wedding day.
One of the oldest shops around, Sisters Bridal & Tux has been a mainstay in New Ulm for 40 years under different owners and names.
That kind of longevity is rare in the industry. “It’s really a demanding business,” said Murphy, who owns the shop with her sister, Sandy Portner-Quiring. “This is our second home. I think people may just get burned out doing this a long time.”
At the upstart Minnesota Wedding Shop in New Ulm, Draheim thinks the new bridal shop, located inside the New Ulm Event Center, will dovetail well with the center’s venue as a wedding reception site. (The center also hosts a variety of corporate and private events.)
And he’s hoping they can offer a large dress variety and level of service that will set them apart. “We’re aiming to pamper the customers a little more,” with things such as non-alcoholic champagne, a snack bar and a photo area where staff can snap photos of brides and post them to social media.