Gilded Social took first place in the Bridesmaid Gowns category.
At Gilded Social, the focus is on everyone in the wedding party but the bride. The Downtown shop specializes in hosting bridal party groups who come in together to shop for bridesmaid dresses.
“It’s almost become an additional event that you have in the planning of your wedding,” says owner Tanya Hartman. “We’re trying to give you one more excuse to get all your friends together. We provide an opportunity for a really great event and experience for the people you are asking to celebrate your wedding with you.”
Gilded Social stocks not only bridesmaid dresses, but also dresses for mothers of the bride and flower girls, as well as options for rehearsal dinners, graduation and other social occasions.
Customers appreciate the shop’s extensive sample sale collection, offering designer dresses at 50 to 75 percent off the resale price. Sample dresses are especially popular for mix-and-match bridal parties or single bridesmaids.
Hartman had been working in political fundraising for about 15 years when she purchased the shop from La Jeune Mariee in 2018. Part of the reason she’s so passionate about the bridesmaid dress shopping process is because when she got married, she purchased bridesmaid dresses online without seeing them first, and “it’s one of the top 10 regrets I have.”
While a wedding, of course, tends to focus on the relationship between the couple being married, Hartman loves that her shop gets to celebrate everyone else who’s participating in the union. The wedding party, she says, “is really about your life—where you’ve been, where you’re going and who’s going with you.”
So, while a lot of wedding vendors focus on love, Gilded Social focuses on friendship.
“More than anything, I really believe that asking somebody to be a bridesmaid is an incredible honor,” Hartman says. “It’s one of the most important things to ask a friend, relative, sister.”
65 E. Gay St., Second Floor, Columbus