La Jeune Mariee tied for first place in the Gowns, New category.

“I have loved bridal dresses ever since I was a little kid,” says Lindsay Fork, owner of La Jeune Mariee, which tied for first in the new wedding gowns category. “My mom would take me to the library, and I would go over to the periodical section and look at Brides magazine. She would let me check them out and look at the dresses.”

Fast-forward to college, where Fork found herself drawn not to the summer internship she’d recently landed in Cincinnati, but to a sales position posted at a nearby bridal shop.

“It probably wasn’t my most professional moment, but at 21, I gave up a job at the horticultural society to go sell wedding dresses,” she says.

Fork continued to work at the shop during her last couple years at Xavier University and then, two years after she returned to Columbus in 2006, she learned of a Worthington bridal boutique that was for sale.

“I knew about La Jeune Mariee because my sister had gotten married and we bought our bridesmaids’ dresses there,” she says. “My parents own a retail-type business in the Toledo area, so I’ve been around that my whole life, and they knew how much I loved bridal and how successful I’d been selling at the bridal shop in my early 20s. They helped me negotiate the sale.”

From there, it was full speed ahead. During the next few years, the shop outgrew its 800-square-foot space and moved to a 4,000-square-foot Downtown location, sold its bridesmaid division (now known as Gilded Social, another Best of Columbus Weddings winner), more than doubled the number of designers it carries, and started a separate store to sell the shop’s designer samples (Luxe Redux Bridal, also a Best of Columbus Weddings winner).

The growth, which includes drawing brides from throughout Ohio and five surrounding states, has largely been through word of mouth.

“Our referral business is stronger than anything we could do from a marketing standpoint,” Fork says. “That just speaks volumes. I’m very grateful for that.”

La Jeune Mariee
139 E. Main St., Columbus