Maggie Matthews dreamed of designing bridal gowns since she was a little girl.
She now has that and more.
Matthews opened Margaret Ellen Bridal Boutique on Jan. 3 at 30Avenue, becoming the first and only bridal salon in South Walton.
This is an appointment-only bridal boutique carrying couture designer brands of some of the leading New York designers. Designers such as Blue Willow by Anne Barge, Blush by Hayley Paige, Hayley Paige, Liancarlo, Marchesa Notte, Martina Liana, and Nouvelle Amsale.
"We handpick our gowns twice a year at market in New York," said Matthews.
The store stocks sample gowns from which a bride can select the one of her dreams. The bride's custom gown will then be ordered, arriving four to five months later, custom made for her.
"We are able to customize and even combine gowns for a custom fit," she said.
Every bride gets a two-hour appointment and she will be lavished with attention as she will be the only bride in the store. While there, the bride and her family or friends are served sweets, treats and champagne for the ultimate experience.
"We intend to be without the stress of bigger stores," said Matthews.
Matthews knows how important the bridal gown selection experience is as she has been through it.
The Mississippi native traveled to a bridal store in Arkansas to select her gown and did not have a good experience. Her family had to stand while waiting for her to come out to show them each gown. That made an impression on her and she wants her salon to be different, offering a memorable experience for bride and the family.
"Here, the family sits in a living-room setting and enjoys treats while waiting," Matthews said. "We want each bride to feel special at their appointment. This is the most important dress you can buy and that alone warrants a bride to receive the most memorable wedding dress shopping experience by providing impeccable customer service and dedication to the bride."
Prior to each appointment, the Margaret Ellen Bridal consultant will gather information from the bride about her style, vision, price point and other things. This enables the consultant to gather a small selection of gowns for the bride to try on, eliminating the bride being overwhelmed with too many dresses to choose from. Brides may also browse through available gowns.
Accessories are also carried, featuring designers La Gartier and Sara Gabriel.
Plans are to host a trunk show once a month offering each designer the opportunity to showcase their line twice a year.
Store visits are by appointment only and will only host one bride at a time to ensure all needs are met.
"I went into education and taught for six years, but my heart kept coming back to living at the beach and working for myself," said Matthews. "I wanted to bring this experience to the beach. With all the girls getting married here now it was needed. There is not another store in the area like mine."
Margaret Ellen Bridal is located on the second floor at shops of 30Avenue above 30A Olive Oil Company.
The boutique is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.
For more information, visit www.margaretellenbridal.com or on Facebook. For an appointment, call 641-0266.