Boutique Buzz

Sharon “Sher” Stemler.

Sher’s Bridal Turns 46

By Libby Langlois

Photo by Andrea Hutchinson

Sher’s Bridal, owned by Sharon “Sher” Stumler, is celebrating 46 years in business this year in Louisville. The bridal store owner and her daughter, Heather Stumler, recently held an event at the storefront, 309 N. Evergreen Road, to celebrate the many brides that the two have worked with over the last 46 years.

“When this business started, I had no idea that we’d be (here) this long,” said Sher. “I have been able to dress generations of brides and am so thankful for all of the wonderful families that have continued to allow us to be a part of their big day. I’m excited to be able to take the time to visit with the women, men and families that have helped make this all possible.”

Christmas Eve of 1973 was the day that Sher began her well-known local business that is now Sher’s Bridal. The wedding industry, known for its small size, was nothing like we know it to be now. In 1973, there were around 10 to 12 bridal lines to choose from, and no one even thought of buying a wedding dress locally. But when Sher’s opened, it inspired a boom in the bridal industry at the local level. 

The industry took off in the 1950s after men started coming home from the war and couples had the time to thoroughly plan their big days. There were no coordinators at the time, so the bride’s mother typically took on the role of wedding planner. Mothers were in charge of going to the bridal fittings, booking the venue, hiring caterers and everything that goes into the execution of the wedding. Although this sounds like a big job, weddings were smaller than they are today. There was no such thing as a sit-down dinner, but instead, there were hors d’oeuvres. The attendants of the wedding were not required to dress for a black-tie affair because most weddings took place at churches. Weddings were known to be simple and small up until the 1980s.

When the ’80s rolled around, women had several more options when it came to bridal gowns. At the beginning, there were two top competitors of the 10 to 12 bridal lines: Priscilla of Boston and Bianchi of Boston. Brides flocked to these lines for one reason: the style. Most gowns were covered or trimmed in a synthetic Chantilly lace. The lace would continue onto the sleeve, which usually ended in what is called a bridal “pointe,” which was meant to point to the hand showing off a bride’s ring. High, sheer inset necks trimmed with lace were all the rage. With higher necklines came higher waist lines hitting below the bust, commonly known as the empire waist. To top it all off (no pun intended), the veils were usually attached to a hat that sat over the crown of the head. All of these small details amounted to a regal look, for a very stylish wedding.

A wedding day is a day to be remembered by everyone, but mostly the bride and groom. It is a day to be taken slowly. Sher knew when she started her business, in order to make a bride’s big day memorable, the experience leading up to it needed to be joyous. Sher sold her first gown to a woman who knocked on her door Christmas Eve night, one week before opening her doors. Sher’s mother told her that this was a good sign for her business. Walking into Sher’s, shoppers share smiles, a journey and at the end, a dress. A new era began when Sher opened her shop – an era of new style with brides who wore gowns that made them feel their best. VT

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