Friday, May 20th, 2022

Shopper Client Stories


Helping brides find the dress of their dreams

by Kathy Van Mullekom

Avenir Bridal Boutique owners Anzen Tiamzon and Amanda Carson

Avenir Bridal Boutique owners Anzen Tiamzon and Amanda Carson

It's all about the dress when it comes to a bride's dream wedding. Whether her style is classic and comfortable or glamorous and glitzy, every bride wants to embody romantic perfection from head to toe.

Avenir Bridal Boutique in Chesapeake is there to make bridal gown visions come true. Owners Amanda Carson and Anzen Tiamzon will help clients find a wedding dress to match every style, shape, and budget, then alter it to perfection. "We make it very personal," Amanda says. "All of our attention is on the bride."

Amanda and Anzen travel far and wide to hand-select the most beautiful gowns from American and international designers. Their boutique showcases fabrics and silhouettes that will ensure all eyes are on the bride as she makes that magical walk down the aisle toward her love and their future life together.  

"'Avenir' is French for ‘things to come' or ‘future,'" Amanda explains. "We are here to help brides start a new chapter in their lives with the most beautiful attire on their wedding day. We have gorgeous designer wedding dresses and accessories, as well as bridesmaid and flower girl dresses, veils, and jewelry."

Amanda and Anzen have 22 years of combined experience in the wedding industry.

Anzen studied fashion design at Virginia Commonwealth University and runs the boutique's alterations department. Besides the standard alterations such as hems and bustles, she can fashion detachable sleeves that are easily removed after the ceremony so that the bride is more comfortable dancing and partying.

Amanda, who has a marketing degree from James Madison University, attends to customer service and comfort.  She sets up two-hour shopping appointments at the boutique, also making sure sweets and bottled water are onhand to make the bridal party feel relaxed and happy while trying on dresses. Brides can try on these gorgeous gowns by appointments.

"Every woman has a different
journey and personality,
and her wedding dress
should reflect that."
-Amanda Carson

Amanda Carson

Amanda Carson

Anzen and Amanda both love art and see their boutique as an art studio where brides-to-be can create the look and feel they want for their special day.

"To us, these gowns are wearable art," Anzen explains. "A bridal gown is an emotional purchase because it's the dress you wear when you say ‘I do' to the love of your life."

Because the wedding gown is central to the ceremony, this duo recommends that brides shop eight months to a year before the wedding. Gowns are usually special-ordered and can take upwards of six months to arrive. During an appointment, the bride-to-be usually tries on her favorites from the shop's sample racks; special clips and buttons are then used to make the dress look fitted. If a bride does not have time to wait for a special-order, gowns can be purchased off the rack and altered as needed. "We know our inventory in and out," Amanda says, "and if we don't have what the bride is looking for, we will help her find it."  

The European-inspired boutique is an elegant environment with sparkling chandeliers, magnificent mirrors, and comfortable settees.  Love songs playing in the background set the mood while the bride-to-be and her guests look at more than 300 gowns. The mood is relaxed, private, and personal.

"It is important to us that we celebrate, support, and empower women," Amanda emphasizes. "We guide them through the process of finding their dream gown, and we have fun doing it. Every woman has a different journey and personality, and her wedding dress should reflect that. Is she fun and flirty? Does she want a fitted dress? Is she usually reserved but wants glitter and glam on this special day? We adore hearing each unique story and are passionate about finding the perfect wedding dress to tell each woman's love story."

"A bridal gown
is an emotional purchase
because it's the dress you wear
when you say ‘I do'
to the love of your life."
- Anzen Tiamzon

Anzen Tiamzon

Anzen Tiamzon

Bridal gown trends for the coming year's weddings are as varied as the brides themselves. There are the classics with sweetheart necklines and long flowing trains that can be detached or secured to a bustle once the "I do's" are said.  There are backs that dip low to a narrow or wide V at the waistline and bodices that are as modest or revealing as the bride desires. Glitter tulle that gives a subtle sparkle is part of the classic romantic look that Amanda and Anzen favor and look for on their shopping trips to markets in Atlanta and Chicago.

Lace, traditionally a wedding mainstay, is now reinvented with laser-cut laces. Bold meets beautiful when shapes such as flowers and leaves are laser cut from lace and strategically placed for discreet covering or positioned to reveal a little skin.  In other applications, the illusion of 3-D art appears when white or ecru laser-cut lace is placed on top of a fabric such as pale pink satin."There are countless ways to wear lace now," Amanda points out.
For casual outdoor weddings, there's the "boho bride," wearing fluttering, flowing sleeves, smocking, empire waists, and floral motifs in nature-inspired colors.  The bohemian look is versatile because it can be carefree and casual or dramatic and glamorous, depending on fabrics and details.  

Certain popular TV shows such as "Bridgerton" have inspired classic velveteen styles with empire waists, puff sleeves, elbow-length gloves, and embellished corsets.

While so many selections could be a bit overwhelming, brides are encouraged to keep an open mind and to try varying silhouettes and fabrics. "What a bride thinks she might like or want could be different from what really works for the wedding she has planned," Amanda notes. "Tulle sleeves might be itchy. Off-the-shoulder sleeves may restrict her arms throughout the rest of the day. A-line dresses flatter a pear-shaped figure, while sheath gowns make a petite bride look taller. We talk through all available options to help each woman find the perfect gown for her figure and comfort. In the end, there is the absolute joy that we all feel when a bride finally finds her dress-when she says, ‘I feel beautiful in this dress, and don't want to take it off.' When a bride-to-be feels that way, it makes everything that we do here at Avenir worthwhile."

Avenir Bridal Boutique

480 Kempsville Road
Chesapeake, VA 23320