Lisa Seher named every wedding gown in her shop. She called for them joyfully across the sparkling Cloud Nine Bridal boutique she runs with her daughter, Kaitlyn Seher.
“Jada is my favorite,” Lisa crooned. “I love this dress because it has the sparkle straps, it's fitted, it's got a beautiful train, and it's got the deep back. It's got a little bit of everything, but not too much of anything.”
Cloud Nine Bridal and its sister boutique, Silver Linings, which sells bridesmaid, prom, and formal gowns, will join more than 50 vendors today at the Post Falls Bridal Tour. The free event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at three different venues, the Trailhead Event Center, Jacklin Arts and Cultural Center, and the Red Lion Templin’s Hotel, giving couples time to gather ideas and book vendors for their upcoming weddings.
“I love everything about the bridal tour, from beginning to end,” said Jill McDowell, event organizer and recreation supervisor for the city of Post Falls. “I love connecting with those brides, because they get one-on-one attention.”
“Lots of times we’re counselors and confidants here,” Seher said, looking out at her stylish shop on Sherman Avenue. “We hear a lot of stories. We hear the love story. We hear why it means so much to get a dress with sleeves or a dress with a dash of color.”
Seher grew up in Reardan, Wash., where she dreamed up designs and sewed clothes for her dolls.
“Being a farm kid my dad only gave us so much money to go back-to-school shopping,” Seher said. “I figured out right away that if I sewed I could get twice as many clothes. And I never wanted to wear anything that anybody else had.”
After earning a fashion degree in tailoring and couture from a small design school in Long Beach, Calif., Seher worked out of her home for 25 years doing alterations. A friend encouraged her to open her own bridal store.
“Things fell into place much more rapidly than I expected,” Seher said.
Within a month she had found a location in The Plaza Resort Shopping Center in downtown Coeur d’Alene.
Seher’s favorite part of working in the bridal industry is when a bride slips into her dream dress and everyone feels the magic of that moment.
“You have to let your heart talk. That’s what’s going to tell you what wedding dress you want,” Seher said.
“It is such an intimate moment when you're working with a bride,” Seher said. “They are so vulnerable. It’s also kind of a stressful time. They want everything to be so perfect. That’s where my alteration skills come in.”
“Lisa loves people and is super bubbly and excited,” employee Kayla Barker said. Barker recently left a job as a barista to begin working at Cloud Nine.
“It doesn’t feel as transactional,” Barker said. “We don’t get paid for a sale, so it helps us find what’s best for the bride.”
A year and half ago, late on a Saturday, a bride called the shop. She wanted to make an appointment for the next morning. Seher usually goes to church on Sunday mornings, but she decided to ask the woman why she needed that particular time. The bride said she was supposed to go shopping the day before with her mom for a wedding dress, but instead went to her mother’s funeral. Seher immediately welcomed the woman into her store on Sunday morning.
“She brought her mother’s dress with her,” Seher said. “It didn't fit, but I was able to take the lace from the sleeves and sew it on a new dress. It just shows that you need to keep people on the phone a second longer. There’s always more to the story. We keep in touch now. It reaffirms why I'm doing this.”
Seher’s commitment to an extra fitting or simply to linger over a special moment with her clients, helps them experience the real story for this important time in their lives.
“I spend a good amount of time in tears,” Seher said. “I get attached to my brides.”
“She is the heart of the business for customer service,” Kaitlyn said of her mom. “With her degree in fashion design she is able to help create [the bride’s] dream dress. She takes the time to sit down with them and talk about what they've always envisioned. It’s incredible to see someone’s dream for 10 or 15 years become a real thing for them.”
Kaitlyn brings a youthful, modern vision to the business. She handles social media and advertising. She’s recently begun purchasing gowns at trade shows across the country, freeing up time for Seher to complete alterations and bridal appointments.
“I think we work really well together because we’re not the same,” Seher said. “She may be my daughter but she and I have very different opinions. She has the voice and ideas of the young people and I have the experience and knowledge of how a dress should fit. She knows what the latest styles are.”
The mother-daughter duo is excited for the contrasting styles of the upcoming wedding season.
“We have super sleek dresses that are very simple, no lace, crepe dresses and then we have the extreme,” Seher said. “I have the girls that want the full-on, all bling ball gown, bring-it-on, everything big and beautiful.”
It’s important to Seher to ensure that every bride feels special on their wedding day.
“Everybody can look beautiful in a wedding dress,” Seher said. “Everybody is beautiful.”
Cloud Nine Bridal’s booth will be at the Jacklin Arts and Cultural Center.
“I am most excited for people who have not yet been in our facility to see how lovely it is,” JACC Director Darla Dreyer said. “The JACC is on the national register of historic places. It is actually two old churches built in the late 1800s. It was then the community church of Post Falls.”
The JACC has hosted cultural events for 15 years. The space is also available for weddings and receptions.
“I love the bridal tour,” Seher said. “I like the smaller ones because they are more intimate and you get to really talk to the people. You get to really understand what the bride wants.”
For her own wedding 31 years ago, Seher wore her grandmother’s gown.
“When I went to choose, I tried on my grandmother’s dress,” Seher said. “I had lost my grandmother six months before. It fit me perfectly. It was from the 1930s, tea length with a lace bodice. I still have it.”
For additional information about today’s bridal tour, contact JACC Director Darla Dreyer at 208-457-8950 or Post Falls Parks and Recreation at 208-773-0539.
Admission is free.