SAINT PAUL, Minn. — Lorraine Love is shaking up the Minnesota bridal industry.
She owns La Noire Bridal (The Black Bridal) in Saint Paul. It's the first Black-owned bridal store in Minnesota and Love says this first is long overdue.
"The bridal industry, I know it lacks diversity and representation of different cultures and backgrounds," she said.
That's why she's here, to make all brides feel seen and heard, not just some.
"I get tons of customers that walk into this bridal shop and share their experience that wasn't so comfortable, wasn't so welcoming," said Love.
Love is looking to change that by prioritizing important details that sometimes get overlooked, like being able to be your true self in the space.
One bride, Mayor Maria Regan Gonzalez of Richfield, is thankful for that.
"My mother-in-law was with me. She came from Miami. She doesn't speak English and felt very comfortable right away," said Gonzalez. "My girlfriends came. They allowed us to put our music on. They had amazing food and drinks for us."
Being confident in the dress you say yes to can't be taken lightly.
"I think the wedding industry caters to making women feel like they need to fit a certain mold, and it can be really uncomfortable," said Gonzalez.
That's why LaNoire Bridal works with more than ten designers to customize gowns.
"It was really important for me not only to seek out black designers but also designers that would cater to a diverse group of individuals," said Love.
Individuals who come in all shapes and sizes.
"A lot of my designers, their customizations are unlimited," said Love.
Individuals who may want the traditional white gown, or a unique gown
"Something that's a little more flesh with their skin tone," said Love.
Or a bride who wants to represent her culture.
"I'm really excited about my dress because I think it's actually really reflective of my Mexican culture and background," said Gonzalez.
When you shake up the norm like Love has, even like Gonzalez has (becoming the first Latina mayor in Minnesota), traditions still matter.
"I'm definitely going to save my dress. I would love to pass it down to my kids," said Gonzalez.
But tangible change matters even more.
"That's why I'm here in this industry," said Love.
Since opening in May, Love has sold about 30 bridal gowns. She also sells bridesmaid and mother-of-the-bride dresses.
Looking ahead to the future, Love wants to open a LaNoire Bridal store in every state.
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