Photo by Jay Paul
A few months after her fiancé's death, Christine Haines started a wedding planning business.
"I had already started planning my wedding," the 28-year-old says of the impetus for Wood Grain and Lace Events.
A year after her fiancé died from brain cancer in May 2011, her father was diagnosed with colon cancer. That fall, her mother was diagnosed with ovarian and uterine cancer.
"It's been a rough couple of years," says Haines, an only child, adding that both parents currently are in remission. "Because of that, we've really embraced each other."
In November, Haines signed the lease on a 750-square-foot storefront in Church Hill. She plans to open Urban Set Bride (602 N. 29th St., 334-8568) with her mother, Jennifer Haines, at the end of December: the beginning of engagement season.
"My mom balances me," Haines says. "She has a classic aesthetic — boho, hippie and simple — while I tend to lean more vintage, ornate and beaded."
In the 1922 Flapper's Dictionary, "urban set" is defined as a new gown. Haines hopes to honor the namesake with a boutique that is "a nod to the flapper mindset of going against the grain." The non-traditional bridal boutique will focus on handcrafted gowns from independent designers that aren't found elsewhere in Richmond. Haines also will offer affordable bridesmaid dresses, do-it-yourself craft workshops, décor storage rentals and wedding coordination services.
"We want to make this an all-inclusive experience and utilize the experience I‘ve had so far with wedding planning in helping people save money," she says.
Bridal gowns from designers including Emmaline Bridal, Theia and Aria will range from $500 to $3,500, while bridesmaid dresses will range from $75 to $300. Urban Set Bride will also offer vintage wear from Carytown's Bygones Vintage Clothing. A recipient of a $5,000 East End Revitalization Grant from Bon Secours, Haines says she is happy to join the other new businesses in Church Hill.
"I see Church Hill becoming the next big retail location," she says. "We want to be a part of that."