Engaging boutique: New Bay Ridge shop serves brides-to-be from all backgrounds

Engaging boutique: New Bay Ridge shop serves brides-to-be from all backgrounds
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Wedding bells are ringing in Bay Ridge!

A local business owner expanded her bridal empire by opening up an affordable Third Avenue outpost offering bedazzled shoes, sparkly jewels, and custom-made accessories a block away from her gown shop. The close-knit nabe is the perfect place for Luxe & Lace to thrive, according to the owner, partly because hers is its only full-service bridal shop.

“We love Bay Ridge,” said Ridgite Dina Morra, who owns the boutique between 87th and 88th streets with her husband, Murad Awawdeh. “The best thing that we ever did was move our businesses and move our home here.”

The new store debuted in December 2017, two years after Morra and her father opened her formal gown shop, Nile, on the adjacent block between 88th and 89th streets. Morra decided to open her second boutique after brides and bridesmaids buying gowns at Nile kept asking for recommendations for where to buy jewelry and accessories such as headpieces, combs, shoes, garters, veils, belts, and shawls, she said, adding that she would often send them to boutiques or department stores on the distant isle of Manhattan.

“We felt a need in the neighborhood,” she said. “There used to be so many thriving small businesses that catered to special occasions, but now people are forced to shop in big department stores.”

Luxe & Lace also offers a variety of blinged-out designer Badgley Mischka heels, as well as earrings, necklaces, and bracelets made from cubic zirconia and Swarovski crystals. For more traditional brides, there’s a selection of bridal veils and headpieces from brands including Ansonia and Elena, but shoppers can also create their own custom headpieces as part of collaboration with local designer Diana Jewels. And customers don’t have to break the bank to get a special accessory: veils start at $100, which Morra said helps she and her staff more easily serve all shoppers.

“It’s really a much more intimate relationship as opposed to a transactional one,” Morra said, adding that clients often invite her to their weddings and trek from New Jersey, Connecticut, and even further to shop at the store, while others who follow it on social media place international orders for accessories online.

One excited bride-to-be getting married next month who attended the store’s opening party on Feb. 2 won a tiara, cathedral-length veil, rhinestone sash, necklace, and earrings — a $5,000 value — in a raffle at the event.

“My mom and I, we were screaming,” said Abeer Mishal. “We were really happy.”

Mishal also created a custom-made gold-studded headpiece with Diana Jewels for one of her pre-wedding events, and said she believes the diverse selection of accessories will accommodate brides from various cultures.

“Having these styles of tiaras there is really going to make things easier for Arab brides,” Mishal said.

And Morra is dreaming big, even hoping someday to outshine the television-famous bridal emporium Kleinfeld, which started out in Bay Ridge in 1941 only two avenues away — on Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street — before decamping to Manhattan in 2005.

“I watch ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ all the time,” said Morra of the reality show that made the shop nationally known. “It’s baby steps — hopefully one day we can be as successful, more successful than Kleinfeld, but I’m definitely working towards that and we’ll take it one day at a time. Anything is possible.”

Luxe & Lace [8718 Third Ave. between 87th and 88th streets in Bay Ridge, (718) 921–9700]. Open Mon.–Sat., 11 am–6 pm; Sun., 12 pm–6 pm.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.