MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Bridal consignment boutique

BON AIR, VA (WWBT) - December is by far the most popular month for couples getting engaged. One of the first decisions made by the future brides is the all-important dress.

Many ladies find the perfect wedding dress - only to be shocked back into reality when they see it's pricetag.

That's one reason why Jessica Sparks opened Bliss Bridal Consignment Boutique.

"This is the one thing you spend a lot of money on, you use it for a couple hours and what do you do with it?" said Sparks.

Most of the dresses on the racks are samples or discontinued items from stores all over Virginia.

"98 percent of the inventory is brand new, with tags still on it."

Others are from individual consigners, trying to recoup some of the money they spent on the dress. Jessica accepts dresses that are professionally cleaned, in pristine condition and less than five years old.

"I have all the major designers you see in the magazines here."

Many are discounted 50 to 60 percent, with a potential to save thousands.

"This is made in Italy, it's 100% Italian silk."

For $1200 less than its original price.

Brides-to-be get a professional consultant, a two-hour window to find the dress, and a personal suite.

"You have to try it on, you have to see when the magic happens."

Bliss Bridal carries shoes, veils, mother-of-the-bride and flower-girl dresses. Partnerships with other local businesses get Sparks' clients discounts on other services - like portraits.

Her shop is unique in the fact that every fixture in the store was purchased second-hand.

"I live the philosophy that you can be amazing for less," said Sparks. "You don't have to sacrifice the quality, the designer, the experience because you're on a budget."

Bliss Bridal carries prom gowns, cotillion dresses - pretty much any dress you'll only wear once. It is located in the Huguenot Village Shopping Center beside the Great Big Greenhouse.

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