Celebrating 50 Years
By Roxy Orr
Celebrating 50 years, Suburban Bridal has been bringing the best to area brides, featuring exclusive designs produced with the highest quality fabric, including hand-loomed laces and hand-beaded gowns. Nearly 85 percent of the dresses at this design boutique are designed by owner Mary Lou Scherer herself. Her talent, experience, and reliability are among the unique qualities that set Suburban Bridal apart. This boutique has the necessary accessories to complete any bride’s desire for her vision of what she wants on her wedding day.
Mary Lou has been designing dresses since she was three years old by drawing gowns on stick figures. She began her modeling career at age 14, traveling to California, Texas, and New York for assignments (chaperoned, of course). She met multiple celebrities during that part of her career, but she is truly a lady—if you ask her to elaborate, she politely declines to discuss details. A random encounter with a bridal promoter as a young woman led Mary Lou to a career as a freelance bridal designer, helping her to obtain advanced degrees in education.
One collection in the shop has a special significance for Mary Lou. She developed the Lisa Lou Collection to honor her daughter, Lisa, who passed away in 2014. As store manager for more than 25 years, Lisa had focused on helping brides find the perfect gown at the lowest price, still using handmade lace and beading. After losing her daughter and very dear friend, Mary Lou concentrated on establishing a line of wedding gowns that would be the finest quality of haute couture construction, sold at the very best price. In Lisa’s honor, Mary Lou developed the Lisa Lou Collection, which is available only at Suburban Bridal.
Mary Lou also designs the Private Collection, which does go to other stores in about a five-state radius. These gowns are all over the world. There are distribution centers for these gowns but no advertising. A large percentage (approximately 50 percent) of any wedding gown’s cost is advertising. By eliminating advertising, these gowns can be sold at half the cost.
With the Lisa Lou collection, which is sold only at Suburban Bridal, the cost of a distribution center (about 25 percent of the dress cost) can also be eliminated. Mary Lou is therefore able to price this line at approximately 25 percent of the original cost. From her many years in business, advertising by word of mouth has helped grow the line and the store.
Suburban Bridal has three factories overseas that make gowns for their boutique. Each one features different kinds of lace. Recently, Mary Lou went overseas to teach the crews at the factories how to cut and construct one gown at a time rather than several at once (as was customary, in the past, to save time). She was able to show them that, with better procedures, they could achieve this concept in the same amount of time. The fit is far better and much closer to the measurement charts; this leads to happier brides whose alteration costs are reduced.
Choosing a wedding gown is a personal experience to be handled with care. Mary Lou stresses the importance of getting to know each bride. “If you really care about the bride, she can sense it,” Mary Lou declares. She and her crew work closely with each bride, helping her select the right gown to highlight her assets and flatter her body type. She advises brides to keep an open mind and shares that many of her customers end up with gowns they never thought they would like!
Mary Lou’s business and life philosophies are parallel. “It is important to treat others like you want to be treated,” she asserts. She encourages each bride to think about the groom when she is deciding on a gown and to keep in mind that a wedding is truly a life-changing event. “Remember the look on his face when he sees you for the first time in this fabulous gown,” she advises. “Later, when he really irritates you, think about that incredible look and just plain get over it!” A piece of advice that she got from her husband, many years ago, is good advice for any married couple: “It is better to be wrong and get along than be right and fight!”
Mary Lou has no plans to retire from designing, and Suburban Bridal will continue far into the future. Suburban Bridal is located at 2607 South 156th Circle, right behind the LaRue’s parking lot. Look for the blue flowerpots out front. When you see that “something blue,” you’ll know that you’ve found the boutique where you’re going to find the wedding gown of your dreams. For more information or to make an appointment, visit suburbanbridalomaha.com or call 402-255-0022 or 800-362-7064.
Owner Mary Lou Scherer