From bridesmaid to bride, and now an official Bella Bridesmaid owner, Haley Grayless has become Houston’s go to lady for the best bridesmaid dresses in the area!
Originally from Georgia, Haley was a customer of Mandi Jackson, owner of the Atlanta boutique. After working with Mandi and seeing what a great opportunity Bella offered, Haley decided this was simply something she could not pass up. We wanted to get to know a little more about Haley, and what her experiences have been over the past four year owning Bella Bridesmaid Houston…
BB: What did you do before owning Bella?
H: I worked for a boutique investment bank specializing in the oil and gas industry.
BB: Why did you want to become part of the Bella franchise?
Haley pictured with her husband, Ryan and son, Nate.
H: I am originally from Atlanta, Georgia and I worked with Mandi, the Atlanta Owner, twice as a bridesmaid. I had so much fun working with her that when I got engaged it was an easy decision to want to work with her again. I remember thinking at the time I was choosing my bridesmaid dresses how much I would enjoy having her job. After I got married, I was sick of working crazy hours and had always wanted to own my own business. I saw the Houston territory was for sale, and the rest is history. I think my husband thought I was nuts when I told him I wanted to quit my job and sell bridesmaid dresses for a living. Four years later and we haven’t looked back!
BB: What is the most memorable moment so far in your boutique?
H: Wow! That’s a tough one. I’ve had a lot of good laughs, and have made a lot of sweet memories. But if I had to choose…probably the day I added the key to the store onto my keychain. I know it sounds cheesy, but as a little girl I would come up with logos and business ideas for the store I wanted to open one day. The day I added the store key to my keychain was surreal. I was terrified, excited, overwhelmed but there was no question in my mind this was what I was suppose to do.
Haley's mother and her maids wearing their yellow veils!
BB: What is your favorite bridesmaid dress that is hanging in your personal closet?
H: Ha! It’s actually pretty funny. Some of my favorites aren’t even the ones I’ve worn in weddings! I have some of my mom’s old bridesmaids dresses that she wore from the late 60’s and early 70’s that I use to play dress up in when I was little. One has a lace bodice with long, cuffed sleeves and a crushed purple velvet skirt. It’s fabulous! My mom’s bridesmaids dress from her wedding is actually my favorite. Her maids wore long yellow dresses with, wait for it...yellow chapel length veils... unbelievable, we’ve come a long way!
Haley with Amsale (middle)
BB: We were told you had a star struck moment at the NYC Bridal Market… can you share some of the details?
H: One of the most exciting things that happened to me this past year was when I met Amsale Aberra! I have always admired her designs and even selected one of her gowns for my wedding. When we found out her company was hosting a dinner for all of the Bella owners while we were in New York for Bridal Market, I never thought she would attend. I’m not usually one to get star struck, but when Amsale walked through the door my mouth nearly hit the floor. The girls were teasing me because they had never seen me move as fast as I did to go introduce myself. What amazed me is how humble and appreciative she was!
Angie Harmon via Celebrity Bride Guide
BB: What would you say is your fave celebrity wedding dress?
H: I have always loved Jackie Kennedy’s dress when she married JFK. I just love the detailing and the long lace veil. There’s something so regal and timeless about lace veils. I also love Angie Harmon’s wedding gown. Simple. Elegant. Timeless. I’m a sucker for “twirly” dresses, you know, ones you can get a good spin on out on the dance floor. I chose an Amsale wedding gown very similar to Harmon’s for my own wedding.
BB: What are a few of your most versatile styles at the moment?
H: There are about four that I’ll pull for a bridal party which will tell me what my clients’ style is for her wedding: LulaKate “Zoe”, Amsale G425C, Swoon “Barbados”, and the TwoBirds Ballgown. Those four are so different which helps me figure out the brides likes and dislikes, and then we can go from there based on her bridesmaid’s body types. And of course the new trend, whether any of the girls are pregnant… there’s something in the water in Houston!
BB: What is the best wedding trend you've seen recently?
H: I LOVE RUFFLES! I know it’s not a new trend, but I can’t get enough of them. LulaKate does a great job of offering different styles of ruffles that you can add to any of their necklines. I’m also really excited about the silk organza dresses Ivy & Aster is offering in their new Bella Bridesmaid exclusive collection, Love Lane. I’m all about different fabrics and textures and silk organza offers great body while still giving the movement girls are looking for in silk chiffon.
Thank you, Haley!