By Sarah Thompson
Imagine a place where brides are welcomed with open arms, greeted by personal stylists, and cared for every step of the way—even before they enter the doors. Bridal Affection in Hamden is just that.
Owners Mel and Ide Ehigiato first opened their bridal salon as a sister store to Bridal Trousseau in New Haven, which was, quite literally, bursting at the seams. The move was intended to provide a bridal salon that offers two options for brides to find their dream gowns. Bridal Affection offers a Flagship Salon with some of the best bridal designers in the industry. In addition, they have a Sample Salon inside their store where brides can purchase couture bridal gowns off the racks at a generous discount.
“If your wedding is imminent, you can come to Bridal Affection’s sample salon, fall in love with a gown and bring it home that day,” explained Ide. “All of the gowns in our sample salon are discounted, but they are all the same quality as at Bridal Trousseau. They’re couture gowns. If you’re on a budget, and time crunch, it makes sense. In our flagship salon, we carry some of the best bridal designers in the industry where you can order your dream gown directly from the gown designers. You can visit both our sample and flagship salons in the same appointment”.
Their salon offers gowns from major designers like Maggie Sottero, Pronovias and Van Der Veld.
“We offer personalized service for brides,” shared Mel. “One of the things we focus on in our salons is having a professional personal stylist who can guide you through the process. Our stylists are people who really love and care about what they do. We hear from many brides and their families how we made it easier for them and less stressful. Trying on pretty dresses should not be stressful, it should be fun. To us, that’s very important.”
"Our stylists are people who really love and care about what they do. We hear from many brides and their families how we made it easier for them and less stressful."
The Ehigiatos make booking easy. Brides receive instant confirmation and reminders a few days before their appointment. And for brides who want an even more memorable experience, Bridal Affection offers two-hour Exclusive Bride and Bubbly Appointments.
“You bring your party, we provide hors d’oeuvres and champagne, and you can book any day of the week,” explained Ide. “On days when the shop is closed to the public you can have the whole salon to yourself!”
When a bride tries on the gown that is “the one” it’s one of the highlights of owning their shops, according to Mel.
“Sometimes you want to cry with them, because you’re excited and you’ve been through that process with them. You see them and you see how happy they are—they are beaming,” she shared.
The space at Bridal Affection is truly a sacred space, where all brides are treated with dignity and respect, and where some families even put aside differences for their loved one’s special moment.
“It helps bring people together for one person,” said Mel.
Last year, when COVID hit, The Ehigiatos were forced to close their doors temporarily, just two weeks after their shop opened.
“We started Bridal Affection on March 1, 2020. We had to build the business from scratch, and because of the pandemic, brides had to cancel and postpone their weddings,” explained Ide. “But with that, there were also opportunities, so it wasn’t all bad. We had to be innovative, and it forced us to be more creative in the way we operate our business.”
Through it all, Mel and her team worked with every bride to ensure their wedding was a special day that they deserved.
Originally a research scientist and adjunct lecturer in the Bronx, Mel discovered her “passion for fashion,” as she calls it, when she and Ide were running an event venue business.
“We love diversity and we welcome everyone. I’ve always loved being around a lot of different kinds of people because where I grew up in upstate New York it wasn’t like that,” she shared. “I like an environment where people can come together for something pleasant and happy to celebrate, no matter what they look like or who they are. We see people from all different backgrounds come in our salon. It’s encouraging, it’s beautiful and it’s wonderful to be a part of that.”
The Ehigiatos believe in living out their faith and that their purpose is bigger than selling wedding gowns.
“It’s the ability to meet people, build relationships and love them,” shared Ide. “That is truly who we are. We want to welcome everybody and love everybody.”
Bridal Affection is located at 1125 Dixwell Avenue, Hamden, Connecticut. Find them on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, or on their website. To learn more about Bridal Trousseau, visit their website.
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