We are so excited to feature Urban Set Bride! This woman-owned, military family-owned, black-owned bridal boutique has such an incredible story, and we’re thrilled to get to share it with our brides. Located in Richmond, Virginia, Urban Set Bride’s owner, Christine, spills all the details of her experience starting and running her bridal boutique. We love having partners with similar values as us! Read on to learn all about it! But before you do, be sure to take our style quiz to find out which dress you Virginia brides might want to try on at Urban Set Bride this year!
Christine’s Journey With The Bridal Industry
PC: Urban Set Bride
Christine got into the bridal industry when she started her wedding planning company, The Hive Wedding Collective, in 2011. She quickly realized though that Central Virginia didn’t have a bridal boutique that carried high-quality, designer gowns in a welcoming atmosphere.
For years, Christine felt that the Virginia and DC bridal shops were high-end boutiques with tiny sample sizes, snobby attitudes, and no representation of LGBTQ+ or women of color in their marketing.
“Richmond is a very cool, very progressive city and it’s FILLED with awesome, unique women. It didn’t make sense to me that none of the bridal shops were meeting the needs of that type of bride,” Christine explains.
Luckily, Christine’s mom, Jennifer, agreed to take the leap of faith with her and the rest is history! They both quit their jobs in the Fall of 2013, found a commercial space for rent in a historically black neighborhood in the heart of Richmond, and got to work opening Urban Set Bride, a black-owned bridal boutique that we absolutely love partnering with!
There were (and still are) a lot of risks. The pair opened up in a residential neighborhood that was labeled ‘dangerous’ to many who didn’t know any better. They had no career backup plans, no formal education in business and they had no industry allies to learn from. But they figured it out and vow to keep growing and learning every year.
Since opening its doors in 2014, Urban Set Bride has been voted Richmond’s Best Bridal shop for the last 8 years in a row. They’ve helped their friends open up two more bridal shops in the area, survived a global pandemic, and even been featured on an episode of 90 Day Fiance!
PC: Urban Set Bride
What It Is Like Running A Woman-Owned, and Military Family-Owned, Black-Owned Bridal Boutique
At Urban Set Bride, family is a priority. Since opening, Christine has gotten married and had two healthy boys, now 7 and 3 years old. Her Dad is happily retired and enjoys watching their bustling business from the sidelines. She and her mom also explain that they feel incredibly lucky to get to spend so much time working together as a family business.
Urban Set Bride is proud to be a military family with a lady-owned, black-owned bridal boutique in the wedding industry. (Hey! Woman-owned! Just like us!) They hope that shouting that from the rooftops will inspire others to do the same.
“Most importantly, our success continues to push our competitors to be more progressive, size-inclusive, and representative of ALL types of brides,” Christine explains. We couldn’t agree more. Here at Maggie, we take pride in our wide size range as well as in our diversity and inclusion efforts.
They also offer a permanent discount of 10 percent off for first responders, healthcare workers, military members, and teachers in their boutique. They always want to ensure they are caring for those who keep their community strong.
Running A Black-Owned Bridal Boutique
Christine explains that being a woman in business is already hard. Adding in her skin color, however, has made her challenges grow even more. However, “we never take no for an answer, we pivot our business model when we need to, and we always maintain the perspective that we are still incredibly lucky to have a supportive family, a warm network of friends and community members around us, and we have a lot more opportunity to succeed than many,” Christine says.
The Urban Set Bride team does its best to uplift those around them who aren’t as lucky as they are. They always remember that “You don’t make good choices, you are given good choices.” Christine believes that not everyone is presented with the choice to work hard and succeed. So, she won’t ever stop uplifting others on her way to the top. We love Christine’s sentiment. Empowered women empower women! It is wonderful to hear that she uses the well-earned success of her black-owned bridal boutique to help others. You can read more about Maggie’s community outreach projects on our Our Heart page!
PC: Urban Set Bride
More About Urban Set Bride
Urban Set Bride is a private, cozy gown shop for the modern bride located in Richmond, Virginia. It carries made-to-order gowns with prices ranging from $1,500 to $4,000.
As a woman-owned, military family-owned, black-owned bridal boutique, Urban Set Bride is size and love-inclusive. That means they are dedicated to welcoming brides with open arms. They ensure brides have a fun, relaxed, and judgment-free experience shopping for their dream dress. No matter what their body looks like or who they love.
“Urban Set Bride stands out amongst the competition because we are authentic, welcoming, transparent, and knowledgeable,” Christine says. “We proudly carry handcrafted, high-quality designer gowns while keeping our prices reasonable and removing the worry and intimidation some have about the wedding gown shopping process.”
This boutique caters to women who have busy lives/careers/scholastic endeavors. To brides who may not be someone who has been dreaming of her wedding day since childhood. They believe that doesn’t mean she doesn’t deserve a relaxed, no-pressure, fun gown shopping experience. No matter who you are, what you look like, or who you love.
We believe that all brides are beautiful and have unique love stories. We’re lucky to get to partner with Urban Set Bride and many other Authorized Retailers who work hard to create a welcoming space. That has always been one of our top priorities!
Calling all Virginia brides! Don’t hesitate to book your appointment at Urban Set Bride to find your dream dress!
PC: Urban Set Bride
What is the Urban Set Bride Experience?
Urban Set Bride is by appointment only and they only host one bride and her crew at a time. You are guaranteed to have an intimate appointment surrounded by your loved ones. That means you can go without the distraction of a bustling bridal shop with multiple appointments.
“Our approach is simple,” Christine says. “We educate you on how the process works, walk you through every option a gown may have and, after 90 minutes, we send you home with a list of your favorite gowns, their prices, and advice on when to order. Even if we all get misty-eyed over a certain gown, we encourage our clients to go home, have a glass of something, and digest their experience. We want every person who shops with us to feel empowered to make the best choice, not get caught up in the moment and have regrets down the line.”
Christine explains that most of the time, brides circle back to Urban Set Bride. They book a second visit and buy that day. She says that sometimes they find their gown at another bridal shop. “That’s okay!” Christine urges. “But we love that everyone who visits us, no matter what, will have a beautiful, fun experience. We can absolutely guarantee that.”
Loving this black-owned bridal boutique but not ready to say “I do” yet? Urban Set Bride also believes in sharing the bridal fun with everyone! They host “No Ring Necessary” dress-up parties at their boutique! Four times a year, you can book the bridal shop for 2 hours on a Friday night. You can go play dress up with their gowns! Almost weekly, they hear folks say, “I wish we could just play dress up in here.” They finally made space for it to happen! The four Fridays booked up almost immediately, but they’ll offer up more parties in 2025!
PC: Urban Set Bride
Other Maggie Sottero Black-Owned Bridal Boutiques
We’re so proud to partner with other amazing black-owned bridal boutiques that carry Maggie Sottero! Below are a few of the black-owned bridal boutiques we partner with around the world. These fantastic boutiques work hard to create a unique, personal, and inclusive shopping experience for their brides. Book an appointment with them if they’re in your area and give their social media and websites some love!
- Bridal Trousseau – New Haven, Connecticut
- Sidai Brides – Nairobi, Kenya
- Sister’s Bridal Shop – Kampala, Uganda
How to Support Black-Owned Businesses
PC: Urban Set Bride
Urban Set Bride knows your wedding weekend is a huge investment. They encourage all of their brides to be purposeful with where that money is going. We couldn’t agree more!
“Be intentional with hiring like-minded people and take the extra step to support black and brown people, veterans, and members of the rainbow family,” Christine says. “It is essential that we remain steadfast in uplifting those who aren’t traditionally given an easy road, especially as small-business owners.”
Other ways you can support black-owned businesses:
- Support when eating out, buying groceries, picking up gifts for yourself or your loved ones, booking services, etc!
- Following businesses on social media and giving them a like or reshare can help increase their visibility and reach.
- When booking vendors for your wedding, research if there are any black-owned businesses in your area you can hire.
Rooting for Urban Set Bride yet? Us too. Ready to start trying on dresses at a bridal boutique near you? Find one of our authorized retailers and slip into the Maggie gown of your dreams! Happy shopping, brides!