Styled Spotlight – Meredith Hartman, Owner & Stylist, Bella Bridesmaids Philadelphia
Our favorite series is back once again with one of Philadelphia’s newest wedding professionals! Bella Bridesmaids has long been a fantastic source for dresses for your bridesmaids. The boutiques carry the latest designs from Amsale, Jenny Yoo, Monique Lhuillier, Adrianna Papell, and so many more, and a stylist will work with you and your bridal party to find the best designer and style for your event.
After turning to Bella Bridesmaids for her own wedding and others, Meredith Hartman realized Philadelphia was missing one of the best kept secrets in bridesmaid fashion. So, she decided to open Bella Bridesmaids Philadelphia! We’re counting down the days until the boutique is open, but first we’re catching up with the shop’s Owner and Stylist. Below, Meredith shares how she was lead to the wedding industry after spending six years working as a science teacher for Teach Across America, why she adores Bella, and her favorite aspects about weddings in the city. Keep reading!
1. Let’s get to know you! Tell us a little bit about your background and how you started working in the wedding industry.
I’m originally from South Carolina and grew up loving all things fancy (us southerners love dressing to the 9s)! I attended Furman University and majored in communication studies and realized that I was definitely a people person! I decided to go into teaching through Teach For America and ended up teaching middle school science for 6 years in North Carolina and Tennessee. My husband was an officer in the US Army (which is why we moved to TN) but after 6 years of service, he decided to leave the army for civilian life. His new job brought us to the Philly area 2 years ago and we love it here! I spent the past 2 years as the Director of Talent and Recruitment for KIPP Philadelphia Schools and then decided it was time for a change. I was in several weddings last year and had a hard time finding a bridesmaids dress both times. I noticed that there was a need for a bridesmaid dress store so those of us in weddings could more easily find dresses that we liked! I used Bella Bridesmaids when I got married for my bridesmaids and had used them several times since when I was in other weddings. When I realized there wasn’t a Bella Bridesmaids in the Philly area, I knew I had to be the one to bring it here! I am thrilled about bringing Bella to Philly!
2. What do you love most about weddings in Philadelphia?
I love that there are so many different venues and options! Each wedding can truly be unique and tailored to the personality of the couple because there are just so many choices! I’m from a small town where there are only a few venues to choose from so I LOVE that Philly offers such variety.
3. What can brides and bridesmaids expect from their Bella Bridesmaids experience?
Brides and bridesmaids can expect a personalized upscale experience tailored to THEM! Your party will have its own personal stylist that will help navigate you to dresses that fit your wedding theme/personality. There are so many dresses to choose from that it can be confusing…your Bella stylist is here to take all the confusion out of it and make finding the perfect dress (or everyone in the party) FUN and EASY!
4. What is one piece of advice you hope to impart on brides about choosing their bridesmaids dresses?
Choose your dress first! It is hard to picture what you want everyone else to wear until you know what you (the STAR of the show) will be wearing.
5. What is one bridesmaid dress trend you think will stand the test of time? I think the convertible dresses are genius! They allow for everyone to look uniform but they can be tied/styled differently to flatter everyone’s body type so everyone looks their best on the big day!
1. Wedding or fashion element that always catches your eye?
I’m a sucker for bows. When done well, they just make me smile!
2. Designer you’re most excited to carry in your boutique?
Adrianna Papell! Her dresses are blinged out with beautiful beads! They are gorgeous and oh so fun! Also, Jenny Yoo…I’m just in love with her entire collection…so classic and regal!
3. Wedding accessory bridesmaids can’t live without?
Proper undergarments! I love Commando (and plan to carry it in my store).
Shoes you can walk in! I love high heels as much as anyone, but be sure you can walk gracefully in the shoes you choose. No one wants to see a bridesmaid clomping down the aisle, or worse, tripping! Tissues! (strategically wrapped around your bouquet so no one can see them) It’s emotional watching one of your best friends/family members walk down the aisle!
4. Moment at a wedding?
When the groom sees the bride for the first time. I cry almost every time!
5. Hidden gem in Philadelphia?
This is a hard one… Right now, in the lovely weather I love all of the little pop up beer gardens (such as PHL beer garden). They just have such a laid back feel and are decorated in the coolest ways!