By Debra Wallace
Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 1/27/22 – When it comes to making fairy tale dreams come true, Tess Mann is in a class by herself. The owner of the bridal store, Couture by Tess Bridal, who designs her own line of gowns under the same name is sought after by brides far and wide.
A true pioneer, Tess has been in the bridal industry since 2012. Prior to her formal entry into the industry, she had been designing since she was a young teenager, however, chose a different career path in order to serve her country for over 20 years as a federal officer.
In September 2018, Tess became a US Trademark Designer with her designs being protected by the US Patent Office. After serving the Memphis, Tennessee area for a little over six years, Tess and her husband, Joe, opened Couture By Tess Bridal at 31 W. Broad St. in Cookeville, TN. Tess Bridal is revered as a premier Nashville Bridal Boutique although physically located in Cookeville, TN.
Couture By Tess Bridal is a multi-award-winning Cookeville bridal shop due to its outstanding customer service, as well as a member of the Nashville Bride Guide and The Tennessee Perfect Wedding Group.
Brides travel not only from the Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, and surrounding areas to visit this beautiful, historic downtown location, but they also travel from all over the US. Tess is also the talk show host of Couture Chats with Tess on YouTube where she interviews fashion and event industry professionals.
When did your love for design begin?
In order to obtain additional funds for my college education, I began participating in the Miss America preliminary scholarship competitions as a young woman, and subsequently realized I needed a formal evening gown. Not being able to afford a luxurious competition gown, my mother and I began designing and I created several sketches throughout my college education. I continued designing for fun throughout my life, however, my career focused on my education in psychology and criminology. In 1997, I moved in a different direction choosing to serve my country as a Federal Law enforcement officer. However, I never lost my love of creating luxury designs. Upon approaching retirement, I decided to return to the world of fashion and founded Couture by Tess Bridal in 2013 as a store and my own luxury gown fashion label. On September 18, 2018, I was recognized by the US Patent Office as a legitimate designer and was awarded my trademark.
Couture By Tess Bridal is revered as a premier Nashville Bridal Boutique. Tell us more.
Our selection of gowns is carefully curated for our clients, only choosing labels with the most flattering silhouettes, opulent fabrics, interesting designs reflective of European fashion, and hard-to-find brands. Once a private consultation is booked, a personal bridal consultant is appointed to answer any questions, assist in making style selections and help navigate our inventory of over 1200 dresses.
What do you offer as a designer?
I prefer to use real silk, satin, jacquard, damask, crepe, lace, and chiffon in my designs. Several of my creations also showcase my very own artwork for lace, embroidery, and beading. Many designers use polyester or polyester blends as the main component of their wedding gown designs with upwards of 70 percent to 100 percent polyester. Although at times, this is necessary with certain structures or linings, the trend for synthetic fabrics has resulted in lower quality products, overpricing in several known bridal brands. I would like to provide affordable couture and haute couture to my clients without requiring a small fortune from brides. A major trend I continue to see, especially in Europe is more opulence in the creation of wedding dresses, elaborate lace, beading, color, high neckline and collars, the reemergence of bow accents, trailing watteuas, flowing capes, and more designs with Renaissance-inspired or balloon style sleeves.
What can a bride expect?
Upon a bride’s arrival, one of our lovely consultants offers champagne, mimosas, coffee or refreshing water, if so chosen. The bridal entourage is escorted to their very own secluded, curtained private bridal suite including a super large bridal stage where the bride is the center of attention.
It is important for us to ask questions regarding how she is feeling, has she already visited 1 or 2 bridal shops today, is she feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, or raring to go. We will focus on the wedding dress details liked and disliked regarding other bridal dresses tried on previously. If we are her first shop of the day, we will spend quite some time with various silhouettes, fabrics, styles, necklines, and sleeves. Our bridal consultants neither work off of commission nor have commission incentives to sell a wedding dress to a bride. Our ethical standards are against sales pressure tactics, and our brides are always encouraged to “go home and sleep on it.”
Share a few memorable occasions.
Most brides who fly in or drive great distances to visit with us have either been to several boutiques in their home state and failed to find intriguing dresses, or come to us because we carry a hard-to-find wedding dress designer and we have exclusivity for the region. We have so many memorable brides, and the most common factors we hear is how welcome they were made to feel, the incredible selection we have of beautiful dresses, how affordable they are compared to other bridal shops in their area, and the complete lack of sales pressure. Time and time again brides compliment us on what a wonderful experience it was. More often than not, they can’t wait to hold that little sign which says “I said Yes to Tess.”
What do you love the most about working with brides?
My favorite part, of course, is using my imagination to design unusual wedding dresses. I often tear up sketches and start over, but seeing an idea in your mind come to fruition with pen and paper is very satisfying. When the final product is complete, and I see the ecstatic smile on a bride’s face, it makes all the hard work, long hours, and lack of personal time well worth it in the end. A lovely bride is wearing one of my special creations.
Tell us about what we can expect to see in 2022.
Brides will want to stay tuned for all the updates regarding our Spring 2022 preview and fashion show for the 2023 Nostalgia Collection. This collection will showcase fashion trends and inspirations throughout the decades with a little twist of modern influences. The New Discovery collection will follow closely, but you’ll have to check back in with us as we don’t want to let the cat out of the bag. Be sure to look for our new modern styles for mother-of-the-bride evening wear and of course our developing line for competition evening gowns.
Please tell us how to connect with you and Tess Bridal.