The best part about being a wedding planner, for Ruthie Evans Broughton, has been helping each bride pick out a wedding dress. She enjoyed it so much, in fact, that she opened her own shop last fall, Blue Bridal Boutique, which sells wedding gowns and bridesmaids dresses.
Down the street from Doc’s Motorworks and other popular South Congress Avenue eateries, the boutique tries to offer “affordable dresses with an upscale feel,” Broughton said, noting that the gowns range from $500 to $4,000. Clients walk among the racks, picking out the ones they like, and if none of those work out, she and the other shop employees take over, choosing ones that fit clients’ body types and tastes.
But unlike the TLC show “Say Yes to the Dress,” which sometimes features brides who leave the store empty-handed, Blue Bridal is often successful at helping clients find the wedding dress of their dreams, she said. The shop offers gowns from eight designers — one of whom, from Australia, sells her creations at only one other place in the United States, meaning that often brides call Broughton wanting to order one of the hard-to-find designs without ever trying it on.
She’s eager to help and has noticed that most of her clients aren’t the divas portrayed by “Say Yes to the Dress” and other wedding-related TV shows. Broughton has taken charge of many other weddings besides her own for several years now, ever since she and a friend first started a wedding coordinating business as a creative outlet away from their office jobs, and it took off after Amy, a co-host on the Bobby Bones show, became their first client.
Although Blue Box Events (named after the box that accompanies a Tiffany engagement ring) is being phased out so that Broughton can focus exclusively on Blue Bridal, the business taught her a lot, including where some of the best wedding reception venues are in town. These include the Texas Federation of Women’s Mansion on San Gabriel Street, Mercury Hall off South First Street and Camp Lucy in Dripping Springs. (Broughton’s own wedding reception took place at a downtown cafe that no longer exists. The space, now Gloria’s Latin Cuisine, reminds her of how much Austin changes in a span of only a few years.)
Even though Blue Box’s final wedding is this month, Broughton still won’t be able to spend much time during the week at Blue Bridal because she works full-time as a physical education teacher at a Del Valle elementary school. She and her husband, Ben, are also expecting their first child in September and spend their free time shopping for baby clothes and furniture at stores such as Buy Buy Baby on Brodie Lane, resale shop Pumpkin Patch Children’s Store on South Lamar Boulevard and the Gro Boutique at the Hill Country Galleria off Bee Cave Parkway.
“I work about 70 hours per week, so Sundays are my days to do what I want,” she said.