Upon walking into The Bridal Path in Banner Hall, customers will notice the multitude of dresses, with all manner of tulle and silk and lace and English netting and other fabrics greeting brides, mothers of the bride, flower girls and bridesmaids.
Someone with a sharp eye may notice that the store doesn't carry white dresses. It carries ivory-colored dresses (something owner Gail Savage says it does on purpose), along with ones with undertones of blush pink, Champagne, mocha and even ones with blue, green and purple undertones. Savage says she's getting a dress shipped in soon that has watercolor flowers on it.
Non-white dresses are a trend in the bridal world, but she's not sure if it'll take off in the state. "Whether a Mississippi bride will step out of the box, I don't know," she says. "But our girls do buy a lot of colored undertones."
Savage, who was born in Iowa but has lived in places such as Midway Atoll in Hawaii, Imperial Beach, Calif., Guam, Atlanta, and Myrtle Beach, S.C., among others, currently owns The Bridal Path with her daughter, Olivia. Savage graduated from the University of South Carolina with a bachelor's degree in business in 1985. She moved to Jackson 25 years ago and began working at The Bridal Path in 2013.
Rosemary Douglas, the original owner, started the business with her friends in 1970, and over the years, bought her friends out, and then her daughter, Luanne Mashburn, began working there. By the time Savage began working at the boutique, Douglas had been working there for about 44 years, and Mashburn had been there for 35 years. They were looking to retire, and Savage says she and Olivia taking over was a good fit for everyone. The business did a year of transition, and they officially took the reins in January 2015.
"I wouldn't have done this if (Olivia) had not been involved because she's been a huge part of it," Savage says. "We're partners, and we've always both been really into fashion."
While brides are a huge part of The Bridal Path's business, Savage says she also likes to cater to mothers of the bride.
"We love to make a mom look fashionable, and not just like a regular mother of the bride or mother of the groom," she says. "... We have women come in here fighting over dresses." She says a couple of weeks ago, a mother came in and tried a dress on, then left to get an accessory for it. When she came back, someone else had bought the dress.
Savage's favorite part of her job is making brides and others happy when they find the perfect dress. Her least favorite part? When a bride brings an entourage in. She says it's better if she brings in one, two or three people.
Savage also has a son, Spencer, who is studying for a master's in business administration degree at Millsaps College.