MANSFIELD – Ayla Yard wiped tears of joy from her eyes as she stood next to her husband, surrounded by family, friends and an array of wedding dresses.
Yard’s own wedding day has come and gone, but she hopes to make an impact on many more brides with her new shop, Ayla’s Bridal and Formal.
Ayla’s celebrated with a grand opening Friday, just a month after launching the shop at 1341 Lexington Avenue. Yard was visibly moved by the small crowd of supporters in attendance.
“She’s thankful for the community,” her husband Zac said. “She’s put her heart and soul into this and she’s putting herself out there and I think it’s awesome.”
The Yards also own Glam, a fashion boutique across the street. When they saw the vacant storefront two years ago, the couple joked that they should come up with an idea for a second business.
Earlier this year, inspiration struck.
“It was the beginning of February and we had four brides at Glam in one week,” she said. “All four of them complained about not having access to anything local that gives you a great experience when it comes to shopping for bridal gowns.”
Just 70 days later, Ayla’s Bridal and Formal opened to the public.
“I am just so proud of her and Zac,” said Laura Wilging, who sold Glam to the couple in 2020. “I think there’s such a need for that in this area. Not everybody wants to travel out of town to get something amazing.”
Yard said her ultimate goal is to give every visitor a great experience, which is why the shop is open by appointment only.
“Most of the time the brides have the boutique to themselves,” Ayla said. “We want them to be able to laugh with the people that they bring in and make a great memory.”
Melissa Kodger, a sales associate at Glam, occasionally helps out at the bridal shop.
“It’s so much fun. They’re so happy,” Kodger said. “They come in bubbly and it’s so fun to see the different dresses, how they look on each bride and how it changes her facade.”
She said the attention that clients receive is what sets the shop apart.
“They can come in for true one-on-one service. It’s truly personalized,” she said.
In addition to bridal gowns, the shop also carries dresses for prom and homecoming, dresses for the mother of the bride or groom and accessories.