Say yes to the dresses

As Angel to Apple's Kelly Hessinger was trying on a wedding gown, she commented on the piece's beading and tulle.

"It's very Cinderella-esque," remarked boutique owner Jamie Symmonds.

Ironically, the white dress is one from a collection bestowed on Symmonds by something of a fairy godmother (OK, technically a male acquaintance). With between 45 and 50 new gowns, Symmonds plans to hold her own magical ball on Sunday, Feb. 12. Angel to Apple hosts a one-day bridal gown sample sale from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.    

"(The donor said,) 'I have all these dresses - is there something you maybe could do with them?' " Symmonds said.

In response, she planned an event featuring wine tastings (courtesy of Savory Sips), music from Tony Petrocelli (of Lewiston Music), pictures by Shannon Martino of Martino Photographics and custom-made hair accessories with Jamie Andrews of Cutie Head Couture.

"I thought it would be more of a draw for the buyers," Symmonds said.

Of course, the wedding gowns will be front and center. Symmonds said such dresses retail anywhere from $100 to $20,000-plus. The ones in her store will be sold for up to 40 percent off the listed price.

"In the economy today, I think this is a pretty good deal," Symmonds said.

Lewiston's Mary Leach, who has tailored wedding dresses for 40 years, will be at Angel to Apple for this special sale. She said, "Everything's going to be custom to the person's size and shape."

While Leach said brides-to-be should have some idea of what they're looking for in a wedding dress before arriving,"Be open to suggestions," she suggested.

Symmonds invited River Region retailers to participate in her event because, "I thought it would be a good chance to promote local business," she said.

Savory Sips owner Rebecca Christie is bringing exclusive wines from Italy, Argentina and Spain.

"I'm looking forward to hearing what everyone's opinion is," she said. "I'm looking forward to making it lighthearted and fun for all the brides."

Petrocelli will showcase some of the musical samplings he offers for wedding ceremonies and cocktail hours.

"You're guaranteed a good vibe," he said of such events. "It's always a good experience. ... It's always fun. Everyone's always in a good mood."

Angel to Apple invites women to be the belle of the ball and drop in for this one-day sample sale. For more information, call 579-4838. The store is located at 451 Center St.

•Angel to Apple is the recipient of the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce's Lewiston Business of the Year award. Symmonds will receive the honor at the annual Chamber Gala in June.

Symmonds received word of her store's accolade on Wednesday.

"I was smiling all day. ... It was so nice," she said.

"It was a big surprise and a big honor," Symmonds said.

A staunch supporter of local business - and a noted mentor to new businessowners - Symmonds said the pat-on-the-back is much appreciated.

"That'll keep me going for years," she said. "It was completely unexpected."

"I am just very humbled and very honored," she added. "I love Lewiston; I love being a part of this community."

Angel to Apple is offering 10 percent off store purchases to all customers attending the Chamber Gala. To qualify, patrons can bring in a ticket (when available) or a business card.

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