Bridal Fashion on a Shoestring Budget

Bridal Fashion on a Shoestring Budget

Spark Bridal opens with a fashion show and prices you’ll love.

By Kaitlyn Murray
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Spark Bridal Outlet in Cranston. Photo courtesy of Laura Zabbo.

There aren’t very many little girls who haven’t given at least some thought to what their wedding might be like. Most have dreamed about floating down the aisle like a Disney princess before they’ve even come to the conclusion that boys might (crazily enough) actually be cootie-free. But then those girls grow up. We learn that cuddly woodland creatures won’t do our chores for us, charming princes no longer ride around on white horses and there are no fairy godmothers waiting in the wings to bestow us with the perfect dress. Planning a wedding is often complicated, time consuming and, worst of all, expensive. Many brides-to-be discover that their dream dress may simply too much for their budget. [Editor’s tip: Your attire should only account for 10 percent of your total budget.]

But that may no longer have to be the case for some Rhode Island brides-to-be, thanks to Kim Palana and Laura Zabbo, the mother-daughter team behind Spark Bridal in Cranston. This new boutique, which will celebrate its opening with a fashion show in Rolfe Square on June 28, caters to today’s fashion-forward brides: women who appreciate high-end designs but want a bargain. Spark Bridal gives brides a chance to purchase designer gowns without breaking the bank. How? Engaged caught up with Zabbo, a Cranston native, to find out.

How did you get into the bridal industry?

Owning a boutique is something that my mom and I have always dreamed of doing. We did a lot of research and then, in 2013, we attended International Bridal Week at the Piers in New York. We learned a lot about the industry at the annual October International Bridal Market and right then and there we decided exactly what we wanted to do. We wanted to bring the outlet version of a beautiful boutique to Rhode Island. It does exist, the kind of model that we do, but we wanted to bring it to our girls in southern New England.

Where do you get the gowns?

The majority of our dresses, probably 95 percent, are brand new and they come directly from the designers’ manufacturing plants. The dresses are in perfect condition; the only stipulation is that they may be from a previous year. For instance, most of our current gowns are from spring and fall of 2014, and then in October we’ll get our hands on the ’15s. The dresses are either overstock or discontinued styles.Spark 4_crop

Which designers do you carry?

Oh there are so many! We have dresses by Maggie Sottero, Enzoani, James Clifford, a couple from Essence of Australia, Casablanca, and, of course, Allure. We also carry a fantastic new designer from Australia named Roz LaKelin, who has a line that specializes in plus sizes. It’s really incredible the designers that we get our hands on.

What sizes do you carry?

Sizes range from two to thirty and beyond. We’re making sure we’re taking care of everyone, especially those in the twenties and thirties, which can sometimes be harder to find.

What will the price range be?

We’re giving you the absolute best deal we possibly can. You’re getting about 40 to 50 percent off the original retail price, which is insane. Some even go beyond that, with up to 60 percent off. We are able to price them that way because they are discontinued. You’re getting them off the rack, but they are absolutely impeccable.

Do brides-to-be need an appointment?

We will have walk-in appointments available on Saturdays and Sundays, but we highly encourage appointments during the week in advance. The best way to do so is by calling the shop.

Can you give us a preview of your grand opening fashion show at Rolfe Square on Sunday, June 28?

It will be a New York-style fashion show featuring our best pieces to give guests an idea of our inventory. The models will have all different types of styles, sizes and shapes so that girls can really picture themselves in the dresses. Afterward there will be a meet and mingle where guests will have the chance to make appointments and connect with a number of vendors who will be there including Fred’s Place salon, Carina e Dolce Specialty Cakes and Cookies, Ten31 and more.

Spark Bridal, 1757 Cranston St., Cranston, 464-4000,

Fashion Show Details:

When: June 28, 4 p.m.

Where: Theater 82 and Café, 82 Rolfe Sq., Cranston

Tickets: Free! But there are only eighty seats available. Email to get yours or for more information.

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