BHLDN (pronounced “beholden”), Anthropologie’s curated wedding shop, opened its first Triangle location last week to accommodate the state’s soaring demand for reasonably priced bridal gowns and accessories.
Only 22 brick-and-mortar BHLDNs stipple the country’s map. Before introducing its newest store inside Raleigh’s North Hills Anthropologie, the company’s nearest in-person options were Atlanta and Washington. Even without a physical storefront, though, BHLDN conducted more business in the Carolinas than in most areas nationwide, according to David Metz, BHLDN’s regional brand director.
“We’ve had online business, where people just search for us, and one of the biggest markets for us has been the Carolinas,” Metz told The News & Observer. “So that’s why we picked North Carolina for the newest store.”
The company previously explored Raleigh’s appetite for a physical shopping experience with pop-up sales events. Support was overwhelming.
“So that’s where we come in with a smaller assortment of gowns and bridesmaid dresses and we book appointments over a weekend either in a hotel or in (Anthropologie),” Metz said. “It’s usually been one of our top-performing, all-time pop-ups, so that’s another reason why we chose this location and market.”
The permanent space arrives just in time for the year’s peak wedding season. Most weddings are in fall, Metz said, and this year’s is the first since pandemic restrictions limited many wedding options.
“Definitely there was a big hit in the first six months to a year of the pandemic,” Metz said. “Everyone was bumping their weddings and delaying their events. So now there’s a huge surge, obviously. Weddings have been like wild.”
September was “one of the biggest months we’ve seen,” he added. “We’re just constantly booking appointments and we’re very full.”
The company’s success is due in part to its diverse offerings, which cover a large swath of brides-to-be.
“What makes BHLDN great, is we have a wide range of designers and vendors for whatever the price range,” Metz said, “and you can be, you know, anywhere from 18 to 75 years old.”
The store’s least expensive options cost just a few hundred dollars, he said, while more lavish gowns can flirt with $5,000 for those seeking a somewhat bespoke experience.
“We do try to just make every customer happy,” Metz said. “We start with a customer that’s maybe more modest —maybe she doesn’t have that kind of money right now. And then we have the assortment for the customer that wants to go all out.”
Whatever one’s price range, BHLDN’s in-person shopping experience captures something that’s been absent through the pandemic and from online ordering.
“You’re able to bring your friends and your family and have the typical, old-school, everyone-gets-to-see-the-bride sort of experience,” Metz said. “Your stylist can pull gowns for you, and as you’re trying them on you can have a little bubbly, maybe some snacks — just make it more personalized versus online. The bride can really go in and just have the whole experience be over the top.”
To book an appointment, visit BHLDN’s Raleigh website, or call 919-787-3884. Drop-ins are also welcome at 4151 Main at North Hills St., Raleigh, NC 27609. The store is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Thursday; from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.