By Amy Wenk
Victoria Woods, 19, isn’t getting married for three years.
But that didn’t stop her from traveling to Sandy Springs from middle Tennessee to begin her search for the perfect wedding dress.
On Aug. 7, Woods, her mother and her little sister stopped in at bridals by lori on Hammond Drive.
The store is the setting for the TV reality show “Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta” on TLC. The show, which chronicles a bride-to-be’s search for her wedding dress, officially launched Aug. 6. The series airs at 9 p.m. Fridays.
“I had never heard of [the store],” Woods said before the reality show aired. So while vacationing, the Woods family decided to drop in. “We thought, ‘Let’s just go look at it and see what it’s like.’”
Lori Allen, owner of bridals by lori, is seeing more and more star-struck girls come to her shop.
“Immediately, our phone started ringing more,” Allen said. “We were busier on the weekend. … That part I’m really thankful for. I think it’s going to do nothing but help our business.”
Allen opened shop in 1980 in the Centre Court shopping center just across Sandy Springs Circle from her current location.
“One thousand square feet, four dressing rooms, tacky Wedgwood blue with curtains,” Allen said. “I thought it was the greatest store ever. I was just out of college … and just hung in there. Every dime we made I put back in it.”
Allen now operates a 25,000-square-foot bridal shop with 1,000 wedding dresses and about 50 employees.
Allen said she was contacted by the production company for “Say Yes to the Dress” about a year ago. Filming began in January, and interviews for the TV show continue to be filmed each Tuesday.
“We just had our first show, and the ratings were great,” Allen said. “TLC was thrilled to death, and we were just thrilled to death, too, with the ratings.”
Allen said TLC network executives told her to prepare for a mad rush of brides-to-be.
“It’s advertising I could totally never afford,” Allen said. “It’s just great for the store. It’s great for the city.”
One thing Allen isn’t prepared for?
“Yesterday I was at Phipps and this lady comes up and grabs my arm,” Allen said. “She was like, ‘I saw you and I saw the show Friday!’ … They act like they know you. That part of it is strange to me still and I got to get used to it, ya know.”
“This is wild,” Allen said. “So many people watch the show.”