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Embody Bridal in Cedar Rapids provides inclusive experience for all brides-to-be

Embody Bridal in Cedar Rapids provides inclusive experience for all brides-to-be
Embody Bridal in Cedar Rapids provides inclusive experience for all brides-to-be
Embody Bridal in Cedar Rapids provides inclusive experience for all brides-to-be
Embody Bridal in Cedar Rapids provides inclusive experience for all brides-to-be
Embody Bridal in Cedar Rapids provides inclusive experience for all brides-to-be
Embody Bridal in Cedar Rapids provides inclusive experience for all brides-to-be
Embody Bridal in Cedar Rapids provides inclusive experience for all brides-to-be
Embody Bridal in Cedar Rapids provides inclusive experience for all brides-to-be
Embody Bridal in Cedar Rapids provides inclusive experience for all brides-to-be
Bride Noel Mills of Iowa City talks with friend Sarah Henry of Chicago while looking through dresses to try on at her appointment at Embody Bridal in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. Mills is getting married in December of 2022 and was looking for a dress to fit her ceremony and reception. (Savannah Blake/The Gazette)
Bride Noel Mills of Iowa City looks through a rack of wedding dresses while picking out some to try on during her wedding dress appointment at Embody Bridal in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. Owner Erin DeRycke also picked out several dresses for Mills to try on during her time at the store. (Savannah Blake/The Gazette)
Embody Bridal Owner Erin DeRycke talks about the alterations that can be made to the wedding dress as bride Noel Mills gets the opinions of her friends and family during her dress appointment at Embody Bridal in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. The bridal shop allows an array of alterations to be made to most of the dresses that are carried in the store to fit the taste and style of the bride. (Savannah Blake/The Gazette)
Embody Bridal Owner Erynn DeRycke talks with Noel Mills about what kinds of dress she is looking for at the start of her appointment at Embody Bridal in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. DeRycke started her shop with the goal of catering to all body shapes and sizes. In 2019 she was diagnosed with an eating disorder and wanted other women to feel like they felt loved and accepted when shopping for a wedding dress. (Savannah Blake/The Gazette)
Alex There and mother of the bride Cathy Mills react as Noel Mills walks out in a wedding dress at Embody Bridal in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. (Savannah Blake/The Gazette)
Noel Mills of Iowa City wear an Embody Robe while talking with her friends and family after trying on a few dresses at Embody Bridal in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. (Savannah Blake/The Gazette)
Embody Bridal Owner Erynne DeRycke puts a sleeve of lace on bride Noel Mills’s arm to show what the dress could look like with alterations and additions during her dress appointment at Embody Bridal in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. DeRycke customizes the bridal experience so that each appointment allows the bride to have the whole store to herself with a personalized shopping experience. The dresses in her store have the ability to be ordered up to a size 44 and most can be customized to fit the needs of the bride. (Savannah Blake/The Gazette)
Noel Mills of Iowa City poses for a picture to look back on during her wedding dress appointment at Embody Bridal in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. (Savannah Blake/The Gazette)
A collection of wedding dresses are displayed with the shop name on the hanger at Embody Bridal in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. Embody Bridal offers a variety of dress styles and can accommodate brides of all sizes. (Savannah Blake/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Embody Bridal is a new addition to downtown Cedar Rapids that is built on size inclusivity in the bridal industry. The store, located at 323 Third St SE, is stocked with a variety of gowns, has spacious dressing rooms and offers total privacy from other shoppers — these are things not all bridal shops offer.

Dress shopping is a vulnerable experience. The wedding dress is heralded as the most important garment brides will ever wear. Embody Bridal owner Erynn DeRycke built the boutique to be a relaxed, body-positive environment to calm anxieties while shopping.

“While you’re here you get the store to yourself with just me,” DeRycke said. “It works really well to build a comfortable environment for everyone involved.”

DeRycke’s past experience with an eating disorder led her to open Embody Bridal. In 2019, DeRycke researched the experiences people had in different sized bodies and the lack of options for them on store racks.

“They’re not the ‘ideal’ body shape so they don’t get treated with the same amount of respect,” DeRycke said. “Through my research, I realized there’s this need for this body inclusivity piece in the bridal industry.”

The average clothing size of American women is between sizes 16 and 18. In bridal sizing, that puts the average woman between a size 18 to 22 depending on the designer. For DeRycke, her business is not centered on fitting in a dress, it’s about finding a dress that embodies the personal style of each bride.

Embody Bridal carries the customizable designers Casablanca Bridal and Moonlight along with size-inclusive line Glamour Plus from Roz La Kelin. Glamour Plus stood out to DeRycke because their size chart goes up to size 44.

“Typically you can find designer lines that carry up to sizes 26-28 and that’s where it caps,” DeRycke said. “They’re getting a little bit better where they’re getting up to a 36, but when I found (Glamour Plus) I knew I needed to have it in the store.”

DeRycke’s best friend Sam Boddicker said she has been the “sounding board” for all things related to Embody Bridal. From helping move and unpacking to being a live model at wedding expos, Boddicker has been there each step of the way.

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“I think (Erynn) does a really good job of helping people see that they should not be talking negatively about themselves,” Boddicker said. “She’s just great at talking to people and feeling what people are feeling and what they need, which is why I think she’s great for this industry.”

Embody Bridal's grand opening and open house is set for Friday, March 18.

Comments: bailey.cichon@thegazette.com