Click to View Latest IssueClick to View Latest Issue

Angela’s Bridal and A Love Story Bridal: Making Wedding Visions Come True

By  0 Comments

Janet Cooper owns Angela’s Bridal in Albany, New York, and co-owns A Love Story Bridal in Troy, New York. With over 22 years of experience in gown design and tailoring, she is committed to making sure every bride’s experience is stellar.

Janet earned a master of fine arts in costume design at Penn State University. “I have always had a passion for bridal that goes back to when I was 11 years old,” Janet smiled. “My mother was a bridal consultant at a local salon. She took me to a bridal fashion show and I helped her dress the models in these beautiful dresses, and spent many days after school sitting next to the seamstress.”

Developing Her Passion
She began to understand construction and fit and how a garment responds to the body. Her path took her to London, where she was head of the wardrobe department at the English National Opera. However, she never lost the passion for bridal and soon began designing and handmaking gowns for brides looking for a bespoke gown of their own. Her secret wish for a bridal store of her own grew, and in 2008, she and her husband and her then-20-month-old son left London and came back to the Capital Region.

“My husband and I purchased Angela’s Bridal in Albany in 2008. Back then we were located on Western Avenue in Guilderland. It was during the great recession, a tough time for businesses of all sizes, but I knew the vision for the store, and with his support, we began marketing the vision. I have always had a strong sense of conviction and I knew what I was doing was right for us and the business,” she insisted.

The first nine months of ownership were hard, but they persevered. “Something I always held on to was the sense of purpose. It really bothered me that brides went all the way to New York City to get supposedly better service, knowing I could provide a better experience here in the Capital District. I built my team on that core idea of superior service. There have been many wonderful employees in my journey and I thank them all. Now, I have a core team of staff who have been there pretty much from day one. They include my lead seamstress, my lead sales consultant, and, of course, my mom,” she noted.

Two Gracious Locations
The final piece of Janet’s vision for Angela’s Bridal was to find a venue to match the gowns and service; therefore, they relocated to their current space, a former bank in downtown Albany. It’s a Marcus Reynolds original with Tiffany & Co. marble floors, a beautiful setting with its spacious fitting rooms. Janet says Angela’s philosophy is to listen and educate the bride on her choice. Angela’s Bridal carries top-of-the-line designers such as Paloma Blanca and Pronovias. However, Janet realized that there were also brides who wish for a more moderate price and were forced to shop at a chain store. So she and her friend, now business partner, Lisa Walters, found a location in Troy and opened the doors to A Love Story Bridal in September 2016. The store is a hybrid of designer sample gowns at a reduced price and special order retail, all under $2,000.

Janet has seen trends and changes over the years. “When the recession hit, there was a pause in elaborate bead work and lace to keep cost of the dress down. Designers focused on texture, using silk blends such as organza, and focused on how gowns were cut to highlight seam lines to create interest. The texture took on a whole new form in design; designers had a lot of fun with this while others dived deeper into clean modern lines and silhouettes. Now lace is back and a hint of sparkle, giving the shopper a large variety and more opportunity to be the individual they are.”

Current Bridal Style
She notes that V necklines are flattering with sheer underlay for drama, and sleeves of all forms. Kate Middleton started this trend in 2011 when she wed Prince William. “The sleeve dress was a must-have for all retailers; however, it did not really start to sell until 2014 in upstate New York. Now, there are all silhouettes in dresses with sleeves, lace sleeves, opaque sleeves and sheer sleeves. There is no longer a desire to cover the arm, but rather to make it a fashion statement,” she reiterated.

Hayley Paige is the It Girl right now in bridal, according to Janet, as her designs are unique and forward thinking. When someone walks through the door looking for something different, Hayley Paige provides a mix of romantic, whimsical and feminine, yet small details in cut and the use of ribbon fabric separate her from the rest.

“Pronovias is amazing in how versatile their European designs are. They fit the couture bride personality, and they are the pioneers in layering different laces, yet keeping the gowns light with a very regal and elaborate look,” she mused. “Paloma Blanca is classic and simply elegant, modern and clean, using 100 percent raw silks, making every bride look timeless.”

At A Love Story Bridal, Ivy and Aster is a new designer they are excited to introduce. The gowns are simply beautiful with a bohemian style in a timeless manner.

Dedicated to the Community
Each store holds trunk shows almost every two weeks, which allows them to feature a designer, and they hold benefits for local charities and other organizations. “I think as a business owner, I have a responsibility to improve and help the communities my businesses operate in,” she noted. “I ran in the 2016 Man/Woman of the Year Campaign to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in honor of one of my brides who had to cancel her wedding due to the fact that she had leukemia.”

Janet feels strongly about this cause, as her grandmother and a friend passed away from this disease. She is truly a woman who embraces her customers and lives her life around her ability to make people happy, and, of course, beautiful. ■

Visit and for a complete list of designers carried and upcoming event schedules.