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Shawnee bridal shop offering appointments, event planning amid COVID-19

Elisabeth Slay
The Shawnee News-Star
The Swanky Okie Weddings bridal shop expanded in March.
The Swanky Okie Weddings bridal shop expanded in March.

Despite having to close for a few months due to COVID-19, Shawnee bridal shop Swanky Okie Wedding reopened its doors in May and now offers dress appointments, event planning and help with last minute wedding details.

According to owner Chanda Carreon, she closed the doors of Swanky Okie Weddings March 12 which was two weeks after she expanded her shop.

“So I doubled my space and of course my rent and then had to turn around and close the doors,” Carreon said. 

The business owner said while it was hard for her to close, she is glad to be back in business and since reopening the community has been very supportive.

“Shockingly it’s gone really well. I’ve actually been doing a lot better,” Carreon said. “I’ve had people calling me from places I never would’ve imagined.” 

Carreon said due to COVID-19 many people who had weddings set for this year have had to cancel their plans.

“Last minute wedding stuff everybody pretty much comes to me because there’s no place to go because other places (it) takes months to get the stuff in,” Carreon said. 

In addition to resuming bridal dress appointments, Carreon said she has also started planning weddings again and offers her shop as a venue for small ceremonies of 10 people or less. 

“I’ve started going back to doing wedding planning and I’ve got three weddings that I am doing right,” Carreon said.

Carreon said she has implemented several social distancing policies and safety measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus as brides try on dresses and families attend the appointments. 

“I’m very fortunate in that I am not like most stores. I don’t get a bunch of people at a time anyway,” Carreon said. “I have had to limit it to where parties can have no more than 10 and I leave it up to them if they want to wear masks or not...we (wear masks).”

The mother of two said she does not allow multiple brides and their parties in the shop at once. Only one bride at a time can enter the store as they browse dresses and other wedding accessories. 

The business owner also said she regularly sanitizes surfaces in between appointments. 

“We even wash down the hangers of the dresses we use just in case somebody touched them,” Carreon said. “It’s one of those things you just don’t know what to expect right now.” 

Though COVID-19 is a challenge, Carreon said she’s glad to help people have their special day even during a global pandemic.

“When is  (COVID-19) going to end? That’s why (I do it). There’s no way to know when it’s going to end,” Carreon said. “You can’t put everything in your world on hold for that.”

The wedding planner said the safety of others during this pandemic is of course important, but as long as people take the necessary precautions, they can still have their wedding day even if it wasn’t what they originally thought.

Carreon said she hopes she can help people plan their big classy weddings again soon, but in the meantime she will continue helping couples have their special day.