Fortune Brandel, a stylist who specializes in weddings, found herself at a venue with two electric outlets and two hours to prepare 10 bridesmaids for a wedding.
There had to be a better way.
She thought it over and began looking for a trailer with floor space and a kitchen that she could take with her to any venue.
Now, the bride and her bridesmaids can spend the hours leading up to the wedding in a beautiful, luxurious, ultra feminine space where they can relax, have fun and get ready.
“It’s for the bride’s comfort. It’s such an important, amazing day for her,” said Brandel. “It is just the right place to make magic happen,” she said.
“It’s for my comfort as well. It’s nice to have my own surroundings, all my supplies and resources, the correct lighting and windows so it is not too hot or too cold,” she said. “All these things have an effect.”
Named after her salon in Prescott, Strada Bridal Suite has been described as a Barbie’s Dream House on wheels, except there is not a drop of the color pink. Instead, it is decorated with chrome, white, grays and black with vintage furniture.
On the wedding day inside the trailer, two hairdressers and a make-up artist work on three girls at a time.
“It’s big enough for the entire wedding party to hang out,” she said.
Courtney Quinn, who used the Strada Bridal Suite for her September wedding said it helped make her day more relaxing.
“It was a beautiful setting,” she said. “It was amazing.”
She said many times at a wedding venue there is nowhere for the wedding party to get ready.
“The space isn’t big enough and it is not always pretty,” she said.
But the bridal suite was large enough for extra people.
“We had people coming in and out,” she said.
Brandel said one time there were 22 people in the trailer, including the photographer and videographer.
When she decided a trailer would solve her problems, she and her husband went on the hunt for an appropriate unit.
“My husband and I were looking for a toy hauler. I could envision it. It would have living quarters with air conditioning and heat. I would totally remodel it and make it my own style.”
They settled on a 24-by-8 trailer with living quarters.
“It was a wreck, but I liked what I saw.”
The couple tore out the floor, put in crown molding, a chandelier, plank style flooring and silver black splash in the kitchen area. They furnished it with vintage furniture and gold mirrors and a white fur rug.
“It is totally self-contained except for a bathroom. The kitchen has a fridge,” she said.
The bridal suite travels all over Northern Arizona and just about anywhere else.
One client asked her if she would consider going to Las Vegas. She thought about it for a while and said that she would.
Brandel, 39, who lives in Prescott Valley, has been a stylist for 20 years and has her own shop Strada, in Prescott. “I love weddings. Some people don’t like to do weddings.”
The secret to her success?
“I’m not afraid to fail,” she said.
So far this year, the trailer has gone to 32 different venues for 32 weddings.
“I did a handful at my salon, but most of them, I go to destinations.”
The bridesmaids are done first and the bride last so her makeup and hair will be fresh. Some brides bring their music for the space. And they can order finger foods to snack on during the process.
“One day, we had three weddings,” she said.
On the days she has off, she spends time with her family.
Her life revolves around her five-year-old daughter, her husband, William, and her career.
“That probably sums me up,” she said.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in your industry?
“You have to like people. You have to have a heart for people.”
What character traits do you look for in business associates?
“Kindness. Someone people can open up to.”
When was the last time you laughed really hard?
“I laugh hard every day. The more you laugh, the younger you stay.”
What book would you recommend to others?
“The Bible. I believe that God gives us everything. I believe I share that with people. I feel I am blessed.”
Who do you admire and why?
“I would probably say my husband, William. He’s a very strong man and is strong in the love for his family.”
To learn more about the Strada Bridal Suite, call (928)848-0480.
By Patty McCormac, QCBN