A promise kept: Woman visits world-famous bridal boutique in honour of late mother

·3 min read
Sandie Batt holds a Kleinfeld Bridal wedding dress in New York City in August. (Submitted by Sandie Batt - image credit)
Sandie Batt holds a Kleinfeld Bridal wedding dress in New York City in August. (Submitted by Sandie Batt - image credit)
Submitted by Sandie Batt
Submitted by Sandie Batt

The former owner of a bridal shop in western Newfoundland recently took the trip of a lifetime to one of the world's most famous boutiques in memory of her business partner: her mother.

Sandie Batt is the former co-owner of Mavis Fashions and Bridalwear, a venture she undertook with her mother, Mary Mavis, who was a master tailor and had owned a drapery business.

As the duo helped brides find the perfect look for their special day, they also took great pleasure in watching the TLC reality program Say Yes to the Dress, showcasing the work of Kleinfeld Bridal in New York City.

"Let's just say it's every little girl's Cinderella story," Batt told CBC News this week. "It's where Cinderella definitely comes to life. Kleinfeld's is the largest and most beautiful bridal store in the world."

Batt said she and her mother would often use the dresses showcased on Say Yes to the Dress as inspiration for their own boutique.

Submitted by Sandie Batt
Submitted by Sandie Batt

"You always tend to look up to something, whether it's just in your personal life or your business life," said Batt. For them, she said, Kleinfeld Bridal was the "epitome of consumer relationships for brides, where brides live out their dreams, customer service."

"They just excelled in all of that. So of course, it was somewhere where the two of us had decided that we were going to go. We had to go there and we had to go there together."

Unfortunately, that dream never came to fruition. Mavis died in the summer of 2010. After she was hospitalized for her illness, three months before her death, she asked her daughter to keep two very important promises.

The first was for Batt to take her children to Disney World and take a photo by Cinderella's castle on Mavis's birthday — which she did. The second was to make the trip to Kleinfeld Bridal, knowing her mother would be with her in spirit.

For more than a decade, Batt couldn't bring herself to make the trip. But that changed this year.

"There was just something that felt right. It felt like the time," she said.

Batt sent Kleinfeld Bridal an email, detailing her story, that went to the company's guest services department. She received a generic email in response, stating the public was welcome to come and take photos of the shop.

If that was all she could get, thought Batt, that would be enough.

"I still would have gotten there for us," she said, adding she had a necklace with a picture of her and Mavis that she planned to bring.

A few days after receiving the email, Batt was shocked to receive a call from a representative of the store, who explained that guest services had passed along her story to the owners, who had something bigger in mind.

Submitted by Sandie Batt
Submitted by Sandie Batt

They invited Batt and her husband to spend the afternoon with them for an all-access tour of the business, from the storefront to behind the scenes, in the alteration department. Kleinfeld Bridal suggested Aug. 17 for the tour, a date that holds particularly strong importance to Batt.

"Myself and my mom's birthdays were a big thing," said Batt. "We made each other's birthday very big. I knew right then and there [that] my mom had a big hand in this. They actually chose my birthday."

 

When the day came, Batt was wearing the locket with her mother's photo, making sure that she too was able to soak up every second of the experience.

"As soon as I walked in, it was just breathtaking," said Batt. "I've watched it on television, and to me, it was so much more than just a TV show. Oddly enough, from the moment I stepped in there, I felt like I was home and I felt like I was with friends and family. That seems odd, but I felt like I could stay there and work forever.

"I'm an emotional person, especially when it comes to my mom. The tears just flew everywhere."

LISTEN | Stephenville woman details once-in-a-lifetime trip to world-famous bridal boutique

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador