After 18 months of delayed and cancelled weddings for so many couples in Shropshire and beyond, Lynsey Sayers is looking forward to opening her new bridal boutique, Cici's Happy Ever After, on Queen Street in Market Drayton.
Lynsey, who is a financial director in her every day role, has started the business, which opens on Friday, and enlisted the help of her best friend of 18 years, Carla Taylor, to manage the shop.
The past 18 months have been tough for the wedding industry, and for couples wanting to tie the knot, so Lynsey and Carla are hoping to inject some enjoyment back into wedding planning.
"I was always looking for a side business as I am a financial director day to day," Lynsey explained.
"I will manage the business from the background, whereas Carla will be doing the day-to-day running.
"The shop will be doing wedding planning as well which will be really nice for us and for customers. Having a wedding boutique is obviously a nice thing to do, you are constantly surrounded by prettiness.
"But we want to make a nice experience for customers as well after the last 18 months or so.
"That's our key drive in terms of giving people who come in the kind of experience they may have missed out on – we want it to be relaxing and fun.
"So many people have had to delay multiple times and some have not even attempted to event start planning a wedding because of the uncertainty.
"Now that things are, fingers crossed, opening back up again, we are able to help them and get a little bit excitement going for them, which is what it should be.
"If couples have had to postpone their wedding multiple times then it puts a damper on the fun aspect of it really. Hopefully we can now provide that for them."
The shop is named after Lynsey's four year old daughter Sienna – who her brother calls 'CiCi'.
Lynsey said having a personal connection to the shop was important, and having Carla on board, as someone she has known for a long time, makes the adventure all the more exciting.
Carla added: "I have worked in retail for over 30 years and before the pandemic I had actually retrained as cabin crew but then Covid hit. Lynsey asked if I would manage the shop and I said yes – it will be a new adventure.
"People have had to put weddings on hold or cancel them over the past year and a half, so we are really excited to help couples celebrate their big day."