Formal approach

Written by Dick Mason, The Observer April 10, 2013 09:06 am

Kara Rudd, Serendipity owner and founder, readies a window display at her bridal and formal wear boutique in La Grande. The shop’s new extension contains items high school students need to prepare for their proms, including dresses and shoes. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)
Kara Rudd, Serendipity owner and founder, readies a window display at her bridal and formal wear boutique in La Grande. The shop’s new extension contains items high school students need to prepare for their proms, including dresses and shoes. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)

Bridal shop expands, marks 10th year and gears up for prom season 

by DICK MASON / The Observer 

A new wing at Serendipity is helping prom season take flight in Union County.

Serendipity, a bridal and formal wear boutique, has opened an extension to its store. The wing is filled with everything high school students need to prepare for their proms, including elegant short and long dresses in a wide spectrum of colors, dress shoes and tuxedos.  

The number of high school students visiting the new wing is soaring as prom season begins in Union County. Proms start here this weekend and will run through the end of the month. 

The extension at Serendipity is the latest step forward for a store now celebrating its 10th anniversary. Kara Rudd, the store’s owner and founder, smiles when reflecting upon the passage of the past 10 years.

 “Sometimes it seems like yesterday, sometimes it feels like forever ago,’’ Rudd said. 

Rudd, who grew up in La Grande, opened Serendipity to fill a void. There were no bridal shops in this area when she opened Serendipity. Today, Serendipity remains the only bridal and formal wear boutique in Union and Wallowa counties. Rudd said that running her store is a labor of love.

 “I’ve always had an entrepreneurial interest. I can’t think of anything I like doing more than running a formal wear shop,’’ Rudd said.

Serendipity is now at its third location. The store opened in 2003 on west Adams Avenue next to the offices of KCMB radio. A year later, Rudd moved her store to 1511 Adams Ave., where it operated for eight to nine years. Rudd moved her store to its present location in July 2012. Rudd said she believes this is the best place yet for her store because it is more centrally located.

“This is exciting. It is the core of downtown,’’ Rudd said.

Kara Rudd displays a wedding dress at Serendipity bridal boutique located in La Grande. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)
Kara Rudd displays a wedding dress at Serendipity bridal boutique located in La Grande. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)
 

The features of the new location of Serendipity include skylights that provide an abundance of natural lighting, exposed brick walls and lots of open space, which Rudd said customers find inviting.

“This space suits the feel for what I have had in mind for the store,’’ Rudd said.

 The new Serendipity wing, a spacious room on its east side, opened in March. Following prom season, the wing will serve as a bridal outlet, featuring deeply discounted wedding apparel. 

The prom season is now entering its peak, and soon the wedding season will heat up in Union County. This means there will an increased demand for Serendipity’s wide range of wedding gowns, bridesmaid dresses, undergarments, jewelry and more. 

Rudd said she believes an increasing number of weddings in Northeast Oregon are being conducted in August and September, whereas previously June and July were peak months. 

The reason for this trend is not a mystery. 

“A lot of it has to do with the weather. More people like to have outdoor weddings, and the weather is better in August and September,’’ Rudd said. 

Regardless of the time of year, Rudd finds her work exciting, especially the opportunity to help people prepare to experience emotional milestones in their lives. Rudd takes on many roles as she helps couples prepare for proms and weddings.

“I try to be a counselor, friend and fashion stylist,’’ Rudd said. “I wear a lot of hats. It is a lot of fun.’’

Rudd urges people to relax when preparing for weddings and proms. She said she believes that people sometimes spend too much time worrying about small things at their wedding or prom like a scuffed shoe or a bead falling off a dress. Instead, Rudd said they should be looking at the big picture. 

“The little imperfections are not what you will remember,” Rudd said. “Twenty years from now you will just be remembering the great time you had with your friends.’’