From Birmingham to Bergdorf
Heidi Elnora's 15 Year Journey
Words by Claire Pool
Understanding what it means to create a bride’s most precious purchase is a gift not many have, but Heidi Elnora does. Over the last 15 years, her bridal boutiques have seen families return for each of their daughters and grow because of word-of-mouth referrals—and she's had clientele from all over because of her deep understanding of designing wedding dresses.
“I started designing wedding dresses because I wanted to create the most treasured garment a woman would ever own, and I’ve worked to also make the bridal experience at my atelier a treasured memory for everyone who walks in the door,” Heidi says.
Being responsible for a woman’s dream wedding gown is a heavy task to carry on your shoulders, but Heidi does it with such grace. After her debut on Project Runway in 2005, she opened her first store Heidi Elnora Atelier in the heart of downtown Birmingham in 2006.
“At the time, I wasn’t an overly confident designer, but participating on that show was a wake-up call in helping me realize that I am good at what I do. It allowed me to reflect on how I could use my talents for the greater good,” Heidi added. Her time on the TV series allowed her to see what her contribution to the greater good could be- brides-to-be.
“Every year there is a new opportunity, and as I reflect on the last 15 years, I truly am amazed as to what I have been able to accomplish. I have tried to be a faithful, humble servant, and I feel blessed to be where I am now.”
Over the last 15 years, Heidi has not only hosted her own reality show on TLC, Bride by Design, she has also opened up two bridal boutiques in Birmingham and Auburn, Alabama. Her flagship, Heidi Elnora Atelier, located on Historic Morris Avenue in Birmingham has attracted a large following. Her Auburn boutique, called Build-A-Bride™, is a sister store to her flagship. Build-A-Bride™ allows brides to choose from any silhouette and a ranging budget to create their perfect wedding dress.
To celebrate her 15th anniversary, she has some big and exciting plans. As part of her anniversary, Heidi’s 15th anniversary collection will be premiering at Bergdorf Goodman on 5th Avenue in New York City this October 1st and 2nd. Her relationship with Bergdorf Goodman started with the men’s fashion director, Bruce Pask. They were both fashion leaders that served as mentors to young designers and sparked a friendship that led to the connection for this collection.
The collection will also show during New York Fashion Week Bridal on October 8th. Containing 13 pieces, Heidi describes this collection as reflective, refined, and resilient. “This is my favorite collection I have ever designed, and I’m honored to have such a big platform to debut it to the world,” Heidi said. The collection will also be available exclusively at her flagship atelier in downtown Birmingham on Morris Avenue.
In addition to her collection, later this year, Heidi will be opening her third store, a Build-A-Bride™ boutique in Huntsville, Alabama. As part of her 15th anniversary, this location opening in historic Five Points is set to open in November of 2021. After years of successful work in central and south Alabama, Heidi is excited to be able to serve Huntsville brides with the same care and detail she carries in the rest of her stores.