Back stories are always interesting. “How did you get where you are and why do you still love what you do?”
Founded in 1980 in Columbia, Missouri, Nolte’s Bridal (and next door, Nolte’s Flowers) offered gowns, tuxedos, flowers, stationery and wedding coordinating at the first of eventually three stores in that city.
During this time, National Bridal Service (Top 200 stores in U.S.) took note of the success and awarded membership into the professional organization. Likewise, Michael Nolte became the first man (in a then female-dominated industry) to be licensed as a Certified Wedding Planner.
As national magazines started featuring “Real Weddings,” the first one from the Midwest ever spotlighted was one he coordinated. Entitled “A Moment in Missouri Magic,” the article debuted in Elegant Bride magazine May 1991. As a planner, it was the ultimate compliment. The following year, the developers of the highly desirable Hawthorne Plaza recruited him to expand into the Kansas City market. Nolte’s Bridal is one of the three original businesses to open there. There are now 49 stores in the freshly renovated upscale shopping center.
The success of the Overland Park store was immediate as Nolte’s also became a source of evening dresses and Debutante gowns and brought the famous line of Priscilla of Boston bridals back to Kansas City.
During that period, Nolte developed a reputation for gown design and was privileged to dress two back-to-back Miss America’s, Debbye Turner and Marjorie Vincent, in his designs.
After two years of running two bridal salons 130 miles apart, the Nolte family moved to Leawood.
Nolte continued his work with N.B.S. and wrote the book for future certification of wedding planners enrolled in Weddings Beautiful, the educational arm of the organization.
In 2007, Nolte’s Bridal expanded again with a second store in the Northland’s beautiful Briarcliff Village. During those five years, he co-authored the book “Stylish Weddings” with friend Mary Carol Garrity, the owner of Nell Hills.
The year 2008 was an exciting year of even more growth as the retailer, planner, author and speaker now added “Designer” to his resume. The introduction of the Michael Nolte Collection opened in 40 bridal stores in the country.
Nolte was also the founder and host of the magical bridal event, WHITE, for many years. It was an afternoon designed for engaged couples and their parents as they enjoyed small group vendor visits, a sit-down luncheon, the presentation “Ten Tips to Keep Your Wedding Amazing,” and a runway show with champagne and dessert.
He is a sought after speaker for both large international industry conferences and intimate wedding planning seminars.
In 2012, an opportunity to expand the operation at Hawthorne Plaza allowed the inventory to be all under one roof and the company remains one of the longest running privately owned bridal salons in the nation. Nolte is now the Vice-President of National Bridal Service.
Presently two of his three daughters have joined the company and continue the tradition of bridal shopping being the once-in-a-lifetime experience it should be. Customers love the privacy of the large dressing rooms, the relaxed country club like ambience and the effervescent tips and guidance offered.
The store remains ranked as Number One Bridal Store in Kansas City and is grateful for the dozens of kind reviews the brides offer to write.
At Nolte’s the tagline “Where it’s more than just a dress,” comes alive every day.
Nolte’s third book, “Wonder-filled Weddings, my 35 years as a planner” is due out in Fall 2015.