I had the privilege of sitting down with Cheri Rice of Personal Touch Bridal Agency for a Studio Veil Spotlight feature. Cheri has been in the wedding industry for many, many years, and even joked with me multiple times that she plans to continue officiating until she’s “horizontal!”
Here’s her feature.
Tell me about yourself and the history of Personal Touch Bridal Agency…
“We chose our name, Personal Touch Bridal Agency, in 1979 and we’ve been wedding related since then. Growing up my mom was a caterer and when I got married she had a very good friend who was a millinery, and a millinery is someone who does mostly hats, and she also did clothing and alterations. She also helped out on site on the day of the wedding. She would come and help the bridesmaids get dressed, helped distribute the flowers and instructed the ushers, and I thought “That’s pretty cool. I would love to do something like that at some point in time.” So it evolved through a flower business, and then one day I was at the library and I saw there was an association of bridal consultants. I ended up contacting them and going to one of the first meetings they ever had in Chicago. So then I got into wedding planning and coordinating, and I did that for a number of years. The Association of Bridal Consultants expanded out, we got a state branch in Minnesota and they named me the state coordinator of the association. I did that for about 10 years while I was also consulting. My husband and I then decided to do videography, and we did that for about 15 years until we decided to do something a bit easier and lighter, and because I had been to so many meetings with brides as a consultant, especially photography meetings, we decided to start doing photography and have been doing that for about 20 years now. In 2001 we rented a space in Anoka and we sold invitations, rented tuxes and we even put a little chapel right in that space. It had 24 cute little chairs and an arch and candles, and I started officiating for couples who wanted a very small wedding. I didn’t start off doing a lot of officiating, but it now seems to be something that is evolving.”
What are your top core values?
“I think giving good services for a price that people can actually afford is important. I believe in giving good value, good moral code where you’re honest and don’t take advantage of people. Just being honest, open and upfront with people. We are Christians and believe that somebody is watching you so you better be good!”
What sets Personal Touch Bridal Agency apart from its competition?
“I think my passion for weddings really sets me apart. I was with two couples recently and they both told me that they can see that I have a passion for what I do, and that I love it and really work hard for it, and that I must know what I’m talking about because I’ve been doing this for almost forever.
I know I’m not better than anyone else out there, but I have a passion for it and I truly enjoy it. I told my husband I’m probably going to die at a wedding because I’m not going to quit until I have to! I also told him if we’re driving on our way to a wedding and we get into an accident where I have to go to the hospital, or I die, that I want him to go to the wedding, do what you have to do, and then come see me after!”
Have the changes in wedding trends over the years affected your business in any way?
“We went digital when digital came up, and a lot of other photographers said they weren’t going to go digital, and they quit. As a quote on quote older photographer and officiant, I’ve seen a lot trend differently. I’m a very traditional person, but I know, people do what they want to do. As far as trends, you see it all. Different style gowns, tuxes, bow ties are coming back…
I don’t keep up with them as much anymore, but weddings are weddings.”
What do you like to do in your free time?
“I like to read. I like to spend time with my grandchildren; we have 6. I have a few good friends and we like to get together occasionally. My husband and I like to travel too. We should have gone this year, but last winter we spent 6 months in Arizona. I’m starting to think we should have gone this year rather than last!”
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
“I’m in a lot of different directions, all the time. But when I was younger, if I had focused more on one or two things instead of 12 different things at a time, we might have been able to live off of this business. So if I could give one piece of advice it would be to maybe focus on only a few things.”
You can check out Cheri’s website and find out more about her services here: https://www.ptbridal.com