Biz Buzz: New York woman makes bridal dresses for Latter-day Saints in eastern Idaho
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Why this non-Latter-day Saint woman makes wedding dresses for Latter-day Saint weddings
IDAHO FALLS – Finding the perfect gown to wear on that special day is every bride’s dream. But in an area where a large majority of the population are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, one of the challenges is finding a dress that’s suitable for a temple wedding.
Since 2012, a New York woman who sells bridal gowns in stores nationwide, including at Margene’s Bridal at 1791 South 25th East in Idaho Falls, found a niche making dresses for Latter-day Saint brides.
Her name is Maribel Diaz, and though she is not a member of the church, she tells EastIdahoNews.com she saw a need in the marketplace for modest wedding dresses.
“I really try to be a good listener. A lot of my trips out to Utah, Idaho and Arizona — I have friends in some of those areas. But I’ve spent a lot of time visiting stores,” Diaz says. “As I’ve listened to what brides are looking for, as well as the temple requirements, it sparked an interest in me to help that bride to look her very best while honoring whatever parameters she needed to (meet).”
Although Latter-day Saint temple standards strike some as being odd or strange, from a business standpoint, Diaz saw them as an opportunity, and it’s turned out to be a profitable venture.
“I honor what people’s philosophical or religious paths are, and I feel it’s my responsibility to make it work for that person,” says Diaz.
Her introduction to the church happened in college. She had friends that were Latter-day Saints. But she didn’t become familiar with temple weddings until she started designing bridal dresses.
She remembers an instance early on when a young woman expressed interest in the fabric and beadwork on one of her dresses but wouldn’t buy it because it was sleeveless and had a “V-neck plunge.”
“It didn’t have anything that would cover her garments. She wanted it to look stylish and add a lot of personal touches to it. I took a shot at it, and it really came out beautiful. She was super happy, her family was happy and it had all the elements that really meant something to her,” Diaz recalls.
In the process, Diaz says it’s helped her realize that faith plays an important role in business and in life.
“You have to have faith in this world. Whatever that means can be different to every person, but I am somebody who has faith,” she says.
Diaz grew up in what she describes as a “multi-ethnic and multi-denominational community.” As a young girl, she became fascinated with traditions tied to clothing.
Weddings, in particular, hold a special place in her heart and have deep spiritual meaning for her.
“Weddings, to me, are a declaration of commitment to tie together the elements of a community, family, culture and ultimately, religion,” Diaz explains. “I love to create something that becomes such an important part of someone’s journey.”
Diaz caters to all denominations, cultures and ethnic groups, and she’s looking forward to expanding her brand in Idaho and nationwide.
She says online shipments tend to peak in the month of September and the other exceptionally busy time is right after the holidays.
Power company awards $75,000 in scholarships to 15 high school graduates
ASHTON – As students from the Upper Valley head to the halls of higher education, Fall River Rural Electric Cooperative in Ashton is awarding $75,000 in scholarships to 15 students.
The scholarship program is funded by donations from members of the coop and unclaimed Patronage Capital by former members who have moved away.
Scholarship recipients are chosen based on financial need, scholastic achievement, extracurricular activities, and an essay each applicant submits. Each scholarship is valued at $2,400 and disbursed annually in increments of $600 over a four-year period.
Here are the students who received scholarships:
- Alexander Hill – North Fremont
- Brailynn Watson – North Fremont
- Brenna Wright – North Fremont
- Brooke Reynolds – North Fremont
- Desiree Dennis – Rexburg
- Elizabeth Murri – South Fremont
- Jordan Nelson – Ririe HS
- Karlee Kinghorn – Rigby HS
- Kree Bowman – North Fremont
- Lindsey Turpin – North Fremont
- Lucille Gentry – Madison HS
- Lucy Golding – Rigby HS
- Sheylaci Gunnell – North Fremont
- Trevor Pettit – Idaho Falls
- Whitney Bradshaw – Sugar-Salem
Over the history of this program, Fall River Electric has awarded over a half-million dollars in scholarships to deserving students.
Scholarship applications for 2023 will be accepted early next year, and the application forms will be available on Fall River Electric’s website.