Mae’s Formals opened in Burlington catering to bridal, prom and formal needs


Enter a nondescript building with windows at 3204 Division St., tucked behind Sew N’ Sew, and you’ll find a room that hasn’t changed much since the Insurance Bureau days, save for a few brightly colored clothes racks.

Walk a little further into Suite A and the shelves of dresses in the rooms of Mae’s Formals, a new full-service bridal and formal shop, come into breathtaking view, almost the feeling you get when you look at the Watching Wizard of Oz 1939 film transforming from sepia toned black and white to technicolor.

Owner and Consultant Laura Royer strives to feature gorgeous lace and satin dresses with beautiful intricate beadwork and crystals, as well as gowns in a range of bright or subtle colors and designs that are prom and homecoming ready.

Looking for a tulle prom dress or prom dress in neon, pink or lime green? Visit Maes.

“Mae is my middle name,” Royer explained.

The store has everything for the entire bridal party and stocks top designers for both bridal and formal events, such as tuxedos from Jim’s Formalwear and Geno’s Formalwear, luxury bridal accessories from Ariel Taub and shoes from Benjamin-Walk.

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“This white satin by Maggie Sottero with beaded and lace appliques and a simple train. It’s just beautiful,” she said.

Kennedy Harl, 13, an eighth grade student at Nauvoo Colusa High School, smiles Thursday after finding her dress for an upcoming school dance at Mae's Formals, a full-service shop for all bridal and formal needs that Laura Royer in Burlington.  Harl says she went to 10 dress stores, including those in Iowa City and Galesburg, Illinois, before finding her dress in Burlington.  Seen from left are Tricia Durable, Mae's Formals employee, Laura Royer, owner, and Stacie, Kennedy's mother.

It really is.

A crowd attended as Greater Burlington Partnership performed a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the store on Thursday noon.

“We’re excited to be here in Burlington,” said Royer.

Royer said she hopes cutting the ribbon will help spread the word about the growing business.

Since opening her doors on Jan. 8, Royer said she’s had a number of clients and hired another consultant.

“We were very busy with prom,” she said. Some bridal shoppers “were blown away by the selection.”

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Buying a wedding dress a “special emotional moment”

Brides-to-be tend to come with a certain style in mind based on what they’ve seen online.

“What you see on social media may not necessarily be what you want to vote for,” Royer said.

As a consultant, she helps brides find the dress they really want, whether they’re looking for an embellished, romantic, vintage, dreamy, or an elegant and simple style, during special two-hour “Very Important Bride” quality appointments.

Laura Royer, owner of Mae's Formals, a full-service shop for all bridal and formal needs, in Burlington Thursday.

Buying a wedding dress “is a special emotional moment for (the brides). I want to give them time to find something they didn’t know they were looking for,” she said.

She is well-trained with designers such as Augusta Jones, whose dresses are designed to flatter all body types, and creations by Martin Thornburg, whose designs seek to capture each bride’s personality.

New items arrive every day, and Royer was expecting a handmade veil from Taub on Thursday. These come with the option to monogram it with the bride’s initials.

Brides sometimes buy two dresses, one for the reception, and dresses with detachable lace sleeves are also popular.

Measurements are taken and each dress is specially ordered.

The shop also makes recommendations for changes.

Maura Watkins, 18, a senior at Central Lee High School, tries on a prom dress Thursday while Tricia Durable, a clerk at Mae's Formals, secures the back of the dress in Burlington.

Royer Body Shop customers were likely helped by Laura, the office manager at her husband’s auto repair shop.

Her new endeavor came with positive support from family and friends after she put together an amazing look for her daughter’s homecoming dance, from her dress to accessories to crystal rhinestone Nikes.

“My husband said, ‘She’s like your little creation when she’s done,'” she said.

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Opening hours of Mae’s Formals, location

Mae’s Formals is located at 3204 Division St., Suite A. Custom bridal gown shopping appointments are available Monday through Friday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, including weekends. Walk-ins are welcome to shop for prom or other dresses Monday-Friday 4pm-7pm, Saturday 10am-7pm and Sunday 12pm-5pm.

To learn more about Mae’s Formals, people can visit the company’s Facebook page, Instagram or call (319) 209-2043. A website for the company will go live next week.


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