Building the Valley: Maria V's Bridal Boutique touts inclusivity … – TribLIVE

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Future brides can say yes to the dress at a new boutique in Tarentum.
The boho business is creating a buzz as the only shop of its kind in the borough.
“I want everyone to feel comfortable and welcome here,” said Madison Vargo, owner of Maria V’s Bridal Boutique.
“We’re size inclusive and on the affordable side. We have something for everyone.”
The shop opened May 1 at 122 E. Fourth Ave.

Vargo, 24, set her sights on Tarentum because she believes in its potential.
A native of Akron, Ohio, Vargo moved to Natrona Heights after graduating from Slippery Rock University.
With a degree in hospitality management, she hoped to work as a wedding coordinator, but jobs in retail steered her in a better direction, she said.
Vargo worked for a short time at upscale retailers such as Coach and Louis Vuitton before taking a job at a bridal shop in the city’s South Side.
“I knew instantly that I wanted to open my own place,” she said.
Her space along East Fourth Avenue is off the beaten path, which Vargo likes. It gives clients a bit of privacy, she said. The collection, which ranges in size from 0 to 32, is available to peruse by appointment only.
“I want people to feel comfortable and confident,” she said. “If you want to wear jeans and a T-shirt and have a relaxing time, that’s great. I want everyone to feel welcome.”
Her store, awash in neutral palettes, is appointed with boho-esque features like a pampas grass wall where brides can pose with their gown.
Shoppers will be able to browse about 50 dresses each season that range from sleek and simple to floral, lacy and jeweled.
“I want everyone to be able to come and have their own experience,” she said. “You don’t have to feel like you’re elbow to elbow with other shoppers.
“We offer all sizes and styles, and our small store is perfect for offering privacy. It’s nice for people to come in, take it slow and have your own time.”
Dresses start at less than $1,000.
Having worked in the bridal arena, Vargo is familiar with a bevy of designers and said she chose specific looks that would match the local vibe.
“We’re surrounded by barn venues out here,” she said. “I picked a lot of bohemian styles but also those for a girl who wants to sparkle.”
Council member Carrie Fox said the offering is expected to add appeal to the borough’s business district.
“This is so exciting to see an exclusive storefront opening here,” Fox said.
The shop’s name is a nod to her grandmothers on both sides of the family, Vargo said.
Inside, there are leather couches and chairs for guests to lounge while brides-to-be put on a runway show. A selection of veils, jewelry and other accessories is available.
Vargo’s current favorite pick is a $1,700 Madison James design made of Mikado fabric, which adds structure but is soft to the touch.
“It’s buttery,” Vargo said. “I love the buttons down the back.”
Clients might enjoy the customization that Vargo plans to offer as well.
“If they see something they like, we can adjust it to be their ideal vision,” she said. “We can add a strap or change the color.”
Through bridal expos and social media influencers, Vargo is working to draw people to her shop, as well as to other borough businesses.
“I want to add to the town’s appeal as a destination,” she said.
“It’s not a big town, but people can stop at the antique shops, grab some lunch and make a day of it.”
Hours are by appointment Wednesdays through Saturdays and can be booked online at
Tawnya Panizzi is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tawnya by email at or via Twitter .
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