Paula Pryer and Ethel Lawrence met on the tennis court as teenagers.
It was friends at first site.
Paula loved how Ethel was always encouraging the other players – even when they were losing.
So after the match, Paula walked up to Ethel and said she wanted to be friends.
Nearly six decades later, that friendship still continues. You could say they’re pretty much joined at the hip – as well as by name.
Knowing they wanted to do more than just play tennis, the two decided to embark on a business venture. Paula had always been fascinated by fashion and Ethel knew she wanted to run her own business.
In 1976 Wedding by Paulette was founded – but not without its challenges. The bank would not allow “two girls” to get a small business loan – so their husbands had to co-sign.
They rented a small space behind a jewelry shop in Millersville – but their minds where already with the fashion designers of New York, which is where they bought most of their inventory.
Lancaster was hardly a mecca for haute couture back in those days, but Paula and Ethel were determined to bring it here. In 1980 they decided to hold their first bridal show at the Eden Resort Inn. Despite two back-to-back snowstorms, the show was flooded with blushing brides-to-be.
The dynamic duo continues to be a force in the Lancaster wedding scene. They are constantly updating inventory to stay on the leading edge of bridal styles. After expanding the store in Millersville, the two decided to move to a more central location in Manheim Township in 2014.
Although wedding fashions have changed – Paula and Ethel’s approach to customer service has not. They hand-pick every dress and directly involve their employees in the buying process. The bride’s buying experience is of utmost importance. From no-pressure selling to extended fitting sessions to free and convenient off-street parking – “Paulette” knows the importance of helping each bride begin a new chapter of her life.
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