About Us

You can buy a wedding dress anywhere, but the SE experience can't be found anywhere else.
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Our Story Our Story

Here at SE, we are a family and you can't get to know a family without getting to know the matriarch.


The matriarch isn't just the reason the family exists in the first place. The most simple definition of a matriarch is a powerful, influential woman in the community or family.


The matriarch is a leader. Someone who has completed the day-to-day and decision making of motherhood that has now been taken up by the next generation.


The matriarch is someone who has gained wisdom on their journey through life and now uses it to bring value to the world.


A matriarch has more time to spend on her personal interests and contribute to her community, while still playing a valued role in her family. It's a woman who has earned influence with people from her strengths, commitment, and ability to love with wisdom and without condition.


Her value is in her very presence. Our matriarch, Cheri, is something special.

The Early Years
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Most people admit that love is wonderful and necessary. And yet, no one can agree on what it is. The problem is, when we don't have a working definition for something, people can do great things or horrible things in its name.


And that's exactly what has happened in our world. Our lack of defining what love is has led us to use it in such a sloppy way that it eventually means almost nothing.


Ideally, our family is meant to provide a foundational definition of what love is when we are children. They model it for us in both action and intention. Demonstrating affection, care, respect, commitment, trust, honest and open communication, and last but not least, the ability to see and be seen by another. This definition of love is VITAL because it encompasses every type of relationship: business, romantic, friendship, and family.


But what happens when the definition of love modeled for a child contains abuse? Where they are shamed verbally or physically? Emotionally neglected? Exploited? Manipulated?


Even if there were moments of care, delight, and affection, abuse and neglect are, by definition, the opposite of nurturance and care. Thus, it is reasonable to state that abuse and love cannot coexist. And yet, for these children, love and abuse become enmeshed.


For most of these children, many of the negative practices they were subjected to in childhood continue in their romantic adult relationships. Cheri was one of them.


She endured two domestically violent marriages that employed every kind of abuse under the sun.


Until one day, when Cheri could no longer overlook the dysfunction and abuse by focusing good moments. Instead, Cheri grabbed her three beautiful children by the hand and broke free from all the abusive people in her life.​

Stay Soft

Despite having every reason to be hard-hearted towards life and love, Cheri did not. Instead, she stayed soft.


She sought help from the right people, took time to heal, worked hard, and showed up for her kids day in and day out. She was finally able to stand tall on her own two feet because she did the work to remove the people from her life who were consistently knocking her down and set the boundaries to ensure that those types of people stayed away.


Then Cheri met, George. After 3 years of dating one another they chose to get married. But, fairytales aren't real, and happy & healthy marriages don't always lead to an easy life. 8 days after they said their "I do's," Cheri's brother took his own life.


Her brother's suicide is ultimately what drove Cheri to start SE.


She no longer wanted to spend her days doing a job that didn't mean something to her on a deeper level. She wanted to spend her days doing something that mattered. Something that made a difference in the world.

Something that allowed her to use all of her experiences, all of her gifts, and all of the wisdom life bestowed onto her.


She had always been attracted to weddings. She loved being a witness to how a person's journey all comes together into such a big moment. Eventually this passion extended to prom as well. Not because of the pretty dresses. For Cheri, it isn't about the dresses.


Sure, attending runway shows, meeting designers, and hand selecting every gown in your store is a surreal and amazing experience. But for Cheri, its about way more than that. For Cheri, shopping for your wedding attire or your prom dress is an experience of its own. One that can leave you feeling uncertain, alone, and overwhelmed or one that can promote mental health, serve as an opportunity for you to be seen and celebrated for who you are.


So, 10 years after the death of her brother, almost to the day. Cheri started "Simply Elegant by Cheri."

The Birth of SE
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The three traditional periods of a woman’s life are the maiden, the mother, and the matriarch. Sadly, mothers have a tendency to hang on to the role of mother as caretaker for too long, or longingly look back on their time as the maiden, instead of looking forward to their life as a matriarch.


This is unfortunate because THE LIFE STAGE OF MATRIARCH CAN BE THE MOST CREATIVE, FREEING, AND REWARDING OF ALL THREE STAGES OF A WOMAN’S LIFE. This is when a woman learns to know herself the best, grows strong in self-confidence, and is the most willing to challenge or disregard what she does not care for or believe in. And, that's exactly what Cheri did.


Simply Elegant by Cheri began in July of 2018. The first store was 1,200 sq. feet and Cheri was the only employee. She handled every bridal appointment, all shipments, and all communications with clients and designers. Every social media post, every email, every phone call, every sale was HER.


This was not just a time, effort, and financial commitment but an emotional one as well. Cheri had to consistently keep her own fears and anxieties in check so as not to limit the growth of her child, the store.


Within 3 months, Simply Elegant by Cheri hired their second employee.


In the early stages of letting go, a mother can struggle with losing her role as she knows it, but seeing her business baby grow wings, and the promise of enjoying her new freedom as a matriarch is a tremendous reward. Because of her attunement with her clients and employees, Cheri embodied the boldness and bravery necessary to do it.


Eventually we grew out of our old building and we bought the one we are currently in. It started out at 6,500 sq ft. We are humbled and thankful to say that post COVID, we were still able to add on another 1,500 sq ft. And just added another 1,500 sq ft in 2023. Our store now equals a grand total of 9,500 sq feet and our family, the SE family, has grown to include 11 others. All thanks to Cheri.

The SE Experience

They say intuition comes from being in an arena, or area of specialty for a long enough period of time to have gained expertise. Well, if this is true, Cheri's expertise isn't just beautiful dresses. Cheri's expertise is in life and the key to not just surviving in this life as an individual or a relationship is love.


Love is the foundation on which the store was born, and it's the foundation on which it operates.


We don't just sell dresses. We see people.


We listen to their stories. We feel their deepest hurts and greatest joys. We see their humanity. We acknowledge their similarities and differences. We feel with you. We know we can never take away your anxieties, pain, or insecurities. But we do know that we can ease them with our comforting presence. Just like Mama' Cheri taught us.

Because we know that real seeing brings light, and inspires and empowers both the seer and seen. Taking the time to see one another creates a significant shift in the rest of the appointment in terms of trust and mutual respect. Which is one of the most important connections to have while shopping for one of the most important and authentically YOU outfits of your entire life.


Whether its just you or you and your crew of 10 people, we strive to ensure that our presence consistent reminder throughout the appointment that you are seen, loved, and deserving of love just as you are.