Natalie Mills wears many hats. Not only is she a bridal shop owner, but she can also add mother and world traveler to her impressive resume.
It all started back in 2015 when Natalie was engaged to the love of her life. As a result, she made bridal boutiques a priority stop throughout her business travels. These experiences ranged from visiting traditional bridal boutiques to upscale boutiques and everything in between. That led to her deciding she wanted to transport all of the high notes of the best boutiques back to the Sierra bride. And boy, are we glad she did!
For those of you who don't know, Moonlight Lace is a bridal salon and boutique in Midtown, Reno, synonymous with excellent service and refreshing designs. Only pieces that have been carefully hand-selected in the spirit of a modern bride are featured in the shop. Think Bo & Luca, Chosen by KYHA, Daughters of Simone, Evie Young, SCOUT, and more! "We want you to tap into your inner self. Bring out the best shades of you. We want you to shine. So push out all the chaos, all the other opinions, all the drama, and just listen to your gut. You, dress you, and you will glow," Natalie gushed. But, the fun doesn't stop there! In addition to bridal wear, Moonlight Lace is also a small retail shop featuring ready-to-wear occasion dresses and clothing, gifts, swimwear, and jewelry.
So, are you ready to get to know the woman behind the brand? Because we sure are!
What brings you the greatest joy in your life?
Exploring the world with my family. Now having kids, seeing the world through his eyes is the coolest experience yet.
What brought you to Tahoe?
The mountains! At the time, I lived in Whistler, BC, and once I discovered the sunny skies of Tahoe (even in the winter!), it was time for me to pack up and move to Tahoe.
What is a must-see hidden gem in Lake Tahoe?
Pre-Covid, I would have said any of the beautiful east shore beaches, but now I don't think any are hidden anymore. That being said, something really fun that we've done when guests are visiting (definitely not hidden, but more touristy) is doing the guided tour of the Thunderbird Lodge. That story is just so fascinating, and the views are absolutely beautiful.
Describe Lake Tahoe to someone that has never been here
Tropical colored waters and sandy beaches, surrounded by majestic mountains. It's like nothing you've ever seen!
Tahoe lifestyle: winter or summer?
I came for winter, but summer is what made me stay indefinitely.
If you were not in the wedding industry, what would you do?
I would probably still be in marketing somewhere.
What inspires your work?
My amazing staff and the talented designers we carry.
How would you describe the perfect day in Lake Tahoe?
Waking up early to take the dogs on a hike, followed by an incline beach day! Happy hour for sure at the tiki bar!
What are you most proud of?
Being a mom to my son, Carter.
Who inspires you the most?
I don't know if there's one specific person, but especially through Covid, all the small business owners in Reno and Tahoe continue to adapt and push through the hard times. Also, an extra appreciation to all the business owners that are also moms - being a mother is the most challenging and rewarding job I've ever had. So to balance that and owning is a business is like nothing else.
What is your life motto?
"Blow caution to the wind."
What is a fun fact about your company?
The name was inspired by a lyric in a Garth Brooks song.
What is the career highlight you are most proud of?
At first, I thought it would have been just getting the store open (kudos to all the small business owners - that is no small feat), but probably surviving Covid in my first year of business. That was probably the most challenging.
What is your go-to conversation starter with a potential client?
"How did you meet your fiance?"
What was the most recent thing that made you laugh?
Carter's new one-liners.
What's the most useless talent you have?
Playing the piano.
What is the closest thing to real magic?
What was your go-to activity during quarantine?
Organizing the house - Mary Kondo style.
What kind of wedding guest are you?
The fun one!
Any song you can add to our brides' and grooms' budding wedding playlist?
Brooks & Dunn, Neon Moon.
Working in the wedding industry is not for the faint of heart. So how do you rest and rejuvenate?
We're closed Sundays and Mondays (for now). I know that it might be difficult to understand for a new business to do that, but I knew with Carter being a baby when I opened the store, the time I have with him is so special, I would regret not having more time with him once he was older. So for now, we are closed those two days.
What is something people might not know about you?
I spent probably a decade of my life traveling for snowboarding, having had seven years of no summers because I used to go to New Zealand and then Argentina during our summer/ their winters.
Any four-legged friends in your home?
We have three! Frankie (Boston-Frenchie), Wally (Frenchie), and Bonnie (a red fox Lab).