Polly Parsons at The Bridal Gypsies

Photo by Lisa Hause

Daughter of country rock legend opens first bridal boutique in Dripping Springs

“Hopefully, one of the first things that you see when you walk in is a bit of the romance and the whimsical,” says Polly Parsons, indicating the handmade cedar branch chandeliers and clothing racks adorning her European bridal boutique, the first of its kind in Dripping Springs.

Indeed, Polly’s shop, The Bridal Gypsies, would fit right into a folksy fairytale. Each room in the small cottage brims with vintage treasures—leather-bound feathers, rosebud earrings, olive wood bowls, gemmed tiaras, Himalayan candles, and flowing Bohemian gowns. Even the live oak growing outside by the front steps, with its ivy-entwined swing and string lights, belongs in a storybook.

“It’s kind of a magical place,” Polly says, likening her free-spirited interior decorating and curations to styles she encountered while growing up in Los Angeles’ Laurel Canyon commune during the 1970s hippie revolution.

“During that time, I met a lot of different people, heard so much music, and ate a lot of beautiful homemade food,” she explains. “I grew up making my own clothes, taking care of the animals, climbing trees, and just having fun. I think every element of the joy of my youth is demonstrated in the shop.”

Polly’s father, late musician and songwriter Gram Parsons, was another major source of her happiness. His signature style of blending country and rock led to the creation of “country rock” and “alt-country” genres and shaped the music of his close friend, Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones, but Polly remembers his loving eyes and big hands most of all. “I could feel his youth even when I was young,” she explains. “He was just a very tall, lanky, sweet, jovial man. He was always being silly, and he would carry me around on his shoulders everywhere.”

Gram’s sudden death in 1973 left six-year-old Polly and her mother reeling. Even in the supportive commune, Polly struggled to cope with the devastating loss and to establish an identity separate from her father’s legacy. At 21, she forsook nursing to pursue her passions for event planning, special effects makeup, creative collaboration, and fashion in theater production, but working in Hollywood proved brutal.

“I felt like a little fish in a bowl,” she says. “People expected me to be this walking encyclopedia of Gram facts, and they were always asking, ‘Can she sing? Does she know how to play guitar? Why didn’t she show up at this event?’ It was a lot of pressure, and for a while, I ran from it.”

Eventually, Polly immersed herself in her father’s music and writings during a solo trip to Joshua Tree National Park. There, not only did she find the strength to accept her heritage and move forward as an independent, powerful woman, but she also organized a music festival in her father’s honor featuring Keith Richards, Norah Jones, Dwight Yoakam, Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, and other artists who were influenced by Gram or knew him personally.

“Now I think there’s a little bit of Gram in everything I do, including The Bridal Gypsies,” Polly says. “This place is so full of color, love, and hope for the future. I think that’s a statement about who I am, where I come from, what I’ve lived through, and what I would like to share with the world about myself.”

During the tribute, Polly met her now ex-husband, Charlie Terrell of Daddy Van Productions. In 2006, the couple relocated to Austin and, having separated amicably, they still live there today on adjoining properties with their 11-year-old daughter, Harper Lee.

“I fell in love with the joy in people’s hearts and smiles and eyes here,” says Polly. “I felt this energy of acceptance and love resonating here that I hadn’t experienced since Laurel Canyon, and I gravitated towards it. The community here is so generous, thoughtful, and encouraging. I so feel honored and grateful to be a part of that.”

As Daddy Van’s longtime senior executive editor, Polly collaborates to dream up concepts and then ensures that the right players and pieces come together to create beautiful art, and she brings these talents to The Bridal Gypsies as well. Above all, she strives to pamper and empower brides-to-be by providing an exclusive and whimsical wedding dress shopping experience.

“There should be something legendary about it,” she explains. “Wedding dress shopping has become so dry and businesslike. I think there should be music and champagne. Maybe I don’t have 600 gowns in here, but I’ve hand-curated them from around the world, so there might be something you can’t find somewhere else, and that’s the point.”

With its full kitchen and bathroom, Polly’s boutique accommodates dress shopping and fittings, parties, wine tastings, and other private events, while also providing space for brides and bridesmaids to get ready for weddings and plenty of inspiration for stylized photoshoots.

“I encourage women to give themselves permission to imagine,” Polly says. “I tell them, ‘What would happen if we took a floor-length Indian headdress and took photos of you on a white bareback stallion, covered in lace? There’s more to this moment for you. Anything is possible. If you dream it, we can create it.’”

Rebel, bride, gypsy

Photo by Rebecca L. Bennett

Located at 602 Old Fitzhugh Road, The Bridal Gypsies is open by appointment only. To schedule a meeting or learn more about the wedding boutique’s services and style, visit www.facebook.com/thebridalgypsies.

To listen to Gram Parsons’ music and read his story, visit www.gramparsons.com.

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