What started as five wedding dresses in the back of a furniture shop is now the fully operational bridal, tuxedo, and quinceañera megastore that is Azteca Bridal. The original part of the store, now dedicated to fitting rooms and expansive mirrors, contains a vintage stairwell that has existed since Azteca's first days, and Royna Roselle says it is the oldest single object in the store. Even though most of Azteca's attire may be of the newest fashions for trendy Phoenicians, the store retains its classic feel. Upstairs, retro-looking colorful carpet and charming railings pop out among the racks upon racks of white dresses and highlight the store's character. The buzzing, familial staff is attentive to both the business side of things and the obvious excitement of their customers. By keeping the store in the family, the children of the Torrez store founders create a welcoming atmosphere and feel that they are continuing to honor their parents.
Roselle estimates that Azteca in some way services about 1,500 Valley weddings each year, between dresses, tuxedos, and a plethora of other decorations and supplies. Even she seems overwhelmed by the grandness of that number. With Azteca reaching its 51st year in business, it's easy to see why the store has established itself as a Phoenix wedding institution. In addition to wedding dresses, the store is packed full of everything else one could need for a ceremony and celebration, from flower girl and ring bearer attire to sparkly tiaras and cake cutters. Beyond wedding materials, Azteca's quinceañera room is an eye-popping burst of color and quite a departure from the rows of traditional white bridal gowns. Stacks of catalogs sit on a counter for girls to flip through and view their options, which also serves as a nice reminder of the pre-online shopping days. Ruffles, beads, neons, animal prints, and more: There's something for every taste, and even for a quinceañera queen's damas as well. When it comes to big dresses, stunning tuxes, and everything fit for a party, Azteca has it all. — Valerie Hoke