Where to Find Your Wedding Dress in Minneapolis
Wedding update: we set the date!! (Just in time to go dress shopping!) I had made some dress appointments when we were considering an October 2018 wedding—and when we decided to wait until 2019, I didn't want to deal with rescheduling the appointments and the long weekend I'd already planned. I figured it wouldn't hurt to be a little early in the planning process! One of my coworkers who got engaged a few months before me recommended a couple of bridal shops and I did a little bit of my own research to make sure each suggestion would have dresses in my budget, but I basically just went with her recs (thanks, Meliss!). I took Friday and Monday off from work to make a long weekend out of it, and my mom and sister (co-MOH with my other sister) saddled up for the ride. Here's a peek at our weekend!
FRIDAY 4:00 PM // a&bé bridal shop
style niche: indie, bohemian, romantic
price range: starting at $1000
set-up: semi-private dressing rooms with a small seating area. There was enough distance between the other two appointment areas to feel like we had enough privacy.
my take: This was a great start to our weekend! My sister brought a bottle of Champagne and we happily dove heads-first into being that cliche. At this point, I kind of knew what I liked and didn't like, but didn't have a concrete picture in my head of the dress I wanted to wear. After about an hour, I left feeling like I had found a couple of good options but excited to see what else was in store.
I didn't necessarily see myself in a ball gown, but I was surprised to like this one. There's something about a princess skirt that is always special. *Note: this was obviously before I got used to being topless around strangers and hadn't yet ditched the bra.
SATURDAY 10:30 AM // The White Room
style niche: unique, fashion-forward, beyond traditional
price range: $2000-$5000
set-up: private dressing room with closed door
my take: OBSESSED! By far my favorite shop! There were so many dresses I liked. Everything that I tried felt great, and it was tough to eliminate anything. We didn't bring Champagne (or get offered any), but the dress selection more than made up for it. Nikki was a total pro, helping me into dresses quickly and efficiently, and expertly adding veils and jewelry to complete the look. We left feeling like we had probably found THE ONE (note: not pictured here!)—a huge high when you don't really know what to expect or what you'll find.
I love the elegance of this silhouette, the deep V/open back—and how great is the bustle?
This was a super cool, silky two-piece. I loved the delicate straps and effortless style, but it didn't flatter my features the best.
Another cool separate set with a sweet ribbon belt. I liked this one (also) a lot, but it's a little casual and I prefer white or ivory to nude.
This short-sleeved gown was my runner-up! I love love love the simple yet chic shape and it was so comfortable, but I ultimately decided the plain front didn't look "bridal" enough. I still have a hard time letting this one go!
Party in the back! With a plain front, this was a cool way to do a mix of lace and non-lace.
SATURDAY 1:30 PM // Annika Bridal Boutique
style niche: current and classic
price range: starting at $1200
set-up: probably the smallest showroom we saw. Dressing areas were curtained, but the seating areas were a little cramped. Groups next to ours could easily turn around and be fully in our conversation, which was a little distracting.
my take: I was feeling ever-so-slightly fatigued after a full morning, but ready to power through. I talked briefly with the stylist about what I was looking for, then together pulled a few options off the rack, like I had at the other two stops. There were some beautiful dresses, but everything was compared to THE ONE I had found at The White Room and nothing quite measured up. We WERE offered complimentary Champagne which was, of course, a plus.
My mom and sister loved this off-the-shoulder style, and I originally thought I might be drawn to something like this, but once I had it on, I felt totally differently. Something about the off-shoulder draping felt stuffy or overly romantic or too traditional. Plus—I knew that feeling of something hanging off my shoulder would bother me.
Another princess moment! This one cinched the waist in a flattering way, but we all decided it felt a little young.
I was excited to head home and decompress (and scroll through my cameral roll) on the couch after this appointment! Even just two sessions in one day was tiring! Later that night, Chris and I headed to a dinner party at his former coworker's house, which was a nice break from all things bridal.
SUNDAY 1:00 PM // BHLDN TRUNK SHOW
style niche: vintage-inspired
price range: $280-$3000
set-up: dressing rooms at Anthropologie. They had planned for the two of us who had the same appointment time to use the same mirror [insert quizzical emoji], but I was quickly redirected to my own when I pranced out in my first dress and had nowhere to evaluate the look.
my take: Before this weekend, I was pretty sure I would get my dress from BHLDN. Everything looks so good online, and the prices are so reasonable. But actually trying them on was underwhelming; it was clear these dresses were lower price points. There were some very pretty options, but they felt too casual or not as special as what I had already seen and fell in love with. The stylist was also much slower to help me into dresses and get everything clipped up than those at the other shops. I still tried on 6-8 dresses in 45 minutes (all other appointments were 90), but remember wishing she were faster. My mom and sister were also dragging by this point and didn't have much to say. But I'm glad the trunk show stopped in Minneapolis as I was considering flying to Chicago to visit the BHLDN store if it hadn't, which might have been a needless expense.
The Sawyer Gown is similar to my second favorite from The White Room, but it didn't quite hug and flow in the same "wow" way. *It looks like I'm giving the finger, but it's really just awkward posing!
I really liked the simple elegance and strappy back of the Estelle Gown, but the front (a shallow v-neck) felt a little off and left a little to be desired.
I let everything sink in for a few hours, but didn't waste much time before emailing The White Room to let them know which dress I'd chosen (!!!!).
I'm so excited to be a TWR bride!
Before I pulled the trigger on my dress, part of me wanted to keep looking just to make sure I had really seen all the options. I didn't try on anything long sleeved, which I slightly regret, and I wondered if the one I chose is modern and unique and effortless enough—but I reminded myself that I have the rehearsal dinner, bridal shower, bachelorette party and engagement photos to find looks for, too! And those are potentially better opportunities to wear something fun, cool and a little more casual. (Is anyone else ridiculously indecisive??) In the end, the dress I chose is perfect—it felt great and looked great, and was a clear standout from the rest.
I think it's helpful to know your date and venue before dress shopping, and I recommend going to a few different shops in one weekend, like I did, which made it easy to compare styles while everything is still fresh in your mind. Plus, you really could look forever and always wonder if there's a better dress out there, but containing the hunt to a single weekend is a good way to make a decision without dragging it out.
I brought Spanx to my appointments, but never ended up putting them on, and I also brought heels which was helpful, but not necessary. I might have spent a little more time looking into designers and styles I wanted to try as prep for the appointments, but whether you do that or not, when you find the dress that feels right, you'll know! Other than that, just prepare to strip down! It was really a dreamy weekend that I'll always remember, and I'm lucky to have had my mom and sister there to help me! Now I'm already obsessing about what to wear to the rehearsal dinner and bridal showers!
Did you get your wedding dress in Minneapolis? Where did you find The One?