Even in my line of work as a weddings magazine editor, never had I ever stepped foot into a wedding dress prior to getting engaged. Whenever we had photo shoots or I attended events where the opportunity to try on gowns was presented to me, I said no. For me, trying on gowns was a once-in-a-lifetime experience—and when I decided I was ready to start shopping four months into our engagement, it quickly became the most highly anticipated and most nerve-wracking to-do on my list.
Being the girly-girl that I am, the idea of THE DRESS probably began to form when I was 5, 6 years old—way before the picture of my groom came into focus. Couple that with my Say Yes to the Dress binge-watching habit and Pinterest hobby, and I found myself feeling the pressure and a touch of anxiety—Will any dresses fit me? What if I don’t have that “aha” moment?!—leading up to my first day of appointments.
In my opinion, wedding dress shopping is just as much about the experience as it is about actually finding a gown. So I planned a whole day for my entourage and I, starting with breakfast at my parents’ house to lunch between appointments in downtown Minneapolis to a (hopefully) celebratory drink at the end of the day. Not only did I want to feel special, I also wanted my closest friends and family to bond over the experience.
We began our day at Posh Bridal Couture in Wayzata. Many recently or soon-to-be married friends and co-workers got their gowns there and raved about the service—and now I understand why! We were greeted with mimosas at the door and immediately seated in our own private viewing area, where there was plenty of room for my mom, future mother-in-law, sister, and best friend to hunker down. My stylist, Kate, took some time talking to me about silhouettes I liked, elements I couldn’t stand, and my budget. She then disappeared and came back with three or four gowns, all in varying styles, so that I could get a feel for the shapes, colors, and textures that looked good on my body. (Disclaimer: None of the following gowns are "the one"—that's a surprise for my wedding day!)
I was told by many people to trust the stylist—even if she pulled something I wouldn’t have picked off the rack myself—and I was pleasantly surprised that I felt beautiful in every gown she put me in. Most were easy to dismiss—not because they weren’t gorgeous (they all were!), but because they didn’t fit my personality or our ceremony/reception venue. I wanted to feel bridal, but I also wanted to feel like myself.
By the end of the appointment, I was going back and forth between two completely different dresses—different colors, different silhouettes, different embellishments—and when I left the salon without making a purchase, at the encouragement of my stylist to give myself time to think it over, one of the finalists easily rose to the top.
During my second appointment at Rush’s Bridal, none of the dresses I tried on compared to the one waiting back at Posh. As the Rush’s sales consultant said, “I think that means you found your dress.” And I had. It was as simple as that. I canceled my third appointment and made a beeline for Posh, where I put on The One once more and celebrated by popping champagne, FaceTime-ing my future sister-in-law (who couldn’t make it because she’s away at college), and taking plenty of pictures with Posh’s iconic “I said yes to the dress” sign.
Overall, I was really surprised by the experience. It was wonderful, but nothing like what you see on TV. It wasn’t an exhaustive search—I probably tried on 20-25 in total, and my dress happened to be the second one I put on—and I didn’t cry. In the past few weeks I’ve had moments of questioning—Did I pick the right dress? What if I had gotten that dress instead?—but when I take a peek at the pictures on my phone, I’m instantly reminded of how amazing I look and feel. And, best of all, I can see myself walking down the aisle toward Sam in that dress. It’s perfect, classic, and soooo me. Now I just have to wait six months for my order to come in. Ah!