The headline is a nod to Bridesmaids, in case you didn't catch that reference. (And if you haven't seen it, you really should. It's only the best movie about weddings since Father of the Bride.) Luckily, my bridesmaid dress shopping experience wasn't nearly as dramatic as the movie. . .
Two of my four bridesmaids don’t live in Minnesota. One, a best friend from high school, lives in Georgia with her husband and son, while my fiancé’s sister is finishing up school at the University of Missouri, Columbia. As you can imagine, this makes coordinating schedules extremely hard, and one or both have had to miss out on some wedding activities, like the engagement party and shopping for my dress.
But when it came to choosing the bridesmaids dresses, I wanted all of them there to help make the decision—they’ll be wearing those outfits all day, after all! So when everyone was in town the week of Thanksgiving, I jumped at the chance to coordinate a shopping trip.
I wanted the experience to be as special for them as it was for me when I found my dress. I wanted them to feel pampered and for all attention to be on them. After searching online for hours and reading countless reviews, Bella Bridesmaids in Excelsior was the obvious choice. Not only do they solely focus on bridesmaids, they only allow one appointment in the salon at a time, so I knew we would be well taken care of. Not to mention, when I explained to the store owner Briana Anders that the only time my ladies were available happened to land on a day the shop is normally closed, she happily opened her doors for us. Seriously, the whole team’s customer service is incredible.
I had a vague idea of what I was looking for—navy, floor-length, in a fabric that complemented my gown—but Briana suggested I stop by the store to narrow down the options before coming in with all of my girls. This was a brilliant idea that I highly recommend, because my sister/maid-of-honor and I were overwhelmed by the choices when we arrived. I can’t imagine doing that first round of browsing with the whole bridal party. After realizing the styles and fabrics we were drawn to, we left the store with a carefully curated selection of seven or so dresses.
A small portion of Bella's huge selection.
The day we were set to shop, I was so nervous. You always hear those horror stories (thanks, Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids!) about bridesmaids arguing—either with each other or the bride—over the dress selection. More than anything, I wanted the girls to have a great time, and I didn’t want anyone to feel pressured (including me) into picking a dress they didn’t like. As they took turns in the dressing room, swapping dresses and figuring out what worked and what didn't, I snapped pictures and listened to their feedback. I was very open to the idea of each bridesmaid choosing her own dress (while remaining in the same color/designer/length family), but I wasn’t having that “aha” moment with any of my original picks. Sure, they were all nice, but none of them really stood out—until my bridesmaid Emma tried on a gorgeous Jenny Yoo creation.
It’s funny, because while I liked the dress, it wasn’t initially a frontrunner in my mind. But once I saw it on her, and then another bridesmaid, and then another, we quickly fell in love with the crepe de chine fabric, modest-but-sexy silhouette, and sophistication. It’s classic but also unique, absolutely perfect for our formal fall wedding. And I know everyone says this, but I really do think they could wear it again after the wedding. They even said so themselves—I swear! The entire process probably took a total of 45 minutes. I'm so grateful to Briana at Bella and my bridesmaids for making this wedding to-do simple and painless.
My future sister-in-law modeling the dress, which will be navy.
As I mentioned, I wanted this experience to be all about my bridesmaids, but my bridesmaids also made it an unforgettable night for me. Prior to playing dress-up, the four of them surprised me with a gift they—along with my mom and future mother-in-law—chipped in on: a gorgeous Kate Spade necklace that reads “Mrs.” Even though I can’t claim that title until next October, I bet I’ll have a hard time refraining from wearing it in the meantime!
It made me so happy to have them all together for the first time, laughing and getting along like they had been best friends for years. When the night ended, my heart was so full and I had the biggest smile on my face. I can tell these ladies are going to be the best support system ever leading up to and on the big day.