The last time I felt a lot of pressure to pick out a dress was my senior prom. It was 2003, and looking like a giant pastel cupcake was all the rage. So was using a triple-barrel iron on your hair. Sadly, I did both. For years, I looked back at my prom photo and thought, “You were young and didn’t know any better. But when you get married, THEN you’ll get the dress right.” That’s where it started—the pressure to find the perfect wedding gown.
Recently, that pressure reached a fever pitch thanks to TV shows like Say Yes to the Dress. You travel to New York with an entourage of female friends and family. Emotions run high, you try on dozens of dresses and cry out of joy, fury, or both.
Thankfully, shopping for my wedding dress was nothing like that. It was classy, relaxing, and a lot of fun. I think there were two reasons for that. First, I did my homework before I booked any appointments. Second, I had an amazing stylist who knew her stuff.
Step 1: Research
I created a Pinterest board of wedding gown styles I liked. I also made a list of what I love to wear and what drives me crazy when it comes to dresses. I’m a fan of light fabrics, slim silhouettes, and a hint of sparkle. I struggle with strapless gowns and voluminous skirts. By the time I made my first dress appointment, I had a clear idea of what I wanted.
Like many brides, I’m busy with full-time work and other commitments. I didn’t want to spend months dress shopping, so I narrowed my search to just one weekend and a couple of shops. To pick the perfect spots, I read Mpls.St.Paul Weddings (obviously) and crowdsourced opinions from married friends on Facebook.
Step 2: Trusting the Experts
The first shop I visited was Posh Bridal Couture in Wayzata. My stylist, Kate, made me, my mother, and my future mother-in-law feel special and welcome. I had my own private dressing room and viewing area, which meant no sharing with other brides. Win. We loved the classy, relaxed setting.
Kate asked me lots of thoughtful questions before she showed me a single gown. We talked about my price range, favorite designers, and styles I was drawn to. Kate carefully studied my Pinterest board. Then she brought over just a few gowns at a time.
When I tried on each dress, we talked in detail about what I liked and didn’t like. In all, I tried on about 12 gowns at Posh, slowly narrowing it down to two finalists. My favorite was the first dress I tried on that day. When I had it on for the fourth time, Kate asked me, “Can you see yourself marrying Sean in this dress?” I could. I knew that was it.
I won’t show the dress here, as I want to keep a surprise for the wedding. But know that it’s beautiful and totally my style.
Additional thoughts on dress shopping:
- Besides Posh, I had a great experience at a&bé bridal shop in Minneapolis. The boutique had a unique selection of dresses, and my stylist, Rebecca, was awesome. Even though I didn’t get my dress there, I’d recommend a&bé to any bride.
- Wearing Spanx and a nude, strapless bra was a great call. I’ve never spent so much time changing in front of other people in my life.
- Who knew veils were so expensive?! Apparently spending hundreds of dollars on a yard or two of netting is totally normal.
- Posh gives you 15 percent off your dress if you purchase it the same day as your appointment. I took advantage of this, even though it meant frantically calling Kate at 5 p.m. that day. She was totally cool about it.