You’re engaged—congratulations! We know planning a wedding and making all the decisions that come with it can be stressful, but it should be a fun and exciting process, as well. After all, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime celebration of love, right? Of course, everything can’t be quite as delightful as cake tasting, but even finding The Dress can—and should—be an enjoyable experience. As you start shopping, remember: Whether formal or casual, traditional or contemporary, over-the-top or understated, your wedding gown is a statement about who you are and will set the tone for your special day, so make sure you choose one that feels like you. With that in mind, we asked six local bridal boutique owners for their tips on making dress shopping a stress-free experience. Plus, find out which store is the best fit for every type of bride.
The High-Fashion Bride: Little White Dress Bridal Shop
Advice: “We always encourage brides to bring the most important people with them when wedding dress shopping. Make it a special moment between you and your mom and future mother-in-law, for example, and then bring your bridesmaids to help you pick out your accessories after you’ve found your dress.” —Cate Malone, owner
Little White Dress got a big upgrade this month when the eight-year-old boutique moved from Highlands Square into fresh RiNo digs. The space, a former church built in 1915, has been transformed into a grand space with dove gray walls and plenty of natural light. It’s the perfect setting for owner Cate Malone’s latest roster of curated bridal designers, including feminine and elegant gowns by Marchesa, regal looks from Naeem Khan, dramatic and sexy frocks by Galia Lahav, and—new this season—J Mendel Signature Bridal‘s modern, architectural dresses (pictured, right: strapless, asymmetrical draped bustier Micheline gown, $5,200). When it comes to accessories, don’t miss intricately beaded shoes by Kate Middleton favorite Emmy London, delicate veils and headpieces by Claire Pettibone, and Chan Luu jewelry.
Price Range: $1,500–$15,000
On-Site Alterations? Yes
1130 31st St., 303-814-8972
The Classic-Glamour Bride: Felicé
Advice: “A bride needs to feel beautiful in her gown. No one else, besides the group shopping with her, knows about all of the gowns she tried on; all they see is the gown she has chosen to wear on her wedding day. Wear the one that makes you feel the most special—and beautiful!” —Robin Woronoff, co-owner
This intimate Cherry Creek North bridal studio exudes elegance, from the all-white interior to the oversized mirrors and high-polished floors. Here, brides will find a predominately exclusive collection of intricately detailed dresses, such as organza ball gowns by Romona Keveza (pictured, top), the feminine yet modern dresses of Alvina Valenta, and Austin Scarlett’s delicately sculpted options. Also find veils, headpieces, and accessories (hand-cut silk gloves, sparkling head wraps, cuffs and collars, and bridal sashes and capes) from Denver-based Veil Trends and Revel.
Price Range: $900–$18,000
On-Site Alterations? Felicé’s seamstress is available on Tuesdays for first fittings.
224 Steele St., 303-388-7637
The Bohemian Bride: Emma & Grace Bridal Studio
Advice: “Don’t judge the dress by the hanger. Some of the best dresses don’t look good on the hanger. Ask your stylist for suggestions since they have seen a majority of the dresses on a variety of figures and can make a recommendation based on your body shape and budget.” —Kirsten Johnson, marketing director
Set in an airy, rustic RiNo loft, Emma & Grace houses romantic, bohemian gowns by both renowned and emerging designers. Look for sophisticated, on-trend dresses from Australian Karen Willis Holmes, ethereal and feminine options by Alexandra Grecco (pictured, above: lace Dahlia gown, $2,950; photo courtesy of Elizabeth Messina), Yolan Cris’ handcrafted and finely detailed gowns, and E&G’s own private label. Beyond the selection of veils, headpieces, jewelry, belts, and garters, tell your mom and soon-to-be mother-in-law that there’s an array of dresses for them too.
Price Range: $1,200–$7,000
On-Site Alterations? Yes
1320 27th St., 720-383-8091
The Modern-Romantic Bride: Anna Bé
Advice: “Let go of expectations and have fun. We see so many brides who have been scouring Pinterest for months and have shopped at seven bridal shops, and by the time they find ‘the one,’ they are exhausted. Don’t let finding your gown become a chore; trust your instincts—and your stylist!” —Anna Walsh and Breanna Doll, co-owners
The dramatic, split formal staircase entry at Anna Bé gives brides a hint of what’s to come upstairs, where the boutique houses several large displays of gowns separated by designer. Over the last 10 years, owners Anna Walsh and Breanna Doll have curated a group of designers that are all about modern romance, from the sophisticated and elegant designs of Monique Lhuillier to delicate lace dresses by Lela Rose and more curve-hugging versions by Israeli designer Berta (pictured, right: hand-beaded lace gown with plunging back, sweetheart neckline, and beaded straps, $8,690). Anna Bé also carries an ever-changing lineup of on-trend veils, headpieces, sashes, and jewelry from a variety of designers.
Price Range: $2,000–$9,000
On-Site Alterations? No, but the staff refers its brides to highly recommended local seamstresses.
1575 Boulder St., 720-855-1111
The Time-Conscious Bride: Nordstrom Wedding Suite
Advice: “As a bride, you should feel like the best version of yourself in your gown. You should pick a dress that fits your personality, as it will represent you for years to come in photographs. The emotional connection to a gown is important as well. You should feel like a bride in your gown, not just a woman in a pretty white dress.” —Heather Serviss, wedding suite & dresses & special occasion department manager
A one-stop shop for the full roster of wedding services, this private, cozy shop-within-a-shop is located on the mall’s main floor and features made-to-order wedding gowns by veteran designers such as Vera Wang and Amsale (pictured, right: flared ivory silk crepe gown, with sheer illusion back and a ruffled peplum waist, $3,650). Brides will also enjoy access to the perfect foundations for their gowns and lingerie for their honeymoon; free consultations with beauty stylists; and even a Bridesmaid Bar where your girls can try on different dress styles.
Price Range: $850–$5,000
On-Site Alterations? Yes—Nordstrom has an alterations team dedicated to the entire bridal party.
8465 S. Park Meadows Center Dr. (in Park Meadows), Lone Tree, 303-799- 3400
The On-A-Budget Bride: Compleat Couture
Advice: “Avoid trying on gowns that are beyond your budget. Falling in love with the wrong gown is like falling in love with the wrong guy—it can make you very unhappy!” —Barbara Raskin Meyers, president
Here, brides will find a top-quality workroom, runway, and store samples of bridal and formal gowns donated by well-known designers and retailers, and a small selection donated by individuals (all of which are clearly labeled). We’re talking more than 2,000 dresses in current and traditional styles (sizes range from zero to 30), priced 50 to 70 percent below retail. Also check out the selection of informals that are great for rehearsal dinners and dancing the night away at the reception. Net proceeds from purchases directly benefit local nonprofit partner James Resource Network, which aids single-parent families in crisis. In addition, CC stocks a collection of unique beaded, lace, and embroidered trims to help give any gown a custom look, as well as accessories (most from Kleinfeld Manhattan) and footwear.
Price Range: Gowns originally priced from $800 to $8,000 are offered for $300 to $2,500. (Layaways and no-interest installments can also be arranged.)
On-Site Alterations? No, but the store will provide referrals to reputable seamstresses.
7562 S. University Blvd., Centennial, 720-287-4077