A bride surveys her dress before her wedding in Sacramento. (Shutterstock photo by Christer Dabu)

Saying ‘Yes’ to the Dress

Capital Region brides have a variety of options for wedding dresses

Back Longreads Jun 27, 2023 By Judy Farah

This story is a web-only sidebar to the print story "Getting Back to the Happiness Business."

When Kate Middleton got married to Prince William in 2011, she walked down the aisle in a lacy bridal dress with a flowing train, custom designed by Alexander McQueen’s Creative Director Sarah Burton. But the soon-to-be princess changed out of the frills during the royal reception to don a long, white satin dress with a full skirt, jeweled belt, sweetheart neckline and furry angora shrug. Soon, brides everywhere would embrace the trend of wearing two dresses on their big day.

Choosing a wedding dress has become a big production for some, with the bride-to-be bringing along her mother, future mother-in-law and a group of friends to help her select in a luxurious salon while sipping champagne and mimosas.

Bridal shops such as Miosa, which has salons in downtown Sacramento and at Palladio in Folsom, offer the salon experience and extensive dress options, from traditional white to multi-colored or black. Miosa features hundreds of dresses from 200 designers ranging in price from $1,000-$8,000. Maddy Wells, ordering manager for Miosa, says there’s been a new trend for brides since the pandemic.

“There’s this new shift towards clean and minimalist. I think, before the pandemic, it was kind of like ‘throw in the kitchen sink.’ Now there’s this new trend of it being clean, simple and timeless. Some brides still want the ornate detail and things like that, but not as much as what we saw before,” Wells says.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean that brides in 2023 are looking for comfort, like many people wanted in their clothing during the pandemic.

“I think fit is really important,” says Lisa Omega, a consultant for Miosa. “I think brides want to feel very — they use the word ‘snatched’ — a lot. They just want to feel very secure and supported. That’s something that a lot of brides look for, I think more so than comfort. They just want to feel very secure in their dress.”

Wells says Miosa doesn’t sell the more cocktail-style dresses brides might change into. She says they tend to get those from Revolve, Nordstrom or other non-bridal stores.

But not every bride goes the formal route. Onyx Bridal in Sacamento, formerly known as Second Summer Bride, specializes in “upscale resale.” Their dresses, which are gently worn, range from $800 to $4,000. Other brides try thrift shops or vintage fairs, looking for unique offerings that fit their personalities. Rosen in Oak Park, for example, specializes in vintage silk and linen clothing and often has wedding-appropriate options in stock. This writer found her knee-length lace dress at an underground strip mall in downtown Los Angeles for less than $100.

“Places like Goodwill typically have a bridal section to thrift from. I also see a lot of vintage wedding dresses when I’m at the antique fair or vintage stores. You can also definitely find them used on some sites like Etsy, RealReal, Nearly Newlywed, eBay,” says Sacramento vintage clothing expert Phoebe Verkouw, whose Instagram page, The Dress Fiend, has 108,000 followers.  

With weddings being so costly, brides want the experience to reflect their personality and style, whether it’s a princess ball gown with Swarovski crystals or a one-of-a-kind vintage dress that you know no one else will be wearing. 

Omega, the Miosa bridal consultant, says her brides typically try on 12 to 18 gowns before choosing “The One.”

“Most brides find their dresses on the first go, which they’re really surprised that they do, but they typically do,” she says.

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