How to Shop for Consignment Wedding Dresses in Minneapolis

Guest post by Megan Warner

I've always been a fan of consignment shops, and Minneapolis is chock full of them.  Be it Buffalo Exchange on Lyndale and 28th or My Sister's Closet on Hennepin and 28th, you can find amazing deals on high quality clothes that are barely used (some are even brand new) and are way more affordable.

So when I got engaged this Spring, I knew I had to at least check out some of the local haunts to see if I could get a great deal.  The thing about wedding dress shopping though is that shopping consignment is a risk.  There's no ordering your dream dress in your size so it fits you perfectly.  What you see on the racks is what you get.  You could get lucky and find something you love that fits you like a glove, or you could strike out and find something you love that absolutely will never zip (and with the inability to order in your size, there's no chance you'll be able to add fabric to a too-small dress).

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So just to be safe, when I planned my dress shopping day this weekend, I started shopping the non-consignment route first (I wanted to make sure I knew which style I felt the most comfortable in).  I booked an appointment at a local boutique, and after trying on four different dresses that were within my price range (the high end), I narrowed my favorite style down.  I left all of my information with my sales rep and decided to sleep on it, knowing that even if I struck out in the consignment sector, I could always splurge a bit on the dress I'd found there.

After a quick lunch with my mom, best friend, and cousin, we headed to 50th and France to check out Brides of France's collection.  I struck out big time here.  There were quite a few gorgeous gowns, but none were really my style, and the one that I did actually like was way too small (let's be honest, I'm absolutely not eating grass for a solid year and a half to fit into a dress - cake is way too good to miss out on).  It's easy to feel down when something like this happens.  You think to yourself "I'll never find anything" and "it's all a waste of time."  I was ready to call it quits for the day.  But my mom suggested we try one other place just for fun.

I googled "consignment wedding dresses in Minneapolis" and the first hit was Bride To Be Consignment in Bloomington.  So we headed in that direction.  

Bride to Be is an awesome store for the - you guessed it - bride to be.  Since average weddings these days cost a whopping $38,000, it's easy to get overwhelmed, especially with the little details (according to Pinterest, we all have to have perfectly arranged mason jar vases with overflowing real and very expensive peonies).  But Bride To Be has more than just dresses; they sell previously used centerpieces, silk flowers, vases, candles, adorable DIY signage, and more.  It's a great place to, at the very least, get ideas and look to see if there is something you could save a few bucks on.  Plus, the customer service is great - the staff is really attentive and helpful.

Now, one thing to know about shopping consignment is that stores are eclectic - there is often a mix of completely different styles and trends and tastes, so don't be discouraged when you walk in and see a frock that might be, in your opinion, completely tacky and not at all what you envisioned.  The trick is to dig deep.

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We grabbed about four different gowns that were within my style preference, and as we were heading to the dressing rooms, my cousin spotted another one.  "Hey, this looks like the one you tried on this morning," he said.  Sure enough, it was the exact same designer.  So I added it to the pile.

I tried two on that didn't work at all.  One made me look like a cupcake and the other cinched in all the wrong places.  So I grabbed the dress my cousin had picked out.  As I pulled up the zipper and stepped out of the room, my mom gasped.  It fit me perfectly and as luck would have it, it was the exact gown I loved from earlier that day, and better yet, it was in the color I would have ordered it in (the sample size at the previous shop was a different shade).  I glanced down at the tag - $877!  I was ecstatic.  The dress was in perfect condition and I knew I wouldn't have to worry about paying for alterations (which can run upwards of $600 for a wedding gown, depending on where you go).  Plus, the base price for that same dress at the other store was over $1,500.  At the original price with tacked on alterations, I would have spent over $2,000 - here, I was looking at a price tag at less than half the cost!

I said yes right there and then and walked out with my wedding dress in hand and an extra $600+ in my pocket.

So if you're recently engaged and looking around for places to find your dream dress, it's worth taking a peek at Bride to Be Consignment or Brides of France (and any other consignment boutiques in the Twin Cities) - you might just find the perfect fit.