Photo: Josh Gruetzmacher
Sometimes in the great search for that one perfect dress, you don't even know where to begin. The answer? With an appointment at a top-notch bridal salon. In our new August/September 2015 issue (on newsstands now!) we call out the best 50 bridal salons — big and small, luxury and budget-friendly, boho and traditional — across America. How did we go about creating such a list? We asked more than 1,100 real brides nationwide to weigh in on the best spots to find that dream wedding dress by rating and submitting their own gown-shopping experience. From precious, personalized boutiques in the South to giant wedding dress meccas in the Northeast to intimate indie shops in California, we found them all. So take note, brides-to-be! These are our readers' favorite bridal boutiques in the West.
Bateau Bridal Boutique, Anchorage, Alaska
A chalkboard sign with your name greets you at this one-bride-at-a-time salon. It also has a consignment room, where some happy reviewers found their dream dress for way less than retail.
Lillian Lottie Couture, Scottsdale, Ariz.
"The salon is beautiful, and I was able to find my gown without spending a stupid amount of money," says a bride of this shop, which carries 400-plus gowns by popular labels like Allure Bridals, Pronovias, and Casablanca.
Erin Cole Couture Bridal, Costa Mesa, Calif.
Erin Cole is known for her eponymous accessories line, so expect the jewelry and veils to be on point. But what draws brides from as far away as Dubai are the gowns — think Monique Lhuillier and Carolina Herrera — and the expert seamstress. "She replaced the back zipper with 24 buttons. It looked flawless!" says a bride.
The White Flower, San Diego
At this chic and cheerful salon, paper parasols hang above styles by Hayley Paige and Lazaro. Brides love the friendly vibe and the fact that the shop is divided into two salons: one for gowns under $2,500, one for gowns over.
Loho Bride, San Francisco
This shop caters to cool girls, offering indie designers like Daughters of Simone and Bo & Luca and a custom soundtrack for your appointment. "They found out I like '90s R&B and played TLC my whole fitting," says a delighted bride.
Marina Morrison, San Francisco
This airy space above Union Square carries all the wedding heavyweights, from Marchesa to Mira Zwillinger, and features a crack alterations team: "I was stressed my strapless gown would slip, but it stayed put all night," says a bride.
Anna Bé, Denver
This salon deftly mixes high-end labels (Sareh Nouri, Tara LaTour) with wallet-friendly lines (Watters, Gemy Maalouf). "My budget was on the lower end, but they still treated me like a VIP," says a fan.
Little White Dress Bridal Shop, Denver
"The staff made me feel treasured every time I came in," says a bride of this salon, the only one in Colorado to carry Rivini and Claire Pettibone — the label Mark Zuckerberg's better half, Priscilla Chan, snagged when she shopped here for her wedding.
Willow Bride, Whitefish, Mont.
This Rockies salon features in-demand names like Tara Keely and Sarah Seven. "I'd just had a baby, so I wasn't at my best," says a bride. "They helped me find a dress that made me feel beautiful."
Couture Bride, Las Vegas
"The staff treated me like family. They still keep in touch!" says a fan. The owner is a former Vera Wang exec, so you know the gowns are gorge: Think Anna Maier Couture and, natch, Vera.
Divine Designs Bridal Boutique, Portland, Oreg.
"I went to five salons in town. Divine had the prettiest gowns by far," raves a bride who swooned over styles by Elizabeth Fillmore, Anne Barge, and Liancarlo.
The Dress Theory, Seattle
"There was no taffeta, no cookie-cutter dresses," says a bride of this cozy boutique, with designers like Temperley London and Theia (and branches in Nashville and San Diego). "Every dress was unique!"