Maybe you're a bride-to-be who wants the full princess treatment from your gown shopping experience – a scene that feels straight out of a romantic movie.
Or maybe you're practically on your way to the courthouse and need a gown right now.
You'll find a number of bridal gown stores within an hour's drive of Omaha, each with a special niche. Most carry bridal jewelry and accessories, as well as bridesmaid and mother-of-the-bride dresses. Here's an insider's peek at the types of stores in our area to help you find the right fit for your personality and budget.
You can see their gowns in person at the World Herald's Wedding Essentials Idea Show on Sunday at the Mid-America Center. Runway shows will be happening all day, featuring the latest in bridal fashion for brides, grooms and the entire wedding party.
— Compiled by Tina King and Marguerite Happe, contributing writers for THE WORLD HERALD's Wedding Essentials magazine.
A Nebraska tradition
» Ellynne Bridal
4400 S. 70th St., Lincoln
Owner Lynne Rustad aims to provide a memorable, princess-like, couture bridal shopping experience. Her store features open spaces, tall, ornate mirrors and four-foot-wide pedestals so brides can see the full effect of each gown. With chandeliers and a white baby grand piano in the background, it's hard for brides to feel like anything but royalty.
Rustad travels to New York City, Paris and Barcelona looking for couture gowns that she can offer at “Nebraska prices.”
Price range: $1,000 to $10,000.
Lines include: Alfred Sung, Alvina Valenta and Watters & Watters. Fifty dress rentals available.
Inspired by “Say Yes to the Dress”
» Sublime Bridal — 16902 Wright Plaza, Omaha | www.sublimebridal.com | 402-932-9370
Technology enhances the shopping experience at progressive Sublime Bridal, a sister boutique to nearby Sublime Couture at Shops of Legacy. The shop's associates spend time with brides, browsing images of gorgeous gowns on an in-house iPad. Once they identify the bride's style, the associates bring out dresses to try on.
“If you look at a dress on a rack, it's pretty difficult to tell what you are looking at,” says owner Nicole Panneton.
Appointments are recommended.
Price range: $800 to $3,500. Lines include: Justin Alexander, Pronovias, Tony Bowls White Collection and Enzoani Blue.
» Ready or Knot — 2810 S. 110th Court, Omaha | www.readyorknotweddings.com | 402-885-4883
Owner Jocelyn Robertshaw provides one-on-one attention to brides and their maids in her intimate “wedding chic” boutique at Rockbrook Village. She specializes in carefully curated gowns (many exclusive to this Nebraska retailer).
Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are recommended “to ensure we can devote our time and space to your gown search.” Watch for trunk shows.
Price range: $1,000 to $6,000 for wedding gowns, and $200 to $450 for bridesmaids' dresses.
Lines include: Modern Trousseau, Ivy & Aster and Nicole Miller. Some gowns are from designers brides may have had to find in larger cities in the past. Also in this category: Rhylan Lang.
New Kid on the Block
» My Blue Whimsy
530 N. Main St., Fremont | 402-727-0933
Nostalgic, romantic and mysterious. That's how Lisa Lamb describes My Blue Whimsy, her new vintage-inspired wedding boutique in downtown Fremont.
“It has been my dream to create a space like this since I was a little girl,” she says. “My passion is to help brides with the vision for their wedding day. It's one of the most important days in a girl's life!”
In addition to carrying bridal attire, My Blue Whimsy offers planning and design services for weddings, showers and receptions. The boutique has a growing inventory of vintage chandeliers, tables and upholstered couches that are available for rent, and even lets brides use its space for bridal showers.
The shop is set up in three main areas. Upon entering the 150-year-old building, you see the event, décor and planning area for consultations and appointments.
Walk a few feet and you find a vast selection of luxurious bridal and everyday couture lingerie, followed by a display of bridesmaid, bridal and special occasion gowns.
“All of the designers in the shop are exclusive to Nebraska. We have Matthew Christopher, Victoria Nicole, Claire Pettibone, Winnie Couture and Cymbeline,” Lamb says. “These designers really inspire me and bring the romantic and mysterious trends to life for the girls who come in.”
For the Oct. 21 Wedding Essentials Idea Show on Sunday, Lamb and Holly Strudthoff of Avant Garden Floral in Fremont are collaborating on a fall-themed tablescape and cake display. Additionally, Lamb will have gowns from her boutique in the daylong fashion shows. “The moment you walk in, you will be inspired,” Lamb says of the event.
» Von Maur
10010 California St., Omaha
It's been easy for mothers-of-the-bride to find gowns at Von Maur at Westroads Mall for many years, but contemporary-minded brides are having great luck now, too, since the store added bridal gowns two years ago.
Wedding dresses are less formal here, with the inventory being ideal for second marriages and destination weddings. Currently, 1920s-inspired looks are popular.
Von Maur offers pre-opening appointments for brides and bridal parties who would like to schedule them.
Price range: $200 to $900.
Also in this category: Suburban Bridal, Exclusive Formal Wear Dresses, Bridal Gown Outlet
» A Bridal Boutique
2243 Franklin St., Bellevue
Customization is the niche at this shop in Old Town Bellevue, where Margie Guy, owner and executive fashion designer, sells her own line of customizable gowns. Guy also has the exclusive Omaha area rights to sell several other unadvertised lines.
“If you can imagine it and articulate it, we can do it,” Guy says.
She can turn dresses around fairly quickly, requiring less than a six-month lead time. Gown sizes range from 6 to 30, with about 400 dresses in stock in the shop.
For green-minded brides, Guy offers eco-friendly gowns made of sustainable materials — including recycled cotton.
She also carries her own line of flower girl dresses, as well as custom veils, garters and other accessories.
The shop opened in December 2011, but Guy has worked in the Omaha wedding gown business for nine years.
By appointment only.
Price range: Fully custom gowns are available for less than $2,000.
» Bridal Traditions 2737 S. 140th St., Omaha | www.bridaltraditionsomaha.com | 402-397-2525
Known for its variety of “mid-luxury” gowns (meaning high-quality designer gowns in the mid-price range), this 15-year-old shop moved a bit farther west in February to its new 11,000-square-foot location near Oak View Mall.
Bridal Traditions provides large fitting rooms, multiple runways and pedestal areas for showing gowns off to several friends. No appointment necessary, but brides can make appointments to ensure one-on-one service.
Price range: $1,000 to $1,500, although the store carries gowns from $800 to $2,000. Lines include: Maggie Sottero, Pronovias and Allure Bridals. Also in this category: David's Bridal