By Madison Bloomquist
Picking out a gown can be one of the best parts of a bride’s wedding planning. She gets to act like a princess–she’ll drink champagne, pick through racks and racks of gauzy and lacy dresses, and twirl around in front of a mirror. Naturally, her best friends are trying on veils while clinking champagne glasses right by her side. After all, who is a better cheerleader and critic than your best friends? They’re your soulmates, your family–and they’ll certainly tell your poofy chiffon skirt will be impossible to sit down in and you should put it back immediately.
Annika Bridal celebrates that bestie bond–maybe more than any other shop in the Twin Cities. See, the owners are best friends too. And they’ll be the Bride Tribe members you were missing all along as soon as you set foot in the shop.
A dream come true
The newish bridal store on 50th and France opened last fall, and owners Katie Applebaum and Annie Corbin have been making brides feel special ever since. They’re in the business of dressing princesses, so to speak. The magic all started when the two were competing in sixth grade gymnastics together–but the bridal dream began a little later. Corbin actually helped Applebaum’s friend (and, later, Applebaum herself) pick out her wedding dress when she worked at a bridal shop a few years ago. The two reconnected and began working together in the fairyland of bridal fashion. They simply couldn’t stop talking about dresses and bridal fashion after their shifts ended.
“It’s an obsession,” they say.
They began to dream of owning their own store. Armed with more than a decade of experience between them, a group of supportive friends and family members, and a lot of quickly-learned construction knowledge, they set out to create Annika Bridal Boutique. It was challenging at times, but they had a competitive edge: each other. That best friend bond, mixed with a true passion and dedication to the bridal industry, is easy to see. They can make any woman feel comfortable in a heartbeat.
Plus, they know whom the Minnesota bride is. They describe her as a “classic girl, with a modern twist.” She isn’t falling for the latest trends that might look atrocious in photos on her 20th anniversary (come on, we’ve all seen the poofy sleeves and garish bridesmaid dresses. Yikes…). Maybe she’ll wear a veil, maybe she won’t. Corbin will probably try to accessorize her with one, she jokes, but the choice is always up to the bride. She’s a beautiful, classy lady, who is thrilled to be marrying the love of her life.
Your new best friends
That said, she still needs her dream team to help her through the shopping extravaganza. That’s where Corbin and Applebaum (and their three wonderful consultants) come in. The team hand-selects each gown from four crazy, chaotic days of market each year in New York City. It’s cutthroat–in a good way. Because of it, Annika Bridal Boutique has a striking mix of brands, including some that weren’t previously represented in the Twin Cities bridal scene.
And so, here comes the bride. All dressed in white (soon, at least).
It doesn’t matter how much money a bride has. It doesn’t matter who is with her–although it sure is fun to make a party out of dress shopping. The Annika team will be there to make every single woman feel like the princess she deserves to be. Each bridal party gets a special suite, complete with flutes of champagne and space for guests to sit as the bride throws them a fashion show. Applebaum, Corbin, or one of their consultants will take some time to chat with the bride about what she’s looking for first–after all, she knows what she wants better than anyone. Does she dream of lace? Tulle? A sleek, fitted design? Maybe a trendy jumpsuit for the reception? Does she want a veil? What’s her price range?
Of course, the Annika team excels at knowing what dresses will look good on each woman’s body. The bride–and her consultant–will wander through the store, running her hands over luxe fabric, finding piles of dresses to try on. And then it’s fashion show time. The bride, complete with her cheering section, can try on as many gowns as she wants. Maybe she only tries on three and knows the very first one was her winner. Maybe it takes a dozen, over the course of a few trips to Annika. It doesn’t matter to the Annika team. The only thing that really counts is the bride falling in love with her dress–almost as much as the person she’s marrying.
Listen to the podcast!
The love of your life
But how do you know which dress is The One?
Well, like with your soulmate, “you just know,” Corbin says. The bride’s face will soften. She’ll start using certain words or phrases describing how much she loves it. The kicker, though, is when she does what the team calls “petting the dress.” The bride will run her hands over the fabric, smoothing it out–and everyone knows she’s found it. She’s done.
She’s said yes to the dress. Pop another bottle of champagne!
The logistics that come next aren’t quite as sexy. There’s the measurement process, fittings, and three to six long months of waiting for the dress to be made. And some inevitable doubt: What if the dress isn’t what she remembered? What if her style changes? What if it wasn’t The One?
Applebaum gets it–she went through the same process when she got married. She knows how agonizing it can be to wait, and what the horror of second-guessing your dress feels like. Luckily, though, she’s never seen a woman try on her finished dress and say, “Nope. Forget it. This isn’t it.”
But the Annika team would help them find a new one if it happened.
To keep worries down (and stay in contact with each customer), the entire fitting process is done in-house by a few extremely gifted seamstresses. Each bride is in good, safe, experienced hands. Plus, the bride can know with their whole heart that Applebaum and Corbin truly care about them. Nothing gives the Annika Bridal team more joy than seeing brides walk out their doors with fluffy Annika bags and big smiles on their faces.
Except seeing their wedding photos later, of course.