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A&Bé Bridal Shop in Denver Is Expanding to Minneapolis


White hot dresses by indie designers

by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

A&Bé Bridal Shop in Denver Is Expanding to Minneapolis | A Practical Wedding

Every so often (not often enough) a wedding business comes along that feels like it was picked out of some magical dreamscape just for you. And you want to kiss the founders on the mouth, and then immediately fly to wherever that business is to do your shopping. And pretty often that means flying to one of the coasts, leaving the middle of the country wondering when they’re going to get the next hot wedding business. Well, if you’re in Denver or Minneapolis, the answer is right now.

A&bé Bridal Shop is one of the coolest wedding dress stores I’ve ever seen. They’re located in Denver, but they are about to open a shop in Minneapolis, making the rest of us very jealous. A&bé is a wedding dress store that stocks (almost) all independent designers. Some of them you’ve probably heard of: Leanne Marshall, Elizabeth Dye, Sarah Seven. Some of them you most decidedly haven’t (yet), which is crazy exciting. Then they flesh their collection out with a few of the great mass-market designers, who make kick-ass dresses at lower price points (including Nicole Miller and Wtoo, two of my favorites). It’s for sure a business I’d like to some how time travel to, so I could shop there for my own wedding.

A&Bé Bridal Shop in Denver Is Expanding to Minneapolis | A Practical Wedding

A&bé isn’t just in the business of selling dresses, though boy are they selling hot ones. They’re also in the business of re-imagining what bridal can look like, and then turning that into something you can actually buy (not just that dreamy Pinterest image whose source you can’t track down). When they talk about their lookbook images—the amazing ones in this post—they say, “Yeah we’ve seen a million styled shoots too—but we hope that these are different. This to me is less about showing an unattainable vision of a wedding/engagement shoot and more about inspiring a bride about what bridal means.”

A&Bé Bridal Shop in Denver Is Expanding to Minneapolis | A Practical Wedding

The founders describe their mission this way:

It’s always been a part of the vision of a&bé Bridal Shop to be a connector of emerging designers with brides. We started the shop in Denver because of the creative surge that we saw happening in the wedding dress industry. We just knew that there was a gap for up and coming, indie, and boho designers. We wanted to have a store and space that really appreciated and recognized that brides are shopping differently than they used to. Our experience is no-fuss, and one that honors your individual style.

A&Bé Bridal Shop in Denver Is Expanding to Minneapolis | A Practical Wedding

But I think an even better description comes from one of their happy customers:

A&bé’s style is more indie-designer, unique, casual, and almost everything in the store is under 3K! Everyone will be like, bitchhh where did she get that dress? I walked in and my eyes instantly knew this was my store—so many things caught my gaze immediately. How often does it happen that the less expensive option is the one you love the most?

I attribute this completely to them really understanding their target customer. Are you a creative girl who likes to dress distinctively? Does the idea of wearing a well-known designer brand dress that you can probably find one hundred of on one of those used wedding dress websites turn you off? Do you love being the girl to discover a mega-talented designer before everyone else? Also, are you not a millionaire? Maybe not even a thousandaire? This is for you!

A&Bé Bridal Shop in Denver Is Expanding to Minneapolis | A Practical Wedding

In short, a&bé Bridal Shop (now in Minneapolis as well as Denver) is the bridal store I made up in my indie-shopping, artist-fueled, obsessed-with-women-entrepreneurs dreams. And now, they’re opening a store in Minneapolis. Nope. Not LA, or New York, or Chicago, or even San Francisco. Minneapolis. You guys win, BIG. We asked them a few questions about their opening, and their opening night party on August 21st. In short, if you live in Minneapolis and are planning a wedding, and you don’t show up at this event, I’m going to fly over there just to yell at you. Because WHY? It’s going to be white hot.

A&Bé Bridal Shop in Denver Is Expanding to Minneapolis | A Practical Wedding

Where the new store is: Our address is 1605 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis 55403. The store is right in the heart of downtown Minneapolis near Loring Park and the Walker Art Museum. It’s an awesome neighborhood that has a great blend of feeling urban, close to some really cool restaurants and right across the street from a gorgeous, historic Basilica.

Why A&Bé Bridal Shop is expanding: We are so excited to be expanding! We’re all about creating that accessibility, and part of accessibility is having a broader reach. But, with that said we’re certainly not on a mission to have a gajillion shops—we know that part of the appeal is really being able to be immersed in the community, to being able to curate and cultivate smaller designers, and helping uncover some of the newest and coolest finds. More specifically, we chose Minneapolis for lots of reasons. It’s a super cool, super creative community. Many of our designers actually helped us hone in on expanding to Minneapolis, because they had clients who were literally begging them to bring their designs and wedding gowns to Minnesota. And well, we like the vibe of Minnesota. It’s nice. And we’re nice. And we like nice people.

When the launch party is: Our launch party (called Yes! Minnesota) is happening Thursday, August 21st, and it is going to be a night to remember! Seriously, all of you are invited (the only catch is they have to RSVP—we’ve got a fire code to adhere to), and we’ll have everything from a crafternoon of making Himmelis, to a food truck with yummy Indian food, booze, sweet treats, to tons of dresses to look at. Plus one bride is winning her dress that night! It’s a $3000 credit so she can pick out the exact dress she wants. But seriously the odds are (ever) in her favor.

Anything we should be excited about with regards to the party? Well, we’re giving away a DRESS!! But even without that as enticement, during opening weekend we’re going to have extended hours because we’re having two special appearances: wedding gown designer Sarah Seven and Amanda Judge from Untamed Petals are going to be in-store styling brides-to-be. These two ladies are not only talented, but super cool.

A&Bé Bridal Shop in Denver Is Expanding to Minneapolis | A Practical Wedding

So go check out a&bé Bridal Shop, make an appointment if you can, and if you can’t? Stalk them on Instagram. All the cool kids are doing it.

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was published in January 2012, and has been a top three bestseller on the wedding bookshelf ever since. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.

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  • Jess

    That third dress? It’s everything I want. So glad I’m not married yet and can drive to Minneapolis!

  • vegankitchendiaries

    All of these dresses are so unboring and damn COOL.

  • mvanengen

    Yay Minnesota! I am sharing this with all my engaged friends.

  • Amy A.

    Yay Minneapolis!! Welcome to the neighborhood :-D

  • Lauren from NH

    Really why can’t these guys come to the east coast…wahhh! Maybe I will have to visit my aunt in Denver?

  • Erin

    It’s so cool to see APW find these cool creative indie shops in smaller cities. But I am still crossing my fingers for the day you guys find us a shop like this that is also inclusive of plus size brides.

    • Meg Keene

      We’ve researched and written a little bit about what the limitations for small businesses selling wedding dresses are here: http://apracticalwedding.com/2013/10/apw-guide-to-wedding-dress-shopping/ (TL:DR, two issues. You need dresses being manufactured in a size to sell them, meaning the problem is often further up the supply chain. And, you can usually only afford one sample size in any dress, so you have to pick whatever your customer’s median size is, which is normally around a 10 or 12.) We’ve also written about best tips for plus sized wedding dress shopping: http://apracticalwedding.com/2014/01/plus-sized-wedding-dress-shopping/ (TL:DR: big box stores get a bad rap, but bless ‘em. Economy of scale actually *solves* problems here.)

      But in short, all the small business owners running wedding dress stores we talked to STRONGLY agreed that there was a huge gap in the market for a awesome plus sized boutique, and really hoped that someone got on that already. Given the business reality of wedding dress stores, the strongest model (for a small, non David’s Bridal store) might actually be a plus sized focused store, not just a “inclusive” store, and I hope someone does it already. <– FREE BUSINESS MODEL RIGHT HERE. I've handed out ideas for some pretty successful wedding businesses in the past, so someone GET IT.

      • Erin

        Thank you for replying, Meg. I actually had the thought that the manufacturers were the real problem after I posted my comment, and was coming back to edit it when you replied. I am grateful for all the great resources and info APW provides, and my hope was that the rad plus size boutique you just described did actually exist and there’d be a post about it coming soon. I love the big box store dress I am going to wear to my wedding, and I had a positive shopping experience thanks in part to APW’s tips, but it’s still hard to let go of that tinge of pain that comes with not getting to shop at the cool places. I sincerely apologize if my comment came across as taking a swipe at APW or the store featured in this post. ….Now, who wants to take Meg’s business model and apply to Shark Tank?

    • JDrives

      They’re out there! There is a bridal boutique in my hometown (Sacramento) that offers solely sizes 14 and up. I love driving by their store, the dresses in the window are gorgeous!

  • http://www.blackgirlunlost.com Jubi The Great

    Awesome! I just RSVPed to the party…welcome to Minneapolis!

  • http://www.smittenchickens.com/ Sarah Hoppes

    That 6th dress. HOLY COW I WANT IT IN MY LIFE!

  • Esev

    Congrats! I live in Saint Paul (just moved from Minneapolis) and know right where your new store is at. I’ll be married as of Aug 8, but I might still check it out. There are some very happenin’ ladies here in Minnesota that will love what you have. Minneapolis is the best; people think it’s too cold here, but everything else outshines the winter in my opinion!

  • AGCourtney

    Ahhh! This shop is not even TWO BLOCKS from my apartment. <3 So excited! Just RVSPed.