Grace + White Bridal Boutique

Store owner Aubrey Silva talks about wedding gown shopping.
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grace + white
Photo by James Young

Sacramento wedding planners Sara Von Feldt and Aubrey Silva have witnessed the distress that many brides encounter when searching for the perfect dress. So many choices! So in 2019, they opened Grace + White, a bridal boutique that carries only seven designers (including Hayley Paige) and offers a more intimate shopping experience than a large salon. Recently, Silva answered our questions about finding your dream dress.

Why is choosing a wedding dress such a fraught decision?
Some brides overwhelm themselves. They go to six or seven places, and they don’t even know what they want at that point. They have too many options.

How many salons should a bride visit?
Two. After that, if you still haven’t found your dress, then expand your search. But don’t start by booking three, four or five appointments. It’s just too much.

How should a bride prepare for a salon appointment?
First, it’s very important to know your budget, so you’re not surprised. Then, look at dresses on Instagram and Pinterest. If you have a Pinterest link or Instagram images, you can send them to us before your appointment, and we can pull some dresses.

Anything else?
I ask them to have an open mind. Some come in saying there’s no way I’m going to buy a strapless gown. Then they try it on and they love it. If they can get beyond the idea of what they think they want, they could be pleasantly surprised.

How do you feel about the bridal posse at appointments?
It’s not my favorite thing. I hear the worst comments from the entourage: “That makes you look fat.” “That’s Halloweeny.” “You’re going to have to wear a lot of Spanx with that.” I see these poor girls’ faces drop. They get so deflated. Come in with just one or two people that you know will be kind. If you want to bring a larger group, wait until you’ve narrowed your choices down, and bring them in when you pay for your dress.

Any last words of advice?
Brides should know they won’t necessarily step on the pedestal in their dress, look in the mirror and burst into tears. Not all brides have that moment—in fact, most of them don’t. And that’s OK. You should definitely love the dress, but you may not cry.