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We asked bridal salon owners from across America to share their top insider wedding dress shopping secrets, local hotspots, and everything else you'll need to have the time of your life finding your wedding dress (Think spa treatments, a delish lunch, and cocktails with your BFFs!).
Joan Pillow Bridal Salon owner Joan Pillow has spent more than 20 years working in the bridal industry, first with her salon in Atlanta, and more recently with her second location in Houston. Here, she shares her best wedding dress shopping tips—plus local intel that'll make an already exciting day even more amazing.
Brides: How do you decide what gowns to buy for the salon?
Joan Pillow: When a dress comes down the runway, I don't take a lot of notes—I rely on my first impressions. I try to imagine the bride who'd wear it, but there are times when I'll buy a dress purely because it's a work of art.
Brides: Any trends you wish would go away?
JP: Heavy beading is something I've never bought into—it seems overly ornate and out of place. Some brides think beading equals formality, but there are other details—lace, tulle, seaming—that indicate formality in a more subtle way.
Brides: What's a common dress-shopping misconception?
JP: Thinking you can see it all in one day. Brides who try to hit five bridal salons in a day really do themselves a disservice. You don't want to end up picking a gown out of sheer exhaustion. Take your time.
As for fun places to celebrate in Houston after you've found the gown? Pillow suggests the follow:
Brunch at Up: "Ask to sit on the restaurant's balcony—you'll have a great bird's-eye view of Houston."
Mani-pedi at The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa: "One of the best spas in the country, located just a few miles away."