Fitting Room Confidential: One boutique, two experts, three looks

Anna Bé, a Denver bridal boutique, is not just a beautiful shop filled with beautiful dresses. It has a chic and young vibe with exposed brick, chandeliers and dresses that run the gamut—from simple and chic to sassy, modern pieces of wearable art. And yet the staff and the two owners—Anna Walsh and Breanna Doll, who are young and chic themselves—are totally approachable.

We wanted to see their skills, so Colorado Brides offered the ladies a challenge. We gave them one model, the lovely Rose Silkey, had them style her three ways and invaded their shop for a photo shoot. With the help of Metro-area hair and makeup artist Tanya Owens, Silkey was transformed over and over and over again.

We also asked Walsh and Doll to answer a few questions about how they make dress shopping less stress and more fun:

So, how did you open Anna Bé?

After having worked together for a number of years, one day we had one of those conversations that just sparked something; of course, this was over a cocktail or two. We both had a shared frustration with not only the experience of shopping for our wedding dress but also the goods themselves. We set out to change all of that. We believe that wedding dress shopping should be fun! From the moment that you step in to Anna Bé, it’s a haven of great design—we pride ourselves on not only having the absolute best collection of dresses and one that’s edited to a level of manageability—but also the best environment. We have a friendly team that works with you from the moment you shop to the day of.

Three words to describe your boutique?

Modern, playful, elegant.

Three words to describe Colorado brides?

Easy-going, simple, stylish.

How do you pick the dresses in Anna Bé?

It’s a long process. Throughout the year we are constantly on the hunt for new designers and working with our designers to make sure we are satisfied with our collection. We also attend bridal fashion markets where designers showcase their latest collections. Every dress we purchase is a joint decision and based on our instinct, requests from brides, trends that we spot and input from our team.

How do you help narrow gown options?

Lots of listening (sometimes to words but more often to subtle cues). At the end of the day, it’s really about being able to figure out what the bride wants. Sometimes that takes understanding her vision through magazine cutouts and descriptions, but other times it’s about putting on lots of options and being able to read which styles she really feels and looks best in.

What trends do you love right now?

Breanna: I love the blushes and Champagnes and textures, short dresses (reception dresses) and big blingy belts.

Anna: I love lace—especially when lace is used in unusual ways: layered with tulle, scattered on a skirt or unique lace patterns.

Are there any tips or tricks a bride should know when she tries on dresses?

Breanna: 1. Bring one to two trusted people. Any more than that, it just confuses you. 2. Have an open mind. 3. Be kind to yourself.

Anna: Dress up a little bit! It’s so much easier to envision yourself on your wedding day if your hair is done nicely and you are wearing a bit of makeup as opposed to coming in straight from the gym. And don’t be surprised if you end up loving something that you never thought you would wear. I cannot tell you the number of times a bride ends up in exactly what she said she thought she would never wear.

How does a bride find the right white?

It’s all about finding the right dress that elicits that “glow” from a bride. Most designers use softer whites that warm up the complexion and are pretty flattering—whether that ranges from a diamond white to an ivory to a Champagne.

What’s the most common question you get from brides? And what do you tell them?

1. What veil would you put with this dress? The veil is an amazing accessory that can change the feel of a dress. Put a long veil with a dress, and voila: instant drama and romance. Add a face-framing blusher with a bit of net and you’ve set a vintage tone. There’s lots of room to play with veils and headpieces, and there really is no right or wrong. It’s all about creating the look that the bride wants!

2. What is a trunk show? A trunk show is a special event where brides can view the latest collection of gowns from a given designer. The dresses are effectively on tour as they travel across the country. It’s a great opportunity to be one of the first brides to try and buy these gowns and often times the designer will be in attendance. How cool is that? To be able to meet the designer of your wedding gown?

3. When do I need to order my dress? We recommend ordering your gown no later than seven to nine months before your wedding date and earlier is always better! The gown itself will take about four to five months of production time and then we always need time for alterations and just in case. We believe in being prepared and doing everything we can to make sure that the dress is never a source of stress. Less stress, more play, right?

You can find Anna Bé at 1575 Boulder St., Denver. Give them a call at 720.855.1111 or visit


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