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Heidi Shaffer, Published November 13 2011

It's My Job: She helps brides find ‘the one’

The Bridal Shop

FARGO – Once a bride picks her groom, she comes to bridal consultant Sarah Johnsrud to choose the dress.

Johnsrud, a 25-year-old who also serves as prom supervisor in the spring, started at Fargo’s Bridal Shop in 2007.

The Forum caught up with her to find out what it takes to help brides pick the perfect gown.

What’s your approach when a bride first comes in?

At first, you find out if she’s tried on gowns already or if this is her first time, because girls are a little bit nervous for the first time they’re going to try on. I’ll go over some of the styles she’s liking. Sometimes they’ll bring pictures in that you can go off of.

Otherwise you kind of just have to jump in and try some styles on.

Are there certain techniques you have to calm nervous brides?

When they come in the first time, they’re scared to start pulling dresses, so it’s more just pulling for them and knowing what kinds of dresses will work for different body shapes. Definitely making sure they’ll have a variety of styles that they’re trying.

Are you married?

I am not.

Do you have your dress picked out though?

Ummm. Kind of. I’ve been waiting to try it on until I am engaged.

When it came in, I was just like, “Yep, that’s it.”

How do clients looking for a prom dress differ from brides looking for their wedding gown?

The energy is definitely different.

Bridal is a little bit more serious. The brides really have to take some time to decide, and the prom girls are just ready to find the dress.

Do brides seem to instantly know when a dress is “the one?”

I think so.

I think everyone deals with it a little differently. Some people know right away. Some people wait to get emotional, and I don’t know if they will. I think who you have with will make a difference. If your mom is emotional about a dress, I think that helps a little bit.

There’s a lot of emotion in it. Even I get emotional when the brides do.

What is the most times you’ve had somebody come in to try on a dress?

One girl came in six different times.

But I understand. The hardest thing is when you have a dress here and a dress somewhere else because you can’t try them on back to back. So I definitely understand how challenging it can be.

There’s a lot of reality TV shows about bridal consultants. Do you think they’re pretty true to real life?

I think it definitely is.

They show a little bit more where the group (coming in with the bride) is negative. We don’t see that very often, I don’t think. Once in a while you do, but most of the time, the group that you bring with is pretty excited for you finding your dress.

What is your favorite part of the job?

I love picking a dress that the bride doesn’t think she wants and actually having her like it and actually having her buy it.

Sometimes as a consultant you almost have to do wild-card dresses … because I think brides are scared to wear something different, but once they get it on, they’re very surprised by it.


Readers can reach Forum business editor Heidi Shaffer at (701) 241-5511