Lake Country Faces: Say 'yes to the dress' in Nisswa

Brainerd graduate nears one-year anniversary of opening bridal store, hosts bridal runway show at senior living facility in Baxter

Emily Kaye Bridal
Emily Beutz opened Emily Kaye Bridal on Smiley Road in Nisswa in February 2022.
Contributed / Sarah Heath

NISSWA — Emily Kaye Beutz is living her dream, and she shared that dream last weekend with residents at an area senior living facility.

Beutz opened Emily Kaye Bridal off Highway 371 just south of Sportland Corners in Nisswa nearly a year ago.

On Saturday, Jan. 14, she hosted a bridal runway show for residents at Northern Lakes Senior Living in Baxter, where her grandpa, David Barker, lives.

Beutz supplied wedding gowns for the Northern Lakes “models,” and the event included DJ music by Electrifying Dynamics in Pequot Lakes, flowers by Petals and Beans in Nisswa, decor by Gathered Gold Co. in Crosslake and photography by Madisen Watson and Veronica Barry.

Bridal Runway
Emily Kaye Beutz, center, owner of Emily Kaye Bridal, and Kelly Mogensen, right, of Alterations by Kelly, are shown with Northern Lakes Senior Living residents — including, from left, Artie, Mary, Sandra, Pru, Joan, Jan and Geri — who participated in a runway bridal show Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023.
Contributed / Madisen Watson Photography

The day came complete with wedding cake, champagne, sparkling juice and coffee.


"You could feel the excitement in the air as these incredible women were re-living one of the best days of their lives," Sandy Hudak, activities director at the senior living facility, said via email. "Some of them have/had been married for 50, 60, even up to 68 years!"

Bridal Runway
Artie, from Northern Lakes Senior Living in Baxter, walks the bridal show runway Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023.
Contributed / Madisen Watson Photography

For the inaugural event, there were eight “brides.”

Bridal Runway
A "model" walks the bridal runway Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, at Northern Lakes Senior Living in Baxter during an event sponsored by Emily Kaye Bridal.
Contributed / Madisen Watson Photography

“Every year we will recreate their wedding day if they want,” Beutz said, noting she planned to bring about 30 wedding gowns for the ladies to choose from, as well as five vintage gowns to have on display.

Beutz, a 2010 Brainerd High School graduate, attended the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks for a couple of years before deciding she wanted to travel. She lived in Florida for a couple of years before returning home.

“I came back up here and just kind of never left again. It’s always been a dream of mine to open this,” she said of her bridal store.

“Eight years ago was when I really thought about it,” she said, probably because her friends were starting to get married.

However, startup costs were aggressive.

“So I bartended at Zorbaz for seven years and made enough funds to open the business,” she said. “My goal was to run a business without an investor, so that’s why I did so many years bartending.”


Organized, confident and personable, she calls her business “an expensive hobby, but the best job ever.”

“I pretty much play dress-up all day. It’s pretty great,” she said.

Beutz wanted a storefront on Highway 371 between Brainerd and Nisswa. She first fell in love with a highway location that’s now home to a chainsaw carving business in Baxter, but the timing wasn’t right and the location was taken before she could get it.

“So then I was driving north and I saw ‘for rent’ (on her current building) and I pulled right over and called and then the next day I pretty much had the key to this place,” Beutz said.

“When I walked in the door, fish mounts covered the whole wall,” she said.

But Beutz had a vision and after extensive renovation, she opened Emily Kaye Bridal on Feb. 12, 2022.

We are fully booked for the next two weeks. I do feel like everybody has gotten engaged over the holidays.
Emily Kaye Bridal

Complete with bridal gowns hanging in the lighted storefront windows, the Smiley Road business is visible from Highway 371 and shares space with Trophy Fish Replicas. The back of the building houses the alterations part of her business, run by her aunt, Kelly Mogensen.

The open and inviting store features two areas for brides to try on gowns. Each has a pedestal in the form of a more than 350-year-old round log shipped from South Dakota that Beutz sanded and had sealcoated for brides to stand on in front of a huge mirror.


While people can browse the gowns and bridal accessories, brides must book two-hour appointments — though some go longer — Wednesdays-Sundays to try on dresses.

“We are fully booked for the next two weeks,” said Beutz, who doesn’t live far from her store.

“I do feel like everybody has gotten engaged over the holidays,” she said.

Emily Kaye Bridal2.JPG
Emily Beutz, owner of Emily Kaye Bridal in Nisswa, stands near a rack of bridal gowns in her store.
Contributed / Sarah Heath

She has brides pick out 10 dresses to try, and then Beutz picks out five herself for the bride, with a goal to narrow the choices to two or three.

I really form a bond with these ladies. I’m with them for two hours, maybe even three hours, and then we talk about the wedding and I give them advice.
Emily Kaye Beutz

“Some people do say yes to the dress in their first appointment, but if they need more time they come and then we try on those three again,” she said.

When a bride commits to a dress, she rings a bell, pops a bottle of champagne and gets a photo taken at a “yes to the dress” display.

“We usually put on this party playlist and everybody’s dancing. It’s so cute,” Beutz said.

She gets customers from all over, not just locally, and she loves seeing how happy people are.


“I really form a bond with these ladies. I’m with them for two hours, maybe even three hours, and then we talk about the wedding and I give them advice,” Beutz said. “So I kind of become a part of their big day because then they usually do alterations here. So I will see one bride at least six times before her wedding.”

She advises brides to bring four to six people along and to start shopping for a gown eight to 10 months before her wedding.

“I don’t want them to fall in love with something they can’t have,” she said.

She carries gowns by three designers, and just received 40 gowns from an Australian designer. Bridal gowns range from $800 to $3,500, with an average cost of $1,600, she said, noting she carries sizes 0-26.

Her business goals include offering prom gowns and owning the whole building one day to have room to offer mother of the bride gowns and to rent tuxedos.

Anyone wanting to make an appointment at Emily Kaye Bridal can call Beutz at 218-330-7687. Her website is

Nancy Vogt, editor, may be reached at 218-855-5877 or Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at

Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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