Post # 1
I am just under a year out from our wedding, and my mom wants to tackle the dress shopping this summer. I was thinking of waiting until August/September, but she wants to start looking sooner, as she thinks it’ll be hard to make other decisions without knowing what I’ll be wearing. Fine with me!
As for where to shop, I am clueless. I really want to check out Ceremony in Beacon Hill, because it just looks so adorable, and will probably go to Vows as well. Does anyone else have any recommendations for bridal shops in Boston or in the surrounding areas?
I don’t have an exact budget per se, but would like to keep it under $3,000. I can go higher than that for the perfect dress, but I am having a hard time justifying paying more than 3K for something I’ll wear once.
Post # 2
I had a similar budget to yours, and I was able to try on a lot of dresses at Flair on Newbury St. They were very friendly and the boutique itself is very cute. I didn’t check out Ceremony, because I actually didn’t hear about it until after I bought my own dress (kind of wish I had….I think they have a lot of Rosa Clara…)
In the end, I fell in love with pics of a dress online and the nearest bridal shop that carried it was Bella Sera Bridal, so that’s why I ended up there. I had a great experience there, but it is a bit of a hike, since it is in Danvers (~40 minute drive). They have a lot of dresses in the 1 to 3k range. I’m getting alterations done in Boston though so I just had to drive out to try on the dress and then pick it up 6 months later.
Post # 3
I’d recommend Camilla’s in Arlington. They should have a lot within your budget. The older sales lady was very nice, the younger one was a little snippy, but I liked that I could browse the racks myself.
I do NOT recommend La Reine (I think it’s in Watertown? Sorry, I don’t remember exactly). Totally unhelpful customer service and they don’t let you pick your dresses. I wanted lace with minimal or no beading and every dress the girl pulled was dripping with bling. I also asked about a specific dress. I knew the designer and dress name but not the #. The girl disappeared for 10 minutes to look for it, came back saying she couldn’t find the #. So I asked if she had Googled it and she said she had but it didn’t come up. My sister literally Googled it right then and obviously the # came up right away. Then she went away for a while longer and returned saying they didn’t have the dress. Oh well!
PP mentioned Flair- I went there for birdesmaids dresses and didn’t like the selection for those, but they seemed to have a good number of wedding dresses. They did not honor the budget we gave for BM dresses though, so I don’t know if they will try to sell you something more expensive in bridal as well.
Post # 4
happycamper8: LibrarianBride: Thanks for the advice, ladies! I’ll definitely check out (and avoid) your recommendations.
Post # 5
annb9: I went to Vows in Watertown and had great success. A friend called it the TJ Maxx of wedding gown stores: discounted gowns from designers.
Post # 6
I also went to Bella Sera, but was suprised at how small the selection is. I plan on checking out Pure Bliss in Newburyport (also a hike for you from Boston). I would recommend determining what designers you are drawn to, and seeing where the major retailers of those lines are. If you are willing to really hike it, consider going up to New Hampshire where there will be no sales tax. Marry & Tux has a large selection of Sottero & Midgley so I plan on going there since most of the dresses I like online are Maggie Sottero.
Post # 7
Vows was wonderful. So many dresses!
If you don’t mind a bit of a hike south, Country Weddings in Hingham had beautiful dresses. We went there to look at bridesmaids dresses but the actual bridal selection was stunning as well.
Also Marry & Tux in Nausua had a million options. The bonus there is that there is no sales tax. I also believe that they price match.
I found all of these places to be wonderful and not at all pushy.
Have a great time shopping!!!
Post # 8
I second the recommendation for Camilla’s in Arlington. It’s a tiny shop, but the mother and daughter who work there are super friendly and not at all pushy. I first found my dress at Bella Sera in Danvers, but I had a terrible experience there, so I ended up buying it from Camilla’s instead. Bella Sera does in house alterations and the sales woman over measured me (I’m assuming to make more money on alterations). When I challenged her on my measurements, her response was “Well I don’t measure tight”. Camilla’s measured me at a smaller size, which ended up being a much better fit for me. They also measured my length and custom ordered my dress 5″ shorter. Bella Sera never mentioned this option to me and told me it would be $200 to hem my lace dress. I also had a $3000 budget and it was plenty for both shops.
Post # 9
I went to Bella Sera and I had a great experience. I am plus size and that made it hard to find dresses. There was no pressure on how many dresses I could try and you could pick the ones you wanted to try on. We also got the bridesmaid dresses there as well.
I originally went to Madelyn’s Daughter in NH and they had a hard time finding dresses I could try on. Plus the same dress I tried on at Bella Sera was a couple of hundred dollars for a Madelyn’s Daughter
Post # 10
I agree vows was great. Such a good place and you can get an amazing dress.
Post # 11
annb9: I did ebay! But everyone I’ve spoken with swears by Vows. There is also J. Crew at Copley Plaza. I actually bought my J. Crew dress from ebay and was able to figure out my size by trying on a few of their dresses.
Post # 12
I visited 5 boutiques (which shocked my low-maintenance self). Reviews below!
Flair: I had a really nice experience at Flair and went there to try on gowns with clean lines. Super lightweight and simple gowns, Madison was my sweet consultant.
Grandasia (Quincy): This shop is really big and has everything (bridal, bridesmaid, quinceneara, traditional Chinese gowns, etc.) so it could seem overwhelming. That being said, the consultant Chelsea was wonderful. She really listened to what I was looking for, she’d already pulled some gowns I had selected from their website, then she pinned and tucked everything to show you how it would actually fit. Plus their tailors are only a few steps away which is great for on the spot questions. I went here to try on Justin Alexander gowns. A perk about them is that if you purchase your dress there then in-house alteration costs are very low. Overall, this was probably my favorite place in terms of customer service.
Vows: I ended up buying my dress at Vows because I loved the dress. The experience was fun to be able to just pick anything out but, truly, you don’t have a whole lot of time, the dressing rooms are small, and at least my consultant wasn’t that helpful in terms of clamping or pinning to show how the dress would actually look once fitted. I recommend going but only after you have experienced some TLC at other salons.
Post # 13
Thank you, everyone, for the recommendations! Now I have a great list to start with. I think we’re going to start looking in the next two weeks or so, and I’ll keep everyone updated with what I choose and where I go.
Post # 14
Just want to let you know that I went to Ceremony — if you’re looking for a ‘backyard’ dress this is the place for you! They have absolutely beautiful dresses (the space is great too) but they just weren’t my style. I think they start right around $3k and go up to $6k. I did go to just about every store in and around Boston. You should also add l’elite, Musette and Sabella to your list. I ended up finding exactly what I was looking for at Sabella, which is a little hole in the wall store… but I fell in love with one gown there that is only $2k vs others which were $4k+ at other stores!
Post # 15
Just wanted to second Musette — wonderful service and you will definitely find a gown within your budget (I am partial to Pronovias but they had a lot of other amazing designers). Alix at Ceremony is wonderful and very helpful. Unfortunately the gowns I liked there were out of my budget (there were a lot of $4k-$5k gowns). Also — the new BHLDN store in Chestnut Hill is also a great place to check out affordable wedding gowns.