tianalr: I went with my mom, and by the end of the day we were ready to kill each other! Haha. It’s VERY exhausting, and personally I think if you brought your ladies you’d be tired and irritable at the end of the day. That said, you may have to bring them with you, for several reasons.
1. You can’t take photos. This will make it hard for you to take photos of a bunch of dresses and ask your BMs which one they like best.
2. These stores are kind of…hard to find? That’s a weird thing to say in the age of google maps, but half of these stores have weird generic names, no websites, etc. If you do want your BMs to go back, make sure you get the street addresses.
3. Payment. I’m not sure how it’ll work for you to negotiate the price of the dresses, and then not pay for them all at once. I dunno if that makes sense, but when your BMs go back, I don’t see how you can guarantee the price of the dress. The owner could theoretically charge them a different price and there’s nothing they can do about it. If, on the other hand, you all go together, you can negotiate hard on a price, and then everyone just shells out at once.
4. Parking. It is impossible in the Garment District, and I’d be piiissed if someone made me go there myself and find street parking.
SO. Bottom line, I think my strategy would be:
First, go by yourself. Scope out a few possibilities. You won’t be able to take pictures, but write down the name/street address of the store (or get a business card) and a short description of each dress.
Go home and discuss the options with your girls. Eliminate anything that any of them flat out refuse to wear (like if someone hates one shoulder dresses or floor length dresses.)
Go back to the District with all of your girls. Make sure they have cash and water. Consider promising them lunch afterward. And you should drive and find the parking and pay for it.
Then make a beeline to all the stores you’ve already visited. Go through them fast so they can see all the options first, and then discuss your favorites. Reach a consensus (or rank several options) and go back to the stores you like. Negotiate with the owner for prices (point out that you’re buying several dresses, that you’ll pay cash, et.c). Buy the dresses.
As for fitting–every store seems to have a relationship with a tailor/seamstress nearby, but if you let them fix it, you’ll have to go back to the Garment District (and parking is a nightmare, of course.)
Personally, I’d let the girls take their dresso to a tailor/seamstress of their choosing. Unless you are willing to take them back to the Garment District yourself, maybe?
Sorry this is vaguely incoherent, I’m a bit tired. Good luck! Let me know if you have other questions. Hope this was helpful, and good luck!