- 3 years ago
- Wedding: May 2014
Monique Lhuillier holds a sample sale in July and another one in November in Downtown LA. They usually occur the 2nd Sunday of the month and go from 10 AM to 4 PM. I went to the one recently held on July 14th and was able to find my wedding dress – the Giada – at 75% off the retail price of $11,500. My sister nabbed a new RTW dress for $400.
Here are some tips if you plan on going:
// BEFORE THE SALE DATE //
Go try on dresses
You won’t know what will be available but try on different styles (new and old) that are in your price range and out of your price range. There was no way I could afford the Giada (new or resale) but I tried it on anyway for fun but had shut it out of my mind. Try on accessories (veils, belts, overskirts) – they sell those at the sample sale too. If you go to the Melrose location, Sharon Sess is a great consultant (she was at the sample sale and helped me out a lot). At the sample sale, there were newer dresses (2013 dresses) and old styles (Scarlett was there).
// BEFORE THE DOORS OPEN //
The girls who were at the start of the line arrived at 3:30 AM. My sister & I lazily rolled up at 6:30 AM and were about 50 people from the start (probably 75 people from the start after some line drama – see below). When the doors opened, we were in the 4th group of people let in and got in about 1.75 hrs after the first ppl had gone in. The amount of people they let in after the first group depends on how quickly they leave. The sale was juicy this July so the first group took quite a long time (they also don’t set a time limit once you get in).
Foldable chairs, sleeping bags, blankets to sit on are pretty essential. DTLA sidewalks are dirty and you don’t really want to sit on hobo piss (I live next to the building so I know). Meter parking & yellow zone parking on the street is free on Sundays (just avoid the white zones) so you can load your supplies in your car shortly before the sale starts. If you plan on going while it’s still dark out, bring mace. DTLA isn’t that safe even though the building is in the South Park area (though there are district safety personnel on bikes and condo security that patrol the block next door). Bring an umbrella and sunscreen for when the sun comes out. Unless you’re close to the door, there’s no shade and it gets really hot.
Bring a strapless bra
I made the mistake of wearing tight-fitting yoga clothes thinking that I could just wear the dresses over what I’m wearing. Some of the dresses are sample sizes but a lot were also size 2s, 4s, etc. You’ll want to see how the dress will look on your wedding day and how the dress will fit you without a layer of clothing underneath. The dressing room is one big room and a lot of chicks were naked (incl me eventually). Do what you gotta do.
Avoid line-drama and be fair
If you’re going to pay someone to stand in line for you and your family/friends, make sure you pay head for head. For example, if you have a group of 10 but want someone to wait in line for you at 4 AM (you can find people on Task Rabbit or on the streets…) so that you can roll up at 8 AM, pay 10 people to wait in line. This avoids pissing off the groups of people around you. A lady paid ONE guy to wait in line for her group of 10 this year and it started up A LOT of unnecessary drama and fighting. Cops were called. The Monique Lhuillier staff hands out tickets at around 8:15 AM to the people who are in line at that time (which is too late to avoid line-drama IMO). If you show up at 7 AM & spot friends close to the front of the line, ask the people around them if it’s ok for you join them. If they say no, just head to the back of the line – they woke up and showed up before you any way.
Talk to the people around you and make friends
A lot of people are repeat shoppers, have good tips, and are just interesting people. Conversation helps pass the time and they’ll help save your spot in case you need to run to Starbucks to pee. The people around you are also the people who will be inside the sale with you. If they know what you want and/or if you know what they want, you can have some teamwork going on once you’re inside the sale.
// WHEN YOU GO IN //
Unlike how bridal sample sales are portrayed on TV, there’s no running after the elevator doors open (maybe by then, people are already too drained or have slight heatstroke). The dresses are sorted by style and type. All the ballgowns are together, all the veils are on one rack, all the column dresses are together.
Take your time and look around
I did a loop through all the racks, tried on 5 dresses (5 at a time are allowed into the dressing room), and then did another loop. It was during my 2nd loop that I spotted the Giada (yes, I screamed when I found it). It didn’t look like it had been touched and was hanging between lace column dresses. Take your time to try on the dress and then try it on again. Make sure you love it – sample dresses are still not cheap. A lot of the dresses were $3K (though a lot were also around $1K).
Talk to people
If you see something you like that someone has, ask them to let you know if they decide on not keeping it. I was able to nab the RTW dress for my sister after a woman had tried it on and decided on not buying it. She was gracious and remembered to let me know after I had asked her. We paid that kindness forward by passing a dress to someone who was eyeing it after I had tried it on.
// ABOVE ALL ELSE //
It’ll be how it’s meant to be. Don’t let yourself get too anxious or stressed out. If a dress is meant for you, you’ll find it. If not, there are other dresses. It’s just a dress and not worth fighting over. It’s also ok to walk out empty handed – don’t spend money on something you don’t love.