- 8 years ago
- Wedding: December 2009
Some of you know that I worked at a bridal shop in the Bay Area for 2 years. During part of that time I was planning my own wedding. I thought I might pass on a few tidbits that might make your dress shopping a little easier.
1) Don’t be afraid to bargain. Salons mark up the price of a dress considerably in order to cover their overhead and various expenses. That being said, there is definitely room to bargain. If you are driving in from far away or see the dress at another store, let them know. You may not get a discount in the price, but you might get free hollow-to-hem so that you won’t need a hem.
2) Find out why they recommend the seamstresses that they do. Some stores (not the one that I worked at) recommended their seamstresses because the seamstresses paid to be promoted. This isn’t a recommendation, it’s advertising! Stores should recommend seamstresses who have done work for the shop.
3) Be honest with your consultant about your budget! I’ve worked with brides who would say their budget was quite high and when they fell in love with a dress but it was too expensive, they would blame me. Or if they low-balled their budget, I would be uncomfortable about showing them dresses that were more expensive and they’d miss out on a great dress.
4) Trunk shows may offer a discount, but know that your consultant is being paid to seriously push that company. They are probably receiving an additional compensation for every dress from that company that they sell that weekend. Also, don’t be forced to buy that very day. The trunk show will probably be for a full weekend, so if you want to think about it, do so. If you can’t make an appt for the next day of the show (likely Sunday), you can still stop in to be measured and put down your deposit. They may not be super thrilled you just dropped in, but they will gladly measure you and take your money. They won’t turn you away.
5) Most employees work on a salary and comission. The comission may not be very much (ours was 2%) but it’s still enough to make employees catty with each other. If possible, and you like her, try to keep your appts with the same consultant. Also, she’ll know your taste better than trying to explain it to each person every time you come in.
6) Bring photos but be open! Trust that the consultants will know what shape will look good on you, but also tell them what you are looking for. Also, don’t be afraid to try on dresses that aren’t what you are expecting. If you’re a big girl, don’t be afraid of slimmer cut strapless dresses. If you are slim and petite, you can still go for a full princess dress.
7) Order at least 6 months before the wedding. Companies can take up to 5 months to get a dress to the store, so be prepared. Sometimes they come in early, but you can’t count on that. Also, rush fees can get incredibly expensive, so try to avoid those. If you are in a hurry, watters is the best company to go with because almost any of their dresses can be made in about 2 months. Disney is the slowest!
8) Order the size that fits you, not what you want to be. Dresses can be taken in, not usually let out. It’s just a number and you’ll be the only one who knows what size your dress is.
Ladies, I hope this helps. I have a lot more that I could add. If you have any specific questions, let me know, either here or through a PM. Some of the companies that I am especially familiar with are Disney, Casablanca, Maggie Sottero, Allure, Venus, Watters, Anjolique, Private Label, and many others. I know some of this is common sense, but other parts, people may not know.