(Closed) Need Tips! about to start a bridal shop and need some tips from you brides!

posted 8 years ago in Dress
Post # 48
386 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

I tried on a ton of dresses and went to a lot of shops. Here are some things that were important to me or bugged me;

– let people take photos. I know a lot of places don’t like to allow this but I completely axed a wonderful shop out of my list because I found it too hard to make a decision without being able to look at photos of myself in the dresses

– don’t make the “pedestal” too high. One shop I went to the pedestal they have brides stand on was 4 feet off the ground. I am not good in heels and not good on a pedestal in a tight dress, it was too much for me and I hated it. Make it low and easy to get up on without assistance

– Have a range of sizes, if you have everything in a size 8 you are going to lose all the plus size brides. Telling a bride to “hold it up to get an idea of what it will look like is not helpful at all”

– Do not tell people what style they need to wear. This was an issue I had at every single bridal salon I went to. I am a plus size and every place told me I needed an A line, I didn’t want an A line and I didn’t buy an A line. There was no way anyone was going to get a sale by not listening to me. Suggestion are fine but saying “oh you won’t like anything else it’s all dropped waist” after I just finished saying I want a dropped waist gown is incredibly frustrating!!

– Allow the brides and their families to pull and look through gowns. I know this can get messy but I pulled my own gown and I pulled my friend’s as well. As good as a consultant can be they don’t know the bride and sometimes it’s just easier to have someone who knows them look through things. I was very disappointed in one place when I didn’t get to try on something I had wanted to because the consultant never pulled it

– friendly consultants, everyone has a bad day and that’s fine but someone who is miserable and hates their job and ignores you is really upsetting when you are searching for a wedding dress. The shop I ended up buying from had the nicest consultant and I recommend them to everyone because she was so nice and easygoing.

– Let the men in! Some shops have a “no men in the wedding gown area” rule. This becomes an issue for girls who are shopping with fathers, brothers, uncles or male friends. I would not buy a gown if my father wasn’t there.

– website! This is a huge one for me. Have an up to date list on your website of dresses you have (with a pic, even the stock photo is good) and the size you have available to try on. I would have come prepared with a list if what I wanted to try if more stores would do this. You can even have people email you the dresses they want to try before their appointments so that you can have a few set up in a fitting room ready for them when they get there.

– hair accessories, surprisingly hard to find things like nice bridal hair flowers, I would recommend selling some.

– don’t let consultants eat on the sales floor (yes I saw this) and please don’t let them eat something that reeks and will make the place smell. I know you have to let people eat but seriously I don’t want fish smell where I might be buying a dress



Post # 49
263 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

1 – Let brides take pics of themselves in pictures to show their family who can’t necessarily be there in person. Also it helps to have a photo so you can compare dresses. One salon even took pics on a nice SLR and emailed them to me.

2 – Don’t play games. Don’t jack up your prices to generate profits – I caught onto this when one dress was cheaper at another boutique. Give out the style number and designer name.

3 – Keep dresses in good condition. It’s hard to “imagine” it looks better steamed/when stuff isn’t smushed. 

4 – Have good bridal consultants. Have ones that get your style. I had ones that seem bored b/c they hate their jobs, and ones that didn’t “get” my style (romantic) and instead tried to pursuade me that I looked good in what “they” wanted me in (modern). 

Post # 50
263 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

View original reply
@carbear02:  also – have white binder clips instead of black so they “blend” into the dress. Have consultants that can work them. It’s SO impt to making the dress look good on you.

Post # 51
504 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

I recently went to a shop where they had binders (by designer) with a picture of every dress they had in the salon. They gave you a paper and you listed all the dresses you would like them to pull. The price for each dress was clearly shown on each picture. After I tried on a few, she also suggested some others.I really liked this way to select dresses. The were very courteous and helpful there, I just didn’t try anything that gave me “that” feeling. I am still looking but this was my favorite salon.

Post # 52
1297 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

There’s been a lot of good comments. Didn’t read them all, but one common complaint I hear is that the staff is super nice to brides, but not to bridesmaids when dealing with the bridesmaids dresses. I didn’t have this problem, but I’ve heard from many women that have, and I would feel awful if I sent my best friends somewhere that they got treated like crap. Plus many BM’s are future brides!

Consultants: My favorite consultant (and the one I bought my dress from) was polite, offered but didn’t force help, and gave advice when I asked for it. She read my feelings and asked the right questions to help her help me. My least favorite consultant was really into it, which I appreciated, but she acted like every single dress I tried on was “the one”.

Post # 53
52 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

Hi there,

I haven’t had a chance to read all the great responses, so forgive me if I repeat what someone else may have posted.  I have been to a number of shops ranging from large to small.  First of all the well known Davids Bridal… I was actually there twice.  The first time I walked out because I was asked to fill out a “registration form”  Why do I need to register to try on a dress?  The idea was ludicrous!  The lady told me “maybe you should just come back when you’re ready” hmmm… maybe I’ll never be ready for this place!  But then my curiosity got the best of me, so at a later date I filled out a form (which I can only imagine will be used for marketing purposes at a later time..) and tried on 2 dresses.  Their dresses all look alike, and just were not what I was looking form.  The positive thing about Davids is that alot of brides use it as a first stop to just try different styles, to see what style suits them before narrowing their search.  Their dresses are also much more affordably priced than smaller more specialized salons.

The next shop I went into was a shame.  The owner was pleasant and sure to greet everyone who walks in promptly.  But if you’re going to run a sale, then run a sale and leave it at that.  I was told that if you purchase a dress on your first visit, you get an additional 40% off the sale price!  I found a dress that I thought I liked, and for the price, I couldn’t beat it… so I purchased the dress.  I have been in that shop several times since then and each time I walk in, the same owner NEVER recognizes me!!!  So how does she know if it’s your first or fourth time in the store??  I have never figured that out.  The more I thought about it and looked at pics of me in the dress, the regret sank in and I now have it listed for sale.  Persuasion may sell you a dress, but it won’t build a good repoir with your clients thus making it difficult to build a successful business. 

I was to a couple other little shops and they had a nice selection and the service seemed okay, but not spectacular.  Then I finally broke down and went into a shop in our area that is well known for their service… they have built years perfecting their reputation!  Everyone I know has gotten their gown there, and this is why I hesitated (who wants to look like “everyone else”) but once I was there, I knew I was in wedding gown home field!!!  They are so friendly, and I have been in MULTIPLE times trying on different dresses, etc (and have never made an appointment…. but always had the same associate available to help me)  Now I do have to say that I usually went in over my lunch hour during the week (probably not their busiest times)  It was trying I’m sure, but she stuck it out until I found the perfect one.  They even offered to order from a supplier that they don’t normally carry…. honestly, I cannot say enough good things about them:):):)


Post # 54
152 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

One salon I went to made me wear a hairnet over my face while getting into/out of the dresses so I wouldn’t “get makeup” on them (even though I don’t wear foundation). I understand the reasoning behind it, but I found it really disrespectfull and was very turned off. At the same salon, when I said I wanted to try on a specific dress there, she tried to talk me out of it saying I wouldn’t like the way it looked (FYI… It was a size too big so this wasn’t a fitting-into-the-dress issue). Needless to say I didn’t buy there 🙂

Post # 55
272 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

I had a fantastic dress shopping experience yesterday, and here’s why:

  • Place was very nice, decor was updated and super clean
  • We were greeted as soon as we walked in, signed in and had a few minutes to use the restroom and get ready to shop
  • Consultant didn’t wince at ALL at my stated $1500 budget
  • I was able to browse the dresses with my consultant, with her help pointing me towards the racks in my price range
  • Dressing room was large enough for three people (at times my consultant and another floor assistant were both in there with me) and 6-8 dresses – the room had a lot of hooks to hang dresses, and a chair to put my street clothes on
  • My consultant really knew how to clip, which made a huge difference
  • We were allowed to take photos, which immensely clarified what looked good and what didn’t
  • They had jewelry and a variety of veils and sashes to help you get an idea of a total look
  • Appointments at this salon are 1.5 hours long, and I didn’t know that going in – that extra 30 minutes made a huge difference, even though I was done in an hour and ten. The whole appointment felt less rushed, and when I was told I had 1.5 hours, I realized that it made all the difference in how my consultant was able to help me try on a lot of options.

I think the biggest gap in the bridal salon market is samples in a variety of sizes. I’m a street size 10, and not actually plus sized (I’m tall). However, this store that I went to is specifically targeted to 12+ bridal, and while many of the samples were way too big for me to try on, I was able to get into everything and it REALLY made a huge difference in how I felt about my experience. 

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