I have been in the fashion industry for nearly 35 years, primarily high end luxury fashion, however nothing prepared me for a career as a Bridal Consultant, a position I accepted about eight years ago. This career has been life altering and enlightening, Woman coming into the salon to choose their wedding gown are excited, nervous, and full of anticipation to purchase the most important dress they will ever wear.
My suggestions for a successful shopping trip:
Come Prepaired To Find Your Dress:
I have worked with over 5000 brides and 80% to 90% successfully find their perfect gown on the first visit. However, I have also faced the bride who had tried on over 350 dresses because she wanted to see if there was anything she was missing, and ultimately purchased the second dress she tried on.
If you and your consultant are working together you will find your perfect gown on your first shopping trip.
Limit The Number Of Guests At Your Appointment:
The appointment can easily become counterproductive when there are too many opinions. Large groups can easily get out of control, with members pulling gowns for the bride to try on with no knowledge of her budget, size, or style. When an Aunt or friend pull a size 6 gown for a size 20 bride, it can be very upsetting to the bride. Again, this is where you need to trust your consultant.
The most successful appointments usually result from a limited group who are supportive of the bride. And remember, if you are shopping with a bride, it is her opinion that ultimately matters. Many times guests envision the bride in what they would like to wear, not what is best for the bride. One negative comment about a gown the bride loves, could forever ruin her opinion. I have had insensitive group members exclaim things like “That looks like something an old woman would wear” or “you look fat”, if this is your opinion, keep it to yourself.
Trust Your Consultant:
Your consultant wants you to find the perfect gown. Come prepared with 3 or 4 pictures of looks you love. And, remember it is almost like a treasure hunt. A good consultant will follow the clues you provide. You may like some design features of one dress, and some of another. It is her job to ultimately merge everything you are liking into that one perfect dress.
Have An Open Mind:
You may be drawn to a specific silhouette that may not be ideal for your body shape. Your consultant has seen the dresses on a variety of shapes and sizes and may offer some input as to what will work best for you. If your initial vision is of a skin tight mermaid, and this doesn’t suit your figure, allow you consultant to offer suggestions.
Trust Your Instincts.
You will feel when it is the right dress for you! Don’t second guess, go with your instinct. Above all don’t continuing thinking you may find something better! If you truly love it and can vision yourself being married in the gown, stop the search.
Allow Enough Time For Your Dress To Be Ordered:
The best time to shop for your dress is ideally one year prior to your wedding. This allows order time, which is usually 6 -7 months, alteration time of 2 months, and although usually not necessary, time to correct any issues. Shopping with a shorter window of time may result in a limited selection of priority gowns or stock sample dresses. Also, don’t allow too much time. If you are getting married in 2 years, don’t start looking unless you are ready to purchase. This will only confuse you.
Don’t Try On A Gown Over Your Budget:
If you truly have a set budget, don’t try on a gown significantly over that budget. My all time worst appointment, was a bride with a $2000 budget who had tried on an $8000 gown at another salon. She was not happy with anything and sulked because her dream gown was $6000 over what she could spend.
Dresses are available at all price ranges but you should expect to pay between $1500 and $2500.
Following these tips should insure a successful, stress free shopping experience.