A woman’s wedding is the one thing that she has fantasized about her entire life. “Who will I marry?” “Where will I be tying the knot?” But most importantly, “what will I be wearing?” The dress is the centerpiece of her vision and the steppingstone to the culmination of her fantasy. So begins the search.
Today’s bride will leave no stone unturned in the search for her dream dress. No one can stand between her and her quest to find the perfect dress! She will spend hours turning websites inside out, and pinning on Pinterest. She will browse through silhouettes to determine what she think will look best on her and spend hours on the internet researching bridal shops. But not all bridal shops are created equal! There are several components to think about when choosing a bridal shop!
Do your research!
At a cursory glance you will see that in titling one’s self, “bridal” becomes a loose term. When searching for the perfect dress, you should also be searching for the perfect shop whether that be a wedding megastore, local bridal shop, designer salon, online, or a consignment store. Plus you will want to consider full service or an outlet!
Today, it is easy to go on social media and research bridal shops. You can look at reviews, and what each shop has to offer. Find out if they do appointments, or have limited hours. Ask if they have alteration services (not a non-starter, but it's good to know if you're going to have to track down an excellent seamstress to make sure your gown fits perfectly on the big day).Ask your friends where they bought their gowns, and how their experience was. You may have loved her dress, but her nightmare getting the alterations handled may turn you off completely. Information is knowledge, knowledge is power and when planning the social occasion of your life and choosing the most important dress you’ll ever wear, you need all the power you can get. Know the stores policies, and their process!! So the question is………full service or outlet? Sadly, most brides don’t know the difference.
Full Service is a Treat!
What is Full Service?!
A “full service” bridal salon isn’t necessarily determined by how much they have to sell, it’s determined by what services they offer, with service comes a price tag. So, it should important in the large scheme of things, to be sure that you are comparing apples to apples. Brides often call asking to “price match” without realizing that they ARE comparing apples to oranges. We are asked to price match something that, without us, the full service bridal shop, they would NEVER have been able to touch, see, feel, experience. That service comes with an associated price ,much like the “full service” gas station. They ask without the realization that they are asking us to revise our brand of business that COST those extra pennies to provide.
There has been a significant rise in shops calling themselves “bridal” shops. Yes, they are bridal shops in the respect that they carry wedding attire, but there’s a certain protocol that true bridal shops have to adhere to be able to offer brides the gowns they carry. There are two buying seasons a year, Spring and Fall, and depending on the designer that collection may contain 50 or more designs from which to choose. To be able to offer the newest season’s dresses there are “minimums” a bridal shop have to purchase to be “open” to selling the entire collection.
I have nothing against people opening up outlet stores. I just don’t want them representing themselves as bridal shops, because, they’re not.
It is easy to see who is an “authorized retailer”. Just go to the designer’s website and verify by searching their “store locators”.
What is an Outlet Store?!
Outlets, often have an abundance of gowns that are available for the bride to go through. They don’t always have a stylist available to pick gowns for you and can be very overwhelming. Usually outlets carry last season gowns, and are not buy brand new. It is easy for anyone to SAY they carry a certain designer, but oftentimes, if they are not authenticated by the website then they are not truly authorized to sell those dresses or to use that designer’s brand. Which leads to the next question, where are these shops getting their dresses? Best guess is other shops who have gone out of business, stock overages from designers, consigned from brides whose weddings are cancelled or over with, not really clear. But just because they say they have a certain designer doesn’t mean they are “authorized retailers”. It just means they carry dresses from those designers. There is a significant difference. They are not able to order you a brand new dress from the designer and have a gown that is from the current season due to the fact that outlets buy discounted past season dresses for pennies on the dollar and sell at a premium while masquerading as the real thing. From that point of view, it’s not entirely honest, is it?
Now, ask yourself outlet or full service? It’s your choice!
When you are purchasing the most important dress of your life and you want the BEST. Just remember online, is a hard place to purchase a quality gown. Yes, you may be paying less but, the dress may be different once you order. We recently did a video of a bridesmaids dress we ordered that had the designer label, same dress in the picture and everything! Once we received the gown, they were completely different!!
Wanting to Buy Brand New or Off the Rack!?
Not all bridal salons have a buy brand new option! Buying brand new has a ton of perks and ways to truly make your dress unique with customization. Having a new dress means that no one else has worn your dress! You are the first and last to wear it. Off the rack is nice, when you don't have 4-6 months to wait for your dress and need it as soon as possible because the wedding is next month. Either way you are getting a dress that is YOUR dress. Each salon is different finding the one that feels the most like "home" is where you should purchase your dress, even if it is your first time!!