Bridal Club Magazine
Dressed to Impress
Once you are ready to begin shopping for your dress, you will
need to decide where to purchase your wedding gown. For the most
part, you will find local bridal shops to be helpful and
dependable. However, it is a prudent idea to do a little research
into a bridal shop before you begin your dress selection.
A vast majority of bridal shops are locally-owned and operated,
and offer a full range of services for the bride and the wedding
party at a variety of prices. Most full-service bridal shops offer
a much wider selection of gowns in styles that can be purchased
off-the-rack in addition to their custom-order gown inventory.
While an off-the-rack purchase may be available, most merchants
typically will order a brand new gown for most brides and their
You can usually expect a higher level of personal attention and
quality service with a qualified, professional, trained wedding
gown consultant to assist you in shopping for your perfect dress.
There is usually an owner on the premises and also an in-store
seamstress who will consult on custom alteration possibilities and
concerns. In addition, bridal shops will most likely have all the
other accessories you'll need, like shoes, veils and jewelry.
"There is always a personal touch when you chose a full service
bridal shop" says Daniela Ghinga of Dora's Bridal & Formal.
"Full scale salons will be able to offer you everything from expert
advice to alterations all under one roof."
Most importantly, full-service shops are typically authorized
dealers of the designers they select to sell - unlike many online
dealers. This means you'll have both the shop's guarantee and the
designer's assurance of satisfaction to stand behind your
purchases. This strong relationship will help you avoid problems
with delivery date and quality control on custom orders.
"Make sure the quality of the gown is what you're expecting
compared to the price," suggests Kathy Leaf-Bordner Leaf, owner of
Doreen Leaf Designs. "When looking at gowns, notice the
craftsmanship of the dress. You should be checking for finished
seams, even hemlines (as lesser quality gowns tend to have uneven
hemlines), as well as making sure beads/sequins are adhered
Try to limit your shopping to three or four different salons; it's
easy to forget which gowns you tried on where. Make notes of gowns
that you liked, jotting down the style number and store where you
tried them on.
Different bridal stores carry differently priced gowns, so once
you have determined a budget make sure to pick a salon that carries
gowns in your price range. You won't know unless you ask, so make
sure to call before you go and also find out if you'll need to make
an appointment. Some shops will allow walk-ins, but most require
appointments so that a consultant and a private room are available
for your comfort and leisure. Generally, your appointments will
last between one and two hours, so be sure you space them
A GOOD REPUTATION
As a final step, check to see if the salon has a reputation for
service as well as expertise. Look to see if the bridal shop
advertises in major bridal magazines, bridal shows or local
publications. Advertising displays a commitment to their business,
and usually means they'll be here tomorrow to deliver on the
promises they made today.
Keep in mind that value isn't just about price - you'll want to
look at the quality of the gown as well as the quality of the
service at the bridal salon. Instead of focusing solely on finding
the best price, you should look for a bridal store staff that is
truly interested, concerned and passionate about helping you find
the dress of your dreams.
As far as payment, most shops require a 50 percent deposit with
the balance due either at your first fitting or when you pick up
the dress. Be wary of any shop that asks for more than 50 percent
before the dress comes in.
TRUST THE EXPERTS
When you get to the bridal salon, generally a specific consultant
will be assigned to you. You will most likely work with this person
every time you return to the store. A good consultant will ask you
what type of wedding you're having, how you envision yourself
looking on your wedding day and what styles of dresses you're drawn
to. She will also recommend dresses based on your body type.
Take advantage of a consultant's expertise. She works with brides
every day - if anyone knows about dresses, she does. Bounce ideas
off of her and consider her advice. Keep in mind, however, that you
can stop asking if you feel pressured. If anyone tries to talk you
out of or into something or makes you feel uncomfortable about your
decisions, remember that a good consultant will never push you to
buy something you're unsure about.
When you find 'The Dress,' you fall in love with it right away;
you'll know as soon as you put it on. Even if you initially deny it
and vow to try on other gowns, usually you'll end up coming back to
that dress that made you feel so special!
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