October 7, 2014

Wedding Dress Shopping Guide

It’s time!  Time to go dress shopping. The day every little girl playing dress up dreams of! Finding the right dress at the right price should be a fun experience for you and the selected friends and family you take with you.  Prepare yourself and your fellow shoppers for the king of experience you are going to have by familiarizing yourself with the different types of places you can purchase from.  

Shopping Options:
Bridal Salons: High end bridal salons like local Shaffers and Uptown Bridal , offer an upscale shopping experience with a high level of service.  They usually offer onsite alterations, accessory options, a personal consultant and so champagne.  These stores typically carry high end gowns with high end price tags.  Ordering a gown from most boutiques requires 6 to 8 months delivery time. 

Department Stores: Don’t count out department stores.  Many stores, like Nordstrom, have dedicated bridal consultants and give you a similar experience to a bridal salon.  The selection may be smaller but you may be able to find a dress for yourself or when bridesmaid shopping that you can purchase off the rack.  It’s a great option if you are in a time crunch

Single Designer Salons:  You may have to plan a trip to go to single designer salons like Vera Wang, but you can always look into local designers.  Local designers are a great options because you can get a completely unique design, be a part of the design process and stay in the same budget range as a department store.  The only downside is you may not get to try the dress on until it’s almost done.  

Consignment Shops:  We have some awesome consignment wedding shops in the Phoenix area including Almond Tree.  Don’t assume these dresses have been worn before.  Many have never been worn or were a sample that has been discontinued.  You’ll save a lot of money if you can find the right dress that is close enough to your size for minor alterations.  

Chain Stores:  David’s Bridal is a perfect example.  They usually have dresses separated by size,  you simply choose the ones you want to try on.  Often, alterations are minimal.  Dresses tend to be more simple.  This is also a great option when time is an issue.  

Expos:  Shopping for a dress at an expo can be a little bit hectic, but the savings might be worth it.  Typically exhibitors are offering extreme markdowns, but you don’t get the “typical dress shopping experience”.

These are just a few options available to you.  You can also stake out a sample sale, shop online or shop your families closet.  The important thing is to remember that this is your day.  Find a dress that makes you feel like your most glamorous self! 

Expert Tips:
Before you head out to go dress shopping, do your research.  Look at bridal magazines and pull examples of necklines and silhouettes you like.  This will help both you and any consultants helping you get an idea of what you really want.  Do you like a lot of beading? Lace? Satin?  Colors?  Knowing what you like will help you comb the racks!

Don’t forget to wear nice underwear.  Getting into a wedding dress can rarely be done alone.  This isn’t the time to wear your ratty granny panties or go commando. 
Check for quality.  Embellishments should always been sewn on, individually, never glued or in strands.  Zippers should always be hidden. Avoid polyester lining as it can get very hot as you dance the night away.  Buttons should be usable, not just for decoration.  Fabric should be Matte or lustrous, but never shiny- it won’t photograph well.    

Ask for a fabric swatch.  This will help when you are selecting accessories!

Images by: Step On Me Photography  Gowns from: Shaffers Bridal

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