Dress Out of the Box

A common question that arises in the majority of brides following their engagement is where they should go to get their wedding gown. There are many choices for where you could potentially shop for your wedding gown including online retailers, individuals selling their wedding gowns, used or rental gown retailers, a store that is run out of a home setting, custom dress makers, big nationwide big box bridal stores, and last but not least, a locally owned, full-service bridal salon.  With all of these choices, it can often be confusing and overwhelming trying to decide the best place to shop while getting the best value for your money.  This special report will help you clarify your choices and show you that shopping with your locally owned, full-service bridal salon will save you time and provide you with the best overall value for your money.

#1 Let’s take a look at all of the options of where you could shop for your bridal gown.  First, if you’re considering buying your dress online, you must seriously consider the reality about the condition or appearance of the gown you may receive.  The reality is that the gown may have been previously worn, the gown may have some serious issues, and it may not even look anything like the picture you’ve seen online (for a specific example, consider the example of Jessica that I wrote about in a previous special report about the perils of online shopping).  Wedding gown fabrics are not as durable as everyday clothing fabrics.

#2 Second, you may be considering getting a dress that has already previously been worn by another bride for her wedding and buying it from eBay or a consignment shop.  Keep in mind that this gown has likely already been altered and the excessive altering of a wedding gown can permanently ruin the look of the dress.  If the gown has been hemmed, it cannot be lengthened.  Is the beadwork intact?  Do you know where to purchase extra beads that match and how much does it cost?  Manufacturers come out with unique beads and crystals every season that are difficult to find.  Is the fabric snagged?  If so, snags are permanent and cannot be removed.  What about stains?  Not all stains (including perspiration) can be removed in the cleaning process, and cleaning a wedding gown can cost $80-$150.  Will there still be evidence or smells from the previous owner as you warm up and if you are nervous on your wedding day?  If the gown you are looking at from the previous owner has never been worn, some of these issues can be avoided.  But, they say that objects can take on energy from the previous owner.  Do you really want the energy from a previous wedding gone wrong or failed marriage to mar your wedding day?  You deserve to have a new gown that hasn’t been previously worn or owned to set the tone for your new life.  Create your day and your future around a gown that uniquely reflects you and your energy.

#3 Third, another choice for shopping for your wedding gown would be to visit a used or rental retailer.  Again, one of the advantages to shopping at retailer offering used or rental gowns is to save money.  For all of the same reasons as purchasing a used wedding gown from an individual, as well as the reasons that follow, you may not be saving money as much as you think you will.  Most major manufacturers will not sell to a rental retailer.  Therefore, the gowns offered at a rental store are used with all of the issues that have already been mentioned that arise from used dresses.  Many brides like to have a bridal portrait taken ahead of their wedding or may be having more than one reception due to out of state family.  Rental fees usually include one day rentals.  How much extra will you be paying to have the gown an extra day?  Will that gown be freshly cleaned ahead of your wedding?  How is the gown altered to fit you?  If the rental retailer leaves the seams in order to alter the gown for someone else, will those bulky seams show under the bodice?  Will the hem look correct with extra seaming left for a taller bride? When you try on a rental gown, you will see the gown as it is today.  What will the gown look like six months from now at your wedding?  How many brides will have worn the dress by then?  Is there a guarantee it will still be in good condition on your wedding day?   What if you or one of your guests accidently damage the dress?  Are you expected to pay for the gown or to pay a large damage fee?  Who returns the gown to the rental place while you are on your honeymoon?  When you purchase your new wedding gown from a full-service bridal salon, you will have your gown in hand, pressed and detailed to perfection.  It will have been altered to fit your figure perfectly by the store or by a professional seamstress that the store trusts.  You will have the dress of your dreams that will set the tone for your entire wedding.

#4 Fourth, you could choose to buy your dress from someone running a home operated business.  Again, the only advantage is shopping at a home operated business is to save money.  The majority of home operated businesses only offer used wedding gowns.  Most major manufacturers will not sell to a home-based business due to instability (they can disappear quickly if the home is rented) and the fact that they want the full-serviced retailer to represent their product.  Many home-based business retailers do not take their business as seriously as a retailer with “brick and mortar” location.  It takes a lot of discipline for someone working from home to meet deadlines and to stay on schedule.  What guarantees do you have that everything will be done as promised?  Is the home-based portion of the business separate from the actual home?  Do they have set retail hours, or is it by appointment only?  Can you get a hold of them by phone easily?  What happens if you can’t get a hold of anyone?  Is that home-based business owner conscientious about food smells, pets, and children around your gown?  How clean is their home and how do you know that your dress will be handled with care after you have left?    Who is there to supervise or to fix any of these issues?  Do you dare risk your wedding gown to the unknown?

#5 Fifth, you could choose to have your wedding gown custom made just for you.  With this option, you really have to have a vision of exactly what you want in a gown along with the ability to communicate this need to a dress maker.  It also incorporates having the knowledge of the designs and intricacies that go into the process making of a wedding gown.  Custom making your gown will give you a unique dress that is exclusively for you.  It does, however, come at quite a high price.  Besides price, the main drawback to this process is the end result.  Will it be exactly as you envisioned?  Are there any guarantees if you don’t like the gown?  Will you be able to get your money back if you don’t?  Is the quality and workmanship of the dressmaker equal to what you would pay for a retail gown?  What many brides don’t realize is that there are usually several revisions made to a sample gown from a manufacturer before it is actually put into production.  Extra care is paid by design teams to the draping, fabrics and quality of the dress before that final sample is produced and allowed to be sold to bridal salons.  Because we have seen many last minute brides in our salons in tears about their custom made gown, it is always best to have a plan B if the custom dress you had made isn’t what you thought it would be.

#6 Sixth, you can purchase your gown from a nationwide, big box bridal retailer.  Again, one of the biggest advantages to shopping at a nationwide, big bridal retailer is price.  But is price really an advantage at these stores?  Many times they will offer an advertised price that entices you into their store, such as $99, but this is for few, very shop worn dresses that may be restricted from being fixed or altered.   In addition, these gowns are constructed from cheaper fabrics, with less lining and inner construction.  The big bridal retailers specialize in mid-range gowns priced at $400-$800.  Are the gowns the same quality as those offered at a full-service bridal salon for the same price?  You can judge for yourself by touching and looking at the fabrics, laces, embellishments, and internal construction offered at the big bridal retailer, versus the quality of the designer gowns found at your full-service bridal salon.  You will find the better quality at the full-service bridal salon.

Many of the fabrics offered at a big bridal retailer are purchased by the buyers because there is more profit from making mass produced gowns out of that fabric.  These fabrics offered at the big bridal retailer may be unique, but not in a good way.  Be sure to look at the fit of the gown and the way the fabric drapes and hangs.  Is it a good quality fabric and is there enough linings and internal construction to make the gown lay appropriately?  Often times your big bridal retailer will advertise a large selection in every size.  But in reality, they offer the same 25-30 gowns in every size severely limiting your choice and increasing the risk that you will see your gown on another bride at another wedding because the store is nationwide.  Does your big bridal retailer know the brides in your area?  They also usually have little to no ornamentation or beading and if they do the quality is similar to what you might find on a tiara you got when you were a little girl at a princess party.

Finally, you can choose to purchase a gown from a full-service bridal salon like our store. Your locally owned, full-service bridal salon will have years of experience catering to brides in the area, will know the trends, can often fulfill requests from the local bride, and will shop the major markets (Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas or New York) for the best dresses from hundreds of styles for their demographic.  You will have access to the best of the best designs from the runway shows by shopping at a full-service, bridal salon.  A local bridal salon may also offer limited edition gowns that are not seen at other bridals stores.

What happens if there are issues or problems when dealing with a big bridal retailer?  Are these issues resolved at a local level, or do you need to deal with a nationwide office that is far removed from where you are?  A full-service bridal salon will have an owner or manager on site to deal with any issues directly and quickly.  They also care because they have a personal stake in the outcome of any issue and pride themselves on customer service.  What is the selection of veils, tiaras, floral head pieces, etc. like at the big bridal retailer?

Your local, full-service bridal salon will offer better quality accessories at comparable, if not better prices because they have shopped the major bridal markets for the highest quality accessories for the best value for the local bride. The big bridal retailer will often offer financing, on approved credit.  Do you really want to finance your wedding gown at a high interest rate in this economy?  Your full-service bridal salon will usually offer a layaway program that is more flexible and of lower or no cost than a financing program without effecting your credit.

The last and best option for shopping for and purchasing your bridal gown is to visit your locally-owned, full-service bridal salon.  When you purchase your gown from a local bridal salon, your dollars spent go directly back into the local economy by providing jobs.  Any profits that business makes will also filter back into the local economy in the form of raises for the employees and purchases made by that company’s management for supplies.  Economists have also said that the growth of small businesses will be the backbone for economic growth out of the recession.  It is easier for a small business to respond to changes in its environment and customer requests than a large chain.  Your local, full-service bridal salon will have also established relationships with other local, wedding retailers and may offer you discounts or coupons to help you with your wedding.

Let’s recap all of the above advantages to shopping with your locally-owned, full-service bridal salon.

  • New, designer gowns at competitive prices.
  • Many, if not all, limited edition gowns not offered at other salons.
  • High quality fabrics, embellishments, beadwork and a superb fit.
  • Gowns that have been selected at national bridal markets especially for brides in your area.
  • On-site owners and/or managers to pay attention to every detail.
  • Knowledgeable, professional bridal consultants who care about their brides and take pride in customer service.
  • Pressing, spotting and detailing your gown to perfection with exact beadwork.
  • Clean, controlled environment.
  • Selection of affordable, superior accessories.
  • Quick, complete, local resolution of any issues or problems.
  • Special relationships with other local retailers, with special coupons or discounts to purchase from those retailers.
  • Alterations in-house or recommended, trusted seamstresses to alter your gown to fit at affordable prices.
  • Money spent at locally-owned bridal salon benefits the local economy.

In conclusion, shopping with your locally-owned, full-service bridal salon will give you that quality, wedding gown of your dreams at a competitive price while helping out your local economy.  Please call us to schedule your appointment at the number below so we can help you find the dress of your dreams.  We look forward to seeing you soon!

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