Posts tagged dress shops
Dress Shop Secrets by Brandi
This weekend I had the most exciting chance to "work" at a local dress shop, A Perfect Bride, in Rocky River, Ohio.  I had previously filmed a news special at the shop and after a glimpse behind the scenes, I wanted to know more.  Thankfully the owner of the shop, Cathy Kuhn, was open to the idea of having me come in, phew, and I had a great time.  Now that I've seen the other side, I've got some tips for you before you go dress shopping and even some behind the scenes "secrets" that I'm going to share!
Here we go-

Tip #1- Get pretty! Wear makeup and do your hair for your dress shopping trip.  You will be so much happier seeing yourself "sparkle" in your dress.  Wedding dresses are overwhelming and without a little extra going out, the dress will drown you out.  The girls that came in, that were styled, had the most fun trying on dresses.

Tip #2- Answer the questions. Things to immediately tell the sales associate when you walk into the store, not because it matters to them one way or another, but because it will make your shopping experience easier and more enjoyable.
-Your budget.  They don't mind if it is low or high (they really don't) just let them know so they can find you the right dresses.  They really do not want to have you try on a dress you can't afford and then be disappointed with the dresses that fit in your budget.

-What style you like.  They can get to the racks and start pulling ideas for you.  Bring in pictures and have a style that you can start with, but don't be afraid to try on different ones as well, but if they have an initial idea it will get the ball rolling.
-When you are getting married.  This will help them move along the process and to know whether to help you finish the sale or to know that you'll be moving along to more dress shops after this trip. (and truthfully, they expect you to go to other shops) Some dresses take longer to get in, some might not be available after a certain date, that way you don't get stuck loving a dress you can't get. 
-If you are planning to buy today or not.  I know, I know, everyone wants to just say they are "just looking" when they walk into a shop but if you KNOW you are not buying, let them know.  If you can't buy without your mom around, then you know you aren't buying today, just tell them.  That way they will avoid trying to close the sale and the experience will be more casual then if you are set on buying a dress that day.  Also, if you aren't planning on buying that day, then try to limit the time you spend with them.  It isn't fair, to take up four hours of an associates time, if you KNOW you are not going to buy. 

Tip #3- Tell them all the dresses you are looking for. Let them know if you are buying bridesmaid dresses and a wedding dress.  They offer discounts if you buy all your dresses at the same time!

Tip #4- Schedule an appointment.  This way you'll have someone ready and waiting for your arrival.  If you walk into the shop without an appointment, you may get stuck waiting a bit for a dressing room or for an associate to help you.  You can always change, delay or cancel the appointment, but if you at least set one up, you'll get in quicker and get more personal attention. 

Tip #5- Tell everyone what to expect.  Wwhen your bridesmaids, family and friends come in, they will be doing a whole lot of sitting, staring and waiting.  Make sure they are prepared and are expecting this.  Nothing is worse than people complaining about being bored, or having somewhere to go.  The typical dress appointment takes anywhere from 2-3 hours.  It isn't easy to get in and out of those dresses, and if you find a few you like, you'll want to try them on more than once.

Tip #6- Tll them how "shy" you are.  If you are not comfortable having an associate in the room, assisting you in and out of dresses, just let them know ahead of time.  They plan and are used to being in the room to assist you, so if you aren't sure, just let them in and know that it is what they do everyday with clients and it shouldn't be too uncomfortable for either of you.

Tip #7- Wear comfortable clothes.  You aren't going to spend much time in what you came into the shop in so be cozy.  Wear things that are easy to get off and on and try to bring some undergarments that will work with the dress style you like and that cover enough of your body that you are comfortable in them.  Try to bring in heels as well so you can see what it will look like and how you will feel. 

Tip #8- Be open to new ideas.  The sales associates will bring in dresses that you like and dresses that meet your style and they might also find a few that they thing might work, be open to those.  You never know what will work on you and sometimes they will pick up on details/styles that you never even thought of. 

Tip #9- Be open to coming back.  Quite a few clients that came in, decided to head over to lunch to think it over.  Every one of them came back for the dress.  Just because you walk out the door, doesn't mean you won't walk back in.  The sales associates know that this is a big decision so they won't be offended if you need time to think. 

Tip #10- RELAX.  Don't be intimidated by the store or the associates.  They are happy to help you, happy to find you a dress and happy to be there for whatever you need.  They do this each and every day and they are doing it because they LOVE it, so have fun with them.  Let them help you in any way you need and don't be afraid to ask questions or to give your opinion.  HAVE FUN!!!!

Side Tip #11- If you aren't comfortable or aren't enjoying experience at the store, leave.  Don't try to make it work, don't make excuses for people that are being rude to you, just get your stuff and go.  One of the most enjoyable experiences during the wedding planning process is dress shopping, don't let ANYONE ruin that for you!

I had an amazing time at the store and it was really exciting to see a different side of the wedding experience.  I think I might be there again, maybe we can combine wedding planning sessions with dress sessions at The Perfect Bride.

Happy Planning,

New secrets from WEDDING DRESS SHOP...

The following interview is thanks to Bobbie at All Brides Beautiful in Hudson.
Some information regarding their store and services.  

All Brides Beautiful is located in the historic district of Hudson, Ohio, a delightful destination of unique shops and gourmet restaurants.

Our salon continues the historic elegance of Hudson as you walk through the carved doors of our 1832 “Wooden Farrar” building and into our welcoming Victorian style rooms.
You will be greeted by friendly, knowledgeable bridal consultants who look forward to creating with you the bridal ensemble of your dreams.  Our exceptional, detailed customer service will continue throughout all your fittings, on-premise alterations, and final pressing and bagging of your precious wedding gown.
The expertly crafted and creatively designed couture gowns that we offer are true designer styles and not “copies”.  We feature fine silk fabrics, unique laces, as well as detailed hand-stitching and beading.  Many of our accessory designers offer customization, making yours a one-of-a-kind look.  Brides come from all over the country searching for the unique designers that we carry.

And now for Secrets Behind- Wedding Dress Shops/Boutiques  
Q: What is the biggest misconception about your industry?
A: The biggest misconception when searching for the perfect wedding dress is to try on as many gowns as possible.  Doing so actually overwhelms most brides and tends to confuse the selection process.   Finding the silhouette that best compliments the bride-to-be’s body architecture is paramount.  The vision that the bride-to-be has of herself on her wedding day, as well as the venue for her wedding, must also be taken into consideration when selecting the dress of her dreams. Finally, setting a flexible budget and communicating that to your sales associate, will narrow the search and make the process much more enjoyable.

Q: What are a few mistakes brides sometimes make when choosing their wedding gown vendor? What things should a bride look for, look at, when selecting a bridal salon?
A: When selecting a bridal boutique, it is best to find a salon that is full-service with an experienced staff and alterations department.  This will ensure that the bride-to-be will have the best fit for the most important dress of her life.  A meticulously altered strapless gown, for example, will stay put on the bride, eliminating the need to pull it up during the day-long event.  A reputable bridal salon will know what style changes can be made to their gowns and offer alterations at a competitive rate.  The bride-to-be and her family need to know that an experienced seamstress is like a reliable auto mechanic: talent and experience deserve time and compensation.
Making an appointment at the bridal salon lets the staff prepare a room, and a consultant, to assist the bride-to-be with her wedding gown selection and coordinating accessories.  A full-service bridal salon will have an appealing collection of veils, shoes & jewelry, as well as trained staff that can create a complete bridal look.  With that in mind, one of the biggest mistakes we have seen is when a bride-to-be purchases her gown at a chain store, or on-line, and then tries to find accessories to match without her gown.   In order for her to achieve the correct style of veil, or complimentary jewelry, the bride-to-be would need to drag her dress with her, risking possible damage to her precious gown.  Bridal salons could ask for a consultation fee for this service, so it is best to select a salon that has all that the bride-to-be needs.

Q: What is the one thing a bride should save on when booking with you?
A: The bride-to-be should take advantage of any promotions that are available at our salon.  Trunk shows are a smart way to shop for your wedding gown.  There is a larger selection of the featured designer’s newest styles shipped to the salon and a 10% discount is offered when a gown is ordered during the trunk show. 
We have a fall veil promotion that offers the bride-to-be a free veil of her choice with the order of a new gown.  When a gown is purchased from our salon, the bridal party receives a 10% discount on their dresses.  A couple of our bridesmaid designers also advertise a fall promotion with an additional 10% off.  These designers boast fashion forward styles that are recycled by bridesmaids as party apparel for future occasions.  This is quite an appealing prospect for a woman investing in a bridesmaid dress.For the bride-to-be that has a lower wedding gown budget, but still wants a quality wedding gown from a personal boutique, it is appropriate to ask if the salon has sample gowns for sale at a discount.  We have discontinued couture designer gowns available to purchase off-the-rack for up 75% off their retail value.

Q: What is the one thing a bride should splurge on when booking with you?
A: We love to carry unique and elegant fabrics.  So, splurging on a lush, dreamy fabric will make the bride-to-be feel and look magnificent on her wedding day.  Our gowns are crafted luxuriously inside and out, with smooth silk against her skin, the bride-to-be will not want to take her gown off!  For full figured brides, splurging on the appropriate undergarments is essential.  She will want not only comfort and support, but expertise on how her bustier will incorporate into her gown for a seamless and precise fit.

Q: What is the worst story you have heard about a mistake someone in your industry has made, anyone, ever. Alternatively, you can answer to what is the worst mistake a person in your industry can make?
A: The worst mistake a bridal salon can make is to ignore a potential client.  We have heard many stories about salons that get disgruntled by future brides that just walk-in to have fun trying on gowns.  Yes, it does cost the salon a good deal of money in consultant salaries to work with a client for an hour, or more, who has no intention of purchasing from their store.  Some sales associates become frustrated, and even annoyed, at a bride-to-be who does not bring her mother to try on gowns ~ they do not take her seriously. 

Q: If you had a client who had endless funds what unique ideas and products/services would you offer them?
A: For the professional woman who is planning her wedding, while juggling a full time career and other responsibilities, All Brides Beautiful pampers her with comfortable, private fitting rooms and a knowledgeable consultant that will find an answer to any question or concern the bride-to-be might have.  We go out of our way to look for that special accessory, or coordinating flower girl dress, even if it is not part of our inventory.  We work closely with our select designers to have each item tailored to the bride-to-be’s individuality.  We can customize many of our gowns and accessories to become truly unique masterpieces of fashion design.

Q: What are a few things that bridal clients should review in contracts with their bridal salon?
A: When signing a wedding gown contract it is wise to understand the timing schedule for the manufacturing of the gown, along with the time needed for fittings and alterations.  Allowing ample time between fittings will save the bride-to-be money on rush alterations.  Other questions a savvy bride-to-be asks:  Does the bridal salon charge extra for storage of the gown once it arrives?  Are there additional fees for bagging and pressing of the gown? What is the best way to transport my gown?

Q: What is something you wish all of your clients knew, or a certain thing you wish all of your clients would do to make working with them easier?
A: Our favorite clients are excited to be getting married!  These happy brides-to-be have researched our salon on-line, made an appointment, are thrilled to tell us about their upcoming wedding, and are open to style suggestions.  Personal attention and quality selection are what our sophisticated brides know they will find at All Brides Beautiful.

A sincere thank you to Bobbie for all the wonderful insight into the world of bridal gowns.  If you have any comments or feedback, don't hesitate to email.  Also, a big thank you to everyone for their feedback on the last installment, I received well over 20 emails, as well as several comments regarding the brides POV.  Something to remember though, it is all from just one person's point of view.  If you don't agree, or if you see a better or different way to approach things, email me and offer YOUR answers to the interview.  Visit our website at and check out our services.