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Guide to Finding the Perfect Wedding Dress and Gown 1

Bridal Salon Etiquette

Now that you're ready to visit bridal boutiques to try on dresses, here are some hints to help you during your visit:

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1. Make an Appointment

Make an appointment two weeks in advance with the bridal boutique that you would like to visit. Some bridal boutiques may take walk-ins, but most bridal boutiques will request that you make an appointment before coming in.

2. Allot Enough Time

Allocate approximately 1-2 hours to try on dresses. Dress shops are very busy on the weekends and may only allow you to try on dresses for an hour. Weekday appointments not quite as busy and ideal if you want to spend more time trying on dresses and talking with your sales person.

3. Be Prepared

Most bridal boutiques do not have showrooms that allow you to browse through their collection of dresses. All of their dresses are usually stored in back room that your sales person goes to bring you dresses that she feels is suited to what you are looking for. Therefore it is important to be prepared to describe what types of dresses you are interested in trying on during your visit. Bring pictures from magazines or descriptions of dresses you would like to see. With limited time, this will help your sales person quickly identify dresses to bring you and make your visit most productive.

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4. Your Budget

Be prepared to discuss your price budget with your sales person. This will allow her to bring you dresses that are in your price range.

5. Dressing Rooms

Bridal Boutique dressing rooms are generally large enough to accommodate 1-2 guests.

6. Getting Dressed

Because dresses can be heavy and even delicate/fragile, the sales person will likely dress and undress you.

7. Cameras

Do not bring a camera to take pictures of yourself in different dresses. Even if your intentions are honest, bridal boutiques need to guard against customers who are trying on dresses with the intention of having the dress copied by a dress maker.

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8. Accessories

Although most bridal shops will have bras and shoes that you can wear with your gown, it's always best to bring a strapless bra and shoes (approximately the same as what you intend on wearing for your big day) with you.

9. Take Notes

Be sure to note the dresses that you are interested. Although most sales people would love to sell you a dress that day, most also know that most brides want to "sleep on it" before making a decision. Make sure all the dresses you're interested are noted for reference. After visiting many bridal boutiques and trying on so many dresses, it can be difficult to remember which one is which.

10. Coutre Dresses

Most couture dresses are custom made (not of the rack). Expect Bridal shops to request either a sizeable non-refundable deposit or payment in full. Be sure to read the contract they will ask you to sign to verify that the size and style are correct. Mistakes are often made and you are usually liable for the dress if you sign the contract.

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11. Bridal Shop Trunk Shows

If you are at a bridal store for a trunk shore, expect to try on ONLY dresses from the specific designer hosting the trunk show. The designer will usually send a representative of the company to help with selecting a dress for you or answer any questions. It is usually respectful to NOT try on dresses from other designers during the trunk shows although some stores may have an understanding with the designer that other dresses (from other designers) may be tried on.

12. Trunk Shows

Trunk shows are the best place to find a discount on a dress. Most bridal shops do not bargain with their customers, not do they expect you to bargain with them. The price that you see is what you should expect to pay. With that being said, discounts can be had at trunk shows for a specific designer.

Fittings and Alterations

You are likely to require a minimum of two fittings for your dress unless you are having a dress custom made for you. Keep in mind that the fitting is just as important as choosing the wedding dress itself so give it the same consideration as you did in looking for your dress. If your dress doesn't fit you perfectly, don't be shy about scheduling more fittings.


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