Hi everyone! Hope you’ve all had a lovely Wednesday.
To begin, I’d like to ask you if you’ve taken part in a wedding or held a wedding? Did you find it stressful? What unexpected lessons did you learn? I ask because, I am planning a wedding, and while I have received certification from Penn Foster to be a professional wedding planner; to this point I’ve found studying much different than actually working on it. I expect that going forward, each wedding I work on will teach me new lessons.
A few weeks ago my mom, sister and I went dress shopping. We all picked out our dresses within the first hour and a half—which was sort of record breaking as our consultant, Andrea, said it generally takes an hour for bridesmaids dress appointments and three hours for a bridal appointment. We’d all been eyeing the Alfred Angelo website for over a year so it was quite easy—at least for them it was, I found it a bit more challenging to picture myself in any gown. I think it partially had to do with the fact that I had a real fear of falling for a dress out of my price range, which while browsing websites is quite easy to do. We have a small budget, and we like it that way as we hope to invest more on our home than on our wedding. Additionally, I do not plan on preserving my dress but rather wearing it all day and possibly trashing it, which is quite a lovely trend at the moment, or so I find it lovely.
As you can imagine, I did quite a lot of browsing and research before booking my appointment given that trends change and there are always great resources to consider.
~ A Few Resources ~
#1: 10 Things to Know Before Buying A Wedding Dress (Infographic)
#2: 10 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Wedding Gown – Blog post on Bridal Guide
#3: 11 Must-Read Gown Shopping Tips – found on The Knot
#4: The Knot Book of Wedding Lists by Carley Roney and the editors of TheKnot.com
#5: The First 5 Steps to Shopping for Bridesmaid Dresses by Elizabeth Passarella published on Real Simple
#6: Who pays for the bridesmaid dress? published on Brides
#7: 7 Ways to Make Bridesmaid Dress Shopping Less Stressful (and Cheaper)! by Carolyn Hsu on Brides
These were all quite helpful, but I especially took to the book as it covers many of the topics covered in the other resources quite concisely and with just enough detail.
~ Key Takeaways ~
Bridal Gown Shopping
· Understand your budget and stick to it!
· Once you find your dress—STOP SHOPPING
· Make sure you have an understanding of the general cost of alterations as well as the alteration process at the store you purchase your dress at.
· Be upfront about costs—both to your consultant and to your bridesmaids.
· The dress of your dreams may not actually suite you as well as you’d expect.
· The more time you allow yourself to shop, the more likely you are to strike a bargain
Bridesmaid Dress Shopping
· It is important that when you ask your bridesmaids to take part in your wedding, that you also disclose your expectations of them—financially and otherwise.
· Being accommodating is great, but don’t forget to disclose your overall vision. It is your wedding after all.
· Consider their body shape and skin tone when choosing the color and the silhouette of their dresses.
Partial Q & A with my Consultant
These were a few of the questions I posed during the appointment:
Q: Do my bridesmaids get any discounts?
A: Yes. If you purchase your dress today as well.
Thought: Oh boy! No pressure, Jess. (I call myself Jess when I’m hard on myself—part of the reason I don’t like being called Jess.)
Q: Do you think you could provide me with a selection of dresses under $1,000 that are mostly made out of lace—a lot of lace?
A: I’ll see what I can find, but I don’t think it will be a problem.
Thought: Yay!! At least she is willing to put in the work unlike a few consultants I’ve seen on Say Yes to the DRESS.
Q: Do we have to pay upfront if we choose today?
A: No. You can opt for paying 60% today and the rest once your dress is delivered to the store.
Thought: Not bad. That is exactly what was noted in the book as well as in a few other articles.
Q: How much do alterations generally cost?
A: Well…it depends on how much work needs to be done, but it can range between $300 and $800.
To this my mom said, “No way!” I agreed!
Q (Once I picked out my dress): How much do you think alterations will cost if I pick this dress?
A: About $300…I think…
Thought: I don’t think she knows much about alterations but I think it’ll be more like $500. Am I okay with that? Yes. It’s my perfect dress. Maybe I can just find a place outside of this store to get it hemmed.
There was quite a lot more back and forth but for the sake of keeping this post a reasonable length, I’ll stop here.
My Overall Experience
I knew I’d want to go to Alfred Angelo to pick out my dress as it’s located within a shopping center my family has been visiting for many years, and from what I've read they are a pleasure to work with. Additionally, their window displays are always lovely; they also have a great assortment of dresses
As for my dress shopping experience, it was a really special one. Andrea, our consultant, was so lovely and supportive set aside her vague answers to alterations. The research I did really helped me feel at ease with my decisions as well as with those of my bridesmaids.
Honestly, it wasn’t until after this appointment that the excitement of being engaged came flooding back—and because of that everything was perfect.