Designer's Guide to Acquiring your Dream Gown
of the most stressful (yet fun!) parts of the wedding, gown shopping
can be seen as a serious rite of passage for any woman. This is
a designers advice for gown shopping, to make the experience
as wonderful as possible, as well as possibly save you some money!
Gown Shopping Tips
- Don't bring
a lot of friends with you when you are making a final decision.
Bring one trusted friend, or your mom, but that's about it.
If you have a whole bunch of people in on the final decision,
all you will end up with is a headache. Get all the girls together
to go accessory shopping after the fact.
- Bring shoes
that you that are about the same height as you expect to wear
to with the gown.
- If you
are planning on wearing structural undergarments like a push
up bra, corset type bodysuit, or anything like that, that will
alter your shape at all, wear it when you are trying on gowns.
It WILL affect how it looks in the end.
- On the
other hand, if you are going for a dress that you won't be able
to wear a bra with, don't try gowns on with a push up bra on!
- Try to
avoid busy shopping times, like Saturdays, Pre-Christmas shopping,
- Don't leave
it to the last minute. You MAY fall in love with a gown that
needs to be ordered in, or requires major alterations. Starting
early keeps all your options open.
- Even if
you have your heart set on that princess dress with lots of
lace and pouffy frills, try on a bunch of different styles.
You may be surprised at what looks, and what FEELS the best
- If you
are using magazines to help shop for styles, don't rip pages
out of them. A lot of times, gowns can be searched for using
the page number of the magazine it is in. This also applies
to things like some glove companies that will match colours
of dresses... with a page number!
- Don't spread
yourself too thin, and don't expect to find your perfect gown
in one trip. 12 hours of gown shopping would be a killer! Try
to space it out over a few trips, and set a limit to how many
gowns you will try on in a trip. Once you get to, say, the 100th
dress on a given day, you'll be sick of it all. At that point,
you'll probably either buy whatever (no matter what it looks
like), or pass up a dress that would be perfect!
- Be wise
when it comes to listening to salespeople. Many are paid on
commission. If you hear a few too many "oooh! It's PERFECT
for you!", "Ravishing!", etc, in a row, something
may be up. Trust yourself, and any of your shopping companions
- Not that
all gown shops try this, but some do. If you have to order a
gown, or all your bridesmaid gowns in, compare your measurements
to the chart, and order the size it has on the chart. If you
try a size 7, and it fits well, don't be talked into getting
a size 9. Some shops actually order larger than needed, to make
more money on alterations.
that the sizing guides upon which sample gowns are created are
VERY different from the average Newfoundland figure. On average,
Newfoundland women are shorter in the waist than the fit models
used, and this can translate into a poor fit in a gown. Depending
on the style of the gown, altering a too-long waist can translate
into major surgery!
your dream gown for less
not rich, or just don't want to spend much-needed house down-payment
money on a dress that you'll wear once. Not to fear, you do have
ways to save money!
- Look on
the internet. There are all kinds of gown clearance websites,
where you can find new gowns at incredibly low prices.
- Also on
the internet, look at Ebay. Aside from second-hand dresses,
they sometimes have going-out-of-business sales from various
companies. You could luck out!
- Check bridal
salons for sample sales. Some bridesmaid dresses aren't half
bad, and if you buy it off the rack, it'll be a bit cheaper!
- Look into
factory outlet locations. BIG savings can be found here! If
you have friends in cities like Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago,
or San Francisco, they could possibly pick your gown up for
you for as little as $100!!!
companies sometimes rent costumes... in the mood for a Shakespearean
- Have a
friend or family member make you a gown. Buy a pattern and fabric,
and maybe pay them a little for their time.
- Call any
local fashion design classes. There may be a student looking
for practical (and usually free!) experience.. Buy the fabric,
and offer photos for her portfolio, and you both benefit!
- Avoid rush
charges. If you are ordering your gown in, order with plenty
of time to spare.
- Some seamstresses
don't charge much. Getting a gown made for you professionally
can still save you money, as there will not be a designer name
to pay for, shipping, or alterations charges.
much will it cost to get alterations done?". Get a written
(AND SIGNED!) estimate for this, if the store has an alterations
service. You don't have to get your dress altered at the same
place you bought it, but if their prices are reasonable, you
may as well. If they refuse to give you a written (and signed!)
estimate, consider finding someone else to alter it.
long will it take to alter?". Make sure you give enough
are your payment plans?". Never leave a deposit of more
than 50%, or pay all upfront for anything. If anything goes
wrong, they have your money, and you don't have anything to
bargain with. Typically, 50% upfront, and 50% upon pick up is
is your refund policy?". Pretty self explanatory. If you
get the gown and it sucks, you will want your money back! Get
EVERYTHING in writing!
my deposit refundable?". If you put, say $50 down to hold
a dress while you think about it, and then find something better,
you want to know that you still have that $50! Again, get it
long will it take to order my gown?" Make sure you have
lots of time and no rush charges!