Buying Your Dress

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Buying Your Dress

The most important apparel purchase you’ll ever make involves more than just finding the perfect dress. Once you have it, there are alterations to make, a veil and shoes to match, a trousseau to consider… So whatever you do, don’t wait until the last minute. Taking care of your wedding dress should be one of your first priorities.

Pad Your Dates

One of the best pieces of advice we can give is to give yourself plenty of time. More time than you think you need. Many brides make the mistake of waiting until the last minute to purchase and/or alter their dress hoping to shed a final few pounds and shimmy into the smallest size possible. The extra quarter-inch you could conceivably have taken in isn’t worth the risk of something running late. Better to have the perfect dress a month early than lay awake the night before your wedding wondering if you’ll have anything to walk down the aisle in.


When you begin to seriously shop, one of the first questions you will be asked is when your wedding is. Have a fake date one full month earlier than your actual date in mind before you step foot in any store. Memorize it. Getting married June 6? Tell everyone and anyone within a ten-mile radius that your wedding is May 6.


This is not to assume the salon will botch your order. Quite the contrary. The vast majority of bridal salons, especially here in Southern California, will provide excellent customer service and wonderful, timely delivery. But what if the manufacturer has a problem? And you still have to get alterations, etc. Padding your dates protects you. Period.


Take More than a Memory Home

After trying on 87 dresses, you finally found your dream gown. Deliriously happy, you float to the counter, pay for your dress and dance all the way home. Three days later, shopping for shoes, you are shocked to realize you can’t quite remember exactly what your dress looks like. Did the lace go all over the bodice, or just around the neckline? How low was the back? How long was the train?


Before you leave the salon, make sure you have a concrete picture of the dress in hand. While most salons disallow photography in their stores, it can’t hurt to take a camera along with you, should you happen to stumble upon a shop that does. As they say, a picture (especially one of you in your dream dress) is worth a thousand words.


As an alternative, the salon should be able to provide you with a catalog photograph of the dress. If they don’t have one on hand, ask them to get one from the manufacturer for you.


If you can, try and also get a small swatch of the dress material. If the salon doesn’t have some on hand, they can help you procure it from the manufacturer. Be persistent. The smallest swatch can be a lifesaver later when you’re shopping for shoes and a veil. There is a real discernible difference between white, ivory, eggshell, cream and candlelight that you won’t see until they are laid next to each other.


Pay By Credit Card

As with all major purchases, it’s best to pay with a credit card, even if you have the cash in hand. Don’t have a card? Have a relative put it on their card and pay them immediately. Credit card purchasing protects the consumer in many ways. Should something happen to the order or the salon, you have options. Credit card transactions can be challenged weeks after the fact, which is to say you can stop payment. Once a check is cashed, your money is gone instantly. A bank won’t help you get your money back from a raw deal. In most cases, a credit card company, however, will. Many credit cards also offer a form of insurance against loss, damage and theft. Better to be safe than sorry.


Check on your Order

Once you have placed the order for your dress, don’t simply wait for it to show up on your doorstep. Keep tabs on your order. Check in with the salon periodically to ensure the status of your dress. Some retailers don’t order dresses until closer to the actual wedding date (another reason to pad your date). Should a manufacturer discontinue a dress (and they do discontinue a few every year) before your order is placed, you’ll need time to explore your alternatives. The more you know about your order, the more control you’ll have over its fate.

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