This is my first ever blog, yeay! (and its a crazy long one)
There is so much to say and talk about that I hardly know where to begin. I work as an Engineering Liaison at a small aeronautical company, but my life doesn't end there. I fence, I create and I love finding new DIY projects. Currently I'm in the process of planning my wedding, which isn't till May 21st, 2011 (it feels like a long ways away). And I get the challenge of trying to spend about $6,000 on it. Pretty steep and I will say that I do have one cheat; my mother is buying my dress. I heard all those groans out there (which as of right now are in my head), but the dress boutique that I will be getting my dress from doesn't have any dresses over $2,000.
Now why would any reasonable person think that a nice or even gorgeous wedding gown (which they do have) would have a max price of $2,000? Location, location, location. I live in Washington State and if I went shopping for a dress in Seattle or Bellevue I'd be looking at spending $5,000 to $9,000 dollars on the same dress which could cost me $1200 at a Puyallup dress boutique. What I would recommend to anyone looking for a wedding dress is check out wedding boutiques that are further away from largely populated areas and give them a try first. See if there is something there that you like before shutting them out entirely because they aren't in the greatest location.
When I went with my sister to Lady Margret's, we found that the lady's there aren't paid on commission (no hard sells) which made the experience so much better and gave us the pleasurable experience of working with someone who was there to find the best dress for her without pushing the most expensive dress on us.
Another thing to look for is how much alterations cost and the price of bustling, which you may want. Lady Margret's had excellent pricing and since my sister bought her dress during a special feature month, she didn't have to pay to get her dress bustled. Which leads me to another point, be aware of what sales are available or are on the agenda for future months and if you have time, wait for them if they're worth it.
An additional interesting fact I found out while helping my sister look for dresses and looking for my own, is that almost all the wedding dresses, in one form or another, seem to come from China. That's not a bad thing. It just means that in most cases, when you're buying a dress you're paying for designer name, boutique location and how much the owner thinks they can get out of their customers (which is standard business practice).
Another item to be aware of when buying a dress is how transparent the fabric is. I've heard horror stories of how a bride wore blue underwear and you could see it through their dress because of the sheerness of the fabric and they had to shuck the panties and go bare butt through the whole evening. My suggestion for that is when trying on dresses, think of what underwear you’ll probably be wearing at during your wedding. You don’t have to wear it when initially trying on dresses, but if it’s down to a chosen few and you can’t decide come back another day and try the dresses on again, this time wearing underwear you’ll probably be wearing on your wedding day.
At some wedding boutique’s you may also need to buy a slip to go under the dress in order to fill it out. My sisters dress came with one built in and wasn’t an additional cost. This is something to be aware of. Some wedding boutique’s claim they have the lowest prices but when all is said and down with, after alterations, holding fees (which some places have), wedding slips and other miscellaneous items, the dress can cost more then if you had bought a nicer dress at a higher end boutique.
One problem my sister did have was during the final fitting, the owner came in wanting to check out the dress fitting (they had has some problems the last couple of fittings) and noticed that the dress wasn’t sitting right on her. The strapless dress was too high on her chest, causing the waist to sit wrong and the hips of the dress to be too high. After some adjusting, the dress finally sat right and it was discovered that it was a size to small and needed to be taken out. They ended up having the dress widened a ½ inch on either side of her chest then tapering smaller to her waist. A wider zipper was put on and on the wedding day, the dress fit perfectly. Now you ask, why you would want to go back to a wedding boutique where they fitted your sister wrong. I have to say because as soon as the dress was discover to be too small (Monday), it was fixed and picked up on Wednesday and ready for the wedding that Friday. They were fast, the alterations where beautiful and unnoticeable and the price wasn’t outrageous. The important fact is that even though she paid for last minute alterations they didn’t cost her an arm and a leg as some standard dress alteration’s can cost, even without the rush.
So over all, here is the wrap up on dress buying; shop around, visit out of the way locations to try and get the best price; be aware of the overall price of the dress, how much are alterations going to cost, do I need a bustle and what about a slip; check the sheerness of the fabric and most of all, ensure the dress is seated and fitting you right, go up a size and have them take it down if your unsure.
So with those wedding dress shopping facts, I leave you to your shopping! Have fun :)