In the last seven days, we’ve bought our own place (and all of the stressful mortgage details that that includes), moved everything we own, bought a new car in between unpacking, had family in town from Iowa for Thanksgiving, and I ordered my dress (or so I thought)—All overwhelmingly large commitments that rub my budget-savvy nature the wrong way!
It was a chilly, rainy, dreary Monday in Nashville. I settled in on my lunch break to write my post on dress shopping, and after the first paragraph, my cell phone rang. It was ironically the dress store, and they inform me that they were unable to get my dress, and that the ship dates don’t work for my wedding date… I’m not sure how someone can say something so devastating in such a casual manner, but instead of breaking into tears I told them I needed my deposit back immediately, and got off of the phone before I could lash out. I was in total shock and just started dialing other stores in the Nashville area that carry Maggie Sottero as fast as I could. By the grace of God and GLITZ BRIDAL (Bellevue, TN), my nightmare was somehow resolved with the amazing help of Rita, my Bridal Fairy Godmother.
Rita had two options for me: 1. They had a size 14 sample dress of MY dress in their store that I could purchase, but taking it down to a size 6 would be expensive. She said the dress was in good shape for a sample, but it was still a sample. 2. Another store had a dress in their stock that hadn’t made it to the sample floor yet, in diamond white (I had wanted ivory, but diamond white it is), in my size. I decided to go with the second option, and they thankfully were later even able to match my discount from the previous store (I’ll discuss this below).
With my dress experience thus far being much less glamorous than I’d ever dreamed, I realize that I’m extremely lucky that this situation has seemingly turned out as well as it had (minus the ulcer I’m on the verge of), and I’m confident that with the great staff at GLITZ, it’ll be smooth sailing from here on out. With the past being the past, here are my major dress lessons that I’ve now learned:
KNOW YOUR PRICE POINT
I’m not one to watch countless episodes of “Say Yes to the Dress,” but I did stick with the motto to not try on dresses that I couldn’t afford. I have chosen to pay for my dress myself and
keep it all under $2,000 (including alterations– don't forget those). I HIGHLY suggest not falling in love with something that will either get you into debt that you can’t handle, or something that you’ll simply never be able to afford. It’s just not worth the heartache. I started at lower end dress options, and worked my way up gradually (still staying in my budget) until I found “the one.” Browsing dresses and looking at the price tags isn’t magical, but it’s practical for a BSB.
My Aunt worked at a large wedding dress retail shop for a few months because she thought it would be fun (it wasn’t), and told me that the mark up on wedding dresses is HUGE, and to not be afraid to negotiate with pricing. I do tend to negotiate with other expenses, but it had honestly never occurred to me to do this with dress shopping! IT TOTALLY WORKED! I was torn between a cheaper dress at one store and a more expensive dress (that I secretly KNEW I had to get) at another store, and I asked the more expensive store if they could meet me half way in
price because I was torn between the two. With a quick call to a manager from my saleslady, I was able to save $230 without them blinking an eye. One important thing to keep in mind with this is to not bulldoze, and do not “negotiate” in a manner that is consistent with buying a purse from a stand in Chinatown. Be respectful, be nice, and plan out what you’re going to say and be realistic with your expectations. You’re beginning a relationship that you’re going to be involved in through ordering, shipment, alterations, etc.
One other very helpful tool with this is to research area trunk shows that will be having the dress you want to purchase. If you don’t want to do business with the store having the trunk show, many other stores will often match a trunk show price of a competitor to get your business. In my case, I was dealing with a terrible store who couldn’t deliver my dress anyway, but the negotiating still worked & it has all come together in the end.
LIE (YES, I SAID LIE) ABOUT YOUR WEDDING DATE
We’ve all heard (or lived) the horror stories. I don’t generally lie in my everyday life, but on the strong suggestion of my Aunt, I did bump up my wedding date when the store asked me—Even if it’s “late,” you can still get it in time. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
For a little pre-shopping inspiration: