Here are the key questions you should ask when working with your bridal salon consultant:
1. When should I begin shopping for my weddings dress, and by when should I order it?
Start the search for your wedding dress at least 9-12 months before your wedding. Some designer wedding dresses can take up to 9 months to be delivered to your salon. You should also factor in the time it will take to have your dress altered, if necessary.
2. Will I need to book an appointment to try on wedding dresses? How long do bridal appointments last?
Every salon has its own store policies. Some salons accept only appointments and require that you book your appointment at least 4 weeks in advance. Most bridal appointments will last 1.5-2 hours. And if you have time left over, you’ll also want to consider selecting bridal accessories (e.g., veil, hair pins, tiaras). If you don’t have enough time for accessories, ask if the dress sample will be available for you to come back later.
3. How many guests can I bring to my bridal appointment?
Ideally, you’ll want to bring only a couple of trusted friends or family members — it’s less stressful that way. If you must bring a crowd, invite them to your dress fitting after you’ve already selected the gown — but choose wisely. You should bring only the people who will help you make a decision and keep your best interest at heart. Also, warn your guests about the salon’s photography policies. Some salons prohibit picture-taking unless it’s of the dress you purchased.
4. What is the starting price of your dresses? Will there be any upcoming trunk shows?
Be honest with your bridal consultant about your wedding dress budget so that she/he does not pull styles that you will fall in love with but exceed the budget. How devastating! If you schedule your visit during a trunk show, you may be able to get a 10-20% discount on your dress as well as preview the latest collection.
5. May I purchase the sample dress?
Sample gowns are a great option if your wedding date is quickly approaching or you have a low budget. Be aware that sample dresses may be heavily discounted due to the wear and tear from other brides trying them on. If the sample dress is a great silhouette and fits within 2 sizes, it may be a great idea to grab it while you can. Inspect the gown thoroughly, and ask your consultant if the salon will cover the cost of any necessary repairs and a cleaning.
6. Will this dress still be available if I wait to buy?
Once you’ve found the dress that makes your heart smile, you should end your search, and go with “the one.” Many brides have commitment issues with wedding dresses. At some point, you have to make a decision and realize that designers discontinue styles every season — and your dress could be the one to go. Ask your consultant if the salon offers any incentives if you buy the dress during your first visit; that could certainly help you make a decision.
7. Are alterations expenses included in the cost of the dress? Does the salon do in-house alterations with certified specialists?
Don’t forget to factor in to your budget the cost of alterations. Some salons charge a flat fee, and others charge based on the level of effort and type of alterations needed. If you use your salon’s alterations specialists, make sure the gown will not leave the building until it’s leaving in your hands.
8. How many dress fittings will I need? Will I work with the same alterations specialists each time I visit?
Typically, you can expect to have 2-4 fittings before the gown fits you like a glove. Many salons will suggest that you begin alterations at least 6 weeks before the wedding. If you are on an active challenge to lose or gain weight, you’ll want to maintain a consistent size once you being alterations (this will save you extra visits and money). If possible, work with the same alterations specialists each time so they understand your ultimate vision. If you live far from your alterations specialist, communicate with the salon and let them know exactly when you need the alterations to be completed.
9. How does the payment process work? What is your cancellation policy?
Many salons will require you to make a 50-60 percent deposit on the total cost of your dress. Also, every contract will be different, so read carefully! If you change your mind about the dress, you may forfeit your deposit. However, some salons will allow you to transfer your deposit to a sample dress.
10. When will my dress arrive after the order is placed?
It can take up to nine months for your dress to arrive. In some cases, you can pay a rush fee to have the production of your dress expedited by the designer. Once the dress arrives, you will pay the remaining balance and schedule a fitting.
Featured Cover Image Wedding Dress: Hayley Paige