Tip of the Week

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Tip of the Week: Do Your Research {Part 2 – Reviews}

Now that your venue is selected and date is set, you’re likely looking at what bridal boutiques to visit so that you can shop for your bridal gown, and there are many options out there! Last week we advised first narrowing down your selection to the stores that have the correct price range of gowns you’re looking for. Once you have done that, how can you pick the best stores to visit?

One thing that is important for you to know is that brides LOVE to leave feedback about their wedding vendors. That means for someone like you who is newly engaged, you have access to feedback from real brides about their experiences working with that vendor. Most review-based sites will offer an overall star or number rating but will also give brides an opportunity to share their experience, in words, for future brides.

Your goal in picking the best stores to shop at are the ones that are going to deliver an exceptional experience for you and the people you bring with you. You want to pick a place where brides say they felt part of the family, where they were valued, where they felt celebrated, where they felt supported in their decision making process, and where the store stepped up to help when something went wrong. Yes, that’s right…don’t be afraid of a store where a bride mentions that something went wrong and the store was there to fix it. That’s the exact place you WANT to buy your gown from! Pick a store that is going to have your back in any situation. You want the store that is going to go the extra mile for you at all times. The stores that have great reviews are typically stores who went above and beyond for their brides. Also important is to see how a store responds to a negative or difficult review. Is that store empathetic and understanding or combative and defensive? These responses speak volumes about the type of store you’re dealing with!

In our opinion, the best review sites out there are The Knot, Wedding Wire, and a store’s own Facebook page. Yelp also has reviews, but they randomly hide certain reviews and make them difficult to find, which we thing does a disservice to people who spend time to write a review! If our brides are going to take the time to review us, we feel like that should be front and center! At ALSW, we are incredibly proud that no matter what site you visit, you will see stellar reviews by former brides for you, our future bride, to read!

In addition to reviews, look for stores that have won local awards in their wedding communities. Awards are often earned by both a combination of brides voting and other wedding vendors voting. This means awards are often an endorsement by other wedding vendors, who have a trained eye for spotting the best of the best. Many local publications run “best of” contest for local businesses. If your area has one, see if your local bridal salon has come up as a winner in the weddings category!

Happy Shopping!!

Tip of the Week: Do Your Research {Part 1 – Budget}

Chances are, if you’re engaged, you have BIG feelings about gown shopping. You’re either ready and excited and can’t wait to get started or you put it off for a while because you were a little nervous about the process. Or you fall somewhere in between. The good news is that we’re here for you and promise to make the experience a wonderful one. We have a singular mission in working with you, and that’s to find you a gown you love at a price you feel comfortable with an experience that leaves you with that warm and fuzzy feeling. That sounds great, right??

One thing we advise prior to coming in is knowing what you are comfortable spending on your bridal gown as well as your tolerance for fluctuations around that budget. Both are important to communicate to your stylist and something that we will ask you when we speak to you.

Additionally, establishing your own budget is step one, but we also recommend making sure you are comfortable with the price range of gowns a store carries before you visit it. Bridal gown shopping is fun but can be time consuming, and we believe the time you are spending should be enjoyable and productive. Walking into a place where the gowns are priced more or less than your budget is no fun for you. So make sure to ask that question and know the answer.

At A Little Something White, we have two different types of collections – “special order” bridal gowns and “off the rack” bridal gowns. With a special order bridal gown, you will try on an example of the gown in the boutique, and then we place an order for that gown from the designer in the size and color of your choice. With this type of order, you may also be able to make certain changes to the gown, or customizations, since the gown is being made for you only after we place the order. With an “off the rack” bridal gown, the gown you try on in the store is the exact gown you will be purchasing, and you will take it with you on the day of purchase. Gowns from our special order bridal gown collection may be priced anywhere from $2,000-$11,000, with the bulk of our gowns falling in the $2,800-$6,500 range. Gowns from our off-the-rack bridal gown collection may be priced anywhere from $1000-$3,500.

Tip of the Week: Know Your Timeline

The ring is on, the champagne is popped to celebrate, the venue and date are set…..and now it’s time to gown shop! When is the right time to gown shop? We advise buying your gown 8-11 months before your wedding day. In the era we live in today of “fast fashion”, you may not realize that bridal fashion follows a whole new set of rules when it comes to timing. Don’t fret, we are here to demystify it!

One of the things I love about bridal gown shopping is the fact that you get to pick out a gown which is then hand-made just for you. That means it’s not hanging on a rack in some stock room…when we place the order for your gown, the designer and her team hand cut the fabrics, hand sew them together to the size and specifications we tell them, and then put on the finishing touches to make it perfect just for you. This is a garment unlike anything you have worn before and will likely ever wear again!

However, all of that magic takes time to happen. Once you pick out your bridal gown, the designer requests 6-8 months for production to make sure they have enough time to source the fabric, which often comes from special mills overseas, cut and create the gown, and send it through a rigorous quality control process.

So what if you don’t have 6-8 months? Not to worry! We have an amazing relationship with our designers and are often able to get gowns more quickly than that time frame, for a fee. We once got a gown made in a week! We also have an amazing selection of gowns available for purchase off-the-rack, meaning you can buy the gown and take it with you that day.

Once the gown has arrived, you will likely need alterations in order to get the perfect fit. At ALSW, our seamstresses require 2 1/2 months to perform those alterations.

So as you can see, 8-11 months before your wedding is the ideal time frame in which to order your gown. But remember, for ALSW brides, nothing is impossible and we are here to help you find the perfect gown!