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!!