Shopping for the Perfect Wedding Dress

Every bride has a vision of what she’ll look like walking down the aisle in her wedding dress. For my sister Sandra, whose wedding was less than 10 months away, it was time to turn that vision into reality. As her maid of honor, I was with her every step of the way.

articles_altOur first stop was Trudy’s Brides in Campbell. Sandra had two consultants helping her, and after trying on several dresses, she thought she’d found the dress of her dreams. The most impressive part was the price: $760! I was in shock, too—I’ve seen dresses of that quality go for so much more. Trudy’s had a great selection, and in addition to wedding dresses there were tons of accessories, shoes, bridesmaid’s dresses and bridesmaid gifts. After our visit, the consultants even gave her a follow-up call to touch base. Talk about full service!

articles_altNext stop, House of Fashion Bridal in Sacramento. My sister really wanted to show our dad the dress she’d fallen in love with at Trudy’s, so she called the House of Fashion, located near our parents’ home, to find out if they carried the same gown. They did, so we all went over there and she was able to model that dress for Dad. One of the best things about House of Fashion has to be its grand staircase: Brides-to-be can show their friends and family the full effect of the gowns they’re trying on by letting the train cascade down the steps. Sandra’s consultant was very knowledgeable and made the experience really fun. The prices were reasonable, too—at least four of the dresses she tried on here were under $1,000, but they all looked like they cost at least $5,000!

Last stop, David’s Bridal in Roseville. While Sandra was pretty sure she had already found her dream dress, she wanted to check out one last place before she made the purchase: David’s Bridal in Roseville. Right off the bat, this was a very different experience than Trudy’s or House of Fashion. A salesgirl pulled the dresses Sandra wanted and guided us back to the big open dressing area where all the women were trying on gowns, dropped off the dresses and disappeared. As Sandra tried on her first dress, she had to come out of the dressing room grasping the dress around her chest so I could help her into it. She struggled with two other dresses before the sales girl showed up again. In the end, Sandra found two dresses she liked, and both had a $1000 price tag. That was our cue to take a closer look at the dresses themselves. We had already learned from one knowledgeable consultant at a previous salon how to tell if a dress is well made. We noticed that on both David’s Bridal dresses, the lace and beading was damaged and the seams were clearly visible through the dress. And they were $240 more than the gorgeous, high-quality dress she found at Trudy’s!

The decision was unanimous. After seeing Sandra try on about two dozen dresses, we all came to the consensus that her first choice was perfect and the price was under budget.

The whole shopping experience really made me think that you don’t have to go to a bargain bridal shop to save money. In fact, you might not save money at all! Plus, I think every bride should have the experience of going to a high-end bridal salon and getting the star treatment. Having a consultant take the time to help you find the perfect dress—one that’s right for your body type and matches the style of your wedding—could actually save you lots of time and headache, and you’ll probably end up with a better dress for your big day.

What have your wedding dress shopping experiences been like? We’d love to hear about them.

Denise Posted by Denise on Jan 09, 2008.
Filed under Budget Wedding IdeasFashionReal WeddingsWedding Dresses

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