Next to playing with my dogs and sharing a chocolate soufflé with my husband, browsing wedding dresses is one of my favorite pastimes. Are you with me on this? I thought so. Then believe me when I say that one of the best ways to indulge your fashion passion is by attending a bridal trunk show. When shopping for your wedding dress, trunk shows offer you a chance to see a designer’s entire collection during a personal consultation with style experts—it’s free, and frankly feels fabulous to be the center of attention.
Recently I went with a friend we’ll call Jeanne to two designer trunk shows. Each offered a vastly different experience. The first one we attended was in Beverly Hills; I’m not one for high-pressure sales or snooty attitudes so I was less than enthusiastic about visiting “Posh 90210” (not the store’s real name); however, Jeanne was enraptured by the New York designer Victor Harper’s dramatic, body-hugging styles. I knew that her eyes were going to be bigger than her wallet, but she assured me she would “just look.” She made her appointment and we were greeted by a perfectly poised stylist who encouraged us to browse the beaded, embroidered, tulled and sequined gownapalooza that was in the store for “this weekend only.” After choosing “the possibles,” Jeanne was whisked in and out of half a dozen gowns before she was able to zero in on what she really wanted—which as is often the case, isn’t what she had THOUGHT she wanted. (Mermaids out, ballgowns in.) Ultimately, the gown she liked the most clocked in at over $8,000 not including alterations—about $5,000 over budget.
I couldn’t resist an aside to the stylist, asking if the salon carried anything in the “2s or 3s” (i.e. $2,000-3,900). The withering look she gave me was enough to make me want to hide in the dressing room. She also informed us that we had exceeded our one-hour appointment and since my friend clearly wasn’t saying yes to the dress, the store manager stepped up for the close. Jeanne wanted some time to ponder, but the manager refused to let her think about it over the weekend. “We either measure you now and place the order, or we can’t do it.” I got Jeanne out of there pronto, and later she thanked me for being the voice of reason: It’s hard not to give in to the lure of all those sparkles!
The next weekend, we were in luck: Camarillo Bridal, a neighborhood, family-run shop, was hosting a David Tutera for Mon Cheri Trunk Show—and the designer himself was going to be on hand to review the dress selections of a few lucky brides. Jeanne is an avid fan of Tutera’s “My Fair Weddings” TV show, and was ecstatic. We spent some time online choosing the dresses she would try on from the latest collection.
Our experience at this salon couldn’t have been better. The stylists were knowledgeable, patient and genuinely wanted what was best for Jeanne. We were told to take our time, and when she fell in love with a particular dress, I was delighted that the price tag “was in the very low 2s.”
When David arrived, he greeted us all (and remembered meeting me a few years ago when I interviewed him). He surveyed Jeanne up on the pedestal as if she were a fine piece of art, switching angles, gazing intently, and finally pronouncing his verdict: “You’ve chosen the perfect dress for you!” We cheered, we cried, everyone hugged, and David even chose a stunning cathedral veil and headpiece that was the piece de resistance!
It was so much fun helping my friend find “the one!” Brides, you too can prolong the wedding dress enjoyment by accompanying your own engaged friends to trunk shows when it’s their turn at the altar!