Buying a dress is one of the most significant and exciting purchases you’ll make as you plan your wedding. Glimpsing your dress in the mirror allows you to finally visualize what you’ll look like on the day of your wedding more clearly, which can bring up lots of emotions and enthusiasm.
It’s only natural to be excited about dress shopping. However, before you say “I do” to the dress of your dreams, there are a few crucial questions you should ask your boutique. By asking plenty of questions, you’ll prevent any surprises that might put a damper on your big day. After all, you don’t want to set your heart on a dress that won’t fit your budget, your timeline or your wedding.
The best dress for you will fit not only your body and your sense of style but also the unique limitations of your situation. With that in mind, here are five questions you should make sure to ask your bridal boutique before you buy.
Important Questions to Ask Your Bridal Boutique Before Buying a Dress
1) What Designers and Silhouettes Do You Offer?
Many brides start browsing for dresses well before their first appointment at a salon. It’s smart to try on a variety of silhouettes to find the dress that best suits your figure and your style, but if you find yourself fixating on a certain type of dress, you should check with your boutique to make sure they carry it.
Wedding dresses come in a variety of styles and silhouettes, all of which flatter different shapes. Though most boutiques will carry multiple silhouettes, you should check with the boutiques you’re considering to be safe. The same goes for designers — there’s nothing worse than showing up for an appointment, only to realize the salon doesn’t offer any dresses you like.
Consult your boutique about the styles they offer before booking an appointment. You may even be able to see their stock online or in person at the store before you decide to look there more seriously.
2) Do You Permit Photography During Consultations?
Believe it or not, many bridal salons don’t allow you to take pictures in the store unless you’ve already purchased the dress. This rule goes for small salons, as well as large ones like Kleinfeld. Unfortunately, no-photo policies can cause a lot of trouble for brides-to-be if they’re unprepared for them.
If you know you have trouble making up your mind or are prone to second-guessing your decisions, it might be worth looking for a salon that does allow you to take photos before making a purchasing decision.
If you can’t find a salon that permits photography, come prepared to spend a lot of time looking at potential dresses and ask if it’s possible to return and try on a dress again if you need a while to think on your decision.
3) How Much Will Alterations Cost?
A lot of brides are surprised to learn the price of their dress doesn’t typically include alterations. Because alterations on such a complicated garment can be time-consuming and particular to each customer, salons that do in-house alterations often charge an extra fee on top of the dress price itself.
Getting alterations is the best way to make sure your dress fits you perfectly, but the typical cost of alterations can be expensive, depending on the salon’s specific policies. To avoid a budget-breaking surprise, it’s best to ask your boutique how much you’ll need to spend on alterations before you purchase a dress.
Some more extensive alterations and customization can be extra-expensive, so make sure to include all possible alterations in your budget. If the price of a dress is already at the top of your budget before alterations, you may want to consider a second option.
4) Can This Dress Be Ready by My Wedding Date?
The most important question to consider before buying a dress is whether or not you can get your dress in time for your wedding. The process of ordering and altering a dress can take months, so make sure to ask your consultant how long it will take to get your dress ready for your big day. You don’t want to be rushing to get alterations done at the very last second.
In general, it takes about nine months to have your dress made, so you should purchase your dress at least nine months before your wedding. If you’re on a short timeline, talk to the boutique about quicker options, like purchasing a sample dress.
5) How Do You Handle Returns and Cancellations?
You probably won’t want to think about this when you’re picking your dress, but because a wedding gown is a large purchase, you need to make sure you understand the store’s return and cancellation policies before you buy, especially if you think you might change your mind.
When you purchase your dress, you’ll probably need to pay a deposit worth about 50 to 60 percent of the full price. Because dresses are often custom orders, you might lose your deposit if you cancel, and after the dress gets made, fitted and fully paid for, there’s little chance of a refund. Make sure you understand the payment process before you commit.
By preparing for all aspects of the dress shopping process, you’ll be able to avoid unpleasant surprises and thoroughly enjoy your experience.
About the Author
Kacey Bradley is the blogger behind The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Along with writing for her blog, she has written for sites like U.S. News, SUCCESS, Ruffled, and more!