Gotta secret, can you keep it?
We have styled over 300 brides and sold just as many gowns on behalf of our consignors in a market that has been grinding it out over ordering times and organza long before any reasonable bride who wasn't nurturing her skoby or washing her hair with apple cider vinegar would EVER consider shopping second hand while saying yes to some dress. The times, they are a changing. Here's what the bridal industry doesn't want you to know about finding your favorite frock.
New? Sorta. Special? Maybe. Expensive? Yup.
While we play picture pages with wedding magazines, the wedding industry is doing what marketing does best: convincing us that the new, expensive version of what we are looking for is the only version of ourselves that is good enough.
Every year a new collection is promoted, offering the latest trends which come with a higher price point. What brides don't know is that many of the selections featured on the racks of bridal salons were originally released 2-5 years ago. As long as they are being ordered the designer will continue to make them available from the manufacturer. At the price points that compare to THIS years market values. One of the most popular preloved dresses that has come out of our store is from designer Maggie Sottero's 2013 collection. This dress is amost 6 years old and is still being sold for up to $1700.00 retail. So before you decide that newer is better consider what is actually being offered. Fall in love with a dress because of how it makes you feel, not how 'recent' or 'relevant' it may seem, how expensive it is or where you bought it.
You gotta pay to play.
Show me a bride and I'll show you a inspo board filled with fabulous frocks from all over the world. While you are scrolling through Pinterest at a rapacious rate hitting SAVE at every detail, remember this: more often than not the photos posted to those boards are designer gowns that are not even available in your city, typically sell way beyond the average budget or come from online made-to-order websites that carry their own set of risks. This has created a whole new breed of bride that has been duped into thinking that finding those gowns is as easy as clicking 'add to cart'. The truth is, many of those styles will cost you and are not readily available in local salons. So brides limit their options and increase their budgets from the outset. A bride becomes convinced that to get what she wants it'll cost her. Or even worse that the beading she wants from one dress and the skirt she likes from another only exists in some Frankendress we could never create. And she settles for something other than extraordinary.
What we have discovered is that most of these must-haves can easily be added by a skilled and passionate seamstress. Sleeves? Made to measure and sewn on to your dream dress. Removable toppers that perform double-duty creating ceremonial modesty and the racier reception? Done and done. Keyhole detail? Absolutely. Low back? Let's do it. Slimmer skirt? Cutting out crinoline takes seconds. Custom capes, hand sewn beading, removable accents- the sky is the limit. If you love the silhouette or fabric of a dress and it's already in your size (another off the rack option you won't find in traditional retail!), consulting on customizing is a choice many brides don't consider because of their lack of understanding about sewing. Any experienced seamstress can sit down with you and not only confirm possibilities but explain how she will achieve your vision and what the actual investment will be. Or, you can order the one dress you found that has it all for more than you want to pay and then have that gown altered to your size for hundreds more dollars. An educated consumer is a happy consumer and in our experience that confidence leads to finding the perfect dress. Ask us how.
If I could turn back time.
There is no time like the present. Except when your present is a full year from your date. I don't know about you, but I would like to think I will evolve as a human within any calendar year. Ordering timelines in modern day boutiques require brides to commit to a gown 6-12 months before they walk down the aisle. And more often than not her vision, theme and budget evolves leaving her questioning the dress or reaching for more financial resources. A common technique of consultants is to drop the A word when trying to close the sale. If you don't buy today, this style might be (cue impending doom music) ARCHIVED. Meaning discontinued and unavailable to order. For all of eternity. This evokes purchasing paranoia that causes brides to envision moments of sheer devastation at the prospect of losing her (latest) love. Skipping the high-pressured sales floors and seeking off-the-rack options not only decreases the stress of saying yes before you're ready but often creates cost savings that could be invested into the memory-making moments of your day. Read: the funds for your videographer are in your wedding dress.
Collect experiences, not things.
They say when you know better, you do better. And we have arrived at a time where in our globally connected easily accessible world the traditional wedding and the planning that creates it can be replaced. The modern wedding is usually filled with a variety of splurges, DIY projects and buy and sell sourced selections. In spite of that, the industry pressure to create a certain look is immense and constant. And regardless of how we combine them, the costs add up. The budget for your dress has serious potential to create room for some must-haves that might otherwise not be possible. The most common comment we receive from past brides is how they wish they had had a preloved option to shop in. Time is the ultimate provider of prospective and once removed from the day it is easy to see that the most valuable investments in any celebration are not what you wore or the number of flowers you had but the people you broke bread with and the investment you made in preserving the moments you shared with them. The journey of getting married often gets lost in the execution of a wedding. And that dress you once coveted ends up in box in the back of your closet. Spend less on a dress so you have more to invest in your photographer, your honeymoon or your first home. Tangible experiences that you will have for a lifetime. Because long after all the material things in your life have moved on, aged or lost their usefulness you will treasure the ways in which you invested in preserving your love story.
Searching for the dress that evokes who you are and what you wish to communicate about yourself as a bride is an amazing experience. Opening yourself up to the choices that eliminate timelines, create flexibility in your budget or are uniquely tailored to you can be the new normal in the bridal business. Empower yourself as a consumer, evaluate your own needs and explore your options. So, whose ready to break the rules?