6 Things Every Bride Needs to Know About Buying a Wedding Dress
We are at the height of engagement season, with many couples starting to plan their wedding. And for many brides buying a wedding dress is a very exciting part of the wedding planning. But for most brides it is also a completely new experience and one full of unknowns. We speak to Jana Svalbe, owner of MODE Bridal boutique in Brighton, who talks us through 6 things that every bride should know about buying a wedding dress.
Wedding dresses needs to be ordered no later than 6-8 months before your wedding date.
Each brand new wedding dress purchased by the bride is made to order and as such a lead time for the dress to be delivered is 3-4 months for most designers. Some take as long as 9 months to produce dresses. The bride is likely to need alterations to make her gown fit perfectly and this should be done 4-8 weeks before the wedding. So all in all the wedding dress should be ordered no later than 6 months before the wedding and quite often sooner than that. Rush orders are possible with many designers, but this attracts extra costs and adds more stress to the planning process. If the bride leaves it too late to order her dress or does not want to incur additional costs and/or stress, she can be limited to sample dresses only. This is still a great way of purchasing the dress, but most samples stocked by the boutiques are sizes 10-14 and brides might need to compromise on style they were looking for.
Most designer wedding dresses cost £1500-£2500
Magazines and social media are full of gorgeous gowns leading brides into the temptation of choosing the most fabulous dresses. However, for many brides, the price of those dresses can come as a surprise. Most designer wedding dresses cost £1500- £2500, with many well-known brands such as Claire Pettibone and Jenny Packham for example often costing £3k pus. The Israeli designers such as BERTA with super sexy gowns are very trendy at the moment, but you are looking to spend anything upwards of £5k for their dresses. The designers often have diffusion collections of bridal gowns in up to £1500 range, but those are often simpler in style and use different quality fabrics. So it is important to do some research and find bridal shops that stock dresses which meet both your style and budget requirements.
Alterations are an additional cost
More often than not, the dress will need to be altered to fit the bride perfectly. This can be for many reasons, from dresses coming in a standard size to brides changing their shape. Alterations are normally an additional cost payable at the time when those are carried out. This can be anything from £50 for very small and simple adjustments, to £400 if the dress needs to be made a size or two smaller. On average brides should budget £250 for alterations, which in most cases will be more than sufficient to make the dress perfect.
Most boutiques are open by appointment only
The experience of buying a wedding dress for most brides is as important as the dress itself. To deliver the excellent customer service that brides deserve, boutiques will normally be open by appointment only. Anything between 1-2h is allocated for an appointment, where brides become a centre of attention and are guided through the process of choosing a perfect gown. Saturday appointments are the most in demand, so expect to book in several weeks in advance. It is also not uncommon for boutiques to charge for Saturday appointments. These charges are anything between £15 and £45 and are normally redeemable against a purchase of the dress.
Having a large number of guests at the appointment is totally overwhelming for the brides
Understandably, the brides want to make the most of their dress shopping experience and will often book appointments to go and have fun with all their bridesmaids. This is great if you just want to have fun, but is totally unhelpful if you are actually trying to find your dress. The brides often get very overwhelmed as each person visiting with them has their own personal style preferences, wants to be a part of bride’s decision on the dress by expressing their opinion or encouraging the bride to try things on, and getting a consensus on what is the right dress can be impossible. Our advice is for brides to bring 2-3 people who can offer an honest opinion and who the bride wishes to share the special moment of finding the dress with.
A deposit payment of 40%-60% is required when placing an order
Once the bride has found the dress, a deposit payment will be required of between 40%-60%, with balance payable once the dress is made or delivered to the shop. Because each dress is made to order, this deposit is non-refundable. So once you say “yes to the dress” there is no way of going back without losing money. So our advice is to see past any pressure selling tactics that some shops might employee and purchase the dress because you absolutely love it!