by Lisa Beth Miller
I recently read a wedding blog that advised brides to avoid shopping in bridal boutiques if being semi-clothed in front of a stranger sounds stressful. The writer noted that it is way less mortifying to buy online or shop at the “warehouse” stores that just leave you alone to put on the gowns you wish to try.
I could not disagree more! Allow me to explain.
When a bride shops at a bridal boutique, she isn’t just shopping! She is consulting with a trained professional who understands what looks good on each different body type. The boutique experience goes something
- You chat with a trained consultant about your wedding vision. You explain what the ceremony and reception will look like and what look and vibe you hope to exude.
- The trained consultant listens carefully, but also observes your personal style and body shape. She attempts to get to know
you and your desires before selecting dresses that are right for YOU.
- The consultant selects dresses appropriate for your budget, body type, style, and wedding concept. She carefully explains the structure and design of each dress while helping you into them. She laces, zips, clips, and does whatever it takes to give you a true vision of what this gown looks like on YOU.
- She walks you to a platform or runway in front of a mirror and helps you to understand which aspects of the dress are working for you and which may not. During this process, she may also show you some accessories that could work with the gown. She may even hand you a beautiful bouquet to complete the look. The consultant will stay with you as you observe the dress from every angle and ask questions about fit, style, fabric, possible modifications, and colors.
- The consultant will walk you through this process for each dress you wish to try until you find “the one”.
- At this point, she will take your measurements, consult with you regarding appropriate sizing, and order the dress for you from the designer (unless you are purchasing a floor sample). Your dress will be cut to order and delivered to the boutique.
Is this a long shopping process? Well, maybe. But it is so worth the time invested. Buying a wedding gown is NOT like buying a sweater and you really do need help from an expert. And supporting local businesses is always a good thing too, right?
While “warehouse” stores and online shopping eliminate the necessity of disrobing in front of a stranger and are sometimes cheaper, do not be fooled. These shopping options also pretty much eliminate most of the six steps described above. You are essentially left on your own to navigate the styles, fabrics, and sizing systems. Dresses from these sources are also usually not cut to order, they already exist (and may have been tried on by many people), and are simply shipped from another location.
Being a bridal consultant is a complex job that requires more training than you could possibly imagine. Give these experts a chance to help you find the right wedding gown. You won’t be sorry!