Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Wedding Gown FAQ

There's a pretty steep learning curve when it comes to the bridal industry. Most brides are purchasing for the first time and are accustomed to purchasing ready-to-wear attire. The majority of bridal gown designers require 4 to 6 months lead time when ordering a gown. Veils can take several months as well, depending. Bridesmaids and mothers dresses also take several months to come in. And don't forget- you want to give your seamstress at least 2 months for alterations. It's almost always a huge shock to the bride and her family that the process can take so long! That's just one of the many aspects of planning a wedding that can be a surprise! To help you navigate this tricky and often confusing industry, here are some of the most frequently asked questions and their answers.

I'm ready to start shopping for a bridal gown- what should I bring when I go out to shop? We can't speak for all bridal shops, but when you come to Madeleine's Daughter, all you need to bring are photos of gowns you like (from magazines or online) and a couple of your closest friends and family. We provide you with the proper undergarments and have everything you could possible need right here in our shop. Watch our "What to Expect" video here to find out more about our appointment structure.

What about accessories I already have? I plan to wear my mother's (grandmother's, cousin's, best friend's) veil (earrings, headpiece, etc.). If you want to make sure that your gown matches the accessory, then we strongly recommend you bring it with you. Heirloom veils can be tricky to match in terms of color, so it will definitely help your stylist to be able to see it in person.

How many dresses should I try on before choosing? Every bride is different, but we've found that the average number of dresses tried on is 6-8. You may find this to be very low, but the majority of our brides find "the one" amongst the first few dresses they try on. This is largely because our stylists know our inventory so well, they are able to go through the hundreds of gowns in our closet and pull out the ones they know you will like the best and that will look the best on your body.

How long does it take for a bridal gown to come in after I've ordered it? Typically, bridal gowns can take 4 to 6 months to arrive in the store, which is why we recommend shopping about a year in advance.

What if I don't have that long? What are my options? Some of our gown designers can have dresses here very quickly- as little as 4-6 weeks. This can sometimes come at an additional cost, but not always- your stylist will make sure you know about any rush fees. However, if that's still too long to wait, you often have the option of purchasing one of our samples.

Your store only has one sample of the dress I love, but it's not my size. How can I try it on in my size before purchasing? Unfortunately, this is most likely not an option, as our store and the majority of bridal shops only carry one sample of each dress. But our stylists are highly skilled at clipping and pinning the sample on you so that you can clearly see how the gown will look when it IS your size.

I normally wear size 4 when I shop at the mall and department stores. Why do I need to order a size 8 bridal gown? Bridal sizing is very different from ready-to-wear. The size charts are determined by the pattern sizes of the gowns, which is very different from ready-to-wear clothing. Additionally, very few brides measure perfectly into one size. Often the bust, waist and hip measurements will place you into 2 or 3 different sizes. You may end up ordering a size 8 because of one of your measurements, not all of them.

But you took my measurements- doesn't the designer make the dress for me based on my measurements? Unfortunately that is not how it works most of the time. We take your measurements so that we can compare them to the designer's size chart and choose the size that will come closest to fitting you. 90% of bridal gowns require tailoring to get the perfect fit. They are made with the intention of being altered and your bridal gown should be so perfectly tailored that you are the only person who can wear it.

When should I shop for bridesmaid/mothers dresses? We recommend you shop for bridesmaid dresses shortly after finding your gown. The same goes for mothers. As those dresses tend to take roughly 4-5 months to arrive in the store, it's smart to get started immediately. Additionally, once you've chosen a color and style you love, don't hesitate to order. Colors and styles are discontinued all the time and often without much warning.

We hope this helps clear up some of the confusion you might have about shopping for bridal attire. Leave a comment below if you have more questions. We'd be happy to answer all of them for you!

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