Must-read sample sale shopping tips

Wedding Dresses
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Michael Waring

Before the new collections shown at October's Bridal Market hit stores in late January/early February, many bridal salons across the country will be holding blow out sample sales to move older inventory. To find out if there's a sample sale in your area, contact your local bridal salons and simply ask if they are planning one in the near future.

Here are some helpful tips to help you navigate a bridal gown sample sale:

  1. Remember that sample sale dresses are listed as "Final Sale" so you can't bring the dress back for a refund or exchange. Make sure the dress you're interested in is really the dress.
  2. Go to a sample sale with an idea of what you are looking for—ball gown, strapless, lace. The best way to do this is to have already visited some salons and have tried on wedding dresses.
  3. Sample sale dresses are not used, but they will be need to be cleaned. Ask the salon for the name of a reputable wedding gown cleaner.
  4. Bring your mom or a friend with you. You'll need the extra help grabbing dresses from the racks and you'll also want their opinions.
  5. Bridal salons may not offer alterations on wedding dresses sold at a sample sale, so ask the salon for the names of recommended seamstresses.
  6. Above all, trust your instincts. If it's truly the right dress you'll know. If you're not sure, keep looking. You don't want to end up having to sell a sample dress on your own.

—Anne Chertoff

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