When you are engaged and in China, thoughts of fancy might turn to, well, Suzhou. Not for the traditional Chinese gardens or homes. And not even for photo ops at the pagoda or Tiger Hill. You want Suzhou, because Suzhou is home to a fantastic wedding gown street — where you can get a tailor-made dream for less.
Located on a sprawling block within walking distance of Tiger Hill, Suzhou’s Wedding Gown street has none of the grace of its more famous neighboring attraction. It’s a depressing conglomeration of one- and two-story concrete stores — almost as if it were the wedding village for jilted fiancees. Yet, there are treasures behind those doors for the patient and persistent bride-to-be — with bargains that will have you saying a resounding “I do.”
So, what are your options?
Alley on Suzhou's Wedding Gown Street
Suzhou's Wedding Gown Street may not shine with the dreams of a wide-eyed bride -- but rewards the persistent bride-to-be
The easiest method is to buy what is on display — and most stores have so many ways to do flowing chiffon, taffeta, silk, and more that even the fussiest foreign woman will eventually find a gown she loves. But if you have a design in mind, have them do a tailor-made dress — just be sure to bring a photo or drawing of what you want, and choose a store with a basic design similar to your dream gown. Prices range from around 500 RMB for simple dresses up to 1000 or 3000 RMB for tailor made designs. They differ in quality a lot as they use quite different quality of fabric and diamonds etc. Also the workers experience determine the level of the dresses. So be aware and never be lured by a super cheap dress. You get what you pay. And, since many stores also sell qipaos (qipao is a China's traditional dress) and evening gowns, you can get any dresses that you need in a same place.
Whatever you choose, begin by browsing the stores, with an eye for styles you love. You don’t need to bargain right away. Give yourself time to know the stores, and know what’s available. Then, when you come upon something gossamer and gorgeous, make a note to come back.
Some of the stores on Suzhou's Wedding Gown Street also sell qipaos and evening gowns, such as this one, making it easy for brides to be to purchase the three gowns for their wedding banquet in one place
Once you find the perfect one, bargain, bargain, bargain. The asking price is often twice what you should pay, as one of the posts in this forum thread reveals (Chinese) — so never accept the first offer.
Nowadays, a lot of people begin to buy wedding dresses online from China through odgate or other professional websites, since the money they spent on the plane ticket is able to let them buy many dresses in local place.