You've probably wandered into at least one bridal store since getting engaged. Maybe you've sifted through the wedding dresses of a dozen stores while window shopping for your dream dress. Unless you've been employed by a bridal gown retailer, though, chances are you aren’t fully aware of what happens behind the scenes that may affect you as a buyer. To help give you the scoop, we spoke to people who've been there and done that.
The Wedding Veil Trick
"The sales associate will do everything she can to try and get you to try on the veil once you're in a dress you love or are highly considering because they want you to see the 'complete look,'" says J. Reid, a former associate at a boutique bridal store in North Carolina. "It's a known fact from the sales associate's end that if you can get the bride-to-be in her veil with the dress on, your chances automatically increase of her saying 'Yes!' to the dress."
If They Have the Designer, They Have the Dress
Imagine this: You've happened upon the perfect dress online or in a magazine, and you absolutely must try it on. You head into the bridal store that carries the designer, only to realize that the dress is nowhere to be found! Fret not.
"Brides should know that if a store carries the designer, but not that exact dress, the bridal salon has the ability to get the dress shipped in," says Amber Silva, co-owner of Kinsley James, a couture bridal salon in Walnut Creek, California.
Not Every Sales Associate is a Stylist
If you're looking for some guidance on what is the most flattering on your body — and who isn't? — make sure you’re working with an actual stylist. "You need someone with an eye for body type, fit, and cut," says Ani Hovhannisyan, founder of Through The Veil. "The sales associate's job is to sell a dress, and while their choice generally won't a bad choice, it might not be the best."
Take your time to think about the dresses you've tried on before committing to one, and to not feel pressured to buy something you're less than 100 percent on.
They Often Have the Hookup with Other Vendors
"Remember that a good bridal salon will know the bridal community and have great relationships with other bridal vendors," says Silva. "Ask your salon for referrals for any other vendor that you may need help with."
This is a win-win situation for everyone involved, so definitely take advantage of those connections!
There's Always Room to Negotiate on the Price
Don't take that price tag at face value. Markups on wedding dresses is a real thing, and sometimes the markups are quite high. For example, Reid says that a dress that costs $500 to $700 wholesale may be marked up to $1500 or $1800 once it hits the sales floor.
"One great way to begin this process is by name-dropping the boutiques other local rivalries and tell them that you were at said store earlier and they had it, for example, $1500 compared to the price of $1800 you're currently staring at," says Reid. "I've never known a store to not price-match, as long as it's a brick and mortar."