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Courting Couture

We all know that reality television is developed with one purpose in mind - to produce interesting programming by maximizing drama. While you may be familiar with the reality show, Say Yes to the Dress, it obviously is not always an accurate depiction of the ideal bridal gown shopping experience. More drama equals more stress, so most brides are seeking the exact opposite. We welcome you to a more accurate reality when shopping for your wedding gown.  

It is completely within your control to make your bridal gown shopping an experience that dreams are made of —rather than nightmares. In the reality show, brides flock to a famous bridal salon with close friends, family members and assorted others to select a wedding gown. As the bride slips into different dresses, her large entourage gushes over each gown. Usually, the bride enters the salon with a budget in mind, but often ends up blowing the budget when the gown of her dreams is significantly more expensive than her budget allows.
While the show is highly entertaining, it is not the best model to follow when shopping for the gown of your dreams. So, Nebraska WeddingDay is here to set the record straight on a few key misconceptions that have arisen as a result of this popular show.

When you are dealing with a smaller bridal boutique, bringing a large entourage just won’t work. It may sound like a great idea to have your entire family and all your girlfriends there to help you choose your gown, but inevitably the situation will cause more confusion and stress, making the entire experience less enjoyable for you.

You will find that everyone has their own opinion. As the bride, you know the only opinion that truly counts is your own. So, while it is nice to receive feedback from one or two loved ones, bringing along multiple people could create unnecessary anxiety. Set yourself up for success by taking along a select few that will provide the quality feedback you seek. There is a simple solution to limiting your shopping crew. Inform others who wish to come along that your mother and your maid (or matron) of honor are going to be helping you with your gown search. Often, that will stem the tide of volunteers as they realize those are the women closest to you. 

For friends or relatives that still persist with being included, simply ask them to support you later at a gown fitting. If your resolve begins to weaken with an insistent few, find courage to politely decline by remembering that having an unplanned guest along is often more stressful than helpful.

Before you set out for gown shopping, make certain you set a budget that reflects the exact amount you can afford. If setting a higher budget for your gown is a top priority, look for other areas of your wedding budget to trim, thereby allocating a little more for your gown. Just be cautious about eliminating any of the necessary elements of your wedding simply to increase your gown budget. Ultimately, you will not be happy if you have not allocated properly to pay for the cake or to provide sufficient tips for the wedding vendors who worked so hard to make your day perfect.

If your dress is a priority, make it one of your top budget items. This can work as long as you realize you may need to make other sacrifices — like rethinking those delicious mini-cakes you wanted to provide as guest favors, or the expensive orchids you were having flown in for the centerpieces. If you have a strict budget, you need to honor it. Trying to negotiate more money for a gown from your fiancé or parents can cause stress in all other aspects of your wedding planning as well as add tension to the relationships. 

Nothing causes more frustration for both the bride and the bridal boutique as when you are uncertain about what you can truly afford. If you tell your salon attendant that your budget is around $4,000, she will bring out breathtaking couture gowns within the $4,000 budget. But, if in reality your maximum budget is $3,000, you risk falling in love with a gown that is beyond your means. 

At some point, you will have to be honest with the salon attendant about your true budget figure and then the process must begin again with gowns that fit your budget. Sadly, you may then find yourself frustrated because you are longing for that $4,000 couture gown you simply could not afford.

Don’t set yourself up for disappointment and don’t frustrate your salon attendant by wasting time on gowns you cannot consider purchasing. You will benefit greatly from building a relationship with your salon attendant. When it comes to shipping, measurements and all the details of the dress fitting, you will want to make sure you are getting the best service possible. A good relationship goes a long way toward that end. Taking up unnecessary time not only costs the salon money, but it is also disrespectful to other brides waiting to shop for their dream gown. Many salons work on an “appointment only” basis, so those brides with appointments following yours will have to be pushed back or rescheduled to another day if you are not shopping with a purpose. The best approach is to always be totally honest from the very beginning, with both the salon attendant and yourself! The bridal salon will work within your budget—no matter how high or low it may be. Above all else, they want you to leave a happy bride. Being straightforward and upfront ensures your gown-buying experience will be a positive one.

Nebraska has many wonderful bridal salons with knowledgeable attendants just waiting to help you find the perfect gown at the perfect price. Just come prepared with a list of your wants and needs. Above all else, cherish the experience! |NWD|