I will admit I was bit worried about dress shopping but going in prepared made my experience significantly easier. Reviews helped but not in usual "Wow, this store made me feel like a princess!" nonsense. How then? By taking into account what women did wrong. Sometimes the reviews are warranted while others scream, "They didn't let me have my way! Hmph." There are times when the salon is completely out of line or not up to par but if one goes in prepared then the trip won't suck...as much. So are some things I learned:
1. "The one" is a myth. Sorry, it is.
2. Set your budget. NFT.
3. Start the dress search after booking your venue. You really don't want to look out of place at your own wedding, do you?
3. Find out what stores are in your area. It makes the next step easier.
4. Research the designers the store(s) carries. Besides saving you time during the visit by knowing what to look for, it also saves you heartache by knowing the price range the salon carries. Sorry, but every time I read a review that complained about how pricey the salon was, I would roll my eyes. Tough cookies. If they had of done their research, it would have been avoided.
5. Bring pictures. So you expect a complete stranger to know what you like or what you're talking about in your limited bridal gibberish? Added bonus: maybe the salon doesn't carry the gown you like but they carry something similar that may be better looking or even cheaper. You never know.
6. Bring your own strapless bra. It's the difference between looking like a Mary or a Jezebel. Besides being functional (containing the girls) it completely alters the look of an outfit in a good, regal way. So next time bring it.
7. Wear Spanx. It's not really needed for ballgowns but can provide an added coverage for the bashful set. Remember, the consultants will be seeing you naked.
8. Only bring people who's opinion matters to you but don't be like Beyonce and bring an entourage. I will admit that while I did bring people whose opinions matter to me, I still purchased a dress that only one person liked. Didn't bother me one bit.
9. Shop around for a better price. For example: My gown at Gabrielle's was $3990. Since she price matches, I proceeded to call a variety salons that carried Melissa Sweet that I was willing to travel to. The highest quote I received: $4180 from now defunct Santa Barbara Bridal , the lowest: $3800 from The Wedding Day in Fountain Valley which Gabrielle matched. Some salons would not give me the price over the phone which was fine (I just won't shop there) while others were bit more savvy and quickly pounced on the idea of price matching 'cause in the end it's a sale. Ultimately, the quote I ended up getting was $3600 from Alexandra Bridal whose original price was $3945. Never limit yourself to just one salon.
10. No advice here. Just my gown. Melissa Sweet Dora: