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Your wedding dress: how do you know when you found the one?

Buying a wedding dress is one of the most emotional purchases a woman will ever make in her entire life.  We all envision that moment when you put on a wedding dress, look in the mirror, and hear angelic voices serenade down upon you as you realize that this is THE dress. We all envision that moment where everyone is crying as you say ‘yes’ to your dress.
 

This inevitably puts a lot of pressure on the bride to get it ‘right’. Just like with your spouse, you never want to settle, but you also have to be open to knowing that not all brides get that weepy moment…and that’s ok. If you are expecting that moment and will not say yes to any dress until that happens to you, then you are setting yourself up for failure.
 

So we decided to go to the experts and asked local bridal gown shop owners for their insights into helping you find THE ONE.
 

RELATED: WHO SHOULD HELP YOU SAY ‘YES’ TO YOUR WEDDING DRESS?

 

To find THE dress, keep an open mind and trust your consultant

 

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

Before even stepping foot into a bridal shop, brides will do research online or look in magazines, pulling pages or saving photos to Pinterest of gowns they like. In each of these clippings, there’s something about that particular dress that catches the eye of the bride – either the silhouette, the detailing, the designer’s name.
 

Often times the biggest disappointment comes when the bride tries on the dress she loved in the magazine or online and it doesn’t look the same on her. While it’s great to come in with ideas, as it helps to narrow down the focus, it’s also important that you shop with an open mind, for such an occasion.
 

Tina Pomarico, owner of Lady Gray Bridal in Beacon says when a bride comes in “They tell us what they are looking for. We’ll pull out what it is that they’ve asked for.” However, she says, as the women start trying on the dresses they came in thinking they wanted, and start sharing what they like or don’t like about the dress, that’s when you need to start trusting your consultant.”
 

At that point, Pomarico will usually say “’You know, I have something that I really think would work beautifully for you, would you be willing to try?’” She says, the brides-to-be usually all agree “…Because they trust in our expertise and all that we offer. So they’ll put something on and be pleasantly surprised and think ‘Wow! I didn’t really think this would be the silhouette I would really choose.’”
 

Your consultant is also helping you by empowering you to make the decision on your own, by ironically, saying nothing at all. Laura Howard, store manager of Chamonix Bride in Rhinebeck says consultants try to say as little as possible when the bride is on the floor in front of the mirror and in front of her entourage. She says “We don’t ever say ‘Oh, I love that on you!’, ‘I love this detail.’ We just let them kind of figure it out and we can tell if they need guidance. We say ‘Well this one has the lace that you were looking for’ or ‘What don’t you like? What aren’t you loving?’ …and we just have that dialogue to help them figure out themselves.”
 

Here’s a tip. If you have a dress on and the longer you have it on, the longer you find ‘issues’ with it, it’s not your dress. Take it off and move on. If, on the other hand, you have your dress on and the longer you have it on, you are just finding more and more things you love about it, chances are, that’s a good sign it’s a keeper.
 

To find THE dress, don’t try on anything that’s outside your budget

 

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

I can’t stress this enough that it’s so, so, so important that you do research on what you like and the price point you’re comfortable with, and that you go into the dress shopping appointment with that budget in mind, and that you NEVER go over budget. Why? Because it’s almost guaranteed that the minute you start trying on gowns that are out of your price range, you are going to fall in love with one that you can’t afford.
 

If budget is no issue, then, by all means, go for it. But for many brides, a budget is extremely important. Now, that being said, it’s also a misconception to think that lesser priced gowns are poorly made. The average wedding gown will cost anywhere between $1,200 and $3,500. In that range, you can find beautifully made, beautifully detailed dresses with all the bells and whistles you can think of.
 

But, be wary of the too-good-to-be-true-find-of-the-century dress deal that you find online. Never buy your gown online. Always go to a reputable salon to make sure you are getting what you pay for.

 

RELATED: LEARN HOW TO SAVE HUNDREDS ON YOUR WEDDING DRESS

 

To find THE dress, trust your gut and don’t wait for the waterworks

 

Finding THE dress is a remarkable experience. Pomarico says “It’s really great when you see that moment when they actually try THE dress. You know, when they put that gown on and that emotion comes through, that’s not something you can make up. And after 34 years…I still get the goosebumps.”
 

However, the biggest factor many brides use to determine if they’ve found THE one is whether or not they cry, or their mom cries, or their whole entourage and consultants cry. The reality is most brides DON’T cry!
 

You might be asking yourself “Well, if I don’t cry, how will I know it’s the one?” Pomarico says “You will know. It’s an emotion I cannot describe. But when you experience it, you’ll know.”
 

“Sometimes you get that very emotional bride,” says Pomarico, “And she’s crying and so is her mom, and then we get those who… don’t get that flood of emotion, but we can still tell. They have that look in their eye and that look on their face, and they stand there and they say ‘I don’t want to take this off.’”
 

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

Howard sees the same thing in her store. “We have people that are crying, then I’m crying, mom’s crying. Then we have girls that are just focused and analyzing. Nine times out of 10 you can tell immediately. They (the bride) stand up straighter, their posture is better, they’re playing with it, they’re sitting down, they’re giving it a full test drive.”

 

Betsy Wise, stylist at Lambs Hill Bridal Boutique in Beacon and owner of Betsy Wise Bridal also in Beacon says everyone is different. “You can tell when someone feels really great, you can see it on their face,” she says. Not everyone has the experience you see on tv. She says “people do find the dress and cry, but that’s not everybody’s experience, and I think it makes people (brides) feel insecure like, ‘Oh I’m not doing it right! I didn’t cry! I didn’t have that experience!’ Everyone is different, and everyone is going to find their right dress in their own way.”
 

Guess what… I was a bride who didn’t cry. Not one tear, but I knew, deep down, it was the one. I didn’t want to take it off. The longer I had it on and started twirling in it, and dancing in it and picking up on all the details and nuances, I knew it was the one and didn’t want to try any more dresses on.
 

So, if you’ve found your dress already, what advice do you have for brides who are still looking?

 

Featured Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

 

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What is a Bustle and Why Do You Need One?

If your dream wedding dress comes with a train of any length, you need to do something with that train after the ceremony so that you (or anyone else) don’t step on it during your reception. The most common way to do that is with a bustle. A bustle ties up your train bringing it up so that the hem in the back matches the hem in the front and gets it out of the way for ease and comfort.
 

In order to bustle your train, your gown will need to have buttons and hooks attached to it during the alterations process. This is something you want to make sure is done properly and securely, otherwise your train will fall while you are dancing. How do I know that will happen? Because it happened to me. Trust me, the last thing you want to be doing at your reception is stopping every two seconds so someone can rehook it.
 

We spoke to Tina Pomarico, owner of Lady Gray Bridal in Beacon, who teaches you everything you need to know about the bustle on your dress and how to hook it.
 


 

Where do the buttons and loops get attached?

 

There are really two main types of bustles: a French Bustle and Traditional Bustle. With either, the buttons are sewn onto the back of the dress and the loops are sewn onto the train of the dress. The difference is that French Bustle buttons and loops are sewn on the inside, while Traditional Bustle buttons and loops are sewn on the outside. Each bustle gives the gown a very different look. With Traditional Bustles, Pomarico says, “When I’m bustling a gown, I try to make the bustles (loops and buttons) as discrete as possible because they’re laying on the train, and while it’s open and down, you really don’t want to see them, you just want them to blend into the gown.”
 

How many buttons and loops does it take to bustle my gown?

 

It really depends on the length of the train and the weight of the fabric. Pomarico says two or three is the norm, but sometimes as many as five or more.
 

RELATED: WHAT YOU NEED TO LOOK FOR IN A QUALITY BRIDAL GOWN

 

How do I know my bustle is secure?

 

Soutache Loops Photo Credit: WCHV

A secure bustle boils down to three things: the type of button, the type of loop, and the number of loops. “When I do my bustles,” says Pomarico, “I do them with a Soutache Loop (a narrow, flat, braided loop). It has no stretch to it, it really does hold and I always give my girls extra bustles (loops) because if it breaks from someone stepping on it, I don’t want them then to have to safety pin it up, so I’m always giving them extra.” These loops are also designed in a way where if someone does step on your gown and pull the train, the loop will break without ripping your gown. That’s why it’s always good to have multiple attachment points and multiple loops at each point, so you can easily fix it.
 

You also want to make sure that the buttons are strong ones with metal backs, called Hopper Backs, so that they can hold the weight of the train without breaking or ripping your dress.
 

If you still aren’t convinced, try jumping around in your dress for a few minutes. If the train stays put, you’re good to go.
 

RELATED: WHO SHOULD HELP YOU SAY YES TO YOUR WEDDING DRESS

 

How do I choose the right bustle?

 

The main thing with bustles is that you need to choose the one that complements the line and silhouette of your dress. You never want to break that line. When the bustle is up, your dress should look like it never had a train to begin with. Your seamstress or shop consultant should be able to determine what’s best, or at least have you see it both ways so that you can determine what you like best.
 

How do I bustle my train the day of the wedding?

 

The first thing to remember is to never start with the top middle button. “What’ll happen is if you do that it starts taking these folds and you kind of lose your way, and you can’t really find them (the loops). It’s much easier to bustle from the outside in,” says Pomarico. Plus, she says, “The center bustle carries most of the weight on any gown.
 

“When we start our bustles,” she adds, “start with the furthest one (button) out, and where there’s one on one side, there’s one directly across on the other so that it’s even.” Starting with the outer buttons also helps distribute the weight equally on the sides so it lays beautifully.
 

The best way to do this is to have two people help, so that they are pulling up the train at the same time. When you go in for your final fitting, your consultant will walk you, and whoever else is with you, through the process.
 

Featured Photo Credit: Wedding Connections of the Hudson Valley

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12 Wedding traditions you can skip…and 5 you should keep (part 1)

This is the first part of a two-part series

I am a bit of a traditionalist. I like the formal celebratory traditions that weddings bring with them…to a point. I do feel some of them are outdated, so my wedding was a nice mix of traditional and non-traditional elements.

Many couples today may want to mix it up a bit, and forgo some of the traditions their parents or grandparents grew up with, but may feel guilty doing so. I’m here to tell you that it’s OK. Traditions are just that, traditions, not rules. Rules are very different. Rules you have to follow or else you may face consequences. Traditions are just elements passed down through the years, so far passed down that you may not even know why or how they began.

I’ve been writing about wedding for a long time and I can tell you that in my research, many wedding traditions started centuries ago, so it’s time for a change. Here are some of the traditions you shouldn’t worry about skipping:

Wedding Tradition: The white gown

 

Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

Tradition has it that the bride wears white as a symbol of purity. While history books are unclear really how this trend started, many say Queen Victoria was the first one to popularize white wedding gowns, as that’s what she wore at her wedding in the late 1800s. But many brides, for decades after, even as late as the early 1900s wore colored dresses. So, if you want to buck tradition and go for something not white, feel free. As is, when you shop for wedding dresses, you may end up with a gown that’s not white anyway. White is a very harsh color and washes some people out. You may end up with off white, ivory, or even a blush colored dress.

Wedding Tradition: Having your father walk you down the aisle

 

This can be the cause of a lot of stress for some brides. It’s something of daydreams and the moment everyone in attendance waits for, seeing the bride walk down the aisle. However, if a bride doesn’t have a traditional “father” in her life, for whatever reason, it can be a very bittersweet walk. Every family dynamic is different and if you are a bride who, for any given reason, doesn’t have a “father” to walk down the aisle with, choose the person in your life who has been like a father or role model for you, or who helped raise you. Maybe it’s your mother, grandfather, grandmother, uncle, brother, sister, whoever. Maybe you want both your parents to walk you down the aisle, maybe you want to walk down alone or you and your husband-to-be want to walk in together. The choice is up to you, and there’s no wrong decision.

Wedding Tradition: Having bridal parties

 

Ok, here’s the sad, unromantic, real truth. The only thing that matters is that you have two witnesses to sign the marriage license. That’s it. So you don’t even have to have a bridal party if you don’t want. Some people just have a Maid of Honor and a Best Man, who serve as the witnesses and hold the bouquet and rings and forgo the bridal party. Some have massive bridal parties (which I don’t think is a good idea for many reasons). Some have Men of Honor and Best Woman (instead of Maid of Honor or Best Man). Again, here, the choice is up to you how you want to handle it, but if you decide to forgo a bridal party all together, that’s fine. Some people might actually be relieved because they don’t want the added stress or expenses that come with the responsibilities of being in a bridal party

Wedding Tradition: The wedding cake

 

Photo Credit: Myles Studio Photography

Who doesn’t love cake? Actually, more people than you think. Me for one. I’d prefer ice cream cake over real cake any day…especially with extra cookie crunchies in the middle. That being said, everyone has seen photos of family members cutting the cake and feel like they want to carry on that tradition, even if they don’t like cake. And that’s fine. However, if you want to change it up, try cupcakes, or pizza, or even donuts instead. The possibilities are endless if having that formal cake-cutting portrait is something you want to skip

Wedding Tradition: Throwing the garter and bouquet

 

In recent conversations I had with Hudson Valley DJs, they say this is one of the fastest disappearing trends they’ve seen. For a variety of factors, couples just aren’t doing it anymore. Couples are waiting longer to get married and may not have many single friends at their reception. Maybe you get embarrassed really easily and don’t want any part of it, because, as we all know, it can get a bit risqué at times. I didn’t have it because of both reasons, and honestly, no one missed it. I felt a little funny at first not doing it, but nobody cared and it gave us more time to dance. Not only that, but if you are on a tight budget, not doing this could save you money becasue you won’t have to buy a garter or a tosser bouquet.

RELATED: WEDDING RECEPTION TRENDS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT

Wedding Tradition: Not seeing each other before the wedding

 

By now we know this is a tradition that many couples skip and opt for the First Look instead. It has many benefits, but is not for everyone, especially if you love tradition. Doing a first look gives you and your spouse-to-be a private moment alone away from the crowd to quietly see each other before the festivities begin. It helps a lot of couples relieve some of the stress and anxiety they feel prior to the ceremony and lets them relax a bit more once the actual ceremony starts. It has a practical function as well. It allows you and the photographer to get some pictures done and out of the way before the ceremony, freeing up time later in the night.

Wedding Tradition: Bachelor/bachelorette parties

 

I feel this tradition slips by the wayside the older the couple are. For example, some couples feel it’s their last “Hurrah” before being “tied down” and do want a big celebration. However, most of my friends, who are in their 30s, have all forgone that tradition or changed it up. If they do have parties, they are more like a round of golf for the guys and a spa day for the girls.

Wedding Traditions: Wedding registries or bridal showers

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

Many couples are living together before they get married, and therefore have everything they need. They don’t register for gifts and will sometimes even ask their guests to not even bring a gift, or instead, ask them to donate to a Honeymoon Fund or a local charity instead. Showers are great for couples who really need a lot of stuff, or perhaps are moving in together after the wedding and want new items that they can call their own.

RELATED: 7 PRACTICAL WAYS TO CREATE YOUR AWESOME GIFT REGISTRY

 

Wedding Tradition: Having a flower girl or ring bearer

 

Just like you don’t have to have a bridal party, you don’t have to have a Flower Girl or Ring Bearer either. Do they make for a cute photo op, absolutely, but you need to look at your guest list, and your family, and see if it’s something you can even do. Maybe there are no kids available or young enough to be given that role, and that’s ok. Maybe you want to have both your grandmothers be the flower girls…that would be so cute. You don’t even have to have both. Maybe you just have someone who can be the ring bearer, maybe you just have someone who can be the flower girl. It’s best to always check with their parents first to see if they think their child could handle the pressure. Sometimes, it’s too much, so don’t stress about this. If you want it, and can make it happen, great. If you can’t that’s OK too.

Wedding Tradition: Dancing a formal first dance

 

First dances always make for a great photo op, but many couples struggle to find “their song”, and unless they’ve been a dancer their whole lives, can’t really do much more than what I like to call “the 8th eight grade shuffle”. Many couples choose to take lessons to choreograph a dance, but if that’s not for you don’t worry. The first dance is a great way for the couple to showcase their personality. Everything from the song choice to the type of dance you do. However, It doesn’t have to be a rehearsed, choreographed dance. It can be an upbeat dance to a modern song or even a flash mob. Whatever you choose people are going to love because your personality will shine. Dancing doesn’t come easy for some people, especially when all eyes are on them, so if you are more comfortable doing something fun or even inviting all your guests to dance with you, you can do that. There are no rules.

Wedding Tradition: Getting married on the half-hour

 

There is an old superstition that says getting married on the half-hour brings good luck as opposed to getting married on the hour. I have no idea where this superstition comes from, but I remember freaking out a bit when we were told our ceremony at the church had to be at 2 pm because they had confession and mass later that evening. The truth is, you should be getting married at a time that is convenient for you and the venue…half hour or not.

Wedding Tradition: Walking down the aisle to Wagner’s Bridal Chorus

 

Wagner’s Bridal Chorus (AKA Here Comes the Bride) has been a traditional wedding song for decades and is usually the song countless brides have walked down the aisle to. However, it does have a sinister context, which, for those in the know, may have an aversion to having it played at their wedding. My mom couldn’t have it played at her wedding. It was in a church, and they forbade it from being played because of where it came from. So what’s the story? It basically boils down to the plotline in the Opera it comes from, Lohengrin, which has elements of paganism, infidelity, murder and tragedy. Yikes! In recent times, the Bridal Chorus is not always used, not for the reason mentioned above, but because brides just want a fresher take on this tradition. Many brides are opting for other traditional classical pieces or more modern songs.

What wedding traditions did you skip or change? Join us next time when we talk about the 5 traditions that you should consider keeping.

Featured Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

 

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Summer Weddings: What You Need to Know to Stay Cool and Stylish

While summer may not officially be here yet, we’d be kidding ourselves if we said we weren’t already in summer mode. That means vacations, beach days, barbecuing by the pool, and weddings … lots and lots of weddings. If you are getting married in the summer or are attending a summer wedding, here are some tips for you to stay cool and stylish.

 


 

Summer has always been a popular season to get married, as you might have discovered when you were doing your planning. Who wouldn’t want to get married in the summer — fresh air, bright sunshine, longer days (though my husband would say the day isn’t longer, there are just more hours of daylight)? You also have more options of where you can get married: inside, outside, maybe even on a beach. However, summer also means heat, so here are some ideas to help you with your wardrobe decisions to keep you cool.

 

Brides

 

Think about the location of where you are getting married. If you are getting married outside, you might want to opt for a looser, more free-flowing gown made of silk organza chiffon or tulle (though, too much tulle can make you hot) to keep you cool. If most of your day will be spent inside with just photos outside, you could opt for something a little more formal and structured. Just make sure you use a makeup setter to keep your makeup from dripping, keep tissues on you to blot the sweat, and carry a fan to keep cool between shots.

 

While sleeves are a big trend, opt for something sleeveless or strapless, but don’t forget your sunblock. You don’t want to burn up in the summer sun. If you like the look of sleeves, but are afraid of getting too hot, see if your dress can be ordered with removable sleeves or a removable bolero that hides a sleeveless gown underneath

 

Grooms

 

Well, guys, unless you and your fiancé are having an informal dress code, you will be in a suit or a tux. Tux material, which is usually polyester, is very hot and heavy, so you may want to opt for a nice suit instead, which gives you more options in terms of fabric and colors. Again, it goes back to location of your wedding. If it’s outside, a suite may be best. Try to stick to lighter, softer colors like grey or beige. You might also want to consider a linen suite which is very breathable. The downside to linen, though, is it wrinkles … a lot! So, if you are doing your photos before the ceremony, that would be OK. Otherwise, prepare to have a steamer handy. If the wedding is indoors except for photos, then you could get away with wearing a tux. Again, just like for the brides, make sure you have tissues to blot the sweat and a fan to stay cool.

 

Also keep in mind the same rules apply to your bridal party. They’re going to be in the same environment as you so the same tips need to be applied to their outfits as well.

 

 

Before I get into the tips for what you should wear to a summer wedding, there are three things you must remember, no matter the time of year or location…

 

RELATED: 5 SECRETS TO BEING AN AWESOME WEDDING GUEST

 

Always adhere to the dress code

 

If the dress code is Black Tie, that means you need an evening gown or a tux. If it’s a casual outdoor wedding and the dress code is jeans and country boots, you need be there in jeans and country boots. If there is no dress code, that means you need to dress like you would for a work event or business event. A nice dress that you wouldn’t mind your boss seeing you in and for guys, that means a suit. Why do I keep talking about work attire? See my next point…

 

You are attending a wedding, not a club

 

You know what I’m talking about: no club clothes! That means nothing too revealing, nothing too tight…like suck-it-in-tight-and-hope-the-zipper-doesn’t-break tight, and nothing shiny (like leather). Even if the affair is a very casual one, it is still a wedding and a sacred event. There will be clergy in attendance, there will be elders in attendance, there will be kids in attendance, and, you never know, your boss might be in attendance too if the couple invited coworkers. Why am I making such a fuss over club clothes? See my next point…

 

You NEVER, I mean EVER want to upstage the bride!

 

First and foremost, that means no all white dress (unless specified in the dress code). The bride is in white for many reasons, one of which is to make sure she stands out. Evening wear is usually on the darker side, and even when the lights dim in the reception venue and the dancing starts, you can still spot the bride in a large crowd because she’s in all white. If your outfit has some white in it, that’s fine, but all white is a big no-no. It also means no sequence (even if it’s black tie). All eyes should be on the bride, not you. The bride should be easy to find and the one person at the event that stands out the most.

 

RELATED: 30 TRUTHS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR WEDDING DAY

 

Other tips to consider:

 

Garment fabric

 

Ladies, take a cue from the bride. Guys, take a cue from the groom. The same fabrics that keep them cool will also keep you cool.

 

Layer what you wear

 

I know that sounds odd to say for summer, but temperatures are a funny thing. The bride and or the groom will be hot most of the day (no matter the season) because of all the activities they need to be a part of, but as a guest, you aren’t doing as much running around as they are. Bring a sweater if you will be in air conditioning. Sometimes the thermostat doesn’t want to cooperate, and if you’re like me and get cold easily, you want to cover up until you start dancing. Being too cold is just as uncomfortable as being too hot. Also, if you’re outside, it might get chilly at night, so the sleeves will keep the chill off. Plus, sleeves also help with mosquito bites and keeping those nasty bugs off your skin!

 

Miscellaneous essentials for summer weddings

 

Last but not least, don’t forget your sunblock, a fan, sunglasses, water, bug repellent, an umbrella if it’s going to rain, and high heel protectors so your heels don’t sink into the grass.
 

What advice do you have for staying cool and stylish at a summer wedding?

 

Featured Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

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Learn How to Save Hundreds On Your Wedding Dress

Growing up, my dream was to be a wedding gown designer. After I graduated from high school I went to a great college to study fashion design, even interned at a couture London Bridal Salon where gowns were custom made for brides in the shop every day! It was incredible!

 

That experience taught me so much about the world of gown design, not only about what quality means but also about the time and materials needed to make a gown.

 

RELATED: What You Need To Look For in a Quality Bridal Gown

 

When you purchase a regular everyday dress off the rack, more often than not, the materials and construction are such in which it can be easily mass produced, manufactured quickly and made in a way in which the manufacturer and the seller make a profit. Retail prices on regular off-the-rack garments are much more affordable than a custom wedding gown.

 

Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

Now, you might be thinking that gowns are mass-produced, and I can see why: Hundreds of shops across the country carry the same style from a particular brand. However, those are just samples. Think of them as the floor model of furniture or cars. When you buy a couch or a car, you are not buying the one sat in and tried out, you are getting a new one customized (maybe) just for you. You can’t just walk out of the store with it.

 

Same goes with wedding gowns. With gowns, you also have to remember that because this is a gown worn only once on the biggest and most important day of your life, no detail is missed. The materials chosen are the best. The embellishments and beadwork are done by hand using only the finest beads and crystals, the lace is the most beautiful it can be, and that all comes at a price, both for labor and materials.

 

RELATED: Who Should Help You Say “Yes” to Your Wedding Dress

 

While all that is great, if you are a bride on a tight budget, shopping for a dress can be a source of tremendous stress because it’s a huge purchase that takes up a good portion of your budget. However, there are two great ways you can save money on bridal gowns, which you may, or may not have heard of before. However, they are not foolproof and come with some catches. Here are the pros and cons…

 

Save money on a wedding gown by attending a sample sale

 

Going back to the example of the couch and the car, when stores are trying to get rid of inventory, they put their samples on sale. So, the test-driven cars, the traded-in cars, the floor model furniture that everyone has sat on, the discontinued models, it all goes on sale to be sold to make room for new stock.

 

Bridal gown shop owners do the same, and their sales are called sample sales. The samples that brides have been trying on over the past year or more are going on sale to make room for new stock. Below is a video from a recent sample sale at Lambs Hill Bridal Boutique in Beacon, where we speak to shop owner Charlotte Guernsey and a bride-to-be about the sale.

 

 

PROS

 

What does that mean for you? That means saving a huge chunk of money, sometimes up to 50% or more, and each store does it slightly differently. Guernsey says “a sample sale is when we are clearing stuff off our rack, so you’re going to be buying something that was a sample that other brides have tried on.” She says, “It’s discounted because it has been tried on.”

 

CONS

 

There is a big catch with sample sales. Gowns are sold AS IS! They can’t be ordered in your size. Guernsey says, “We’re not going to be ordering it for your size, so it more or less need to fit you off the rack, but you’re going to get a great deal for it.” Additionally, the fabric may have slight tears or holes from brides trying them on, zippers may be broken or buttons may be missing, and the bottoms may be stained a bit from all the walking.

 

Many stores will list what is wrong with the dress on the tag, so that you are aware of it, and can fix most of the problems. Check with the individual store to see what they charge for fixing those problems. Dresses can be taken in, but because they won’t be ordered in your size, they cannot be taken out…much.

 

Lastly, bridal runs small, so remember that when shopping. The range of sizes can be very limited.

 

RELATED: What Top Bridal Gown Trends Will You See in 2017

 

Save money on a wedding gown by attending a Trunk Show

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

The term ‘Trunk Show’ was coined a few centuries ago when traveling salesmen would go into town showcasing their goods out of a trunk that they would carry around with them. In bridal, “The trunk show is when the company comes with their entire line…that’s not in stores yet. So it gives brides an opportunity…to try their entire line on, plus everything else we have in the store,” says Guernsey.

 

PROS

 

If you are a trend-setting bride, trunk shows are perfect for you. Bridal salon owners typically choose a few gowns from a particular product line to have in their stores and usually do this during Bridal Market, a semi-annual event where design houses and the buyers for bridal salons choose the samples they want to carry in their store. With trunk shows, you get to see the entire line of one particular designer, not just the styles the store carries.

 

Laura Howard, store manager of Chamonix Bride in Rhinebeck, says the “designer will ship us about 10-30 gowns that we don’t normally offer… It’s also a really great time to try on gowns that you otherwise wouldn’t be exposed to…They are usually the upcoming season’s gowns or current season not in inventory.” She says it’s also a great way for the store to see what their customers are going to be wanting next season so they can make sure they have what brides are looking for and can get them in that season.

 

RELATED: Highlights from New York International Bridal Week

 

CONS

 

The major con with trunk shows is the discount, ironically. Because the dresses are for the upcoming season, many manufacturers put a limit on the amount the gowns can be discounted. Most of the time, you are only going to be saving about 10%, not like sample sales where you could be saving up to 50% or more.

 

However, 10% is better than nothing. If your dress is originally $1,500 and you’re saving 10%, that’s $150 which can then go towards a veil or alterations.

 

Another con with trunk shows is that if there is a particular designer you are looking for, you need to be vigilant about doing your research to see what stores offer that designer’s trunk show, if they do at all. That may mean you need to travel outside of the Hudson Valley for your gown, which can pose its own set of unique logistical problems.

 

Have you purchased your gown yet? Will you be attending a Trunk Show or Sample Sale? We’d love to hear your story.

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What you need to look for in a quality bridal gown

Purchasing a wedding dress is unlike any dress purchase you will ever make. Besides the symbolic importance of the dress, it will, most likely, be the most expensive piece of clothing you will ever wear in your entire life. Because of that, you need to make sure you take the necessary steps to ensure that the gown you are buying is of top-notch quality.

 

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

Unless you find a great sale or buy a sample dress off the rack, bridal gowns typically start, on average, around the $800-$1,000 mark and go up from there. Depending on the details, custom work and embellishments, gowns can cost as much as $10,000 or more! Believe it or not, I have actually seen wedding gowns as much as $40,000 made with poundage of crystals and gold thread.

 

However, on average, you can find absolutely amazing quality gowns under $3000. Designers know many brides are on a budget, and they want to make quality available for all brides, no matter your budget. Now, while you might think $1,000 is still quite high, think of this: When you go to a bridal salon, you are trying on a sample to see if you like the gown’s shape, silhouette, feel, etc. Once you choose the dress of your dreams, your bridal consultant takes your measurements. Why? Because your dress is made custom for you, exactly to your size and shape.

 

Bridal gowns are not mass-produced and unlike ready-to-wear clothes, you can’t go to a rack, find your size and check out. Because they are custom-made, you need to give the designers plenty of time to craft your gown and get it to your shop in time for your fittings. So, the money you are spending on that dress not only equals the quality of the materials and embellishments, but also the man hours it takes to make your gown. If you are spending that much money, you want the best. We asked local gown expert, and owner of Lady Gray Bridal in Beacon, Tina Pomarico, what you should be looking for in a quality gown. In this video, you’ll learn what to look for to make sure you are buying an exceptional gown

 

 

We also asked the design experts at New York International Bridal Week this past fall, who already shared with you what bridal gown trends you’ll see in 2017, what you should be looking for in a quality gown and they all agree on two things: fabric and fit.

 

Fabric

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

 

Martin Thornburg, head designer for David Tutera and Mon Cheri and head merchandiser for Mon Cheri Bridal, says, “Number one is to look for fabric. You want something constructed out of good fabric. It doesn’t have to be silk. There are very beautiful fabrics that are high-quality polyester or woven fabrics.” This is why trying on dresses is very important?

 

As mentioned in the video, take a look at the inside lining fabrics, as well as the types of embellishments, beading or appliques on the gown. That all builds value. And if the value is there, then you know that the amount you spend on a dress is well worth it.

 

Kang Chun “KC” Lin, creative director for Enzoani Bridal Division, says, “There is a lot of dedication and time spent during the production process to choose the best fabrics, create the lace patterns, and put all the pieces together by hand. There is much more than meets the eye with a quality gown.” In couture gowns, for example, the price goes up because, in almost all cases, beading is all done by hand.

 

Fit

 

The only way you will be able to tell if a gown fits you well, or is made properly, is by trying them on and not basing your choice on looks alone. Wen Wu, CEO of House of Wu, suggests doing a bit of research first on the different brands of gowns, because each brand brings with it different levels of quality. He says, “You need to go to the store and feel and touch the dress and to see the inside construction. It’s very, very crucial. You know, you can’t buy a dress on the look, from a picture on the Internet because construction is where it makes the dress fit you or not. A picture can be very deceiving.”

 

Charlotte Pratt, Marketing & PR Associate for Casablanca Bridal, says, “You can just tell, as you try on a gown, there is a huge difference in the support and infrastructure of some gowns as compared to others.” She says specific Items that help with support are boning (stays), corsets, and hook and eye closures.

 

You are going to be wearing your gown all day, for hours and hours, dancing in it, sitting in it, eating in it, etc. You need to make sure that you are not only comfortable, but that it fits you correctly and doesn’t pull, tug or shift during the day. “For us, the inner construction is very important,” Lin says, “because even though the gowns feel lightweight and comfortable and are very flattering on your figure, there is a lot of work going on inside to give it the right support and shape.”

 

As you can see, a bridal gown needs to not only be beautiful on the outside but the inside as well. So we’d like to know, what did you learn about gowns as you were trying them on? What kind of gown are you looking for or did you end up with? Have you tried on gowns and noticed a difference in the quality or construction from brand to brand?

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Highlights from New York International Bridal Week

New York international Bridal Week happens twice a year in New York City and is the ultimate dress-lovers paradise. If you are a bride-to-be, shopping for your wedding dress is one of the most, if not the most, exciting events in planning your wedding. When you show up at the bridal salon and see all the beautiful gowns in front of you, you may not realize there is a lot of work shop owners need to do before you even try on a dress.

 

For most salon owners, going to Bridal Weeks across the country are where they see, for the first time, new styles and trends for the upcoming season, and get to decide what gowns they’d like to have sold in their store. Here, shop owners meet with designers, marketing and sales reps from bridal gown brands from all over the world to touch and feel the gowns, as well as get to see what they look like on models. How a gown drapes, flows and moves with walking are all aesthetic properties that make a gown appealing to you, the bride. In addition, shop owners are informed of any product details, such as the type of lace or embellishment they are made with, the types of straps or modifications that can be added or made to the gown, and colors the gowns come in.

This video gives you a behind-the-scenes peek into the bridal market at New York International Bridal Week.

 

So, we want to know, have you gone dress shopping yet? What type of dress are you looking for? What has been the most fun, or most challenging aspect of dress shopping for you?

 

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