February 4, 2009

Our First Poll

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 6:27 pm by Dory

And as a follow up to the last post, we have our first poll.

Where did you buy your dress? If you bought it online, where did you go?

Feel free to leave some comments. Tell us about your experience buying a dress. This can only help other brides buy their wedding dress.


How to Buy a Dress

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 9:02 am by Dory

As a follow-up to the previous post about finding, buying, and selling a dress, I thought it would be helpful to explain the best way to get that dream dress at a fraction of the retail price.

Just some background: once I sold my first dress, I decided it was time to start looking again (I actually had started looking before the dress was sold, but I wasn’t going to be serious until I had the money in my pocket). I went to every single dress store in my area, trying on what must have been 20+ dresses. They were all very pretty, but none of them were The One.

Casablanca 1795 was an early front runner.


As was Casablanca 1842 (but I didn’t like the tafeta material)casablanca-1842

This Paloma Blanca dress (#3608) was my favorite, but I didn’t like the price.img_4595

After looking for a while, I decided to visit my Maid of Honor and future sister-in-law and go dress shopping. And then we found it. It was sitting on a manequin, and we both oogled at it, but thought it would just be way out of our price range. I tried it on immediately, and I didn’t want to take it off. I had found my dress. But the price?

The tag said $998, and it made me cringe a little, because I only wanted to spend $700 on a dress. I went home and called a few other shops to do some price shopping. The lowest I found was $850. Not so great.

So I decided to be a little risky and call some online sellers. I was in luck. There were some places that sold it for $800, but others that sold it for $500! I was suspicious, so I went to the Better Business Bureau website, and did some investigating on them. They were legit businesses. Then I went to the Casablanca website and made sure they were legitamate sellers of the dress. They were. I was sold. I could have my $1000 dress for $500. I’ll take 50% off any day!

So here are my tips to saving big on dresses:

  • Go to every dress shop in your area (and some outside your local area as well) and just try dresses on! You’ll never know how a dress looks and feels on you until it’s actually ON you.
  • When the salespeople ask what your budget is, either tell them the price doesn’t matter or set the budget for way higher than your actual budget. I do have to warn, though…
  • Know your budget, even if you don’t tell the salespeople.
  • Take pictures of the dresses you try on. It’s important to be able to look back after a few days and see yourself in the dress. Does it look as good in pictures as it does in person? Remember your perspective of looking at yourself in the dress is different than if you take a picture and see the full effect.
  • Mark down all designer and model numbers.
  • Make sure when you’re in the shop, you mark down the color options of the fabric, lace, embroidery, etc. This is often the hardest part of dress shopping, and it really can make or break a dress. A diamond white dress often looks horrible on pale skin. What complements your skin tone?
  • Each designer calls their colors different things. An ivory to one designer might be an eggshell to another. What exactly does your designer call your color? Oh, and don’t be swayed by the name of the color. My dress color is champagne, but it is much lighter and closer to ivory than you would think.
  • Once you find The One, make sure to mark the designer and style number down.
  • Do a web search for the dress. See if anyone is selling it on Craigslist, Ebay, etc. What price is that?
  • Start calling bridal stores in the area for the best price.
  • Call online retailers to compare prices, such as Pearl’s Place, R. K. Bridal, Jay’s Bridal, Chrissy O, Scarlett’s Closet, Jay’s Bridal, Lee Philip Bridal, Netbride, Bride Power, Best Bridal Prices, etc.
  • It helps to make a chart as to who you talked to, the day, and the price quoted.
  • Once you decide where you’ll buy the dress, go to any seamstress and get measured. Usually, you only need to have your bust, waist, hip, and hollow-to-hem measurement. Hollow-to-hem is best described as your collar bone to the floor. Make sure you wear the shoes you will be wearing (or about the same- you need this for height).
  • Call the retailer you will order the dress from, get a size chart and figure out what size you’ll be.
  • Pay by credit card. You are more protected this way.
  • Wait until the dress arrives. Try it on to make sure it fits!
  • Love that dress, get fitted, get it pressed (you’ll probably save money by NOT going to a seamstress at a wedding dress shop), and wear it on your big day!

February 2, 2009

Selling a Dress (that’s not The One)

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 1:14 pm by Dory

Every bride (except maybe one or two) dream of their perfect dress. Dress shopping is the first thing they do when they get engaged, and it usually ends in tears (but hopefully happy ones).

I was like most brides when I went searching for my dream dress. I went to every single wedding dress store in the area just trying on beautiful dresses. Then, one day on a whim, I found a dress on the sale rack, tried it on, and bought it immediately. I thought I was getting a great deal because I paid $400 when it was originally $1000, I thought it was the dress of my dreams- not white, lace, fitted, and it was not strapless.

But then I changed my mind.  I didn’ t like the way my stomach looked in it, my shoulders looked too wide, and it was WAY too not-white (it was gold as opposed to ivory). I needed a new dress, but I first had to sell the one in my closet.

I posted on every single dress-selling website I could find (unless I’d have to pay for the post- I wouldn’t do that). No luck. I posted the dress on Craigslist. No luck. Finally I went to The Knot message boards and started looking at posts where brides wanted to buy specific dresses. I then looked up the dress they wanted, and if it looked similar, I would send a message to that bride.

Finally my idea worked, and I found someone who wanted to buy it for $200. She paid (via Paypal) and it was shipped for her wedding (which was in a month). Of course, after that, I had about 3 other women contact me, wanting to buy it at a higher price. Oh well.

So here’s my advice if you want to sell a dress:

  • Post on any and every website you can, including Craigslist, Bellancora.com, BravoBride.com, EncoreBridal.com, OnceWed.com, PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com, SaveTheDress.com, SellYourWeddingDress.com
  • Make sure you price the dress under what you paid, but give room to negotiate
  • Make sure you have pictures of the actual dress
  • List the following information: actual size of the dress, your dress size, color, designer, material, model number, original price paid, pictures of the dress (both manufacturer and actual), measurements of the dress, and any alterations done to the dress
  • A dress has a better likelihood of selling if there were no alterations done to it.
  • Be quick to respond to questions
  • Be willing to go to message boards and email people who may want a similar (but not exactly the same) dress
  • Be patient!