Wedding Confidential: Wedding Gowns

Should a bride buy a dress too big and pay for fittings? Is this just a way for bridal dress stores to make money?

A bride should not buy a dress too big but they should definitely not buy a dress too small. Ideally, a bride should get a dress that is her size but many people find [that] they are somewhere between two sizes. The vast majority of brides need some sort of alteration. It is cheaper to take a dress in than let a dress out – it's not just a way to make money. Big is better than small, trust me.

Some brides say they will lose weight and that's great, I'm sure some of them will. But it is so much better to get a dress that fits now than a dress they hope will fit then. Trust me – I've seen brides whose dresses won't fit because they ordered them too small as an incentive to lose weight. Don't do it.

How can a bride let a bridal consultant know about their budget (and not be embarrassed or pushy)?

Just start with that information. Don't be embarrassed – be assertive. Consultants will know which dresses to pull and not bring [out] anything [above] your budget. Also, do some homework, look online see what the dresses cost, then ask to see those dresses, it will save your time and the consultant's time.

Do consultants hate small dress budgets? Do they automatically look for dresses only in the top end of the budget or ones just over?

It depends on the consultant. I'm sure some of them get annoyed because smaller sales mean smaller commissions. But small budgets don't bother me at all. I usually pull dresses under the bride's budget and then place them in order from cheapest to most expensive. That way if they find a dress they love early, they don't even have to try on the ones that are closest to their cap.

The way I look at it is this. The bride will appreciate the fact that I really listened to her and tried my best to save her money – then she will return to me when it's time to get bridesmaid dresses, mother-of-the-bride dresses, flower girl dresses, and everything. It usually works out that way and then I get the commission on everything.

So, no, I don't mind a bride on a budget. I only get annoyed when they ask to try on a whole bunch of expensive dresses and veils and then after wasting hours of my time – they tell me they only want a $99 dress. It makes me mad. Just be honest with me and I'll do everything I can to make you happy.

What should a bride do if they are not happy with their consultant?

Sometimes a store is just busy and so is the consultant so asking for a new consultant won't solve the problem – the new consultant is likely to be just as busy. I would advise a bride who really wants personal attention not to come in on a weekend. Or go to a more expensive boutique that has less customers and more time for personal attention.

However, if a consultant is rude, or not listening, or giving you bad information then by all means ask to speak to the manager and request a different consultant. I always seem to get those brides after they have requested someone else. I always get scared when my manager gives me someone else's bride because they requested someone new. I always think they're gonna be a big pain, but more often than not, they're perfectly nice. It's usually just a personality clash with their original consultant. It happens. Speak up if that's what the problem is.

Stop by tomorrow for Part 3 of Wedding Confidential: Wedding Gowns!