Bridal Shop Queries and Misconceptions answered….

Ever wondered why bridal shops do the things they do and operate so differently from normal clothes shops?

Today, I will try to address some of the most common questions and misconceptions – but if you have a question you’d like me to answer in my next blog please email me on Catherine@cathedralgowns.com and I’ll do my very best to answer.

Why do I have to have an appointment?

Most bridal shops operate by appointment on a day to day basis. This isn’t a ploy to put you off or to seem aloof or snobby, but is a basic practical consideration that allows the shop and the staff to do their job. Buying a wedding dress isn’t as straightforward as buying an outfit in a normal shop. First of all, they are nearly impossible to fasten without assistance – lace up backs especially would prove more than a little challenging, so you definitely need the assistance of a member of staff to physically get into the dresses. Secondly, choosing your wedding dress should be a fairly private experience, so having a private consultation in a bridal shop means you won’t have your Aunties neighbour noseying at what you are trying on and potentially spreading details of your dress around the town. Another practical consideration is having a fitting room allocated to you for a reasonable amount of time. In normal shops where you might try on several normal outfits you’ll take up around ten minutes of time in a fitting room, whereas when it comes to wedding dresses you’ll need at the very least one hour of trying on time. Some wedding dresses take four or five minutes to fasten and you’ll need more than a passing glance at the gown before you decide it’s the one! You’ll want to try on at least five or six dresses during your appointment time so that you can see which silhouettes and necklines suit you the best. So it’s easy to see why it’s essential that you have at least an hour of fitting room time allocated to you.

The dresses on the rails are just samples.

This is one of the most common and frustrating misconceptions about the dresses hanging on a rail in a bridal shop. So many people assume that the designers give us the dresses and that we don’t have to pay for them – how much do I wish this was true!?! Unfortunately for us we have to pay full price for every single gown and accessory in the shop, which explains why we are so precious about each and every gown we have. We take really good care of our dresses, so it makes us frustrated when we see people stepping on the trains, grabbing them with mucky hands, or getting their fake tan and make up all over them. Every single dress we have will eventually get to be worn down its very own aisle, so we try to treat each dress with respect and care, and do our very best to keep them absolutely pristine. So please don’t be offended if you are asked to give your hands a quick wipe with a baby wipe or even offered gloves to wear when you enter a bridal shop – it’s only because the staff are trying to keep the dresses as perfect as possible for the bride who will eventually buy the dress to wear for her own big day.

Why do the dresses take so long to be made?

Your dress doesn’t exist until you order it. Bridal gowns are not mass produced and are genuinely made to order. Once you’ve placed your order with the bridal boutique the order will then be processed and sent to the designer who will then begin the process of making your dress. They’ll gather the components required to make it – the pattern, the fabric, zips and fastenings and any decorative embellishments such as crystals or appliqués. This process alone can take a few weeks, especially if they need to specially source one of the components. Your dress is assembled in one location, but the components can come from opposite ends of the planet, so obviously that affects how quickly your dress can physically be made. Once all the pieces are ready to go your dress can be constructed, a process that can also take weeks, especially if there is hand beading involved. Some gowns have beading that literally takes more than 300 hours to be sewn on! So it’s not surprising that most designers take around five months to make your dress – although things like how busy they are can affect the time-scale too. Their busy times of year are usually in the spring and summer, so if you happen to place your order right at the time that they are inundated with gown orders, you’ll find that your gown can take up to an extra three months to be made.

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