Your big day. You’ve dreamed about it, planned it, saved for it, and read magazines from cover to cover. But will it be the best ever day ever… or could you be left broken-hearted? And all because you thought you were bagging the bargain of a lifetime. Editor-in-chief of Bridal Buyer magazine, Susi Rogol, hails the beauty of the bridal boutique and explains why the benefits of the ‘bargain’ option rarely outweigh the risks.
The internet is a brilliant source for all things wedding-related, from checking out venues and discovering the best cake-makers, to finding the dress that is ‘the one’.
When you start visiting bridal boutiques – either just to see what they have on offer, or to make an appointment and start trying on, it is incredibly exciting cloud nine material. Not only will you be made to feel a million dollars, but the staff in most of those specialist shops are real professionals who can give you a quick glance-over and will know instinctively the style and colour that will bring out your bridal glow.
Their advice is invaluable and often their ideas are inspirational. And once you’ve been measured for your dream dress, it will be made just for you (including any tweaks you may want to the neckline or sleeves or even the beadwork) and alterations to ensure a perfect fit will be scheduled. You may even find that the shop’s boss will plan to help you dress when the big day comes.
Going to the experts pays off a zillion-fold and will keep stress levels down. And when you buy a wedding dress – your wedding dress – you are also buying into the talents behind the label, from the design force to the team that source the most wonderful fabrics and trimmings, to the production experts who will ultimately make your dress.
Now think about the outcome if you used your online search time to bargain hunt, or came across a website that promised the moon – or at least a designer gown – at a silly price? Go that route and be assured of this: it could cost you, and cost you dearly, in tears, heartache, and also in the pocket, as you will almost certainly have to head to the shops and see what you can find at any price, at short notice. Is it worth putting the most important day of your life so far, in jeopardy? No way, no how.
There have been horror stories aplenty in recent years. Of brides-to-be awaiting the delivery of that beautiful dress they saw online for just £100, who found that instead of the big box and tissue paper wrappings, their ‘dream dress’ was stuffed into a jiffy bag. Crumpled, rumpled, and bearing little resemblance to the image shown on the internet. Could they get their money back? Mind you, one we know of did…. well not exactly. She paid £29 for the dress plus £79 postage and packing. And she did get the £29 credited to her plastic. What she didn’t get was the £79 p&p. Scamsters are clever, and make a lot of money from those wishful thinkers who fail to see what is blindingly obvious.
Officialdom is wising up now, but as fast as copy-cat websites are closed down, more spring up with a different name, different web address, different offering. Don’t be fooled when you see photos of gorgeous gowns on these sites – you can bet your bottom dollar those images are being used illegally to tempt you into believing that the best buy ever is coming your way
Visit #TNWS in the autumn to find ‘the one’ and meet the boutiques in person.