For the almost thirty years I have been working in the wedding industry I have heard the same mistruths over and over. Most of the time I sit quietly and listen as people express their various opinions since I realize that I am probably never going to change their mind. Sometimes I try to convince them of the truth in a quiet voice knowing that an argument is inevitable when your become confrontational. Today, I would like to address a few “Bridal Urban Legends” and hopefully begin to dispel those rumors once and for all.
Do you need to order your bridal/bridesmaid gowns early? TRUE! Having worked in a bridal gown manufacturing facility I can explain to you the production process. The designer and manufacturer work from a schedule that is usually at least 6 months from the delivery date. The ‘cutter’ stacks up to 10 layers of the fabric, rolls the paper pattern over it and uses a sort of fabric jigsaw to cut through all layers simultaneously then stacks the pieces for production. This is done for every size of that gown. The pieces are handled separately and sewn together in segments by different seamstresses to make each gown. So, depending upon the size of the company, there can be dozens of gowns being produced at the same time. When a special order comes in, the production line is interrupted for that special order. Whether it is extra length, extra size or a rush order, the manufacturer has to cut, assemble and finish this one gown by itself which takes extra time, money and sets production back by a period of time. Ordering as early as 6 months before your wedding ensure you will fit into the production schedule and your gown will arrive in plenty of time.
The Bridal Salon makes tons of money on special orders. FALSE! The charges for rush orders and special sizes are imposed by the designers, not the salons. If this were true, salons would charge hundreds of dollars for these changes, not a standard percent. In reality it costs the salon extra to take these orders. Special orders require a lot more attention, phone calls, alterations, overnight shipping and TLC. If the salon is able to get a gown for you in 10 weeks even at an extra charge, they will be working twice as hard to make sure that gown arrives on time and in one piece.
You get better deals at a Trunk Show. TRUE! At a trunk show, the designer or an authorized representative will be on hand to help you. They know everything about the gown you are trying on and they are familiar with the production schedule and the designer’s ability to make changes to that particular gown. In addition there are trunks how specials and incentives to buy. The best part is that they will have the opportunity to meet you and instead of an order number, you will become an actual person who they have a vested interest in pleasing.
Cats are hazardous to your bridal veil. TRUE! I have seen this one first-hand. When I took my first bridal job ever I was trained to ask the brides as they were picking up their gowns “Do you have a cat?” If the answer was affirmative I then launched into my speech about how you must keep the gown and veil away from cats. I never questioned it, I just accepted it as the truth. Fast forward 10 years when I was helping a headpiece designer pack his veils for a show. FYI – he had two cats. When we began to pack the veils, I was in total disbelief when I realized there were holes all over the veiling. Seriously? It seems that cat saliva dissolves veiling. Netting, illusion,tulle, whatever you call it… cat saliva will destroy it and cats love nothing more than to get their paws and jaws on a tantalizing veil. Keep your cats away from your gown and veil.
Salons order gowns big so they can make money on alterations. FALSE! I saved the best for last. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard this and I can’t believe this one is still around. With Designers measurement charts posted clearly on the internet, after seeing hundreds of too-tight disasters, brides and bridesmaids are still repeating this as if it were true. Here is the absolute 100% truth that you can bank on: Part 1) Salons are obligated to measure and order the gown in the size determined by the manufacturer’s measurement chart. The measurements are not flattering or easy to stomach since an average size 8 woman will more than likely measure into a 12 bridal or bridesmaid. If the gown is too tight, there is a problem. If you sign off on a smaller size due to vanity or mistrust of the person measuring you and your gown comes in too small – you are looking to spend up to double the price of the gown to have it made bigger. If the gown comes in too big, you can have it taken in. Have your measurements taken by the salon and order the gown that the salon recommends based on which will fit the largest of your bust, wait or hip measurement. Part 2)Alterations is a big expense for the salon and rarely a money-maker. Somehow people over the years have this impression that the alteratins department has a profit margin akin to Wall Street. The alterations department is the place where miracles happen but, it takes time and talent. Seamstresses work their fingers to the bone (literally), hand sewing and beading complicated gowns that take not just hours but sometimes several days to complete. They do not want to rip open a $7,000 gown but they can and they will if they have to. Your job is to be as calm as possible so they can get their work done to absolute perfection.
Order your dress as early as you can, order the recommended size, keep your cats away from the gown and veil and you will have a glorious day!