When you order a new dress if it has beading/embroidery on the hem it should be provided in the exact length to fit you to avoid costly and very difficult alterations. You will need to wear your wedding shoes for the fitting. Ask if the shop assistant is experienced in measuring and fitting. A lot are not!
If you buy a sale dress that has beading and embroidery on the hem and you are too short for the dress you will need to get a definite quote from the shop for the cost of alteration. You could be looking at well over £100 plus for the hem alone and if you are looking to save money by buying a sale gown you do not want to spent a fortune on having it altered.
A tip here if you are ordering a new dress. When yours arrives examine it very carefully as if you were buying a dress from the rail. Check the inside of the bodice for marks and look under the hem for wear and dirt. Unscrupulous shop owners will try to sell as new their sample of gowns that are not getting many orders. This happens a lot in the bridal industry. If a shop has a sample dress that does not get many repeat orders the shop owner will try to get rid of it to the first person you likes it!
Check every inch of your dress and be sure that it is a new dress and not just the shop’s sample. Other signs of the dress having been tried on are a crumpled label, fraying on lacing and scuffed fabric on the hem, especially on the train.
If you are suspicious ask to see their sample (the one you tried on when ordering) If they haven’t got it hanging on the rail the chances are they are selling it to you as new!
Br brave and say that you are not happy with the dress and ask for contact details of the designer who supplied the dress. They will tell you if the shop have actually ordered you a new dress. I know it will be unpleasant but how much worse would you feel if you knew that dozens of other brides had tried on your special gown.
All bridal shops have dresses that are reduced in price. You may find the perfect dress for you in your size and be happy to buy it. Before you do so ask if the shop will have it cleaned for you because many customers may well have tried the dress on. I can tell you from experience that not all brides who try on wedding dresses bother to shower first!
If they refuse then examine the dress carefully, especially on the inside of the bodice and under the hem especially the train. Remember customers may have walked around the shop with the train dragging on the floor. Also look for loose beads or threads and ask to have them sewn on. Look for any marks and if it is not absolutely spotless then ask for a reduction to allow for you to have it cleaned. If the shop agree to have it cleaned ask to see the drycleaners bill because if the dress you buy is satin it can be stuffed into a washing machine and washed very easily!! This is done all the time.
It may cost as much as £80 for a specialist dry cleaner to clean the gown. Remember that silk gowns will cost more to be cleaned than satin. Be prepared to offer less than they are asking for the dress. It should be no more than half the usual price – it has been tried on and as a shop sample is not a new dress.
The wholesale price of the dress will be no more than a third of the retail price so if they are charging more than half price you are being ripped off. It is not a new dress!
The shop owner may try to persuade you that they can take in a dress for you. No wedding dress can be taken in more than two sizes before it shows. Bust seams will be ‘off’ and straps and sleeves will not be in the correct position. Unless the bodice of the dress is totally remade which will cost a lot of money do not accept a dress that is more than two sizes too large. A dress can be let out by a professional dressmaker by up to one size (2″) with reasonable satisfaction.
Another trick played by a few shops is to take out the netting (which holds out the skirt) from the dress and then sell you a hooped petticoat at an inflated price. All full skirted wedding dresses come with netting so if yours doesn’t then ring the designer whose number will be on their website and ask if the dress should have netting in it. Don’t be afraid to ask because this is a very mean trick played by just a few shops.
There are a lot of pitfalls for the bride to be who is unsuspecting of the many sneaky tricks which some unscrupulous shop owners will use. Of course many bridal shop owners would never dream of trying to cheat their customers but it is not easy to know which are the good and bad shops since no one knows if their dress was new or just a tried on sample.