Short Guide to Buying a Bridal Gown
You may be asking yourself why you should consult an independant bridal ordering service for your bridal needs. The answer is
plain and simple: financial savings from beginning to end, and the knowledge that you "didn't get taken by the greedy bridal industry".
If the person you choose to work with is also a seamstress, she can anticipate issues and help solve them. Let me explain how this happens.
Gown selection dilemma
Perhaps you have heard that it takes a year or more to plan and
prepare for your wedding. That may be true for many brides because of where and
when they want to be married. It shouldn't be so when it comes to selecting
your gown and related products. Visiting 10 bridal stores isn't necessary when
you have the internet for comparison shopping, plus a proven personal assistant offering guidance
through this maze. Wouldn't you rather have collections from 40 manufacturers
to select from than just 5-6 at each store? Maybe you have already been to a
bridal shop or seen several bridal magazines with all their luscious
advertising. A stunning gown that looks fabulous in a catalog and/or on
you, should not be the main reason you select a gown. I
would be happy to help you decide what shape gown suits your figure, which
features are suitable for the style wedding you want, do a little research on
who has combined the desired gown elements you prefer in one dress, and help
you find where you can see a gown or two that interest you.
If you are like most brides, you will need some alterations done
to achieve the perfect fit. Not only do you need an experienced bridal
seamstress for the sewing, you will need one to advise you about what
alterations you can expect to need BEFORE you buy the gown. This might
influence which gown you select based on the amount of time needed to do certain
kinds of alterations. Some companies have as much as 3" extra in the side seams
that are easy to access, and some have nothing extra to let out. Some have deep
and elaborate trim at the hemline with no easy way to shorten the dress, so
shorter brides might need to order custom length, adding to the cost of their
purchase. I know which companies have petite sizes for no extra charge, and I
also know which one does custom length when shorter than standard for NO extra
charge. You won't be led by greedy sales staff into buying something you don't
need or could easily avoid.
Let me illustrate with a situation I handled recently. A bride
brought me a fabulous designer gown she had purchased at a greatly reduced price
at a local store. The gowns by this designer are made for 5'7-8" in 2-3"
heels. She is 5'2" and planned to wear 2" heels. For most gowns, this is not
such a difficult alteration because gowns only need to be shortened in the
front. This bargain gown had elaborate embroidery and beading around the entire
hemline, and the waist had 8 large box pleats set on a waistband with a zipper
in the back. Since it was full-skirted, it also had 5 layers under the satin
top, all caught into the waistband. Since so much length had to be removed, the
only place to do it was at the waist and it had to be taken up all the way
around, including the zipper. This meant releasing all layers from the
waistband and the zipper, shortening the outer layers by taking all the gores
apart and re-tracing the shape and width at the top of each of 7 panels, than
re-assembling them without cutting off the netted slip at the top, followed by
cutting off the slip and all other layers at the bottom. The whole alteration
process just for the skirt, can't be done in less than 8 hours, so her total
alterations bill was about $200, and that was much less than what a bridal store
would have charged. Even though the sales woman sold the gown discounted, she
had hoped to recoup some of that loss in expensive alterations. If I had
spoken to the bride in advance of the sale, I would have advised her not to
purchase this gown, but rather one with no trim at the hemline, easily moved
trim or located at least 6-8" above the front bottom of the skirt.
Large Size Gowns
Let's not forget the larger brides who have to pay extra to get a
gown that fits. If you are over size 16, you can expect to deal with this, but
not all companies are the same. Some want $20, some $100 and others up to
$300. That is when it is very important to have objective advice about when
something is needed and when not. One bride told me she could cut down on her
eating to save the $100 it would cost to buy a size 18. I also knew that the
gown she selected was made by a company that had 3" of extra fabric in the side
seams, so I had no problem agreeing
to order her the size 16. We represent several manufacturers that do not charge
more for larger size gowns, others start their extra charges at size 20 or 22,
and that might be where you want to start your comparison shopping.
There are times when you just can't find the right style, fabric
or trim that you have hoped for all in one gown that you can afford. Maybe you
are a hard-to-fit shape or you want a silk gown that doesn't break your budget.
That's when you explore a custom-made gown. I can work from a store-bought
pattern just as it is, or I can alter the pattern to achieve what you want.
There are things to know, such as which fabrics will drape the way you want and
which linings will give a gown body or soft lines. I can show you samples of
fabrics, cost out the gown for you, and you can then decide if this is what you
want to do. Having said that, I would also caution that sometimes a custom-made
gown is more expensive than the designer gowns when discounted
through Affordable Bridals, Inc.
I'll be happy to discuss my sewing background with anyone considering this
Modernizing an heirloom gown
This is another area that sometimes presents itself. It is often
possible to remake your mother's gown of 20-30 years ago into something that
looks more modern and fits you. Even buying one from the internet and adding
pizazz is what I consider fun! Over the years I have cut out new back pieces
from lengthy trains, removed sleeves and added sleeves, removed and added
collars, banded the skirt with brocade and matched it in a shawl, or created a
whole new neckline trimmed with lace flowers from elsewhere on the gown. Always
I have heard back from the brides how pleased their mothers were when they saw
the changes. I also know when something is not possible or too expensive and
will say why.
Ordering Your Gown
Did you know that most gowns are made in China and that there are times of the year when
gown-construction delays occur? I stay up on these things, having access to most manufacturer shipping dates,
and help you decide how soon you should order each category of gowns with time enough before the wedding for alterations.
I will also know when to rush an order so you don't have to worry about the timing, and when to suggest certain designers who have gowns available in just 2-4 weeks.
are times when members of the bridal party hope that they will be changing
sizes smaller, or sometimes there is an illness or a pregnancy that occurs.
We’ll need to know if someone is enrolled in a program and already having
weight loss results, and we’ll want to know how that same person might
respond to stress as it directly affects sizing. Considering these factors,
I will help you decide which size to order, bearing in mind that I also have
used my skills as a seamstress many times to make garment changes look like
part of the original design of the dress.
there are so many possibilities of styles, colors, body shapes and price
categories, you will need help with this area. Do you have each bridesmaid
select what looks good on her, or do you pick one gown that all of them will
wear? Do you pick a wear-once throwaway gown, or one that can be worn many
times? Who buys the gowns, you or your attendants? Assuming you know your
attendants rather well, how can you please all of them, or should you?
These are all issues you could discuss with a caring expert as well as with
your bridal party. After doing my own two daughters' weddings as well as
ordering dresses and accessories for several hundred more, I feel competent
to help with all these issues. I read articles in the bridal magazines and
I have a network of other bridal experts who have addressed these things
over and over. We help each other repeatedly by being on an exclusive chat
board where we share ideas and opinions on all bridal topics. Often we make
referrals for things like travel packages, order products for each other,
and generally assist as any need arises.
If you purchase a bridal gown or set of attendant gowns from Affordable Bridals Inc,
you are entitled to some perks: significant discounts on invitations, veils, shoes and accessories, the loan
of a slip instead of having to buy one, the rental of a steamer for the whole wedding party, and more.
You have only to ask about something, and I will accommodate or advise about the best way to save in that area as it relates to the clothing and accessories.
For even greater savings, please visit our Clearance Section.
We Also Represent the Following
Mrs. Lockwood is an authorized retailer for the following:
Mariell Jewelry, handbags and headpieces
Headpiece and Veil Companies:
Betty Wales Veils
Milliners Supply Company
Slips and bras:
Merry Modes Inc
Atlanta Thread and Supply
Milliners Supply Company
Quality Zipper and Supply
Bridal magazines and books:
For the Bride
Tuxedo Rental companies:
Anderson Formal Wear
Ptak's Formal Wear
Other Bridal Services:
L&L Gown Rentals
Ru-Nell Bridal Supplies/bridal garment bags
We have the solutions to all your wedding, sewing & alteration needs. Click on any of the links at the top of the page for answers to your questions, our special services and
discount bridal gowns and accessories.
4406 Dogwood Trail
North Olmsted, OH 44070