Bliss Bridal (Brookfield) - A
Arrived at this bridal store at 10AM on a Saturday when it opened. Had the entire place to ourselves. The consultant stays in the room with you while you change and helps you in/out of each dress. The store had a small selection of dresses, and some had obviously been well loved, but overall most were in good condition. They ask you your budget and then show to the section of dresses that you can afford. From there you pick out the ones you like best and want to try on. The consultant will also pull one or two that they think will suit your body type. They place feels very modern and a bit "cold" (this is possibly because we were the only ones there). It was big and had a lot of changing rooms and mirrors. I was able to try on several dresses and my consultant was very friendly. At the end of the appointment, the consultant wrote down the designer and style of the dress I really liked, so I could take it with me. They were not pushy at all about purchasing a dress and did not rip price tags.
Kay Bridal (Wauwatosa) - B
Arrived at this bridal store a half an hour before my appointment, because travel time was less than assumed. The store seemed annoyed that we were early, even though we offered to wait outside. Ultimately I was able to get started with a consultant right away, since another bride had finished early. At Kay, they give you a book to look through that includes the pictures/prices of all the dress they have in the store. You put a sticky note next to the dresses you want to try on. I was told that this is done to help brides see the shape/style of each dress more easily and to keep brides from touching the dresses, so that they stay in higher quality condition longer, because the store will sell their samples. However, the majority of the dresses I tried on were in the worst condition I've yet to see at a bridal store. Beads were completely missing, zippers were broken, seams were ripped to the point that the skirt was disconnected from the top, stains were on the dress, etc.. It made it diffcult to truly envision what each dress would look like. I was told that the dresses I had chosen were "popular" and "well loved", but I still was unhappy with the quality of the samples. The consultant allows you to put on the dress by yourself and then comes in to zip/lace you up. If you request, the consultant can stay in the room while you change and help you in/out of each dress. The changing rooms are only closed by a curtain, rather than a door, so for a self-conscious girl, you may not be comfortable, as it's possible that other costumers may walk by and have a sneak peak through the cracks. There were several brides at this small store, while I was there, and unfortunately they only had 2 mirrors. Each bride had to share a mirror with someone else, which was not timed well and led to brides standing there waiting for someone else to get done. This really cuts down on the amount of time you have to try on dresses. They also did not have a platform to stand on, but instead use a very small wooden footstool (not bolted to the ground). This makes it hard to really move around and see the whole dress in the mirror, since I was afraid that if I moved I'd fall off. The store has a lot of dresses to choose from, but they run a bit higher than I would have liked (most at or above $1100). They are good about sticking to your budget though and will not pull dresses that you cannot afford. I was able to find 7 dresses in my style/price range. They place feels very cozy and bright. There is not a parking lot though, so one must find street parking (we parked less than a block away). They allow you to take pictures and do not rip tags. At the end of the appointment, the consultant wrote down the designer and style of the dress I really liked on a sheet of paper, but did not let me take it with me. They keep it on file in case you come back, so they can remember what you liked. They were not pushy at all about purchasing a dress, but did emphasize several times that you should purchase your dress no less than 8-6 months before the wedding.