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Finally biting the bullet and dress shopping - suggestions?

Hi ladies-

I usually post on the DW board as we are getting married out in California.

but i'm getting down to the wire where I need to pick a dress!! I've of course looked through the billion pictures here on TK and in some magazines. I'm loving the fit-n-flare or modified Aline shapes.

I'm thinking of starting out at David's Bridal and then going from there? Budget would hopefully be $2500 but if I tried something I absolutely loved I'd be willing to go a little higher. Any suggestions on where else I should stop -- or even suggestions on where to avoid? We're getting married in June '13 so I really need to get on this!!

Thanks for any tips!!
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Re: Finally biting the bullet and dress shopping - suggestions?

  • I went to David's and my overall experience was good when I was bridal gown shopping. Their dresses are affordable, but I have heard alterations are high there I haven't had my alterations appt yet so I wouldnt know first hand. One other thing is you have to take your dress home, they don't keep it in the store until closer to your wedding. So your responsible for it, not them. I would only suggest them for bridal gowns because you deal with a consultant and they were wonderful. Other times when I have just dealt with regular sales girls my experiences have been horrible. When I went to pick my gown up I wanted to try it on, the sales girl just stuffed it in the bag, never even hung my train! 
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  • I didn't try on wedding dresses at David's Bridal, but I have gotten a bridesmaid's dress from there before, and my experience was not pleasant.  The store clerks were not well trained and placing my order took forever.  The other two BMs' orders got delayed and they only got the dress within two weeks of the wedding.  This is just my experience, so others may have a more positive one.  Honestly, if your budget is $2500, I would recommend going to a non-chain bridal boutique.  I think you will find higher-quality products and more personalized service.
  • Thanks ladies - I had heard pretty mixed reviews of Davids so my expectations aren't too high. I was thinking of trying on a bunch of styles to narrow down what I was looking for and then hitting up one of the non-chain boutiques. While I would be comfortable spending 2500 it would be great if I managed to come in under budget too -- I didn't want to start out at a super pricey spot and then set my expectations so high that I ended up in love with a 5000 dress (which would be way out of budget!!)

    Any suggestions on those?

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  • I got my dress at Savvy Bride in Brookfield.  Loved it there.  My dress was about $1200 and they were respectful of my budget.  I ended up with a Maggie Sottero gown.  Much better construction and materials than the dresses I tried on at David's.
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  • It all depends on where you are located. I got mine at Bridal Event in Appleton. They treated me a lot better than David's Bridal did to my sister when she bought her gown.

    Go in with an open mind. If someone says to try something on, try it on. I was originally going for plain and simple. I came out with all lace and beads.

    You don't have to make up your mind that day. If you think you love it but not LOVE it, don't buy it. You will regret it.

    If possible, take pictures. I know some places don't let you, but if you can, do it.


  • I went to David's Bridal after going to Amelishan initially. Personally, I did NOT like David's Bridal - the service was fine but it gave the impression of a mid 90's overstocked department store.  If you can look past that, most of the styles they have there are older (that's why they're much cheaper than other stores...that and because they are about quantity sold, not necessarily quality).  It's a good place if you're on a tight budget, I've had friends find dresses they really like for a good price...however if you're looking for something more unique, ( like a lot of sparkle, lace or other details) David's probably isn't the place for you.

    I found my dress at Amelishan but purchased it from Savvy because they could get it cheaper and they're a lot closer to my house.  Savvy doesn't carry any dresses over $1500 but they really have a beautiful selection - it's definitely worth a try.  Amelishan also has a big selection but they are very secretive about the whole process....they won't tell you the designer and you can't take pictures until you purchase it.

    I think my best advice is for you to try a few different places and you'll see what store you like most....there are A LOT of choices.  Also, do some research on the internet...you'll always find mixed reviews but at the end of the day it's what makes YOU happy!

    Good luck!

  • Thanks ladies - I'll check out Savvy and start checking around for other locations as well.
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  • I wanted to stay away from the chain boutiques, so I went to the Chicago suburbs to find my dress.  I found my dress at House of Brides in Schaumburg, and I would recommend that boutique to anyone.  There were so many dresses to choose from within my $1000 budget that it was hard to decide which ones to even try on. The taxes are higher than in WI, but their prices are so low that it's still an amazing deal.  The consultant was very helpful and honest and offered to take $150 off any headpiece in the store.  The total cost of my dress and veil after taxes was still almost $500 less than the dress alone at the boutique I priced it at in Green Bay.

    Good luck!  
  • I HATE David's.  They have treated me poorly nearly every time I've made the unfortunate choice to go there.  I recommend Savvy & Eva's for their large collection.  Also, if you're willing to travel, Brandi's bridal in New Glarus has a super selection as well.  With your price range being a bit higher than mine was, you may also want to check out Bliss Bridal as they seemed to carry "different" designers than many of the other shops I visited, but I wasn't looking to spend more than a couple hundred dollars.
  • I had a wonderful experience at Davids Bridal. It all depends on the consultant you get and if your personalities match up. Please remember that if your dress budget is 2500, don't get a dress that is 2500. You have to remember that any alterations, slips, petticoats, veil, hair clips, shoes, etc are all part of your dress budget. With that being said keep an open mind and try dresses on that you don't think you will like. And when you have the dress of your dreams on, you will know it because you won't want to take it off.
  • Thanks again! Appointments have been made for David's and Eva's this weekend and then Bliss and Savvy next week after work.

    Good point to remember that I'll need tons of other stuff to be included in the "attire" budget. I'll have to keep that in mind as I'm looking at the different choices this weekend!!
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  • If you're around Madison you might try Vera's Bridals.  I have been there a few times and had good experiences.

    I didn't mind David's Bridal.  I went during a not-busy time and had great service and liked my consultant.  If you've got a couple thousand to spend, though, I think you might want a more traditional bridal salon.

  • Thanks all - Savvy Bridal was the winner! Best service and found "the one" at a super steal of a price!! 
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  • Congrats!  I have my first appointments this weekend!  Can't wait!
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