If you are looking for a wedding dress, this post is for you.  Today’s post is all of the information that you’ll need for finding your perfect dress.  DC bridal dress shop owner Carine from Carine’s Bridal Atelier in Georgeown gave us her list of the 10 most common questions (with answers!) about bridal dress shopping.  (To see Carine’s first post with dress shopping tips, check this out!)  These are all the questions that you are curious about, but might be too shy to ask.  Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!  Take it away, Carine:


Photo Credit:  Sweet Tea Photography

Do I need an appointment?
Yes, it is best to book an appointment in advance.  This allows you a guaranteed space in a fitting room and the opportunity to work one on one with a consultant.  Your consultant will help guide you through the gown shopping process and make sure you find a gown that suits your vision and your budget.

How long will my appointment last?
A standard appointment would be one hour, however if there is time to try a few extra gowns we would will always be happy to extend your appointment.

How many gowns will I try on?
During a normal appointment, brides usually try between 5 and 12 gowns.  This allows them to see many different options without getting overwhelmed!

What undergarments should I wear to try on gowns?
Whatever you are comfortable in!  Itʼs best to bring your fitted strapless bra from home, however we do have bras to use if you forget one.  Wear underwear that is nude or a light color to make sure itʼs not visible through the gowns.  Also, if you are modest, a slip is fine too.

What is the average price of the gowns in your store?
Itʼs always a good idea to call ahead to gown shops and ask for their average price point.  You may even want to research the websites for the designers they carry to confirm the styles that are available.  The average price point in our store is $4,500.  However, we carry styles that range from $2600 to $14,000.  We also have samples that are available to be purchased off the rack for as low as $1800.

What size are the samples?
Each store carries samples in different sizes, however most will be a bridal size 8 or 10.  This translates into a regular gown size 6 or 8.  If you wear a dress size larger than a 10, it may be a good idea to call ahead to see if there are samples to try in your size.  Sometimes, designers will have larger samples that could be shipped in to try on.

Do I buy the gown I try on?
Not usually.  Most of the gowns you will try on are known as “custom order gowns.”  This means that you try on a sample in the store and if itʼs the one, we measure you and select the correct size.  The order is sent to the designer and they make a new
gown to your custom sizing.

How long do I need to order my dress?
Most brides shop for their gown one year to six months before their wedding date.  Itʼs best to allow at least eight months for the entire gown process.  This allows four to five months for the gown to be produced and two months for alterations.  Be careful not to wait too long to purchase your dress or you may run into rush fees.

What is a trunk show?
A trunk show is an opportunity to see many gowns by a particular designer and receive discounts.  The designer that is being featured will ship their newest collection to the store, as well as their classic pieces for brides to try on.  Trunk shows not only bring a wide variety of looks by one designer, but also sometimes come with incentives and bonus perks.  Be sure to call for an appointment, because trunk shows are appointment only. Itʼs a great time to buy if you know the designer you love!  [Editors note:  See our comprehensive list of local DC, MD and VA trunk shows here.]

What is a sample sale?
A sample sale is usually a one day blowout sale.  This is when gowns are priced at the deepest discounts because stores are making room for new inventory.  Sample sale gowns are purchased off the rack and in “as is” condition.  Make sure you arrive early, because sample sales are usually first come, first serve.  Bargain hunters this is your best bet!


Thank you so much, Carine!  If you are on the dress hunt, be sure to visit Carine’s Bridal Atelier in Georgetown for top wedding dress designers and gorgeous accessories.  Carine’s now also carries evening wear, so mother’s of the bride be sure to stop in!

Looking for more?  Read Carine’s first post with tips for dress shopping, or browse for local wedding dress shops in our vendor guide.

* Sweet Tea Photography is one of our fabulous sponsors.  For information on our editorial policies, please click here.


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