Whilst reading through the many forums on You and Your Wedding chat feature, something as a bride to be, I did for hours, and now I do for some good old research and general snooping for trends, reviews of the boutique and gossip (!) I came across the ever so popular thread, “what’s the worst experience you’ve ever had at a wedding shop”.
It makes for interesting reading.
It made me think, long and hard about expectation. About what brides believe they are entitled to and what they should get when buying a wedding gown, which for any other purchase out there, wouldn’t be so enforced and demanded let alone expected?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not defending rudeness, filth or down right snobbery, each and every individual should be treated as such, managed with integrity and understanding. You shouldn’t have to walk on dirty carpet, be judged on how you are dressed or wear filthy gowns, however, the bride has to play her part too. When you go to a boutique, you are going to buy a wedding dress. You are taking up the time and focus and energy of the person there who is there solely to serve you and make your experience there as wonderful as they can. You are extracting their knowledge, trying on their gowns which they have bought to stock for you to try and enjoy, closing the door to others so the time and space is yours and when you find ‘the one’ , asking for you to make a commitment to them and their boutique and to buy it.
Yet some brides seem to have a nightmare…
And that is what I want to focus on, because after all, what makes a good boutique, bad??
Taken from YAYW chat….
“I have lots of bad experiences to share….! I visited 10 shops….”
OK let’s stop there. 10?! That is just not necessary. The reason no bride needs to visit 10 shops is this.
- When you know your budget, you will almost immediately eradicate 60% of boutiques in your area. If you have £2,500, then you will be looking at designers, not manufacturers or outlets, you will be looking for those that offer couture gowns, excellent fabrics and thoughtful design. Visit 3 boutiques and find your contender gowns, then re-visit again to confirm your thoughts. There is no need to go to the shop which has been there since 1975 and sell the same gown your mum wore, you won’t like the styles or fabrics, you are looking for more. Don’t waste your time.
- This is also the same if you have £1000 – don’t visit the boutiques that start at £2000+ you will be dissappointed if you love something you don’t realistically want to spend on a gown and then spend hours selling your soul on e-bay and looking for ways to afford it.
- There are many amazing boutiques out there who cater for every end of the market, don’t believe that £500 buys crap service and £6000 buys gold…
- You will know friends or relatives who have been married. Ask for recommendations off of those you trust and who didn’t spend much more or less than you on a gown. Then you have a starting point and know that the service they received was good and the gown was perfect for them
- 10 shops, can you imagine being the 10th boutique “so you’ve tried on 80 gowns and still not found ‘the one’…. Seriously, why not? Fun for the assistant!!!
“A rude shop assistant who was trying to get me in and out of dresses at lightning speed that I became very flustered and felt uncomfortable“
Most boutiques will give you an hour appointment, maybe slightly over if you are lucky! In this time, we need to be able to assess what you want, how much you want to spend, make you and your guests comfortable, show you our gowns, undress and dress you at least 6 times, give you the information at the end (unless you buy!) and then prepare for the next appointment. Lightening speed and being rushed isn’t acceptable, being realistic with time management is. Plus – if you had 3 hours you would play in the gowns until the time was up (admit it!) This isn’t helpful to focus your search, not helpful for the assistant who has to dress you 30 times for you then to leave and deliberate over which one of the 30 you liked best!
“Being charged £50 to try on 1 plus size sample when I am only a size 14/16″
Unless we as a boutique hold the sample you wish to try (irrelevant of size) we will be charged by the designer to loan this sample, simple as that. The loan covers the fact that the gown needs to be removed from their boutique for the duration, it covers postage and delivery, insurance... we don’t just make a number up and charge it, we have to cover what we as a boutique are charged. Can I also say here that we refund this back to the bride, should she buy the sample she has requested to loan – some don’t do this.
“Fake enthusiasm, you can always tell”
Really?? Falseness isn’t brilliant and it isn’t fair to be treated with fake enthusiasm, but give the girl a break, maybe she’s trying to make up for the fact your bridesmaid hasn’t looked up from her iphone all appointment or maybe she feels you’re not happy and wants to make your experience better? Maybe she’s rubbish at being interested in a wedding when she’s going through a divorce so is just trying a little harder, or maybe she’s just fake. But, is it not better to be OTT than ignored and uninterested??
“Being asked to wear a make-up funnel when trying on dresses, I am not an animal!“
But you maybe the bride who then writes on a national chat forum that you didn’t like the dresses as they were dirty and covered in make up….
“My BMs and mother not being offered a drink”
You’ve come to buy a wedding dress, not a coffee! It’s lovely if water, juice or refreshments are offered, but really, you have a hour (refer to being rushed) and if 10 minutes is spent preparing a latte for grandma and you don’t get to out your favourite gown on again because the next bride is due – you leave unhappy and we haven’t done what we’re here to do for you…
“Cluttered small shops with too much stock so you can’t really see the dresses”
I must admit – my pet hate!! How can a bride and her party respect the gowns and boutique if there crammed together and looking squashed? It’s bad practice to have too many samples, it leaves the bride confused and unhappy and also, how on earth do you, the bride, know you haven’t missed ‘the one’ when there are 300??!!
“Being asked for a budget”
Kind of essential from the get go! We do this, not to lure you in to spending more than you can afford but to ensure you don’t love something you don’t want to spend that much on, making for unhappy brides! Don’t forget, the gown is one cost, the shoes, veil, accessories and fittings all add up on to this. If you have a £2000 budget and fall in love with a gown at £2,700, you will probably spend closer to £3000 when you have finished. We’re not being nosey, judgemental or pretentious, we just want to help you and if we can’t, we’ll know a boutique who can.
Bridal boutiques and their owners and staff are human. As I said before, there is NO excuse for rudeness, dirt, lack of care and attention or bulls**t however, we know this is such a huge purchase, we have to be on the ball for you to offer you the best experience we can and we try (some harder than others!).
This however, from a bride on the forum sums it up for me…
“I am probably a bridezilla nightmare to these shops, so I feel for those who work in dress shops and have to deal with women like us on a daily basis. Can you imagine how difficult it is to make someone feel really special when they are not very nice and you are having a bad day??!”
It can be hard, but we love it and if you find a boutique that may not have been able to offer you a drink or has to pin you in to a sample that is 3 times too big for you, remember she is doing her very best to make you happy and to solve the whole reason you are there, to buy a dress. The extras are just that….