My wedding dress shopping experience…

wedding dress tips

Hello Loves! While I want to document many of the different preparations for our wedding next year, this part by far is the day I have been most excited about! From the moment we got engaged in June, I can’t even express how long I have been wanting to go dress shopping. We decided to go to Kleinfeld Bridal in New York City because of their amazing inventory and the fact that we visit New York frequently. Also, our wedding venue has an arrangement with the store and my appointment began a half hour before the store officially opened. Sounds good to me!!! They have so many different designers, store exclusives, and styles that we decided that Kleinfeld would be a perfect fit. This is not in sponsored by Kleinfeld and is not a reflection of any other bridal boutique’s service, policies or inventory. My opinion is solely based on the experience I had at Kleinfeld.

First of all, I want to apologize about the low quality images. I had booked a New York City photographer who cancelled at the last minute.  I was devastated!  Luckily my girlfriends, my mom, and my future mother-in-law took every picture they could to try and save the day. To be honest I was so grateful for their dedication to getting all of the images I had talked about–they ended up being the heroes of the day. Thanks guys! You know you you are!!!

Now getting that out of the way, lets begin… After arriving for my appointment we were greeted at the front desk and our bridal consultant Lisa was introduced to us. After getting everyone settled on the viewing couch, Lisa and I then went into the fitting room to get more acquainted. It was actually the fitting room used for the show, “Say Yes To The Dress,” so I felt very special lol. We then went through the entire store and Lisa told me to select anything that caught my eye.

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After building a huge selection, we then went back into the dressing room to start trying on dresses. I was told by many other people prior to my appointment, as well as by Lisa, that even though I might have my eye on a certain style, I should try on a little bit of everything to get a better idea of what is best for my body type. Although there were some dresses that I was not originally interested in trying, I was glad I did so that there was nothing left to wonder about and we effectively ruled some styles out.

wedding dress tips -- rochelle fletcher

Then the real fun started and I started trying on gowns. While all the dresses I tried on were in excellent condition, they are all samples and the real dress is made for you by the designer you choose. Because of this, many of the dresses might not be in your size. To give you the best visual on what your dress will look like on your special day the consultants and interns at Kleinfeld were great at clipping, pinning and rubber banding as needed.

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With each dress that I tried it was very easy for me to rule out ones that were not “the one”. I did make sure to show a good amount of dresses to my friends and parents to make sure that I wasn’t missing anything. In case you were wondering, none of the dresses shown on this post are the one that I selected. I really want to keep those images private until after the wedding day when I will surely be uploading multiple professional images to my blog and social media.

Rochelle Fletcher -- wedding dress tips

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Rochelle Fletcher, wedding dress tips

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After selecting the gown, we then went on to the accessories like the veil and hair pieces. Because those images are with the gown I selected, they won’t be presented on this post. One thing that I will say is that Lisa did an amazing job in really pulling pieces that represented what I communicated to her. We ended up making a dress that has never been made or worn before and I couldn’t have done it without her expertise. When choosing your bridal gown, you really should make sure your consultant is well versed and familiar with every style and designer possible. Lisa was  was able to pull inventory from the back that wasn’t on the floor to help create a dress that honestly was so regal I couldn’t have even imagined it in my wildest dreams. We literally created a brand new gown and I am so pleased and excited that I can’t wait for my wedding day.

Bridal Gown Shopping Tips and Tricks

I also wanted to help any of the brides out there that have become newly engaged with some tips that helped me when selecting where and when to start shopping for my dress.

1. You should start shopping for your dress no less than eight months before your wedding date. Yes, this is a must. Even for a perfect fit in store, you are not leaving with that dress on that day. They are samples and they are usually not for sale. Unless it is a sample sale or the purchase of a dress second hand, you need months for the designer to make the dress with enough time for alterations. Depending on the designer, each dress can take about eight months to create. Kleinfeld also informed me that even though they place your order after they receive your 60% deposit, the designer makes and ships the dress to arrive no less than eight weeks before your wedding. This is due to the availability of materials, the designer’s production schedule, etc.  and the need to provide time for alterations.  You want enough time for alterations, but not so much that your body may change.

Side note: This percentage down varies for every bridal boutique. Make sure you call before to find out what their deposit is. Some bridal boutiques can go as little as 20% down to place your order.

2. Alterations are an extra expense that you should consider. Most bridal boutiques will do your alterations in house. They can be hundreds of dollars (Kleinfeld expects to have approximately four fittings and charges $700) and if your wedding date is around the corner and you waited too long to oder your dress, they could charge you for expedited alterations as well. There is also a difference between alterations charged by the bridal boutique and alterations charged by the designer. Because I have a bigger bust, I was charged a few hundred dollars by the designer for a bust adjustment. This cost is then part of the cost of the dress and affects the amount of your deposit. Just something to keep in mind.

3.When selecting your wedding dress, consider getting your dress at a boutique that does not have a location in your state.  Because Kleinfeld’s is in NYC and I live in South Florida, my dress will be shipped and I will not have to pay sales tax. This can save you hundreds of dollars! For many people in Florida, the expense of flying to another state may cancel out the sales tax savings. If, however, you live in a place like my hometown of Washington D.C., which is 30 minutes from its neighboring states, going to a bridal boutique in Maryland or Virginia could save you upwards of $500 on your dress in sales tax!! This is something to consider because wedding charges add up in the thousands of dollars from choices on the types of florals for the decor to upgraded liquor costs for your guests. Save money where you can!

4. Accessories are the cherry on top of your wedding look but consider shopping for them someplace else like Etsy or a local boutique. Your dress is already costing you thousands of dollars right? When trying on head pieces, the head piece I selected was a few thousand dollars in store. That not only would increase my dress budget, but would also increase the amount of the 60% deposit. I decided to look for alternatives and found a ton of similar ones that are only a couple hundred dollars on Etsy. I even found ones that I loved more than the one I selected in store. It is hard not to lose yourself in the moment as you try on the dress you selected with the veil and other accessories. You fall in love with that image and it’s hard to consider going with alternate pieces. In my opinion, select and pay for your dress but hold off on your accessories. Things like your veil only take around four months to create so, if you’re not in a rush, you can look at other alternatives that you honestly might like even better. If not, you can order the accessories you tried on in store after you have done more research. Just make sure you get all of the item numbers for what you tried on. Pictures of the products help as well.

5. The rest of the cost of the dress is usually due by your first fitting which is scheduled around eight weeks before your wedding. Also, although you might be getting your dress shipped out of state, you will have to pay a nominal fee for shipping. You should also make sure that you have your wedding shoes by your first fitting so that you can try on the whole ensemble. This also helps them figure out the correct length for your dress.

6. Lastly, have fun! This is such a spectacular and emotional moment that you really should enjoy every second. Yes, all things wedding can be a little stressful and even though the morning started off on a bad note with my photographer situation, I had such a great time picking out the perfect dress. Make sure you choose a dress that you love, not what everyone else loves. Although the support and opinions of your friends and family are helpful, you’re the one that has to wear it.

I hope all of these tips as well as my experience has been helpful for you all. Even though you may not be getting married quite yet, you can always come back to this post by clicking the bridal tab at the top. I will be documenting more things about creating invitations, save the dates and engagement photos here as the process continues. A special thanks to Lisa and the rest of the Kleinfeld team for being so helpful and professional. It was a day I’ll never forget….Thanks for stopping by!

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10 Comments

  1. Madeleine
    Wednesday, October 12, 2016 / 6:33 am

    THANK YOU for sharing this experience with me!!! So happy for you.

    • Rochelle
      Wednesday, October 12, 2016 / 11:12 am

      You’re so welcome! I understand anything related to weddings have the potential to be very stressful so I thought some tips and tricks would help current and future brides! Hope you get to follow along for the rest of my journey. You can always check the Bridal tab for any new posts related to all things weddings!

  2. Lindsey
    Wednesday, October 12, 2016 / 9:57 am

    so happy you had such a dreamy experience! loved your tips—wished I had had them before I got married! Can’t wait to see your final look! <3

    • Rochelle
      Wednesday, October 12, 2016 / 11:14 am

      You were such a stunning bride! I hear it was recently your anniversary! Congrats!!! I can’t wait until the wedding next September. It feels so far away!

  3. Thursday, October 13, 2016 / 12:41 pm

    How awesome!!! Great idea for a post! Love you Ro!

    • Rochelle
      Thursday, October 13, 2016 / 2:27 pm

      Thanks Jen! You’re so sweet! Hope to see you soon! XO

  4. Tuesday, October 18, 2016 / 4:15 am

    stunning wedding gowns .

    • Rochelle
      Thursday, October 20, 2016 / 2:13 pm

      Thank you so much! It was such a wonderful experience! I am so glad you enjoyed this post!

      Xo, Rochelle

  5. Paige Ottomano
    Wednesday, November 2, 2016 / 12:56 pm

    Rochelle I love this! as someone who works as a bridal consultant this is just perfect, you truly look stunning in every dress!!

    • Rochelle
      Monday, November 7, 2016 / 9:41 am

      Thank you so much! It was such a magical moment. I’m sure you see hundreds of brides on a regular basis but you do something that is so special and can never be replicated!