January is one of the best months to go wedding dress shopping, as stores slash prices in the traditional Spring sales and are more flexible in their pricing in an attempt to clear out last year's designs and make room for the next season's collections. Here are some top tips on how to get the best deal from end of season bridal sales.
- Take a friend. This is a general rule for bridal gown shopping, but even more important when the stores can be crowded and competition over dresses can get heated! Take a friend that is calm and confident in the face of stress and who can help you beat the other gals to snagging that perfect dress at half off. Three is the ideal number for wedding gown sale shopping - that gives you a constant companion to offer their opinion while you try on gowns, and another to run and find other sizes or options. This is an ideal task for bridesmaids!
- Don't buy based on your checkbook. It doesn't matter how cheap the gown is, if it isn't "the" gown, don't buy it. Avoid being tempted to settle for second best just because of a price tag - with so many great deals out there you are bound to find the perfect gown within your budget. The same goes for sizing - only ever buy a gown that is the right fit, or you will end up paying extra for extensive alterations. Your initial saving can quickly disappear as the alteration costs add up.
- Go early. Every experienced sales shopper knows this rule. The early bride catches the bargain, so be sure to be one of the first to enter the store as the doors open on sale day.
- Shop around. This is a tough one, because leaving a dress behind to check out other stores may mean that it isn't there when you return. However, most brides know without any doubt which dress they want, as soon as they try it on. If you get that "just right" feeling, take the dress right to the sales counter and don't let someone else snap up the bargain. If you aren't quite sure, then there is probably another gown out there that will be better, so check out other stores. If you do get that sinking "I've tried on twenty dresses and I liked the first one best" feeling and find that it has been sold while you were browsing then just keep in mind that if it had been 100% perfect you wouldn't have walked away from it.
- Make a bargain. Sales staff can be more open at this time of year to making deals and you may be able to negotiate a further discount, or free accessories such as veil, slip or storage bag. It doesn't hurt to ask!
- Stay fresh. Shopping in the sales can be stressful, and the last thing you want when trying on wedding gowns is to feel frazzled and tired. Take regular breaks to eat and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Remember you will need to be in peak mental condition to get the best deal!