So you've found the partner of your dreams, and now you're ready to find the dress of your dreams. Maybe you've scoured the Internet or read every bridal magazine from cover to cover and found a designer whose style speaks to you. At bridal trunk shows, it's possible to find your dream dress for a fraction of the price. Many bridal designers and boutiques offer trunk shows to showcase their entire line. Whether you're not even sure what a trunk show is or are thinking about attending one, here is a helpful guide that will unveil the mystery of trunk shows and also offer tips for getting the most out of your experience.
What is a Bridal Trunk Show?
Trunk shows are special events, hosted by local bridal boutiques, where wedding dress designers get to showcase their entire collection. As the name suggests, the designers package the gowns and accessories in the collection and bring them to the salon in trunks. Since most salons don't carry every single gown in a designer's collection, trunk shows offer brides the opportunity to try on gowns that would normally have to be special orders. Trunk shows usually showcase the designer's latest styles, along with those from past seasons. Trunk shows are also an opportunity for bridal boutiques to showcase and offer gowns that aren't part of their regular inventory.
To attend a trunk show, brides usually have to make an appointment through the bridal salon that is hosting the event. Trunk shows are typically held over several days, and often on weekends. There are many benefits to attending a bridal trunk show, including the opportunity to try on hard-to-find and exclusive new gowns, meet with the designer or a knowledgeable company representative and take advantage of the special perks and discounts that are usually offered during the show. Trunk shows are also fun to attend and can result in you purchasing the designer dress of your dreams.
6 Reasons to Attend Bridal Trunk Shows in New England
If you're looking to purchase a certain designer's gown or are even just curious to see if their line matches your taste, making an appointment to attend a local bridal trunk show is a must. Here, you can take advantage of special benefits, including discounts and customization advice. These are s ome of the top reasons you should attend a local bridal trunk show in New England.
1. To view the designer's entire line and see gowns that are new and exclusive.
During a trunk show, the designer brings their entire line, including styles from past seasons and those that are just off the runway and not yet in bridal salons. This variety is particularly helpful if you know you like a certain designer's style, but aren't exactly sure which gown you like best. Seeing the entire collection will help you determine if there's another style from the line you like better. Since most bridal salons only stock a few dresses from every designer, trunk shows offer brides the opportunity to see the entire collection without having to have dresses specially ordered.
Designers usually feature their newest gown designs in print and online, and sometimes it takes awhile before they are available in bridal salons. Trunk shows usually feature exclusive designs and the latest styles you may not find anywhere else. Many designers even offer designs that are only available during trunk shows and not in salons. Bridal trunk shows give brides the opportunity to try on and purchase gowns that are not available to everyone. The opportunity to find an exclusive gown not many people will have is very desirable to brides who want to have a unique wedding dress.
2.To work one-on-one with the designer or company representative.
During a trunk show, the designer or a company representative is there as an additional consultant to give you one-on-one attention and offer recommendations. They will help you decide which designs would look most flattering on you and what gowns in their line fit your vision. They might also suggest changes they can make to existing designs, and may even offer something special, such as a signed photo or sketch of your gown. Trunk shows offer the personalized and unique opportunity to meet with the designer or the people who know the collection best.
Since they are familiar with the entire line inside and out, designers can answer any questions you may have. This is the perfect opportunity to find out if they can make certain design changes or customizations. Don't be afraid to voice your opinions or concerns, as designers want to receive helpful design feedback about the kinds of styles for which their brides are looking. It is also a chance for the bridal boutique to see if customers like a certain line and to gain a better understanding of what their brides want.
3.To have the ability to make changes to existing designs.
Since you are the only bride at your trunk show appointment, that makes you the star of the show. If you want changes to a dress or are having trouble deciding between two dresses, the designer or company representative may suggest modifications, such as putting a different bottom with another top or adding or removing straps. This is also the time to suggest customizations such as lengthening your sleeves or train, adding extra buttons or embellishments and adding more fullness to your skirt. The designer will let you know if they can make these changes, and will also usually offer them at a discounted rate. Purchasing your gown at a trunk show is a great way to get a customized wedding gown for a much lower price than you would get otherwise.
4.To receive pricing incentives.
While trunk shows are not technically sales, you can expect to receive some kind of pricing incentive for buying your dress during the time of the show. Typically, designers offer a discount, whether it's a percentage or dollar amount off. Although it's always important to set and stick to a realistic budget, attending a trunk show is one of the best ways to save money on your wedding dress. Many times, trunk shows are the only opportunities bridal salons have to discount designer wedding gowns, so it's important to take the opportunity when you can.
Sometimes designers will also sell samples during trunk shows, where the dresses themselves are marked down or discounted. New designs and styles will usually only be marked down by about 10 percent, while older styles and samples will be marked down quite a bit more. Gowns that are new and in better condition are typically higher in price. However, it's important to remember sample gowns can also be altered, so if they don't quite fit, or have a frayed hem or other slight markings, designers can usually fix minor imperfections and make a gown that looks as good as new.
5. To take advantage of special perks.
During trunk shows, designers often offer special perks for a limited time. Even if the salon or designer doesn't offer a pricing discount on your gown, there will usually be some extra incentives for purchasing it during the trunk show. Typical perks include waiving or reducing common fees or charges, including those for pattern changes, customization, rush orders, special sizing or fittings and alterations. You may be able to add bridal accessories, such as jewelry, veils or headpieces, at a free or reduced rate. These special perks are one of the many benefits of attending a bridal trunk show, and can end up saving you a lot if you take advantage of them.
6.To receive expert styling advice.
At your trunk show appointment, you will receive expert styling advice from both the designer or company representative and your bridal salon's consultants. They can help determine what shape or silhouette would be best with your figure and wedding style, and are there to help you try on and choose both your gown and coordinating accessories, such as veils, jewelry and headpieces. They can even offer advice on wedding details, such as bouquets and hairstyles that would look best with your gown. After the trunk show, you can enjoy the continued support of your local bridal boutique, whose in-house alterations team and master consultants will help get your gown and accessories ready for your wedding day.
Bridal Trunk Show Tips
Now you know the reasons you should attend a bridal trunk show, here are some helpful tips to help you get the most out of your trunk show experience.
- Trunk shows don't always feature only bridal gowns. Throughout the year, designers host trunk shows featuring bridesmaids' dresses, evening gowns, jewelry, shoes, headpieces, veils and other wedding accessories.
- You'll need to make an appointment for most trunk shows. Most salons advertise trunk sales weeks or months ahead of time to allow brides to make arrangements. Be sure to make your appointment as early as you can, since time slots usually fill up quickly. Always be early or on time for your appointment, and give the salon a courtesy call to cancel if you can't make it.
- Familiarizing yourself with the designer's line will help you get the most from a trunk show. While you may not be sure of the actual gown style for which you're looking, you should have an idea of the shape or silhouette you like — e.g., ballgown, A-line, mermaid, etc. — or would like to try on. Before your appointment, browse online and print publications to get ideas and inspiration. According to a recent survey of American women, 62 percent of brides browsed for wedding gowns on a mobile device, proving many brides look to the Internet for advice.
- Bring only a few helpful friends and family. A small group of trusted individuals is better than a large group, since too many opinions can confuse and overwhelm you. Your interaction with the designer should be an intimate experience that is focused on you, not your entourage.
- Prepare for your appointment by wearing nude-colored underwear and a well-fitting strapless bra. If possible, wear shoes with the same heel height as the ones you're planning to wear on your wedding day, since designers can shorten hems, but not lengthen them. Sample gowns are usually available in a wide range of sizes to accommodate brides of all shapes and sizes.
- Keep your timeline in mind when choosing and ordering a designer gown. Many designers require up to eight months to produce your dress before they can do fittings and alterations. If you don't have a lot of time, consider purchasing a sample, since it's much quicker to alter a sample than ordering a whole new gown.
- Be prepared to buy if you see something you love. The dresses are typically there in the store for only that weekend and then go to the next store. Therefore, you should bring the people whose opinions matter most — along with whoever is overseeing your wedding budget, if someone else is managing it. While you shouldn't feel pressured to buy a gown you're not completely in love with, remember the time and availability of these deals is usually very limited. Keep in mind that unlike special-order gowns that require a deposit, you must pay for a sample in full at the time of purchase. Trunk shows may not be ideal for brides who have never tried on any wedding gowns before, as they may feel pressured to make a hasty purchase.
- Bridal trunk shows usually take place throughout the year. The designers and the local salon that is hosting the show usually advertise them. While there are websites that specifically advertise trunk shows, speaking with your local bridal salon, following both them and the wedding designer on social media and frequently checking the events listed on the salon's website is a sure way to stay informed of upcoming trunk shows in your area.
- Keep an open mind and be willing to try on gowns you may not have considered. Designers, company representatives and bridal consultants have a keen eye for what may flatter your figure or highlight your wedding theme. Remember, having fun and enjoying this special time in your life is what's most important. Finding the gown of your dreams will come in time.
Bridal Trunk Shows at Alexandra's Boutique
Now you know the ins and out of bridal trunk shows, it's time to experience one at Alexandra's Boutique. Check our events page for upcoming trunk shows, and be sure to call early for an appointment, as time slots fill up quickly. During your appointment, you can also try on gowns from all of our designers, including Maggie Sottero, Mori Lee, Justin Alexander and Stella York, as well as plus-sized collections, including Allure Bridal and Essense of Australia. We also offer bridesmaid and mother-of-the-bride gowns. We invite you to schedule an appointment with one of our master bridal consultants and enjoy a full-service appointment in a relaxed atmosphere. At Alexandra's Boutique, we'll help you find the perfect dress for your unforgettable day.