Calling on all budget conscious brides-to-be! It’s Ally, here. If you thought you had to dig through your pocketbooks to spend thousands on your dream wedding dress, then today’s post is for you! You’re probably thinking: Gorgeous designer wedding gowns at a bargain? Tell me more, please! Well, two words: sample sale. We are thrilled to have Carine, owner of Carine’s Bridal Atelier in Washington, D.C., with us to offer some tips on surviving a sample sale. (Don’t miss our list of upcoming samples sales and trunks shows in the DC area.) Sample sales present the opportunity for brides to get the couture look without the couture price tag. On that note, take it away, Carine:
Photo Credit: Deb Lindsey Photography
What exactly is a sample sale?
A sample sale is where we sell the actual floor sample gowns from our shop to make room for the new gowns. I like to remain fashion forward with my gown selection, which means sample sales are necessary to make sure we have room for the new stock. Sample sales are a great way for brides to purchase a high-end designer gown at a much lower price.
Are accessories available in a sample sale?
Yes, some accessories are usually included in our sample sale. We have veils from an array of designers to choose from as well as Oscar de la Renta heels. In regards of jewelry, we usually have an accessory sample sale at a different time. That way brides can focus on thing at a time; first the gown, then the accessories. Our accessory designers include Homa, Tia Mazza, Peter Langner, Cheryl King, Paris and Siman Tu.
How can a bride prepare for attending a sample sale?
The best way to “prepare” for a sample sale is to come with an idea of what silhouette and style you are interested in. Sample sales can be a bit hectic and overwhelming, especially if it is the first time a girl is trying on gowns. Sample sales are best for the girl who knows what she wants, but might be on a tighter budget.
Are appointments shorter or longer at a sample sale vs. a regular appointment?
Our sample sales are first come, first serve. We don’t have “appointments” per se at the sample sale. We have bridal consultants floating around to help brides with any questions regarding the gowns. It is always nice if the bride brings a sister or good friend to help with the actual trying on of the dresses; some of the more intricate gowns can be tricky to put on by yourself! That being said, regular appointments in our salon are usually an hour long.
What should a bride-to-be wear to an appointment?
At our sample sale the store becomes one big fitting room, so it is very important for brides to wear undergarments they are comfortable being seen in.
For gown sizes, is there a certain “sample” size at the sales? What sizes are usually available?
Yes, all of our sample gowns are in a bridal size 8 or 10, which transfers to ready-to-wear as a size 6 and 8.
How many bridal gown designers are featured?
It just depends on our selection at the moment. We currently carry Monique Lhuilier, Marchesa, Rivini, Carolina Herrera, Jenny Lee, Junko Yoshioka, Bliss by Monique Lhuillier and Liancarlo. Our sample dresses are most of the above as well as Kenneth Pool, Oscar de la Renta, Melissa Sweet, Christian Lacroix, and Reem Acra. We really do have a great selection of sample gowns.
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.
Looking for more? Read Carine’s post with tips for dress shopping, or browse our comprehensive list of local DC, MD and VA trunk shows and sample sales here.