"Beth" walked into the bridal salon today. I recognized her, she'd been in a lot of times trying on wedding dresses. Beth was crying. She's purchased her wedding dress off the rack at a big box bridal store on sale. She begged me to help her, said she was having problems with getting her wedding dress altered. No one would touch the dress, and price quotes if she did were running over $750.00.
Always up to a challenge and feeling sorry for her, I said I'd help if I could. What is the problem with the dress?
Beth: (sobbing) "Its too big for me".
Me: "Let me see the dress. OMG, this is a size 12. You are what? A size one?"
Beth: "No, I'm a size zero."
Me: " I am not sure it can be done, that's a full 6 dress sizes. The neckline is too big and its already cut and can't be made smaller. The bodice has darts that are cut and in the wrong spot for you and the armholes are too big. I don't think it can be done without putting a new top on the dress." (Hello...out there....do you hear me Beth?)
Beth: "I want the trail cut off and the lace rounded like it is on the trail. (the train of the dress) I don't want it bubbled up in the back. (She means bustled, I'm translating because I speak bride).
Me: " Beth, it can't be done by just cutting off the train. Your dress has a carriage back that is edged in lace and it can't be put back on because of the way its cut. You'd have to take the dress apart at the top and the side seams and reset the zipper. Its major to do it from the top. "
Beth: "But that's what I want. I spent $250 for this dress 'cause I don't want to spend a lot on a dress that I am only wearing one time. But now I want to wear it again."
*Me...eyes rolling....thinking...where in God's name are you going to wear THIS formal wedding dress again? A Halloween party?*
She says church or another wedding.
*ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME??? You'd go to church or someone else's wedding wearing a formal wedding dress? Were you hit in the head or are you THAT stupid?*
Me...drawing diagrams, talking about dress construction, talking to the wall. So I come out and ask her...."Beth, why would you buy a dress that is too big, needs cleaned and has a train if you don't want a train?"
Beth: "Because it was in my price range. "
I told her something she didn't want to hear as nicely as I could, but I wanted to scream at her:
You were sold a bill of goods by a really good COMMISSIONED salesperson who didn't give a damn about you. You spent $250 and your alterations are going to cost you triple that amount and its going to look like crap. That's a thousand dollars. Add another $100 for cleaning. Your bargain is a really expensive bargain. You could have ordered a brand new pristine dress that fits you and needs only minor alterations for half that amount. Or you could have bought an informal wedding dress without a train in your size for the amount you paid for your too big, dirty dress. Of course, I didn't say what I though,but I wanted to! When she walked out the door, I did the old head smack and muttered wtf a few times.
I know she'll schlep the dress to a dozen more places until she finds someone who will rig her dress together. She'll either wear it and tell everyone her wedding was ruined by that seamstress, or she'll buy another dress at the last minute and tell everyone costs and stress ruined her wedding. She'll blame everyone but herself.
- Don't be talked into anything when you are shopping for your wedding dress. If it doesn't feel right, don't buy it. Don't be high pressured.
- When you are considering buying an off the rack dress....ask the in store seamstress to look at the dress and give you an estimate of your alterations costs. Every dress needs some form of alterations UNLESS you fit the size chart exactly and are 5 foot 9. The odds of that are slim and none. You have to factor the cost of alterations and add it to the cost of the dress.
- Add all the extras such as cleaning into your bargain dress. I personally would not buy a dirty dress, no matter how cheap the price. Not only is it a hygiene issue, but cleaning and pressing is expensive.
- If the decide to buy a dress off the rack, don't buy it because its a bargain you can make over. Buy it because you love it. Buy it because it makes you look fabulous and FEEL fabulous. Don't buy it just because its cheap, you'll so regret it.