Harold Lord  via Wanda and Matt’s Fun and Personal Tanglewood Estate Wedding

Our Top Tips for Shopping a Sample Sale

So you recently got engaged and started avidly planning the big day, only to discover that one of the key components – the dress – can creep well into the thousands very quickly.

With the New Year looming, now is the time to get the jump on wedding shopping for your wedding.

So, how do you find ‘the one’ without breaking the bank? A sample sale is a perfect opportunity to save some serious moolah on your dream dress. Most wedding dress stores will have at least one a year, where they sell end-of-season store samples, stock gowns and accessories.

Sample sales can be tricky to navigate in the world of wedding gowns, as most people don’t really know what to look for and how to prepare. Here we’ve put together our top tips for finding your wedding dress at a sample sale with minimal tears and maximum results!

1.     Do your research on the brand

Once you’ve honed in on an upcoming wedding dress sale, start by having a look through their website and social media channels. Does the brand suit your style and your wedding theme?

Trawl through the gowns on their site and save photos of styles you love. You never know what might be included in the sale on the day. Make sure you are familiar with the gowns you particularly have your eye on, so you can make a beeline for them when doors open on the day.

2.     Have a game plan

Take time to do a little wedding dress shopping prior to sale day, so you know what suits you – your body shape, skin tone and personal style. Often what looks good in a photo or on the hanger will look very different on you, so keep an open mind while doing so.

Once you hit sample sale day, you will already have an idea of what will work and what won’t, based on what you’ve tried before – saving you precious time amongst the frenzy!

Mitchell J Carlin via Taneille & Nick’s Relaxed Sunshine Coast Hinterland Wedding

3.     Wear the right undergarments

Nothing will kill your dream dress vibe faster than black, too-tight underwear. Opt for nude seamless underwear and a strapless bra (however, you may not need a bra at all with most gowns). If you feel like you might need spanx, we suggest bringing them in your bag. Some dresses won’t require shapewear, so it is easiest to add later.

4.     Keep your squad small

Don’t add extra stress to an already hectic situation by bringing five of your closest gal pals. Too many opinions can become overwhelming – especially when you add a wee bit of time pressure to the mix! Try and stick to just one or two guests whose opinions you value most.

On the flipside, if the most important people in your life are unavailable on the day, don’t hesitate to FaceTime them while you’re there for a little extra support.

Georgia Verrells via Nella & Enzo’s Intimate & Glam Urban Wedding

5.     Arrive early

A good sample sale will often bring out some hard-core shoppers. If you know what you want, make sure you show up early to secure a good spot in the line-up. Often there will be only one sample of each, so get in quickly to make sure you don’t miss out.

6.     Know your budget

Wedding dress sample sales often require full payment in order to secure the dress. Know how much you are willing to spend on the day and how flexible you can be. Also factor in the potential cost of alterations and dry cleaning while you are bargain hunting. Expect to add $250-$750 onto the gown cost for adjustments depending on what you want to alter. Be ready to splash out the cash if you find ‘the one.’

7.     Don’t stress if the fit isn’t quite right

On the topic of alterations – don’t worry too much if the dress is not a perfect fit. A good seamstress will be able to take in, hem, add cups, a bustle or potentially let out a little (depending on the dress) to get that perfect fit. Be sure to ask such questions of the staff if you find a dress you love.

8.     Look for imperfections

Before saying “Yes” to your dress, look over the gown for pulled threads, stains and missing beading or buttons. As ex-samples, these gowns will not be in perfect condition, so it is important to know what needs to be fixed. Often these can be cleaned or mended, however, some things may not be so easily resolved

9.     Don’t hesitate to walk away if it isn’t the one

As one of the most important purchases of your life, it is crucial to make sure you are 100% on your decision – particularly if the store has a no refund/exchange policy. If you are having second thoughts, don’t be afraid to walk away from the dress. If you know you would be devastated if someone else bought your dress, maybe it’s the one?

Ms Zebra Says: Ahh the stress of the dress! Thanks to the lovely ladies at White Lily Couture for sharing their sample sale tips and tricks to take the edge of choosing THE dress of your dreams!

To find out more about White Lily Couture visit their website.