Brides-to-be are buying more than a wedding gown for the big day, they are buying an experience.
That’s what Ashley Krauss, owner of A Little Something White Bridal Couture in Darien has to say to her customers.
“A bride’s wedding day look is influenced so much more than just saying yes to the dress. While certainly an exciting moment in the wedding planning process, selecting a dress is only the beginning of the journey,” she said.
The alterations process, where the bridal gown is fit to a bride’s body, usually takes place six months to a year after the gown is purchased, yet it is the most critical element in making sure a bride’s gown looks amazing on her wedding day.
It is critical to choose a store that will ensure that the entire process, from the dress selection, to the ordering, to the alterations, to the final pressing, is enjoyable and worry free. How do you know what type of experience a store will offer? Talk to your friends who have purchased there, read a store’s reviews, and pay attention to the experience you have when shopping for a gown, Ashley advises.
“I would encourage brides to keep an open mind,” she said. “ It is helpful when brides come to us with ideas and photos of what they like, but we always encourage our brides to try on a variety of styles. Eighty percent of the time a bride chooses a style different from what she originally thought she wanted.”
Don’t spread yourself thin
Ashley says less is more.
“Our happiest brides are the ones who choose one to three stores to visit and choose their gown at that point,” said Ashley. “Trying on too many gowns and styles is confusing and frustrating for a bride. Brides shouldn’t feel that they need to shop around in order to try on a variety of styles. Most boutiques have a pretty great selection and many boutiques have an excellent variety all in one place.
“Gown shopping is one of the most fun aspects of the wedding planning process,” Ashley said. “Often times a bride gets so caught up in the excitement of the shopping that they forget at some point they will be moving forward with the purchasing process. So I always remind my brides that it’s OK to say yes once they have found their dream dress — whether that is on their first day of shopping or their fifth.”
At A Little Something White Bridal Couture, they are seeing a few notable trends right now for brides getting married across all seasons.
“We are seeing a definite shift in requests for non-strapless gown options,” said Ashley. “While the majority of our brides still opt for a strapless gown, more brides are requesting and purchasing gowns with some sort of strap or slight sleeve. Strapless still dominates the purchases, but interest in that type of neckline has definitely had a notable decrease.”
A Little Something White Bridal Couture is also seeing a shift towards brides placing a greater emphasis on comfort. Lighter, easier-to-manage gowns dominate these days, and across all silhouettes -— from the fullest ballgown to the slimmest sheath — designers have responded without sacrificing style.
“Brides recognize that they are going to be moving all day and night and want to have fun effortlessly,” said Ashley.
While it’s not always ideal to buy your dress close to the wedding day, it’s not unusual.
“Two months ago, we had a bride come in four weeks before her wedding,” Ashley said. “We found a way to order her a new gown and complete three rounds of alterations in that four week period.
And she looked stunning on her wedding day. Sometimes we are miracle workers!”
Most of the time when a brides comes in extremely close to her wedding date looking for a gown, the wedding date has actually been set for months. A bride’s reasons for waiting may be varied. Sometimes, she doesn’t realize how long the ordering process typically takes (six months) and doesn’t know that bridal gowns require alterations (another two months). Other times, she has found a gown at another store that doesn’t end up working out, and is looking for something at the last minute. Sometimes, the planning process is quite quick, and she still just needs a gown.
“The advice I would give a bride who, for whatever reason, finds herself shopping close to the wedding, would be varied,” said Ashley. “First, I would suggest keeping an open mind with respect to styles. The more difficult situations is when a bride with a short time frame comes in with a very narrow vision and little flexibility on style. In my boutique, we have certain designers that can produce a gown in a short time frame more easily, and less expensively, than others. Those are the designers I hone in on with a bride who is low on time, and a bride with flexibility on style will find it much easier to find something.”
Plan to purchase a gown off the rack. Most bridal salons have a rack of bridal gowns available for sale as is, meaning you purchase the gown that is in the store (versus the standard process, which is to order a new gown). The third piece of advice is to start shopping ASAP. If you set your wedding date and it’s only two months away, start shopping immediately.
From head to toe
A Little Something White Bridal Couture considers themselves a full-service bridal salon.
“Essentially, we can outfit a bride and her bridal party in their entire wedding day look without them having to go anywhere else,” Ashley said. “In addition to bridal gowns and bridal party dresses, we carry veils, jewelry (both for the bride and bridesmaids), shoes, belts and sashes, headpieces and brooches and we offer services such as alterations, fur rental and gown cleaning and preservation. I specifically designed my store this way because I want the process to be easy and effortless for our brides. It is so nice to be able to purchase everything in one place and to not have to spend time running around looking for these different items. We are so lucky to work with accessories designers that are as amazing and detail oriented as our bridal gown designers, ensuring that the accessories are as exquisite as the gowns.”
A Little Something White received honors such as one of the Top 50 Bridal Salons in America (BRIDES Magazine) as well as Best Bridal Gowns in Fairfield County for the last three years (Moffly Media).
“For me, this award serves as validation that the consistent hard work and passion we put into our brides and their experience has had a significant impact. However, the most meaningful feedback we receive is in the photos brides send to us after their wedding days. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing how a bride’s look came together on one of the happiest days of her life,” Ashley said.
For more information about A Little Something White Bridal Couture, 1292 Boston Post Road, Darien, call 203-309-5110, or visit alittlesomethingwhite.com.