It’s a bride’s dream – the perfect dress that makes her groom mouth “wow” as he turns to look at her for the first time. Going for the designer look that dominates the bridal magazines is one path to the dream dress. However it comes at a price. With an investment of your time, you can really save a lot of money. It is very important to have a budget for your dress as part of a bigger budget plan. Investing all your funds on a dress may lead to the bride wearing her ideal dress but the rest of the day being poor in comparison
The best way to decide on who, where and how the dress will be made is to gather all available contacts who could help. These include
- finding close friends who know how to make one
- checking out shops that offer large discounts on old designs and stocks
- for people who are really working on a tight budget, borrow or rent a wedding gown for them to use.
- Evening gown hire shops who might have a vintage dress or other ideas than may save money but still look stunning.
Ask around other recent brides for their contacts and talk to people like local hair dressers and florist for other ideas. You might find someone who doesn’t spend a fortune on advertising and likewise does not charge a fortune. Most importantly as you work through this list of suppliers and start looking a dream dresses … try not to show you have fallen in love with a dress. At least not to the supplier, if you do this they have the advantage in negotiating price.
Try to narrow the list of dresses and supplier down but if you can keep your options open. You need to have a plan B and be able to walk away from a negotiation if it going badly. If you can’t do this you need to be a good actor and be able to pretend to walk away. Being able to walk away and playing one supplier against the other is a key tactic. The supplier needs your money if they act like they don’t then they are either pretending or don’t need your money. If you meet the later you might wonder if you should go somewhere else. Do negotiate, don’t just accept the price on display. Make sure you are talking to the manager when negotiating price. If you can’t get the manager to begin with then press for what you can with the salesperson, get it in writing and then come back later and ask for the manager late.
A good way to get started is to ask “how flexible are you on price?”. This gives you a big clue. If they appear inflexible you need to appear as inflexible based on your budget. Point out that you have a budget which makes the price an issue. Ask for discounts for paying in advance. If they will be providing bridesmaids dresses ask for a discount on the whole package. Don’t disclose your real budget. If need be have pretend budget slightly lower than your real budget and let the supplier “win” by breaking your “pretend” budget. Don’t give in on this too easily, pick the right time. Another useful tactic is to leave with the offer in writing to consider it. Don’t forget your future husband has to agree to any breaking of the budget this is good excuse to leave. Leaving is very useful to allow you to think clearly and consider thing less emotionally. Leaving also gives you a chance to try negotiating with your plan B supplier. If you feel up to it have a plan C dress which you still love and practice the negotiating with this supplier first. Getting the dress you want is worth the effort, it will feel even better if you managed to negotiate a reasonable price. Just remember the more you save the more you can spend on other areas of your special day.