Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Saving Money on Your Wedding: Read The Fine Print

Let's face it: some of us are just big-picture people who'd rather leave the details to someone else! When it comes to saving big bucks on your wedding budget, detail-oriented people have the edge. Try to factor in all costs for an item or service when you get your prices. An obvious point is the reception. At my wedding there was no fixed price "open bar" option, so everything was drink by drink. We expected the bill to be high, but we didn't realize that we should have limited the drinks in terms of type. In other words, out came the expensive scotches and "top-shelf" drinks since guests perceive an open bar as an open bar. No one knew the financial carnage that was ensuing!

Another surprise can be dress alterations. In fact, bridal shops use alterations as quite the profit center. You can't blame them when they face tough competition from the Internet, present company included. However, when I hear about brides who bargained their dress down to $700 only to have to turn around and pay $350 for alterations, it makes me mad. My advice is to talk about the cost of alterations before you've bought the dress. That's when you have bargaining power. Once you've bought your dress, and you're at your first fitting, they can pretty much charge you whatever they want.

Feel free to comment with ways that you've saved money so that others can benefit from your wisdom!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lace wedding dresses are making a come-back

I remember when I was shopping for a wedding dress my worst nightmare was a lace dress. It conjured up visions of horrible puffed sleeves and gobs and gobs of fabric. (Those poor 80s brides!) Things have changed in a big way, and the pendulum is swinging back towards lace, but in a much sleeker and oh-so-sophisticated kind of way. Monique L'Huillier and Francesca Pitera (who designs for the Jim Hjelm label) are noted designers for their cutting edge use of lace.

I have noticed that brides from the UK are particularly fond of lace right now. This probably means that Canadian and US brides will be soon seeking out the delicate fabric as well!

One advantage to lace is that it can add visual interest to an otherwise simple gown. Another nice bonus is that you can have a slinky mermaid style fit and flare gown and not have to worry about your dress being too revealing in terms of "show-through" since the lace provides a second layer of fabric.

Here is a picture of a lace wedding dress we made recently with a lace overlay over Duchess Bridal Satin.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Are we witnessing the end of "the train"?

It seems that no one wants a train on their wedding dress these days. Let me explain. I receive many requests each day to design custom made wedding dresses, and lately pretty much all of my customers make it clear: "no train". Yesterday someone left the door open by stating "maybe just enough train to touch the ground a little." That seems to be the most extra fabric anyone wants!

They say bridal fashion is slow to change, but that when it does change it is in big steps and lasts a while. This could be a prime example! We'll have to keep tabs on this trend for you. Take our survey at the right! Incidentally, designers (myself included) have been using shorter trains this season, but not eliminating them completely. The advantage of a customizable wedding dress such as what we provide at Custom Couture Bridal is that the length of the train is completely up to each bride. Hallelujah!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Avoiding the "Wedding" name-game trap

While planning my own wedding I couldn't help but notice everything "wedding related" came with an inflated price tag. I wish I did what friends of mine did and planned the entire event with vendors as a "family gathering" instead of a wedding. They saved a bundle! AND they have a funny story about how their contact at the venue indignantly exclaimed the day of, "You didn't tell me it was for a wedding!"

You may not want to go that far, but why not leave the word "wedding" out while pricing most of your services? Try and and I'm sure you'll be surprised. Aside from the reception, your next biggest expense (or so you thought!) might be your dress. Why are wedding dresses so expensive? As I learned in business school, the prices for pretty much everything we buy are governed not by what is a reasonable profit for the manufacturer, but by what the market will bear. Without going into too much economics, this basically means that there will be dresses at all prices points as long as there are brides willing to part with their money.

The good news these days is that there is increased competition and so many more dresses to choose from. This means more options at the "reasonable" end of the spectrum. If you haven't seen my Web site yet, check it out. You can design your own wedding dress and buy it online. With that shameless plug, that concludes today's post!