Sample Gowns – Blessing, Bargain, or Bust?

If you’ve been shopping for a wedding gown for any length of time (over a week?), you’ve probably heard the term “sample gown”.

If you’re not sure what it means, I’ll give a quick explanation. A sample gown is a gown that is currently hanging on a bridal boutique’s rack, rather than one that is ordered especially for a bride.  It’s probably been tried on multiple times by other customers.  A bridal boutique will offer a sample gown for sale for a variety of reasons.  Most common reasons are that the gown has been discontinued by the manufacturer or there is not enough time to order a new gown for the bride.  Boutiques will often also offer the sample as a less-expensive alternative to ordering a new gown for a bride.

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If you’re considering buying a sample gown, here are 3 things that are very important to consider.Is it within a size or two of the size you need?  Some gowns can be altered more than 2 sizes by a bridal seamstress, but most gowns will look their best if the alterations are within one or two sizes.  It is usually possible to change something that you may not love about the gown too!

  1. Is it within a size or two of the size you need?  A skilled bridal seamstress can often change a gown more than this, but most gowns will look their best when altered no more than 2 sizes up or down.  Also, a good seamstress (recommended by your consultant!) can often make changes to the gown that you might want.
  2. Can it be cleaned? This is what we do! You’ll want to be sure you have a gown care specialist or excellent dry cleaner who can clean the gown of any grime or soil and then press it perfectly for your wedding day.
  3. Do you love it? No bride wants to feel as if she has “settled”, but buying a sample gown that you love can certainly be a blessing to your budget.  Sometimes, buying a sample gown helps you get a gown you would never get otherwise, because of timing, budget, or even a manufacturer’s decision to discontinue a style.  My advice is almost always to “go for it”! with a sample gown.  And enjoy your beautiful gown!

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