the bridal garden, reviewed

22 Jul

so! i made it to the bridal garden on saturday. i neglected to take photos, because shopping here requires a fair bit of manual labor, and my hands were occupied the entire time. it’s a self-service salon, so while they greet you, show you where everything is located and open a dressing room for you, you’re on your own while combing through the dress racks, trying on the gowns and putting them back when you’re finished. (my friend rebecca and i had a few laughs, as she had to throw her body weight against the gowns on the rack to move them. it was a workout.)

the salon is located in a fairly small office, but it’s crammed full of gowns. the dresses all have prices and designers listed, though one of the first things the staff said to me was “don’t worry about the price–we’ll work with you if you find something you like.” they were very friendly, helpful when we needed it, but otherwise hands-off, which i loved. the standard hummingbird model of bridal customer service makes me uneasy… i don’t want to hear “you look great in that!” every time i say that something is nice. no one tried to assault me with a wedding veil here, which i really appreciated.

 roughly half of the room is devoted to sizes 2-8, and the other half to sizes above 8 (i didn’t catch how high the larger sizes go, as i’m on the low end of the smaller section–sorry!). sections are divvied up by style (strapless, strappy, sleeved), and are organized by silhouette, from slim- to full-skirted. there were also two separate sections; one was for a featured gown designer, and the other was for bargain gowns that were in the $500 range, though this section was inaccessible, because a large changing screen was placed directly in front of it.

as far as the quality of the stock went, it’s what you’d expect from samples that are tried on multiple times a day: there were many in good condition, a few in excellent condition, and a few that clearly needed cleaning or repair. there were none that struck me as unsalvageable, though i did see a bunch of gowns that most would classify as outdated. being a tall lady, i had the added challenge of trying on a few gowns that had been hemmed for a shorter woman, but there were still options that were long enough. i didn’t find anything that i loved, but i imagine that if you have the patience and time to make multiple visits and don’t expect your gown to have never been touched by human hands before, i bet you’ll eventually find something that works for you.

really, it’s like vintage shopping–it’s all about being there to find right thing at the right time.

and so, the dress deliberation continues, but i have a very good idea of what i want to do. some wisdom from very smart friends and fellow bloggers on making wedding decisions to come shortly.

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