The Prenuptial Project: A few tips on dress buying from an industry pro
I’m going to apologize in advance for the next two columns, because they will continue to be about my dress, which doesn’t exist (yet).
But, in order to calm my nerves and provide some advice for my other brides-to-be, I went right to the source about dress shopping: a shop owner. I went down to the Darling Dress in Scranton (where my appointment is scheduled this weekend) to speak with owner Tori Senofonte about the dos and don’ts of bridal dress shopping and what to realistically expect when you go dress shopping.
For some background: Tori opened The Darling Dress around two years ago, but has been in the wedding business for about five years. After moving back to the area from Georgia, she said she saw a need for an “upscale bridal boutique,” and so, the Darling Dress was born.
My appointment is Saturday, and while I spent the last five months dreading this day, I am finally at peace and excited for my appointment.
For me, I might be a little late to the party, as Tori said normally brides should order 12 to nine months before their wedding (I am dangerously close to the nine month mark, but I live dangerously).
“There’s no such thing as ordering too early,” she said.
On the other hand, as I sweat nervously, you can order a dress too late. Tori said dresses usually take about five to six months to process and get shipped to the shop, and then you need to leave time for alterations.
Since I like to live life on the edge, I’m blissfully ignoring how close to this deadline I am getting, and instead focusing on what to expect at my appointment.
Tori said a huge piece of advice is to keep an open mind when going shopping.
“Gowns can look a lot different on a hanger or on a model than they do on your body,” she said.
I’m trying to take that advice to heart myself. I can be very particular when it comes to shopping, and I recognize that this is not the time to be stubbornly picky.
Tori also said it’s important not to overwhelm yourself at an appointment, which can happen if a bride tries on too many dresses.
“We try to keep it under 10 dresses (in one appointment),” she said. “Ten is a lot.”
Trying on a lot of dresses can overwhelm brides, Tori said, and can add a lot of confusion as to what direction to pull the style in.
And I think that’s a good rule for appointments. At the Darling Dress, appointments on the weekend last an hour, and so it makes sense to pace out how many dresses you try on/how long you stay in them to see how they fit and feel. Which brings me to the next piece of advice, and what I’m trying to keep in mind this week: bridal shop sizes.
Tori cautioned me to understand how sizing works in a bridal shop, and this was a valuable lesson to me as a bride. She said shops mostly keep median sizes in the shop for brides to try on, mainly sizes 8 to 14. In doing so, Tori said it allows brides of all shapes and sizes to be able to see how a dress is going to look, even if modifications, or differing sizes are needed when ordering.
“We need to stay in that median sizing spectrum so that we can try to accommodate (everyone),” she said.
And that is a very logical explanation. This way, even if a sample is too big or too small, Tori said it allows everyone to at least see what the dress would look like on them.
Above all, Tori said to trust the process, and to trust the shop.
“We do everything in our power to make our brides comfortable,” she said.
Tori said she wants brides to always keep in mind what this experience (and your wedding day) is all about; marrying the love of your life.
Editor’s note: Brigid Edmunds is a reporter and paginator for the Times Leader and Weekender. When she’s not working, she’s busy planning her upcoming nuptials to fiance Mikey Lawrence.
If you’re a bride-to-be, recently got married or a vendor and would like to offer advice for brides, email her at [email protected]
Her column, The Prenuptial Project, will run twice a month in Weekender.