[Dress Anecdote] The Lace, The Belt, and The Veil

Sold a Dress! Again!

This Bride knew what she wanted, or so she thought. She wanted lace and an A-line (either every Bride I get has the same taste or everyone and their mother wants that specific combo). We tried a few on but none of them were giving her that wow factor. So I put her in a fit and flare type of dress. Think mermaid but the flare starts higher on the body and it’s not meant to be very tight in the legs. You are still able to walk comfortably. It was a lace up, which I adore, and by my favorite designer, who also happened to be a favorite of the Bride. Double Score, and we have the same name. Triple Score! She came out in this dress and liked it, didn’t love it. I asked if she wanted to try a belt since she had made a comment about how a belt can completely change a dress. We tried on three before I pulled one that I thought would look good. I showed it to her and she didn’t love it but said she would try it.

Done! Fell in love with it. The belt gave it just enough bling and the lace in the belt matched the dress wonderfully so it looked like they came together, it didn’t distract from the dress, it enhanced it. Which is what you want. I think we tried on a total of three veils, when I get on a role, I get on a role. One was ivory with lace edging, it was really nice but she wanted something longer. We tried on a veil with sparked beading on the edges to see if it would complement the belt (moms request, not mine) and then we tried the ivory, cathedral length, lace edging veil. It was magic. She loved it! Mom loved it! I loved it!

[Consultant’s Confessional] The Specific Color

Another pair of bridesmaids who are looking for a specific color: Platinum, Dessy’s Platinum. Not Silver, not Pretty Maids Platinum. Dessy Platinum. Yup, Wedding is in May. These poor Bridesmaids. They have to get a specific color and no time to order. The Bride has also given instructions that their dresses can’t be shinny. So Chiffon is the only fabric to pick from. They can rush it to the store, but that’s another $40. While we are trying on dresses they mention that the bride might change her mind and go with silver instead since a lot of them have had a hard time finding a dress in the right color.

Honestly it’s a big mess. They can’t wear any fabric that is shinny, has to be a specific platinum, they have to spend more money to rush it. Their only real fabric options are Chiffon, which some people either don’t like or can’t pull off. I just want to give these girls a hug and say ‘it will be ok’. There are so many cute dresses I want to put them in but I can’t because they are “shinny”. If you are going to be so specific you might as well have picked a dress for all of them to wear.

Giving your bridesmaids free reign to pick their own dress is a nice gesture, but sometimes it is just easier to pick everything out yourself. Giving B’maids the choice could cause a lot of stress on both parties. On one side the B’maids don’t want to disappoint the Bride by buying the wrong dress or a dress she doesn’t like; and on the other side the Bride has to worry about how the dresses will look together if everyone is wearing different dresses and how those dresses will look with her dress.

[Dress Anecdote] The Simple Bride

This is the dress

I sold my first dress completely on my own! To top it all off, I sold the Bridesmaids dresses for the same group in the same appointment! Go me! She brought her sisters in with her, and her mom and dad. The Bride had picked out a few dresses from online, I put them on, and soon she fell in love with a dress. Honestly, it was fairly simple and she was easy to please in comparison. She likes A-line, and wanted more fabric work than beading or lace. I really enjoy fabric work, it gives a dress that simple yet detailed look to a dress.

She was really easy going and just along for the ride, she picked out a few dresses to try on, and didn’t want to try on anything that she didn’t like. She was really considerate, most people don’t keep track of the time allotted for the appointment. She said that she didn’t want to keep me from another appointment. I told her that the bridal appointment and bridesmaids appointment she had made were sperate so she basically had a three hour appointment.  She felt a little more relaxed after that. I still think it was sweet that she was being so considerate and told her I appreciated it.

AFter we very quickly picked out the dresses she liked, found the Dress, and matched a veil she was all ready to go. Next we were onto the bridesmaids! That was where the real fun began. We pulled about ten or so dresse for them to try on and nothing was really screaming at any of us. One was described as making the girl look like a pesant. Not joking, it was kinda funny because none of us liked the dress, she didn’t like it when she tried it on, the sister wasn’t a fan, and I wasn’t a fan. That was before we even left the dressing room! But she still went out in it, and lo and behold, the Bride was not a fan. Well that was painless.

After nothing was working I went out and pulled a dress that I thought would be a nice compliment to the Brides dress without being too matchy matchy. It was a lace up dress, and had some folds on the bust that mimicked the style of the bow in the Brides dress. I was joking with the sister that she could get a picture of all the bridesmaids in a line and lace each other up. She thought it was great and made that dress her pick  just so she could get that picture. The Bride saw it and loved it, and it came in the perfect color for her. So she had the other sister try it on and it looked good on her too! They were sold! They got measured that day and paid for the dress.

[Consultant’s Confessional] The Bridesmaids Party that Never Ended

I apologize for the lack of updates but my personal life takes precedent. On the plus side I have tons of fun stories to share with all of you!

The Bridesmaid entourage

A week or so ago a bride came in, with a few of her bridesmaids, looking for her bridesmaids dresses. It was a Saturday, and bridesmaids dresses are a fairly routine appointment. Except when they are dead set on a specific color and have no idea what dress they want, or what fabric. There are a lot of swatch cards at our store, each designer has one for  just about each fabric, sometimes they will combine and have a satin and chiffon together but a lot of the time there is one swatch card for one fabric.

Typically a dress should be picked first, it really does save a lot of time running around grabbing a different swatch card for the twenty or so dresses that have been picked out (yes, that happened). This probably went on for about an hour, with only a handful of dresses actually having been tried on by this point. I bring them swatch after swatch, looking for their perfect teal. I don’t remember her colors specifically but they all came from her flowers that she was using. I noticed teal wasn’t mentioned and asked her where the teal came into play. Blue Mason Jars. Yup, blue. Not teal. Blue. I act all surprised and try to keep myself from banging my head into a wall. I tell her that we actually have blue mason jars and I go and grab one for them to match to the swatches.

Finally I was making headway in getting them away from the teal! The blue of the mason jar is so much easier to match and it’s a more popular blue. We look at the blue and the bride is still clinging to this teal idea! “If you look at it a certain way” UGH!!!!! Kill me now. Eventually, after what really seemed like forever, they decided on a dress and in a blue similar to the mason jar. They didn’t buy anything, for some reason or another. Honestly couldn’t tell you.

So the appointment was over, a waste of two hours, and this is where it gets insane. They are also picking up a dress someone for a separate wedding. After a bridesmaid making a snide comment about how long it took us to get the dress from upstairs, on the busiest day of the week (It maybe took a few minutes). The dress is brought down and apparently it’s the perfect shade and color of teal. After we’ve solidified and agreed on the dress in the lighter blue that actually matched the mason jars, what do they want to do? They want to try on more dresses… Wait, what? So yeah, we tried on more dresses and they still didn’t buy! Three hours! I don’t even remember the second half of the appointment. All I remember is thinking ‘are you kidding me? Is this really happening? Why can’t you leave already?’

[Dress Anecdote] Expectations vs. Reality

full lace with a keyhole back

As I said in the beginning some of  Dress Anecdote won’t be an anecdote. This is one of them. This is all about budget, yes that icky word. That icky word that can ruin your hunt for the perfect dress. The word that should be defined as a love, hate relationship. This is also about shopping around and trying on dresses.

This past week I had two brides come in and a mother come in looking for her daughter, all wanting a full lace gown. No biggie, lace is in and we’ve got plenty of gowns with lace. Should be a piece of cake right? Wrong. When you ask them what their budget is and they say “around $700” or “about $500” you know that the appointment isn’t going to go well. Lace is expensive, our full lace dresses are about a thousand dollars, minimum.

So not only do I have to try and find a gown based on the brides description, I have to find one in her budget with a material that is known for being expensive. Later, I have to be the one to tell her that we don’t have what she is looking for in her budget, and I don’t want to be the bad guy.  Here is the tip: research!

Go online and check the prices of different dresses and take note of the fabric. If you want a lace dress for under $1000, take the time to search but be realistic with your expectations. It’s no fun to find out that you can’t get your dream dress because of the price, or trying on dresses that are out of your price range and falling in love with them.

Which leads into another part of the budget! Don’t EVER, EVER, EVER try on a dress that is out of your budget! EVER! I can not stress this enough! One of the brides that I mentioned earlier was just trying on dresses to see which styles flattered her. She pulled a dress out of her budget (about double, the dress was about $1800) and I warned her and told her that it was over double her budget. She said it was ok, that she was just trying them on. And what do I do? I can’t say “no, you can’t try on the dress.” I pull the dress and place it in her dressing room, after all, I did warn her.

So here we go, trying on dresses, me purposefully saving that double budget dress for the very last, praying to the bridal gods that she falls in love with a dress closer to her budget. She falls for this one dress and we bring out her mother’s veil that she is wearing and it matches and the dress is only a little out of budget. Yes, we might be able to avoid the break the bank dress!  But no, she wants to try it on… so I get it out of the bag and tell her the price again and tell her the designer and information about it as I’m getting ready to put it on her, I put it on her and what does she do?

She breaks out into this huge grin. I haven’t even buttoned/zipped (it had a keyhole back and buttons to hide the zipper) the dress up and she’s in love with it. We go out, we show mom, bride can’t stop smiling, mom asks the price, and it all goes down hill. The bride asks me how much she would have to put down to get the dress, I tell her the stores policy for layaway and have to slip a piece of paper to her with the figures on the fly so her mom doesn’t see because the bride is going to talk to her mom and see about getting it.

I’ll tell you one thing, that mom is not going to shell out over double the budget for a dress, especially since the bride might be getting her grandmother to combine her (the brides) mom’s wedding dress and the grandmother’s wedding dress. So it was a nightmare, needless to say.

But a lesson to every bride, NEVER TRY OUT OF YOUR BUDGET! If you fall in love with that dress you will always remember that dress and it won’t compare to the dresses in your budget and you will feel like you are “settling” for a dress instead of finding the dress.

[Dress Anecdote] Scrapbook Mom

This is what I’m calling my series where I share my Bride stories with all of you lovely readers.

We had a Bride come in who was full of personality, she and her mom were a trip! I absolutely loved her and her mom. Yes, we did find her the perfect dress. She came in wanting bling, lots of bling, to match her personality. In my experience usually Brides with a large personality don’t go for the loud and blinged out dress,  even if that’s the style they want when they come in. She picked out a drop waist gown with a sweetheart neckline, bought the sample out of the store because it fit her perfectly! Selling out of the store,  that is what we like to see. The dress had just enough bling in the accent pieces that really made the sparkle and bling pop. I mean, this dress fit her perfectly! When mom started the waterworks we knew we had the dress.

At the end of the consultation, after finding the perfect veil to match her dress, her mom wanted a picture of me, the other consultant, and her daughter in her dress. She explained that she was making a scrapbook of everyone who helped with the wedding as a momento to her daughter. What a great idea!

I wish I had done that when I started planning my wedding and picked out my dress. Kids get scrapbooks all the time (well I did anyway)! My mom made me one when I turned 18 that had a bunch of pictures of me growing up, I had an aunt who took a gigantic frame and made a scrapbook page when I graduated High School, my grandmother made a family tree scrapbook for me when I turned 18. Correct me if I’m wrong  but I would put a wedding pretty high up on the life events ladder, definitely above high school graduation. This way you can always look back and see the process, maybe in a month or so you will look at a picture of you and your bridesmaids working on favors or centerpieces at 2 o’clock in the morning and laugh. Yes is was stressful and probably not the most pleasant of experience at the time, but it will make for a good story down the road.

[Consultant’s Confessional] “I’m just trying on”

The worst thing you can hear next to “Do I have to make an appointment to try on dresses?” I’ve had this happen twice this weekend. One girl came in with her mom to try on her dream dress and her mom wanted her to try on this other dress, and it just got out of hand. Honestly if you are not seriously looking, you are wasting your consultants time. This isn’t to say that looking at different shops to see what they have is a bad thing, but if you are just looking with no intention to buy what so ever, it’s a waste of time. And if you are “just looking” and try in a dress that is over the budget you would have if you intended to buy, even worse! Why? Because you have tried on a dress that is over your budget and fallen in love with it. Now when you go to look at dresses to buy you will have that over budget dress in your head and you will end up feeling like you “settled” when you buy a dress in budget.

The other pet peeve is not having an appointment. I’ve had people just come in and try on dresses without an appointment and I’ve had people come in and ask if they need an appointment to try on dresses. WHY? I don’t understand it! When I was shopping for my dress, this was before I got a job at the boutique, I called and made an appointment to try on dresses. It’s just common courtesy, if a place has only two bridal consultants and one has an appointment at 12 and the other has an appointment at 1230 and you walk in at 1150, who do you hurt? The group who made an appointment and the consultants. Bridal appointments are typically scheduled for 90 minutes, that is 1 hour and 30 minutes.

By just showing up and trying on the dresses yourself they can get ruined, not put in the bags properly or put in the right sizes. It’s a nightmare. The easiest way to have the best experience is to make an appointment.

Gowned and Ready

Here Comes The Bride

Hello people of the internet, bloggers, youtubers, facebookers, pinners, and tweeters.

I guess I should introduce myself, since writing a blog is basically inviting you into my life. My name is Ashley Bowles, but people call me Ash every once in a while (there are a lot of Ashley’s where I live). I’m a recent graduate of Longwood University (though I won’t be able to say that for much longer) with a BA in Communication Studies with a  concentration in Mass Media. Unlike most of my fellow graduates I stayed in Farmville. No, not the game FarmVille, but Farmville, the small town that Longwood sits in the middle of.

Why do you ask? Well it’s quite simple really, I got engaged. That really was it, I stayed in a town that had little to no market for my area of expertise because I got engaged to the love of my life (Cue the resounding ‘awww’). Now I should mention that if I can’t find a job with a realistic commute we do plan to move to a better market to me. He works in IT, he can basically work anywhere. This past summer really was a cluster of chaos. I graduated in May, got engaged later that month, went to Italy and France in June, went to a wedding in July where a groomsmen sweated through his tie, August I think was nice and quiet as far as my personal life goes, my job situation was a completely different story.

May I worked for a local photographer who had no business running a business and cheated me out of money so I quit, later in May I worked at the Cook-Out that opened up recently but I was tired of working for idiots so I quit, also I didn’t get along with a manager and the hours weren’t paying the bills and I racked up about $1000 in credit card debt because of it. After I came back from Italy and France I started working at Charley’s, a local restaurant, as a waitress but I couldn’t handle that and the other job I was working, Buffalo Wild Wings. I had  also gotten a job at the college right outside of Farmville. Well that lasted all of two days because what I was told I would be doing and what I was actually doing were two different things. So here I was, just quit Charley’s because I got the job at the college and I quite the job at the college because of false advertisement. So I stayed with BWW and worked on my home business: designing websites for local clients.

For a while that worked, BWW was giving me enough hours to pay the bills and I always had a week day off where I could schedule interviews for the “Big Girl Job” as I called it. But like the other jobs in food service, if the demand isn’t there your hours get cut. Which is what happened. So I was stuck with a job where I worked one day a week for maybe four hours. Lovely. I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong, and got tired of rejection and resolved to my fate that I was stuck in a small town and food service forever.

Then it happened! I got a job at the local bridal and formals store. It was my saving grace, finally I would get out of food service and into something more respectable. Take that karma! On my first day I was told that I would be working predominately with brides, not prom, BRIDES! My luck really was looking up! I do not pretend to be an experienced bridal consultant, simply a girl trying to find every bride her perfect dress while trying to plan my own wedding.