I love a good Bridal Sample Sale! It is the week of our fall sample sale and I am so excited! A sample sale is like a good spring cleaning - you get to clear out some stock to make room for fresh new tulle, lace and sparkle. More often than not, a bride is usually skeptical about going to a sample sale. They lack the knowledge of what a sample sale entails. Some people may disagree with me and think a sample sale is disgusting since other people may have tried on your wedding gown. If you think about it, when you shop at a regular retail store, you purchase clothes that someone else probably tried on and just put back! Even more people may have tried it on too!
First off . . .
What is a Sample Sale?
A sample sale is when a bridal shop has wedding gowns (or other evening wear) on sale where you would buy them right off the rack. Each season, a designer will discontinue certain styles and those styles the bridal shop will try to sell the sample instead of having "hanging inventory". It can bother some brides to buy a dress that have already been tried on, but if the bridal shop takes care of their gowns, you could walk away with your dream dress for less! At La Bella Moda, we have over 100 wedding gowns for around $1000 or less! That means some wedding gowns are up to 70% off! That is a steal! I don't know about you, but I love a good bargain.
Typical sample sizes at a bridal shop range from a size 10 to a size 16. More and more stores are starting to carry plus sizes. If you are thinking of attending a sample sale, give the shop a call to see what sizes are apart of their sale. Remember, these sizes are bridal sizes too. A 10 in bridal is really like an 8 or sometimes a 6 in regular clothing. If you love a dress at a sample sale that is too big, most of the time it can be altered down to fit you! I have had our seamstress take the dress from a size 12 to a size 2 before! If the dress is a little to snug, see if it can be released at all. I am not someone who tells their brides to lose weight for your big day, but I did have a bride who loved a gown and it was too small for her. However, she was determined to lose the weight to make her dream dress fit. She ended up needing the dress to be altered because it was too big for her! If it is the dress and the price is right, you have to find a way to make it work for you bride!
4 Reasons to go to a Sample Sale?
1. Say "YES" to your dress for less!
During a sample sale, wedding dresses are significantly marked down. Whether you buy a dress that is discontinued or a dress right off the rack, there will be a discount involved. At La Bella Moda, we keep all of our wedding gowns in nice plastic bags on wooden hangers so they stay clean and do not discolor. Discontinued gowns are not in bags, just to make the day go smoother and for us to not get confused on a dress that can still be ordered! During a sample sale, you can purchase a dress that can still be ordered off the rack as well! These gowns may be around 30% off the original price! That is still a great sale!
2. Second Dress
Looking to make an outfit changed during your special day? Sample sales are perfect to find something unique and special but for way less! We also carry other white gowns too that are perfect for for your rehearsal dinner too!
3. Other Evening Gowns for Cheap
During a bridal sample sale, I also like to include other evening gowns too. You have a wedding coming up? A holiday party? A black tie event? If you or anyone you know is attending a fancy event or you know you have weddings coming up, hit up a sample sale and get a gorgeous expensive dress for less! At my store, we have some dresses that are as low as $80!
4. Accessories for Less!
Just like bridal gowns, a bridal shop needs to clear the stock of veils, belts and other fun accessories you may wear on your big day! Check out the accessories to see if you find a nice pin for your hair. There will also be other jewelry. If you are attending a wedding or a black tie affair, see if the shop has any discounted jewelry! You never know what you can find at a sample sale!
Why I love a Sample Sale!
1. We CLEAN out our Stock!
We get so many gowns each season from all of our designers! Some dresses I am just sick of putting on brides! Similarly to when you buy a new fall sweater at the start of the season, I just absolutely love to open a new box of stock! We not only love to clear our stock of bridal gowns, but also evening gowns, mothers' dresses and bridesmaids gowns. This helps make room for new inventory for the upcoming season.
2. Make Someone's Day!
I tend to meet the sweetest humans a at a sample sale! They even have the best stories of how they met their fiancé! If I have a bride who can only afford $500 for her wedding gown but most of our sample gowns start at $800 - $1000, I see if I can make the dress work for her! I have a very distant memory of telling a bride I could make magic happen for her on the price and she surprised me with a coffee when she came to look at bridesmaid gowns!
Sample Sale Secrets!
Most bridal shops take great care of their stock. Some do not! When you attend a sample sale, check out their orderable gown stockroom to see if they keep those dresses in bags. If they do, chances are, the sample sale gowns were just removed from their bags to make the day go smoother.
If you love a dress at a sample sale, before you commit to buying it, be sure to check the dress if there are any stains, rips, pulls or missing beading. Chances are the bridal shop or your tailor can fix it. But, double check before you buy it! Sample sales typically are final sales so, if you do not bring up the issue, the bridal shop may say that it was not there.
Ask about sizing of the dresses!
Discontinued styles mean discounted prices! If you have a budget of $600 but you love a dress at a sample sale for $1000, privately as your bridal consultant if she can work with you on the price! Chances are, the shop just wants to get rid of the dress and will accept a little under than the listing price! It does not hurt to ask!
What do I do with leftover gowns?
Typically after a sample sale, I will donate about 10 - 20 wedding gowns to some of my favorite nonprofits. I love to work with Brides Against Breast Cancer and Gowns for a Cause! There is no way you are going to get sell all of your gowns off the rack. Even after years. Gowns depreciate and styles and fashion fade. I never want to just throw away gorgeous gowns that I know someone else can appreciate! If you work in bridal and have gowns you want to get rid of, try a sample sale first then donate, donate donate!
Have you ever been to a sample sale? Did you enjoy it? What are your thoughts on a sample sale? Do you think it would bother you to purchase a dress off the rack someone else has tried on?