Whether you’re working with a tight timeline, looking for a city hall frock or hoping to find something more budget friendly. buying your wedding dress off the rack can be a smart option. Plus, there’s nothing like falling in love with your gown and being able to take it home that same day! To help you navigate the shopping experience, we included a few points for brides with a tight timeline or budget.

Know Your Options

Some big box bridal store chains are great standbys for off-the-rack dress shopping, but many bridal salons stock some designer off-the-rack gowns as well. We buy our off-the-rack inventory seasonally just like we do our made-to-order dresses. But we try to anticipate what type of dress brides who are buying off the rack might want — for example, for a beach wedding or an elopement — so we have a limited variety in our off-the-rack options. To help facilitate the shopping process (and save time!), We recommends sending photos of dress styles you like to us before you book an appointment.

Work with a Bridal Consultant

Buying off the rack might mean a difference in selection, but not a difference in service. “Brides who want to buy off the rack still need to make an appointment and work with a dedicated consultant to help them pick the right gown, we sit down with each bride. We discuss the types of changes that would make their dress fit better, and then recommend the right tailor to make those alterations.” So remember: our consultants are there to assist you, even if they’re not the ones ultimately fitting you.

Create a Tailoring Schedule

You might be considering shopping off the rack because you don’t have the six months it takes to complete a custom dress. Though that doesn’t mean you should wait until the last minute. “Brides still need to build in a fitting schedule,  “If you want to make adjustments to the design of your dress, such as adding a strap or lowering the back, you should start that process as early as possible. Tailoring that affects the fit, like taking in a waist or letting out a hem, can usually be done on a shorter timeline.” Be sure to schedule a final fitting two to three weeks before the wedding. In general, alteration takes about 2 – 3 months, but we can get most type of fittings done in 3 weeks.

Don’t Buy a Dress That’s Way Too Big

It can be tempting to buy a dress in the wrong size if you love the style (and price!). Resist the urge! If you’re a size two and you’re trying to tailor down a size 10, it can be very difficult to maintain the integrity of the design.  Bride should buy something that is at most 3 sizes bigger than what you measure. It not we can sometimes rush order certain styles in as short as two months!

Remember the Difference Between “Off-the-Rack and “Sample”

Off-the-rack dresses are typically cheaper than their extravagant salon counterparts due to the lack of excess fabric and embellishments. But that doesn’t always mean they’re a bargain. Brides who are looking to score a deal should shop towards the end of the season, when many sample dresses are put on the sales floor. The important thing to keep in mind? When buying a sample dress, make sure to check over the gown thoroughly. If there are any damages, it’s up to the client to get them fixed.  Stores normally will not cover repairs since it’s been heavily discounted already.