Long before she says “I do,” a bride has a pretty good idea of her dream dress. Whether she’s just Type A or accesses the wealth of information on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest boards galore, she’s pretty much decided if it’s Vera Wang or Amsale, strapless or one-shoulder.
But the journey to find what she really wants may be fraught with detours. After all, what she sees on the computer screen – a sinewy number on a 5-foot, 10-inch supermodel – may not go over well on her 5-foot, 4-inch curvy frame. Or, the price of her favorite gown may not be in the same league as her budget.
“Pinterest and social media are a blessing and a curse for bridal shops,” says Ty McBrayer, owner of Twirl Lexington, a bridal boutique in Lexington, Kentucky. “What they see may be a $10,000 dress, and they have a $1,000 budget. It sets standards that can’t be met with certain subjects.”
To navigate the road to her special purchase, bridal experts offer ways to keep the dream in check.
Bridal stores know that everything is about research these days when planning a wedding, especially because a typical client is of the social media generation. But, at the end of the research day, the ideas are someone else’s and not yours. Do what’s best for you. Picking the color purple for your wedding because it looks pretty online may not be the best idea if it’s not a color you really like.
“I’ve had brides say that ‘I hope my real wedding is as pretty as my Pinterest wedding,’” says Anne Davis, co-owner of Bliss Bride in Del Mar, California. “They may find the ultimate-looking wedding online, but it may not work in reality for them.”
By all means, buy your dress in person. Feel free to canvass designer websites and social media platforms for dress options and to pester them with questions, including that of the gown’s price. Then, gather your ideas on your Pinterest page and email the link to the local bridal boutique before your appointment, but don’t buy online.
“We wouldn’t recommend ordering gowns from websites because you’re never sure if the quality of the gown is up to par,” says Lynn Annatone, marketing director for Modern Trousseau, based in Woodbridge, Conn. “You want to touch and feel it. It’s a once in a lifetime purchase, so make sure you’re getting what you want. “
Perhaps the biggest benefit of the web is saving money. Finding out about sales used to be more of a hush-hush affair. Now, designers and store owners use Facebook and Twitter to alert followers about upcoming events, including trunk shows, which can involve discounts and perks.
That’s how a number of brides shop for their gowns at Kleinfeld Bridal in Manhattan, says Jeylan Yolac, social media marketing manager for the store, noting that many of the store’s online followers give feedback on gown collections Kleinfeld posts.
"Their comments provide us with great insight into what they want to see when they come in,” Yolac says.