Our Top Tips for Shopping a Sample Sale 

WhiteLilyCoutureSneak(38of1)So you recently got engaged and started avidly planning the big day, only to discover that one of the key components – the dress – can creep well into the thousands very quickly. 

With the New Year looming, now is the time to get the jump on bridal shopping for your 2019 wedding. 

So how do you find ‘the one’ without breaking the bank? A sample sale is the perfect opportunity to save some serious moolah on your dream dress. Most bridal stores will have at least one a year, where they sell off end-of-season store samples, stock gowns and accessories. 

Sample sales can be tricky to navigate in the world of bridal, as most people don’t really know what to look for and how to prepare. Here we’ve put together our top tips for finding your wedding dress at a sample sale with minimal tears and maximum results!

Do your research on the brand

Once you’ve honed in on an upcoming bridal sale, start by having a look through their website and social media channels. Does the brand suit your style and your wedding theme? 

Trawl through the gowns on their site and save photos of styles you love. You never know what might be included in the sale on the day. Make sure you are familiar with the gowns you particularly have your eye on, so you can make a beeline for them when doors open on the day. 

Have a game plan

Take time to do a little bridal shopping prior to sale day, so you know what suits you – your body shape, skin tone and personal style. Often what looks good in a photo or on the hanger will look very different on you, so keep an open mind while doing so. 

Once you hit sample sale day, you will already have an idea of what will work and what won’t, based on what you’ve tried before – saving you precious time amongst the frenzy!

Wear the right undergarments

Nothing will kill your dream dress vibe faster than black, too-tight underwear. Opt for nude seamless underwear and a strapless bra (however, you may not need a bra at all with most gowns). If you feel like you might need spanx, we suggest bringing them in your bag. Some dresses won’t require shapewear, so it is easiest to add later. 

Keep your squad small

Don’t add extra stress to an already hectic situation by bringing five of your closest gal pals. Too many opinions can become overwhelming – especially when you add a wee bit of time pressure to the mix! Try and stick to just one or two guests whose opinions you value most.

On the flipside, if the most important people in your life are unavailable on the day, don’t hesitate to FaceTime them while you’re there for a little extra support. 

Arrive early

A good sample sale will often bring out some hard-core shoppers. If you know what you want, make sure you show up early to secure a good spot in the line-up. Often there will be only one sample of each, so get in quickly to make sure you don’t miss out. 

Know your budget

Bridal sample sales often require full payment in order to secure the dress. Know how much you are willing to spend on the day and how flexible you can be. Also factor in the potential cost of alterations and dry cleaning while you are bargain hunting. Expect to add $250-$750 onto the gown cost for adjustments depending on what you want to alter. Be ready to splash out the cash if you find ‘the one.’

Don’t stress if the fit isn’t quite right

On the topic of alterations – don’t worry too much if the dress is not a perfect fit. A good seamstress will be able to take in, hem, add cups, a bustle or potentially let out a little (depending on the dress) to get that perfect fit. Be sure to ask such questions of the staff if you find a dress you love. 

Look for imperfections

Before saying “Yes” to your dress, look over the gown for pulled threads, stains and missing beading or buttons. As ex-samples, these gowns will not be in perfect condition, so it is important to know what needs to be fixed. Often these can be cleaned or mended, however, some things may not be so easily resolved

Don’t hesitate to walk away if it isn’t the one. 

As one of the most important purchases of your life, it is so important to make sure you are 100% on your decision – particularly if the store has a no refund/exchange policy. If you are having second thoughts, don’t be afraid to walk away from the dress. If you know you would be devastated if someone else bought your dress, maybe it’s the one? 

If you think you’re ready to hit the streets with your new-found knowledge, we suggest you head to the White Lily Couture Annual Sample Sale on Saturday 24 November. With over 250 gowns on sale to choose from, you won’t be lacking for options!

Hi, I’m Sally, Founder and Editor of The Bride’s Tree. Over the past 13 years I’ve written thousands of articles about all things wedding from tips and trends to etiquette and ideas. On this blog I bring you the best of Sunshine Coast and Brisbane weddings.