Last week, I had the privilege of introducing you to Gabi Lee, owner of the Atlanta bridal shop, The Sentimentalist. Now that you have gotten the chance to hear more of Gabi's story (and if you haven't, you should take a moment to read it), Gabi has been so kind to share her knowledge and wisdom on how to make the best of your bridal appointment when looking for your dream gown.
Trunk shows! Could you explain what those are, and why a bride might want to consider going to a trunk show, versus a regular appointment? Biggest benefits or differences?
Trunk shows are the cool ;) But not as complicated as people want to think, ha! It’s just a weekend where we love on one of our designers a little extra. Let’s say it’s the Rebecca Schoneveld Trunk Show weekend (which it is, btw!)- that means extra and sometimes new pieces from her NY studio will be joining our permanent collection in ATL for a few days. AND all of her pieces are 10% for that weekend only AND maybe she comes along for a little visit. It’s the perfect time to come if you know you are in love with that particular designer or already have your perfect dress picked out and have enough time to snag the discount or meet the designer.
What are 3-5 things a bride should do to prepare for a trunk show/appointment to make the best use of it?
If your schedule allows, only come along for a trunk show weekend if you know you dig that designer. Otherwise, it’s gonna be a bummer for you and one of the waitlist girls, ya know? So, do a little research on the visiting styles- online or on IG- and if you have some faves picked out, there is a bigger chance they will be in store during the trunk show weekend ;) Bring your pertinent people and come ready to buy because trunk show weekends are the ONLY time we extend special order discounts AND you’re fave dress might be on it’s way out of the shop by Monday morning! Otherwise, prepare per usual - bring supportive people, some basic wedding plans, your budget, and an open mind ;)
What are 3-5 common misconceptions about trunk show/regular appointments, that you wish brides knew?
Oh geez, there are SO many, ha! With trunk shows, we are often asked if clients will be limited to only viewing and trying on trunk show dresses- which is a big ‘No way!’. You’ll have access to our full collection per usual- just with some extra special visitors and that designer-specific discount in the mix. Trunk shows also don’t mean that EVERYTHING from the designer is visiting. There are everyday misconceptions about everything from the special order process to certain style “rules”. So no- the dresses are not made by hand in our back room while ya wait AND there is really no such thing as “I can’t pull off sleeves, or ivory, or an a-line dress”. Of course you can, silly!
I know that appointments can be emotionally draining for the bride. I’m sure you’ve seen instances when there are a lot of people accompanying a bride to her appointment, sometimes saying things that are cutting, unnecessary, or hurtful. What should a bride do in these situations, and for future brides, how many people should they bring with them?
This is the #1 way an appointment goes south, and we see it every. darn. day. It can already be a serious challenge for a girl to find a dress she feels truly beautiful in, so it still baffles me when moms, sisters, and friends make the process harder or criticize the bride to the point that she won’t feel beautiful in anything. Our most important job as consultants is to uncover the dress of your dreams, not push it on you, to assist YOU in feeling confident and beautiful in the dress YOU truly want- ya know, hopefully enough to buy it! Or even just enough to have a good time and feel pretty in. I suggest bringing a shopping team with the same priorities, which is smaller than you think...smaller than you think you want, but oh so worth it. Just remember that you are not required to bring your wedding party along and you do not “owe” anyone your wedding day look. It’s mega personal- let it be.
Any tips or encouraging words for brides who are in the wedding planning (and dress hunting!) journey?
Enjoy your engagement. Stress is expensive, so make choices that will keep you the most calm, even if they seem to cost a little extra at first. And when it comes to dress shopping, don’t overdo it. Spend a solid wine night doing a little online digging and then just visit stores that carry your vibe and your pricepoint. Avoid FOMO and snow blindness by NOT over shopping. My general wedding planning advice is always to invest in a great team (a wedding planner, lots of service staff, a professional photographer, etc) so you can relax on your wedding day- and same goes for the dress. Find a great store that cares about you from shopping day 1 until the day you pack up your wedding dress for storage. We care. A lot. So, get with it ;)