I am not an expert at preparing a wedding (this is my first, and hopefully, LAST one!), so I definitely felt like I was at the mercy of wedding specialists. Unfortunately, there are a few who take advantage of that...The final straw was getting my bridal gown alterations.
Tip #1: If you're asked, "Are you an outside bride?", be wary.
A shop was recommended to me by a friend who has bought and altered dresses there before. When I called the shop, I was first asked, "Are you an OUTSIDE bride?" Yeah, what the heck does that mean? Turns out, they want to know if you your gown was purchased in their shop. Sometimes, it's just a matter of whether alterations are included with the "in-house" gown. Plenty of shops are happy to accommodate inside and outside customers. But for this particular shop, it led to tip #2...
Tip #2: If the shop doesn't set an appointment for you, find another shop.
Because I was an "Outside Bride," the shop wouldn't set an appointment with me. This particular shop only sets appointments for in-house brides; everyone else is told to come "whenever". "Whenever" means, "when you're not in the way of our ‘more important customers.'"
Don't be shooed into the corner like I was; I was left standing there for an hour as they catered to THREE other customers who came in AFTER me ("Hon, move over for them"). I even overheard the owner say to her assistant while glancing over at me, "I didn't even know she was coming in..."
REALLY?! I CALLED TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT!!
Tip #3: Take the dress -- pins and all - and RUN if the seamstress ever says this:
"Hon, I've been doing this for 20 years. Your dress is no different than the sweatshirt on that girl..."
Yup. She said that. Even better...that sweatshirt was on a customer that came in after me - and finished before me - as I stood there in my gown, in shock.
Tip #4: You may need more than one fitting. Make sure there's time between the first fitting and the wedding for additional alterations.
I should have left after Tip #3, but I didn't know my options. So I sucked it up and asked, "when will I be able to come in for my second fitting?"
...I was told I wouldn't be able to see my gown until FOUR DAYS before the wedding!
What, is she holding it ransom?!!
Tip #5: Have amazing friends that know how to take charge when necessary.
My bridesmaid and great friend, Jessica, is my hero. She insisted on going with me to get my dress back a few days later.
While the owner was insisting I still pay for taking an hour of her time (her time? I was hovering in the corner for an hour, remember?!), my friend, unbeknownst to me, was examining the dress. Next thing I know, she is calling from outside the shop, "Let's Go!"
...she took off with the dress!!! I couldn't believe it! No qualms about it! What a friend!
So, should I have paid the owner? Well, some people tell me no, because she "undid" the service by taking the pins out without asking.
Oh, and FYI, she stepped all over my dress as she brought it in!! Accident?! Hmmmmmm
Now, I'm sure the owner has her own version of what went down with a "bridezilla", but, so what. Is it too much to ask for some respect? She can call me what she wants, but, as one person eloquently said, we have a name for her:
Good luck, and best wishes in planning, Brides!!