The bridal industry in the United States has experienced so much change over the last couple of decades. As the World Wide Web started to become a necessity to know how to navigate, online shopping in the comfort of one’s own home became preferable over fighting crowds at the stores, and big bridal store chains started dotting the map across the country, the small bridal boutiques that were once the ONLY way to shop for one’s wedding dress have had to evolve and even fight for their position to stay alive in the modern consumer world. So much change has had owners of small bridal boutiques wondering how on earth they will remain successful and continue to provide their unique services to brides while remaining with the times and meeting their needs when they are looking to make one of the most important purchases of their life.
So why, might you ask, would you choose to shop for your wedding dress in a small bridal boutique when there are so many other convenient, and even less expensive, options out there? Well, that’s what we are here today to talk about because trust us . . . once we’re done with you, you’ll realize that you won’t want to miss out on the experience only we small boutiques can provide.
Probably THE most important reason you should start your wedding dress search at a bridal boutique is for the experience you’ll receive. At our boutique we strive to give you an intimate, personalized experience that you can share with your family and friends where you don’t have to worry about the logistics. We provide two to three bridal consultants per appointment to ensure everything runs smoothly and you can just enjoy your time with us. The only worry you’re allowed to have is which gorgeous gown you’ll be saying “yes” to with your friends and family sharing in the special moment.
I will never forget the first time I ever went wedding dress shopping for a friend of mine as a part of her entourage. We were at a large national chain bridal store and I can only describe the experience in one word . . . CHAOS. There were SO MANY PEOPLE. I’m not one to shy away from crowds necessarily, but I was so overwhelmed by all that was going on in the one big open space that I couldn’t imagine how my friend was feeling.
After I got over the fact that this was already not the most enjoyable experience, I realized we were being introduced to my friend’s bridal consultant and shown to our “station,” where my friend would be trying on gowns. I use the word “station” because you’re literally up on a platform that houses four tiny fitting rooms clustered together where other appointments are occurring simultaneously for everyone in the store to see after you put on each dress to show your friends and family. (Yes, I know that is a run-on sentence – but I wanted you to feel as overwhelmed as I was.) So, in other words, if you’re self-conscious AT ALL, be prepared to swallow your fears and show yourself off in dresses to not just your friends and family, but to the guests of the appointment next to you, and to the entire store.
Besides the fact that you don’t get a private, intimate experience with just your friends and family, at this appointment, our bridal consultant was running two appointments at the same time. That poor girl was running ragged trying to appease both parties, and I genuinely felt bad that she was being asked to juggle all that was going on. Because it just wasn’t possible for her to give us her whole attention, we ended up having to pull dresses for my friend and assist her getting into and out of dresses in the dressing room. With no fault to the consultant, we were frustrated that things just weren’t running smoothly whatsoever.
Luckily, my friend walked out of there with a dress she loved, but I fear that may not be the case for many women. I know that I myself would have been so discouraged after a certain point that even if I had found “my dress” I wouldn’t have been excited enough to say “yes.”
Before I finish up this section, I will say that the big chain bridal stores do serve a great purpose for those on a very tight budget, and those who don’t have a self-conscious bone in their body. So if that is your cup-of-tea, to each their own.
KEEPING UP WITH THE TIMES
Many bridal boutiques have been able to keep up with the times to suit the needs of the modern bride. Most have made sure to institute an online presence to keep their business “in the know” and searchable for a very Google-centered culture we have today. Then there’s social media. Many boutiques, like ourselves, have to have a social media presence to generate business. Online platforms like Facebook, Instagram, the Knot, and Pinterest have become vital in generating leads and getting brides to walk into stores. We at Jessica’s pride ourselves in the website we have built along with this blog, as well as our social media presence and our storefront on the Knot. Most bridal boutiques have found ways to keep it convenient for brides, while keeping it personable, which is another reason you should be searching for a bridal boutique to make your appointment with.
I will always be a huge advocate for shopping local instead of giving business to larger chain stores. Feeding local businesses in small communities keeps those communities thriving. There’s so much history in these small towns that should never be forgotten and helping small businesses in these communities by shopping with them is a great way to keep these towns flourishing and not forgotten, while also boosting the local economy.
ONE LAST THING
Lastly, we wanted to emphasize that just because you are on a budget, doesn’t mean a small bridal boutique is out of the question. At Jessica’s, our dresses range from $600 to $1700. We are so excited to offer dresses that are high in quality, yet very budget-friendly. We also only ask for 65% down in order for us to order your dress with the rest due at pickup. Many bridal boutiques offer these kinds of options that make it super feasible for most brides to get everything they’ve dreamed of in a wedding dress. All it takes is doing a little research to find those boutiques that are the perfect fit for your budget.
As you can see, there are some major perks to starting your wedding dress search at a small bridal boutique. I am a firm believer that making memories is one of the most important things to do in life, and when it comes to finding your wedding dress, that is no exception. Since most people get married with the intent of only doing it once, we want to make sure it’s a time you won’t ever forget and will cherish for a lifetime.
Bridal Consultant at Jessica’s on Main