How To Shop A Wedding Dress Sample Sale In Store

How To Shop A Wedding Dress Sample Sale In Store

How To Shop A Wedding Dress Sample Sale In Store. Mobile Image

Jun 03, 2024

Are you a bride looking to save a bit of money on your wedding dress? We know that weddings are expensive and it's important to set a budget early on when you start planning your wedding and that includes budgeting for your wedding fashion. (Speaking of budgets and wedding dresses, be sure to check out The White Dress by the shore's wedding dress budget and pricing guide. We put this handy guide together for you so that you could get a general sense of how much wedding dresses cost.) While you are determining your overall wedding budget, don't forget to include all the smaller items, like your bridal fashion! Your wedding dress might seem like an easy place to cut costs and save money, but you want to be smart about where you decide to shop for a discount bridal gown, especially if you are planning to buy your wedding dress online.


With a few easy tips from our dream team of bridal stylist experts here at The White Dress by the shore in Connecticut, we are going to help you save money on your wedding dress and be prepared to shop smart for a great deal on a designer wedding dress. We're talking all things bridal dress sample sales and how to shop them and get the most out of your experience. Our goal is to help you save money on your wedding dress and walk down the aisle like the amazing and confident bride that you are! 




If you are a bride on a budget or are a bride wanting a great deal on a designer wedding dress, then shopping a bridal dress sample sale might be right for you. As you're planning your entire wedding fashion looks, not just for the wedding day, don't sleep on a bridal sample sale for all of the other times during your engagement when you want to feel like the bride! Bridal sample sales are also a great option for brides who may be looking for a second wedding dress, a fun rehearsal dinner dress, a bridal shower or engagement party outfit, or an after-party look to dance the night away. If you are not familiar with the bridal fashion world, you might be wondering what a wedding dress sample sale is. So, let's go there...


When brides visit a bridal boutique to shop for their wedding dress, the dresses they are trying on are sample dresses. Bridal stores purchase sample dresses directly from wedding dress designers so that their brides will have something to try on when visiting their store. When a bride finds a dress she loves, a new order is placed with the bridal designer for a dress just for her, and the dress she tried on stays at the bridal store for the next bride to try on. 


When wedding dress styles are discontinued or a bridal store needs to clear out inventory to make room for new wedding dress designs, a bridal store will often have a sample sale. That means they are selling their inventory of sample dresses and brides can often get a designer bridal dress at a heavily discounted price.


Shopping a wedding dress sample sale is not quite the same experience as a regular wedding dress shopping appointment. We are sharing our top 5 tips to prepare brides to shop a wedding dress sample sale.




Before we share our top five tips for shopping a wedding dress sample sale, be sure to download our free guide for even more details about preparing for a bridal sample sale. This guide has everything brides need to get the most out of shopping a sample sale so there are no disappointments or drama. From measuring to alterations and everything in between, if a discount designer dress for less is in your future, get this guide! 


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V-Neckline Floral Lace Wedding Dress by Justin Alexander




Doing a bit of research before wedding dress shopping is always a good idea, but is essential if you plan on shopping for a wedding dress during a sample sale in store or in person. Every bridal store does their sample sales differently, so you'll want to be sure to check out their policies in terms of appointments (or not), returns. Fully understand your store's policy before you head into a sample sale so there is no confusion and you can get exactly what you want! 


Before shopping a wedding dress sample sale, you should have tried on wedding gowns previously to determine what necklines, sleeves, straps, sizes and skirt shapes you prefer! Brides will often have to act quickly when shopping a sample sale in person (after all, you aren't the only bride who wants a designer dress for less!), so it's important to be able to narrow in on exactly what you are looking for.


Remember that bridal stores often only have one of each sample wedding dress available in their sample sale, so you want to be able to save yourself time by knowing exactly what styles and shapes you are looking for. The goal is for you to quickly narrow down what you're looking for so that you can act quickly during a sample sale. 




When shopping for your bridal gown in general, but particularly during a sample sale, bring a decision-maker with you. This should be someone who understands your personal style and wedding budget, and who can help you to narrow down your choices. 


Sample sales are different than regular wedding dress shopping times in any bridal store. Some shops offer appointments that are shorter than the regular appointments and they often limit the number of guests, besides the bride. Make sure that you are bringing along a trusted advisor who will help you be decisive. 


When shopping a bridal sample sale in person, you have to make decisions more quickly than when shopping for a special order gown, as there is only one of that sample gown to purchase. So, you want to be sure that you have someone with you whose opinion you value and trust - someone who can help you act quickly when you find the one! 


Modern, No Lace Wedding Dress with V-Neckline by Jenny Yoo




Since you are not ordering a wedding dress that is based on your size measurements, it's important when shopping a wedding dresss sample sale in person to understand how bridal sample sizing works. More importantly, understand the bridal dress size that will work best for your body type - before you shop a sample sale. (See pervious tip above about trying on dresses before you shop a sample sale!)


Generally, sample sale wedding dress gowns are a bridal sample size 10 that fits someone who is a size 6-8 in regular clothes. At times, bridal stores may have additional sample bridal dress sizes, but it is critical that you do your research to find out what sizes are available during a sale.


Sample bridal gowns are also usually, but not always, best for a bride whose bust is smaller than a C cup and who are 5’4 or taller. This doesn't mean you won't be able to find a sample sale wedding dress if you are outside those parameters, but you have to keep in mind alterations and ensure there is enough fabric to work with. It's typically a better idea to buy a larger wedding dress sample, knowing that you can take the dress in during alterations, than try to let out a dress and make more room. 


Before shopping for your wedding dress at a sample sale, follow our easy tips for measuring yourself for your wedding dress




Because of the nature of sample sales, you may not be able to take a lot of time making your decision to buy. Doing your research in advance will allow you to be confident in your decision.


Remember that there is likely only one of that sample bridal dress available to purchase and you will likely have to purchase the dress that day. Sample sales do not usually offer the option to hold a gown while you think about your decision.


Brides should always be ready to buy when shopping for their wedding dress, particularly when shopping a sample sale. Brides should have their wedding budget decisions and conversations ahead of time, so they go in knowing how much they have to spend. They should also know the styles that they are interested in and that look the best on their body so that they aren't stuck in decision mode during a sample sale.


You don't want to miss out on the wedding gown of your dreams! 


Strapless, Floral Detailed Plus Size Wedding Dress by Wtoo by Watters




Our last important tip for shopping a wedding dress sample sale is to know your budget. What are you comfortable spending on a wedding dress? How does the wedding dress fit into your overall wedding budget? These are questions that need to happen with yourself, your partner, and any other wedding budget decision-makers before you shop a sample sale. You don't want to shop a sample sale without having the budget conversations in advance, only to find out that the sample dress that you had your eye on is gone. 


If you are buying a sample gown to save a bit of money or to get a great deal, make sure that you are factoring in additional charges besides the gown itself. Since this is a sample that most likely has been tried on before, you may want to budget for gown cleaning and minor fixes like loose pearls or sequins, which generally is between $200 and $300, depending on location. You also will need to factor in alterations expenses, which generally cost between $450 -$1,000 depending on location.


Remember - and this is a big tip to keep in mind - the amount of money spent on the wedding gown is not always in alignment with what alterations will cost. It all depends on the amount of work to be done. At times, your alterations on a sample wedding gown may be as much (or more) than what you spent on your bridal gown!


For more help in understanding what wedding dresses cost and how to figure out your bridal fashion budget, be sure to download our free wedding dress pricing and budgeting guide


We hope these tips have helped you learn a bit more about what a bridal sample sale is and what to expect if you shop a wedding dress sample sale. We would love to help you find the wedding dress of your dreams, no matter what style of wedding you are planning. If you live in the New England, New York or Connecticut areas, book an appointment and come visit us in our bridal store in Clinton, CT. We can't wait to work with you!

xoxo, TWD Lovelies