The dress buying experience is part of the quintessential wedding plan. It’s a shared moment between you and your bridesmaids, mother, and other people close to you.
Unfortunately, buying the perfect wedding dress is hard! You feel pressure to choose, and it’s easy to get wrapped up in the buying process.
Don’t let people sway you into buying a wedding dress you don’t adore.
But can you try on wedding dresses without buying them?
You can try on a million wedding dresses without buying them if you want to. At the end of the day, the wedding dress companies and stores are there to serve you, the client. Have patience and keep trying until you find the dress of your dreams. Customer service associates are there to help and should encourage you never to settle.
There are, of course, times when you shouldn’t try on a bunch of dresses, particularly if you have zero intention of buying.
Let’s explore whether it’s OK to try on wedding dresses without buying and how you can navigate the wedding dress experience with class.
When You Shouldn’t Be Trying on Dresses
Trying dresses is much different than putting on outfits at Nordstrom or any other chain store. Wedding dresses cost a lot more money than your typical dress.
Many wedding dresses are unique, handmade garments. They represent hours of work and thousands of dollars of investment.
That’s why brides-to-be get so much attention when they go to buy a dress.
You’ll likely be spending a lot more money on your wedding dress than anything else you’ve ever worn, and the attendants are there to make sure they meet your needs and protect the dress.
Any good salesperson knows that sometimes it takes several contacts to make a sale.
Your first experience in a store or with a dress company will influence where you ultimately decide which dress to buy. If you walk into a store to try on a couple of dresses, they’ll happily accommodate you.
However, things get a bit murky if you’re not even getting married and have no intention of buying a dress.
Experienced salespeople and attendants are discerning. They can probably spot people who don’t plan on buying rather quickly. If you feel like you’re getting poorer service than the bride next to you, that’s likely the reason.
They’ll Still Let You Try On Dresses — Just Maybe Not a Million
Of course, businesses selling dresses that run in the thousands of dollars pride themselves on service. Even if you don’t plan on buying and know it, they’ll help you put a few on so you can see yourself in the mirror.
Once you keep asking for more dresses, though, don’t be surprised when they start probing about the details of your wedding or cut you off and ask you to come back again another day.
Using the Appointment System
If you want to try on wedding dresses, most often, you will need to book an appointment.
It’s hard for companies or boutiques to accommodate walk-ins. They will help people in a pinch but only occasionally, and if they’re relatively confident you plan on spending money.
Requiring appointments is also a nice way of weeding out people who aren’t as serious. You’re not going to get people going through the effort of scheduling an appointment only to try on dresses on a whim.
Appointments also stop people trying to joke around, snap pictures of dress styles, or prank the store.
Odds are, if you’re willing to book an appointment, you’re a serious customer. Many companies also ask you to fill in details like your wedding date, budget, dress style preferences, etc., to get a feel for what you’re looking for.
Knowing what you will like before you walk in the door helps them zero in on the perfect dress faster.
If you are really getting married and go to the trouble of booking an appointment, you shouldn’t feel bad if you leave the store empty-handed. It’s your wedding, and you deserve the perfect dress.
Some Tips to Make the Process Pleasant
Buying a wedding dress is a bit of an awkward dance between you, your parents (if they’re paying for it), and the salespeople.
Here are some tips to make the process go smoothly.
Be Open About Your Budget
Plenty of people feel weird about telling the store their budget when they know that the people working there earn commissions.
In reality, it’s a good idea to give them a range and then ask to see options across that range. That prevents the scenario where the salesperson brings you an amazing dress that you love, and you find out it’s $10,000 more than you plan on spending!
They also understand when people walk away without buying on the first visit.
People are sometimes shocked when they can’t find a dress they love within their target price range. It may take some time and some switching up of priorities to find the money to spend on the next appointment.
Don’t Be Afraid to Be Honest
You never want to tell the person helping you that you hate a dress or that it’s ugly. Focus on giving them constructive feedback to help them narrow your search.
It’s very rare for people to buy the first dress that they put on. Even when it happens, they only go back to the dress and purchase it after trying on several other dresses.
Sometimes people try wedding dresses on without buying them because they’re indecisive. Trust us; your salesperson will be happy at some point for you to walk away and later decide what you want.
Give Them a Lead
If your wedding is a year away and you’re excited and want to try on a dress, go for it! Just be transparent about your plans.
Remember, every customer who walks through a boutique’s door is a lead. They’ll work hard to earn your future business.
If you have a good experience there, you should be excited about coming back too! Tell them you’d like them to follow up in six months or closer to your wedding date.
Plenty of wedding dress companies operate like this. They meet customers for the first time well before they finally buy a dress.
Enjoy the Experience
The price tag on the wedding dress isn’t only for the dress. It’s for the lovely mirrors, glasses of champagne, and pampering that happens on your visit.
When you go to try on dresses, keep that in mind. You’re paying for the entire experience, not just the dress.
When you eventually buy the dress, the price includes everything involved. Let loose and tell yourself that you deserve it, whether you buy a dress that day or not.
Who knows, you could end up trying on that one special dress and knowing it’s what you’re going to wear when you walk down the aisle on your wedding day.