Trying on wedding dresses and finding the perfect dress for your ceremony is a quintessential part of the wedding experience. It’s a time when you can bring your closest friends and family and relax as you explore different styles and decide how you want to look when you walk down the aisle.
So do you have to pay to try on wedding dresses?
Before making appointments at wedding salons, you should know that some of them charge for the experience. Some also will charge you if you book an appointment and fail to show up. Not all salons will charge, but be aware and look at the small print before you book. When in doubt, ask the salon directly if there is a fee.
Having to pay for the privilege of buying a dress can be frustrating. After all, you’re typically spending hundreds and possibly thousands of dollars on a dress you’ll wear only a few times.
Paying a fee to get in the store can feel like a bit much.
If you’re trying to navigate the wedding dress buying experience and need help knowing whether you’ll pay to try on dresses, here’s some helpful information to get you started.
Why Boutiques Charge
Typically, only high-end or the most in-demand salons will charge customers before they even set foot through the door.
Most of the time, the fee ensures that the people coming in for appointments are serious and looking to buy.
Trying on dresses can take hours, and non-serious people would take up valuable time. Charging a small fee of, say, $50 is a way the boutique can weed out anyone wanting to try dresses on to see what they look like.
Some people get understandably excited when they get engaged and immediately start booking appointments at boutiques.
They show up and try on a few dresses, then realize they haven’t planned one thing about their wedding: their partner could want to get married barefoot on a beach somewhere.
Buying a dress usually isn’t the first thing that happens, so boutiques use small fees to encourage people to come when they’re ready.
Heads Up – Some Boutiques Change Prices Based on Dates and Time
You read that right: Wedding boutiques will also sometimes charge you more for time on the weekends or in the evenings.
If you think about it, it makes a little sense. Even though paying $100 for a prime spot on a Saturday morning is a tough pill to swallow, how else should the boutiques handle all the customers who want to get in?
Either they charge higher fees to encourage people to book less desirable time slots, or they start building months-long waiting lists and lose customers.
If you’re trying to shop at an in-demand boutique, be prepared to pay more for a weekend appointment than you will for something during the week.
Wedding Boutiques Try to Make It Worth the Price
We know what you’re thinking. The champagne is a nice touch, but shouldn’t that be baked into the price of your dress?
Yes and no. Successful wedding boutiques know that people coming in may already be salty about paying to get in so they can buy an expensive dress. In response, they’re even more likely to roll out the red carpet for their customers.
And, if you’re paying, you should expect as much.
That’s not a license to be rude or anything. It should simply assuage your fears or worries about asking to try on as many dresses as you like or ask for alterations on a short timeline.
The fancier the dress or boutique you visit, the more this rule applies.
Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want and need. It’s what you’re paying for when you buy the dress.
Salespeople Typically Work on Commission
The people serving you while you try on dresses make a good chunk of their money when you buy a dress.
It’s easy to think this incentivizes them to push you into something outside of your budget, but good boutiques and experienced salespeople want happy customers.
The faster they can find your dream dress that costs what you want to spend, the quicker they can move on to the next customer. They won’t rush you, but the whole point is good salespeople know how to get to a “yes” quicker than the rest.
If they constantly have to work through people who are just browsing or aren’t serious about buying that day, they miss out on other customers waiting in line to get in and spend money.
Ways to Try on Wedding Dresses Without Paying
If the thought of paying to try on wedding dresses doesn’t sit right with you, there are certainly other options.
These salons have hundreds of dresses in stock and can give you an experience similar to what you would get at any luxury boutique.
Usually, you can check the website when you’re booking an appointment to find out whether they charge to try on dresses.
Expect Time Limits
If you do book an appointment at a no-fee boutique, you should expect some sort of time limit when you get there.
A lot of bridal chains limit customers to one hour with a sales associate. This helps them manage their schedules and serve as many people as possible.
People who can’t find what they want in that one hour can simply re-book an appointment with the same associate at a future date.
Make sure you start the dress shopping process early on to guarantee you find something beautiful in your budget.
Skip the Luxury Price Tag
Booking an appointment at wedding dress chains or your local salon may mean you miss out on the latest trends or the most premium designer names. If that’s not an issue for you, then great!
There are millions of dresses out there without the brand names.
But if you want a designer dress, you should pony up the appointment fee and go to a higher-end boutique.
Give Both a Try
Knowing that the fees aren’t all that expensive, you may want to book an appointment at a leading boutique in your area to see what all the fuss is about.
Then, you can decide whether to keep paying to try on wedding dresses or stick with the no-fee appointments.
Ultimately, you might end up loving the paid appointment experience but then finding the perfect dress at your local bridal chain. You never know.
Paying more for a dress isn’t always the answer. Plenty of brides forgo costly dresses for something simple and more affordable because they love how it looks.
If possible, spend some time online to find dresses and styles that you prefer to increase the odds of finding something fantastic the first time around.
If you’re paying to try on dresses, show them to your attendant and let them work their magic. That is, after all, what you’re paying them for.