Last Friday, we were in for a thrill at Loehmann's "Grab the Gown" event at their flagship store in Chelsea, NYC. East coast brides, hailing everywhere from Philly to West Virginia, braved torrential rains to line up for their shot at scoring the ultimate designer gown for less. Despite the gloomy forecast and 7 a.m. start time, the energy was electric. "There's no rules, so I'm going to go crazy!" said Lisette, the first shopper in line, who had been waiting since 11:30 p.m. the night before.
Up for grabs: 800 gowns from Allure Bridal, Pronovias, Demetrios and more, with price tags slashed down to $1,000 or less (originally costing up to $11,000). As we watched the mayhem unfold, celebrity wedding planner David Tutera shouted words of encouragement along with us ("Be careful, but run fast, because there's a lot of gorgeous dresses!").
1. Don't shop too soon. Tutera warns against falling in love with a gown 24 months before the big day. Styles change from season to season, but most importantly, your personality may evolve throughout the course of wedding planning. "I've worked with brides who were engaged for a long process of time, and by the time they walked down the aisle, they bought three dresses. They're trying to sell one on Craigslist and donate another one to somebody else, because they keep changing their mind and fashion," said Tutera. Sleep on it before getting that trendy one-shoulder style; consider the timeless appeal and longevity of each gown (case in point: Tutera's favorite celeb bride of all time is Grace Kelly).
2. Evalute a discounted gown thoroughly before buying it. It's tough to think logically when your adrenaline kicks in and you've got dollar signs in your eyes. When attending a sale, inspect potential dresses for any tears, stains, or issues with fabric. "Remember, it's discounted possibly for a reason—looking for perfection might not be possible," said Tutera.
3. Listen to your gut and do your homework. Many of the savvy Loehmann's shoppers brought Mom, Dad, or their best friend with them (duitfully carrying 10+ gowns apiece). The most thorough brides schooled them in advance by showing them photos of fabrics and silhouettes they should look for. But as much as you rely on loved ones for advice, the gown you choose should ultimately be your decision. “Just because Mom wants you to wear that ball gown dress because it’s a princess wedding, you might not be that body type to carry off a princess ball gown dress," said Tutera.
David Tutera pictured with BG's Web Producer, Stefania (pictured at left) and Web Editor, Kristen (pictured at right).
Gown shopping mania!
A victorious shopper with her Demetrios wedding gown.
Check out the new season of My Fair Wedding Unveiled, which airs at 9 p.m. Saturdays on WE tv. Plus, pick up a copy of Tutera's latest book My Fair Wedding: Finding Your Vision Through His Revisions!