We watch the process as consultants work with brides – some of whom have flown in from all over the country – to find the right gown for the right woman. In general, it’s actually not bad. Yes, I think it’s a bit much for a woman who lives in Seattle and has just been laid off her job to fly all the way to New York for a wedding gown…but I can’t magically see into her bank account, either. And yes, that actually happened in an episode shown last night.
In fact, the episode was about women who fell in love with gowns well out of their price range. It happens. You see something gorgeous, try it on, fall in love, and then see what it will cost you. OUCH!
One of the consultants was quite determined to sell her bride a gown that was literally twice the top end of her gown budget. The bride adored the gown, so she was sorely tempted. Still, she was more practical than the laid off Seattle maiden who decided to splurge on the gown that cost a great deal more than she could afford, and joked about selling a kidney to pay for the dress. This woman wanted to be practical as well as pretty.
The consultant continued to push, telling her all the things she could cut in her wedding to pay for her gown. When she said flowers, I felt that was an option, depending on the setting of the wedding and the bride’s taste in flowers, not to mention how large her flower budget was to begin with. When she started telling the tempted bride that she could just cut a few people from her guest list and not feed everyone…that’s when I started to have a problem.
I know that each wedding vendor thinks their service is the single most important in the entire wedding. I also know that selling a six thousand dollar gown would have resulted in a terrific commission for the consultant. I understand that if she doesn’t sell dresses, she doesn’t eat. I also know that if I knew the price tag on that gown (or had any sort of an accurate guess) and then found myself sharing one tiny plate of appetizers with Mr. Twistie at the reception…I’d probably quietly end my relationship with that bride after that day. After all, it would sort of show me where I stood in her estimation.
In the end, the bride in question decided against not only the gown, but Kleinfeld, as well. She’d felt pressured. So the consultant lost any commission, Kleinfeld lost a sale, and the bride gave her money to a place that stayed closer to her budget. Her guests were all fed, I assume.
So what is the point I’m trying to get across to all of you?
Set your budget for wedding items before you go seriously shopping. Do some research in advance to get an idea of what your money is likely to get you, but once you’ve decided you’re not going over a certain dollar amount, be very clear with your vendors and don’t look at things that cost twice what you’re willing to spend.
If your wedding gown budget is $3,000.00, don’t look at something that costs $6,000.00. If the consultant at the salon won’t tell you the ballpark price until it’s on, tell them you’re not trying it on until you know whether it fits in your budget. If your budget is $500.00, don’t look at something that costs a grand.
Adjustments are possible, yes. You can decide to pull a bit out of decorations or drop an item or two that doesn’t mean anything to you as a couple. You can even choose less expensive dishes to serve your guests or limit the bar to beer and wine.
But don’t let guests go home hungry and thirsty or rescind invitations in order to wear a fancier dress.
And don’t let a bridal consultant tell you to refuse your guests hospitality so that you can have a more expensive gown.