Thursday, September 20, 2007

And now for the bad....

When I first set out to go dress shopping I expected it to be a horrible experience. Why? Well, I had heard a lot about other bride's bad experiences at snobby stores and attendants that made them cry. So I just prepped myself for that. I went to at least a dozen stores and honestly the vast majority of them were really great. Overall it was a very positive experience. I've already blogged about some of my favorites but we all know that not every trip could be perfect.

Today I'm going to talk about the two places that I did not have good experiences at. Just like with the favorites I know that not everyone will agree. So much depends on what you as a bride expect from your shopping experience and it also depends on the attendant you get and what type of day they are having so if these stores were your favorites then you can ignore my reviews.

1) Hannelore's of Old Town- When I went to bridal stores I made it a practice of never supplying my mailing address. Why? Many bridal stores will sell your address to junk mail lists and soon you start receiving a million pieces of junk mail relating to all things weddings. Not all stores do this but I didn't want to take any chances, and I also didn't want to get mail from the store itself. Every store I went to had no problem with this and completely understood. Except Hannelore's. Before I started looking at dresses the attendant asked me why I wasn't giving an address so I told her. She said that they didn't sell their lists or send brides any mail. So I said that if they didn't send any mail they shouldn't need my address. She told me that "Hannelore will not allow us to work with you if you don't provide any address." I told her that if that was the case I should leave the store now because they weren't getting my address. She didn't say anything to that but led me upstairs and "allowed" me to look at their dresses even without an address! I tried on a few dresses and even found one that I thought was "the one" for a while, but the attitude of my attendant really spoiled the shopping trip and I knew after that I'd never buy anything from them. As I left my attendant told me that if I ordered from them I'd have to supply my address then. Well yeah, of course! I drove about 45 mins out of my way to another store that carried the same dress just to try it on again so I wouldn't have to go back. It's a good thing I did b/c I ended up not liking the dress as much as I had in Hannelore's. Despite my bad experience you might still want to go to Hannelore's because they have a very large selection and are the only carriers of some designers in the area. Prices start at $1,500 (as they will remind you when you call to make your appointment). Just hope you get one of the nicer attendants.

2) Bridal Salon at Saks Fifth Avenue, Tysons (no website)- I arrived at Saks on time for my appointment to find that they only had one attendant and she was still helping the bride that had the appointment before me. The bride decided that she was going to buy the dress so they were starting the financial dealings. No problem, I looked at the dresses they had on display and the attendant even said I could go into their backroom and pick all the dresses I would like to try on. So I went back and browsed for a while giving every dress a thorough examination before I decided to try on 2 that I liked. The attendant was still busy with the other bride. She apologized for being busy and said she was trying to get someone else to help me. She showed me to the dressing room, said to get undressed, and that someone would be with me shortly. So I got undressed and waited. And waited. And waited. There wasn't even a bridal magazine to look at. Just naked me, a mirror, and my 2 dresses. This was my last bridal gown shop so by this point I knew how to handle the gowns carefully and I knew I really didn't need an attendant. So after twenty minutes of waiting in my skivves for an attendant to help me during MY appointment hour I just tried on the dresses myself. There were only 2, after all. Neither worked and when I walked out there was no one around so I just left. Honestly, I really expected more out of Saks. To her credit the attendant was very apologetic but I knew they'd rather spend time on the girl buying a dress then the girl who might be buying a dress. The selection wasn't very large and other stores in the area carry the same designers so there isn't really a need to go unless you just really want to.

What does the below picture from Boutwell Studios have to do with my ranting? Nothing, but after having bad experiences I like to self medicate with candy.
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