I’ve gone wedding dress shopping twice. Wedding dress shopping is quite the spectacle. Think about it. It’s a bunch of bridezillas in search of their perfect ivory dress. And the expense…are you fucking kidding me? The typical price of a wedding dress can pay for your DJ, photographer, or a combo of the two if you are dumb about finances. I’m not going to hold back…most brides are dumb about wedding dresses.
First stop on my dress shopping tour was Glamour Closet located on the border of North Beach and the Financial District a few blocks away from where I work. I’d passed it a few times and always dreamed of going there one day if ever I got engaged. Well I finally found a brave enough guy to deal with my mood swings and put a rock on my finger, then off to the races I went to find a pretty gown. It was early on in the planning stages so I was pretty flippant about it. I figured I would just go and take a look. Glamour Closet sells dresses at a discount. Discount = expect a line. I got there on a Saturday at 10:45am, 15 minutes prior to open, and was irritated to see a line of women outside. Once they opened, they handed the first five women who came a basket of five clips. When you find a dress that interests you, you put your clip on it. The women who work there will take it down and bring it to the dressing room for you to try on when it’s your turn.
Women were screaming and running around. They were consulting their friends and mothers who came along. I moved quickly, clipped three dresses I liked, and hurried to an attendant.
“I’m all done. The dresses I liked are clipped. Can I try them on now, please?”
She frowned. “Well, you were fifth in line and other people came earlier than you. Some women have been here since 10am.”
I pouted. “Well, I’m all done clipping. There’s no one in the dressing room yet. I swear I’ll be quick. In and out. I promise.”
I convinced her and she ushered me to the dressing room. “I’ll get your dresses. Go ahead and get ready to try them on.”
I have to admit, once I got into the dressing room, the chaos of the bridezillas outside faded. My attendant was very helpful. She told me two dresses were flattering and one was not. The one I liked best had a price tag of $1,300. Remember that these couture dresses are discounted. A discounted dress that’s still $1,300? I almost ran out. Gowns come from manufacturers, sample sales, all over the place. I was wrong to assume that the dresses would be well-priced. They were staggeringly expensive, especially considering the dresses weren’t well maintained. Some had rips on them. Others were dirty at the bottom. Besides, they are mostly size 6 and higher which means several hundred dollars of alterations.
My second and last (so far) dress shopping experience was at the Bridal Galleria in the Embarcadero Center. Someone recommended that I go there and said the dresses would be in my price range. Luckily, I don’t remember who recommended that I go there because I will never talk to that person again. All the dresses were over $1,000! My attendant was fantastic. The experience was unhurried, calm, relaxing, with no pressure. The attendant really did a great job. Dean came with me and he got misty-eyed watching me try the gowns on.
Brides who spent or plan on spending ridiculous sums on a gown, let me ask you a question. Do you think that your dress is being hand-sewn in a NYC boutique? No, it’s being made by a little Chinese girl in the province of Guangdong. As it makes it way over to the Bridal Galleria, it gets marked up 1000%.
I’m going straight to the source. That’s right. I’m getting my dress made in China and it’s going to be delivered to me straight from Guangdong. Come find me at my wedding because the first thing out of my mouth will be, “Don’t you love my dress? It was $200.”
I’m so tempted to buy this stunning $10,000+ Monique Lhuillier wedding gown. It can be made direct from China for $300. I want to buy it just so I can show people it looks exactly the same as a $10,000 dress. Exactly the same.