Monday, March 31, 2008

No, there is not actually a trunk at a trunk show

Well I made it home from the Erin Cole trunk show in Orlando this weekend at Solutions Bridal. After 12 hours in airplanes and airports and missing a connection in Atlanta, I am finally home and in one piece. Barely. But I digress. What I really want to talk about is the purpose for this little jaunt across the country. I realize that not all of you know what a trunk show is and, as I have experienced time and time again, you may not want to ask. So let me give you the scoop. After all, that is what I am here for in the first place.

The term "trunk show" is used in all aspects of design, be it clothing, accessories, paper products or furniture. You see, most stores, or bridal salons, in my case, only carry a certain number of pieces by any one designer. Therefore, when you fall in love with a designer gown and go to a salon that supposedly carries that designer, you may not actually find the gown. During a trunk show, however, the designer will send out their entire collection (originally sent in trunks, hence the name), allowing brides an opportunity to try on and order gowns that are not usually available at that store. Often times the designer will come to the show or send a representative (that's me for Erin Cole) to help the brides have a uniquely personal experience. At this time it is also quite common for a designer to make special custom changes to a piece at a nominal cost as well as offer a discount on any gown or accessories ordered during the show.
That being said, I have some "dos"and "don'ts" if you should ever find yourself at one of these events.

-DO make an appointment - In order to insure that you will be able to have the full experience this is a must. Typically any couture bridal salon will require an appointment to try on gowns or accessories. Trust me, it is for your own good. No bride wants to feel rushed. And no bride with an appointment wants to feel neglected.

-DO come prepared to purchase - This is the time to make a decision. Not only will you receive a discount, but the gown or hair accessories you love may not make their way back to the store for another year or so. Once they are gone, they are gone. If you have no intention of purchasing, just come in as a walk-in. There is no harm in that. You can still come in for a looksie even if you know you are not ready to purchase.

-DO your homework - Research the designer's line. Do you really love it? Do you know the price point? Have you tried on other gowns or accessories so you have a basis for comparison? Will there actually be a designer or a rep there or are they just sending the line?

-DON'T criticize the designs - You would be amazed at how many brides along with their entourage will make rude comments when the designer is standing right there. Seriously. I had a bride this weekend tell me that something looked "cheap" and something else was "kind of ugly". That's just rude. What if the bride right next to you has just fallen in love with that very piece?

-DON'T waste time - Now, I don't mean to sound rude here. If you are just starting and you want to get a feel for a designer, that is understandable. But please don't spend an hour and a half with your bridal consultant and the designer only to say at the end, "Oh, I was just playing today, I have no plans of purchasing. Oh, and by the way, I'm not actually engaged yet. But it is coming. I just know it." Right.

-DON'T complain about pricing - Sure, some things are pricey, but to complain about price in front of a designer is down right rude. I'm sorry, but it is. With all of the resources available, there is no need to be completely clueless when you walk into a salon. I cannot tell you many how many times I have had a first time bride say they had absolutely no idea how much things cost. Really? No idea? How is that possible? Couture and custom gowns, veils, and jewelry are expensive. It is what it is. Of course you should have a budget, large or small, and you should share that budget with the designer. We want you to find what you love and we can probably make it work, regardless. We want to sell to the girls who love our pieces.

-DON'T comment that you could make it yourself - You can't. And if you could, you wouldn't. And if you wanted to, you would have already. This is such an insult. Maybe you could do a better job. maybe you are amazing. Maybe you have a Masters' degree in the fine art of cutting tulle. Great. Keep it to yourself.

-DON'T forget that there are other brides in the salon - During a trunk show, all of the brides want the opportunity to meet the designer and the designer wants the opportunity to help all of the brides. They simply cannot devote all of their attention to one bride. Typically the designer has flown in from a long distance and wants to meet with as many brides as possible. Respect their time. Don't feel slighted when they are working with you at the same time as other girls. That's just how it goes.

Oh, I could go on for days! The bottom line is that a trunk show is the BEST time to purchase. It can be a bit intimidating and overwhelming, but it also the most lively and fun time to find your gown.
If you want to find the trunk show schedules for designers you love, simply go to their website and see where they will be and when.


Brittany said...

I think this is my favorite post of any I have ever read on ANY wedding blog. Mimi, if we created a union, YOU would be in charge. Thanks for standing up for us all!

katelynjane said...

I had my dress made by a seamstress. Not a nice experience. I loved having an original and one of a kind dress but I kick myself SO HARD for not at least trying on designer dresses or going to shows. I wish I had taken those oppertunities since I'm married now and it won't come again (although I'm threatening to marry my husband again so I can get another dress:).

style-ish said...

I totally agree! I got my dress at a Monique Lhuillier trunk show and had the best time trying on all the designs! It is totally worth going to a trunk show.

Lauren said...

I wish I was getting married so I could have come to see you. Solutions Bridal is really close to me, and it would give me a good excuse to look at beautiful gowns again!

Nina Morrison said...

Love, love, love it! This blog should be read by ALL brides to be and bridal parties--or any girl for that matter. When it comes down to it, simple etiquette, respect and manners with a dash of open mindness and knowledge is all we really ask for---that goes for any shopper in addition to gown shoppers! Happy early birthday! I will see you for festivities Tuesday! Advanced warning--my gift wrapping skills are not quite up to par with Mrs. Palmer ;) !! xoxo

Sara said...

THANK YOU for this post! It's nice to see someone being so honest and truthful.