As bridal consultants, when you walk in the door, we try to get to know you as quickly as possible. And I'm not just talking about what colors you picked for your napkins - I'm talking about getting to know YOU.
What is your demeanor like? Are you nervous? How important are the guests you brought? Are you laid back or is wedding planning stressing you out?
These are all questions that we don't need to ask you, but that we can accurately tell within 3 minutes of conversation. We rather "pick up" on your queues than ask you 50 questions because let's be honest - we don't want you to feel like you're filling out a questionnaire at your dentist's office.
The one big question though that we will straight up ask you and not leave to interpretation is the "B" word. I'm talking BUDGET. It's something that we take seriously at Savvy Bride and Haute & Co. Bridal because as much as we love Say Yes To The Dress, that show is not how 99% of the population shops for wedding dresses. Very rarely is there a moment where the beautiful bride tries on a gown $5,000 over her budget and Dad swoops in and says "anything for my Princess" and everyone cries happy tears. It in fact has never happened at Savvy.
What we do see though, is the angst in the bride's eyes when she falls in love with a gown that is over her budget. My stomach actually sinks when I see this face because I know she is trying to decide if the gown is worth all the extra hard earned money. This is exactly why we ask the "B" word before we go look at dresses.
And the worst answer we can get?
"I don't have a budget."
You might be thinking that we love no-budget brides but that is furthest from the truth. First of all, everyone has a budget. Whether they say they do or not. Secondly, when no budget is defined, it makes trying to find this bride's dream dress really hard. Because with an unlimited budget comes unlimited expectations.
Brides that come in with a well defined budget have usually done their research on what designers fall within that budget. They may know that Hayley Paige falls outside of their budget, but want something "Hayley Paige-ish" for $1,500 or under. This direction is great, and establishes an expectation from the very beginning.
We also love brides with budgets because we believe you don't have to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a gown to get everything you've ever wanted. Just because you have the money to spend on a dress doesn't mean you have to spend every dollar of it. We absolutely love when a bride comes in with a reasonable budget, and then tells us about their swoon-worthy honeymoon plans. Because as important as your wedding day is, the memories you make are 1,000% more important in the end.
Some brides seem to be embarrassed when they communicate what their dress budget is, which absolutely is the wrong mindset. There is a wedding dress for every bride, at every budget - and never should anyone feel like they need to justify their budgets. Personally, I wasn't even going to wear a dress for my courthouse wedding, and I found the perfect one for $200 (no joke) and felt incredibly perfect on that day.
So if you are just starting your wedding dress shopping experience, and are deciding on what you want to spend, instead of asking yourself "how much can I afford to spend on my dress?" ask yourself, "how much do I feel comfortable spending on my dress?" Because if you are more comfortable spending less on your dress and more on another aspect of your wedding/ honeymoon/ down payment/ life/ etc. than do exactly that! Just be honest with your consultant, and be honest with your expectations.