If you’re currently looking for your dream wedding dress but are struggling to find it within your budget, a sample sale is a great place to look as you can bag yourself some huge savings without compromising on the quality or style. Where else can you browse the rails for that designer piece you’ve been lusting after to get to the till and discover that it’s been reduced with up to 75% off? It’s the kind of thing that dreams are made of when you’re trying to stick to a budget and is a great way to free up some of your budget elsewhere to splurge a little more on another part of your wedding.
It’s easy to get carried away at a sample sale however, so it’s important to keep a level head and keep a solid focus on what you have to spend. Yes that dress you’ve pulled from the rail may be an incredible saving, but if it’s still £1,000 over your budget you need to be sure that you can afford the extra £1,000 that dress demands when you walk into the room or you may find yourself in trouble. Set yourself a budget before you enter the sample sale and allow yourself a buffer in case you find that perfect dress you never thought you could afford, but stick to it and remember – you can walk away empty handed.
The Payton Dress from Charlie Brear
BE OPEN MINDED
It’s important to keep in mind that if you’re attending a sample sale, it’s likely that the dress you saw in their most recent show won’t be a part of the offering as they’re generally made up of past season pieces. Do think about why you love your dream dress and look for these features when browsing the rails – you may find ‘the one’ where you least expect it! Keeping an open mind is imperative when shopping sample sales as you can’t always predict what will be there on the day, so be flexible, stay focussed on those features you love and be open to something a little outside of your comfort zone for the best chances of success on the day.
GET IN EARLY
Regardless of whether it’s an appointment-only sale or a first come first served, getting there first will always work to your advantage. If you’re booking an appointment getting in touch earlier rather than later will not only get you a slot that best suits you, but the earlier you get an appointment the broader your choice is likely to be. If a store is only offering 30 slots say, if you’re 30th in that queue it may well turn out that bride number 3 picked out the only dress that would have suited your budget and style choices. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t book an appointment if you are going to be taking the final slot as it’s very much possible that the brides before you were looking for something totally different or at a different price point, but if you were number 1 in that queue you would have been able to pick from the widest number of options. Similarly, if you’re going to a sample sale that doesn’t offer appointments getting there earlier will give you a better place in the queue to browse the biggest collection of dresses, and with more dresses to choose from you’re more likely to find the one you have been dreaming of.
DON’T GO IT ALONE
Make sure you take someone with you who will not only be brutally honest, but someone who you trust as you may need to make some snap decisions on the day and you don’t want to look back and feel you were persuaded to purchase something you knew wasn’t really you. They’ll also be able to help you stick to your budget and if you have a proper debrief before the day of the sale, they’ll be able to help scour the rails twice as fast looking for the features you crave so dearly helping boost your chances in finding your dress of dreams.
The Chartres Dress from Charlie Brear
ALL SHAPES, ALL SIZES
Sample sales don’t necessarily just mean teeny tiny sizes so don’t be put off because you don’t think you’ll fit into any of the dresses on offer, but it won’t do you any harm to give the store a call beforehand to confirm that there will be a range of sizes available to browse on the day. Don’t forget, alterations are always possible too so even dresses that are a size too small for you may be able to be altered to fit you perfectly but be realistic with your expectations, talk to a member of staff as to what services their team can offer and keep in mind that alterations equal additional costs.
ALL THE LITTLE EXTRAS
Sample sales often don’t just offer bridal gowns, there are also veils, capes, shoes to take a look at… you name it, it’s likely it’s in the sale too! Even if you don’t find your dream dress in the sale, finding your accessories in a sample sale could save you hundreds of pounds and the right accessories can take your look from beautiful to breathtaking and could complete your perfect bridal look. Before you complete your purchases double check the store’s return policies as it’s not uncommon to find that purchases made at sample sales are non-returnable. If you do purchase your shoes or veil at a sample sale and later find your dress that doesn’t match, you may end up with accessories that don’t compliment the dress so although this can be a great way to buy your finishing touches it may be wise to keep them simple to improve the likelihood of them creating the look you’ve always dreamt of.
THE CHARLIE BREAR PREMIUM SAMPLE SALE
If this has made you want to visit a sample sale to see what bargains you can find, British bridal designer Charlie Brear has just announced the date of its Premium Sample Sale taking place in the beautiful London showroom in Queen’s Park. Taking place on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of February this year there are hundreds of stylish gowns in a range of sizes to choose from with reductions of up to 75% meaning that you could pick up a designer dress from as little as £400! Now if that’s not a bargain, I don’t know what is! If you want to find out more about what Charlie Brear has to offer you can find out more here.
Shopping for your wedding dress is an experience you’ll never forget so why not treat yourself to an exclusive VIP evening on Thursday 1st February from 6-8:30pm? There’s only 10 tickets available for this event, and with the chance to meet Charlie Brear in person as well as treat yourself with Champagne and cake it really is a night to remember. If you can’t find your perfect dress on the day there’s even the chance to receive 10% off made-to-order dresses! It should be noted that this is an evening best suited to those who already have an idea of the dress they want, and isn’t the best environment for trying on dresses for the first time. Also it is important that you understand that this ticket only permits you to bring one guest so if you’re wanting to share this moment with your bridal party you may be best booking an appointment with the team separately to really make the most of your dress shopping experience.
Interested? Tickets cost £50 (+£4.49 booking fee) and you can book your ticket here.
Alternatively you could book an appointment from 1-8:30pm on Friday 2nd February and from 10am-5pm on Saturday 3rd February, and similarly only one guest is permitted per bride and these appointments are designed for the bride-to-be who already knows to a certain extent what she wants in her dream dress.
If this seems more like your cup of tea, tickets for these appointments cost £11.39 and you can book your appointment here.
*All ticket prices are redeemable against any purchases made on the day.