The emerging trend for brides-to-be to purchase multiple dresses is set to be a real money-spinner for bridal boutiques, according to a recent survey by online wedding directory Guides For Brides. Not because brides are buying two dresses from one supplier, but because they are selling on their first choices, previously deemed ‘the one’ in favour of newer styles.
Of those surveyed, over two thirds (68%) had two or more dresses for their big day with one in three brides buying a second dress to replace their first. Some bridal boutiques are able to sell on these unwanted gowns at a fraction of the cost and use the current financial downturn to their advantage. Lynette Blythe from Lush Bridal Hire already sells pre-loved gowns, “This is the exact reason my business is doing so well at the moment. Most of the dresses I have in our pre-loved section are actually brand new and as a result of the bride finding one she likes more.”
Findings also show a number of other reasons for a dress switch with regret being the most popular cause. Vivienne Cowan, owner of Berkshire Brides puts some of the fault firmly on other family members, “Peer pressure from family can sometimes dissuade a bride from buying what she really feels happiest with. She can settle on a dress just to pacify her entourage but it really is not what she wants.”
Depending on the time frame between engagement announcements and the actual wedding day, a fashion trend can change numerous times. Some brides-to-be will start looking for ‘the dress’ as soon as they can, often resulting in an impulse purchase that they later regret.
Vivienne’s advice for gown shopping is based on years and years of experience, “Don’t bring a huge party of people with you, bring one person you trust to be honest. Does a bride take the world and its wife when she goes dress shopping for normal clothes?
“Trust the expertise of the salesperson but don’t get drawn into the feel-good factor of complimentary bubbly and insincere flattery. Visit a number of boutiques that stock different labels so that you can see all the designs and styles on offer.
“If you are still not sure, then walk away and leave dress shopping for a while. Don’t rush into it and don’t feel pressured by anyone to buy something you are not 100% happy with.”
According to the survey, 8% of gowns were bought online through discounted, foreign websites and on delivery brides discovered shoddy craftsmanship and even after taking the dresses to a seamstress or bridal boutique for alteration, resulted in most being thrown away.
One in five brides who chose to have more than one dress for their wedding day, did so for more functional reasons. Couples marrying abroad chose a more lightweight design for travelling and weddings between two different religions or cultures resulted in two completely separate looks.
Over a quarter of all the brides surveyed (26%) switched their gowns between day and evening, with two out of three choosing two different dresses and the rest opting for flexible accessories like shrugs, birdcage veils and detachable skirts. The rising trend to choreograph a bride and groom dance has shown an increase in shorter, more accommodating outfits that allow for more freedom of movement around the dancefloor.