How to shop a wedding dress sample sale

Every bride loves a bargain and what better way to find your dream designer wedding dress than at a sample sale.

How to shop a wedding dress sample sale
Whistles at the ready. Image: Comedy Central

Sample sales are a great way to find your perfect designer wedding dress at a fraction of the original cost. However there are a few rules that must be obeyed otherwise you could end up walking away empty handed – or even worse – clutching the wrong dress.

Be prepared
Now is not the time to have a casual browse and try on 20 dresses with all of your bridesmaids, mum, sisters and aunties. Do your research, know which dress you are looking for and bring along one of two friends to help (whistles optional!)

Be size wise
Don’t buy a dress that is three sizes too small with the aim of fitting into it on the big day. You don’t need the added pressure! Similarly don’t go for anything to big – alterations can cost big bucks and the resulting shape might not be as you hoped.


Get there early
Might sound obvious, but the most beautiful dresses (and the biggest labels: see below) do go first so make sure you set your alarm clock.

Label love
Look for big names such as Jenny Packham, Temperley and Ian Stuart. You’ll be getting a beautiful dress at a fraction of the price and chances are you'll be able to re-sell it after your big day too.

Wear the right underwear
- and don't go too heavy on the make-up. You'll be whipping dresses on and off so your sheer pink thong isn't right and you don't want to leave smudges of orange on these gorgeous gowns either.

It's not all about the dress
Check for sales on accessories and bridesmaid dresses too - it might not be as satisfying as finding 'the one' but it will still save you pounds.

Be certain
Double check the boutiques' refund policy before you buy. Usually they'll have no legal obligation to refund sale goods and if you do want to take it back, store credit or an exchange are likely to be the only options. So check for any imperfections before you buy and ultimately - avoid wedding dress regrets - if you’re not sure you love, don’t buy it!

Go for it
If you really love a gown just go for it – or else we guarantee someone else will!

Not sure whether you've found the one? We reveal how you know when you've found your wedding dress and seven wedding dress errors to avoid...

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