This month we continue our Marry Me on Main series with a Q&A with Arlene DeForest of Moments to Cherish Bridals (pictured above right, with Marry Me on Main Dream Wedding Giveaway winner, Ann). Arlene and her staff are passionate about helping brides make their vision reality in a perfect wedding gown. There are many factors to consider as a bride selects their dream dress, and Arlene provides expert insight to help guide that journey.
Where are you located?
Moments to Cherish Bridals is located at 303 E. Verona Road in Verona.
Are appointments necessary?
Yes, appointments are necessary for the best experience. This way, you are guaranteed a dressing room and a consultant to work with. Walk-ins are welcome but remember if it is busy there may not be a consultant or dressing room available. Even if just browsing, we recommend calling ahead as appointments are our priority.
What is your advice to brides as they search for the perfect dress?
- Bring pictures of what you are looking for.
- Be open minded and try on all styles – mermaid, trumpet, fit and flare, A-line, ball gown, sleeves, sleeveless, strapless.
- Try on the dresses. What you think you want may not be the style you ultimately choose.
- Bring 2-3 people max. The more people you bring the more opinions you get and it may get confusing. It is best to limit the number of people until you have narrowed your choices. Then set up another appointment to show your wedding party.
- This should be a fun experience not a dreaded one!
- Set a budget and stay as close to budget as possible.
- When setting your budget allow a minimum of $200.00 for alterations.
- Allow one hour for appointments.
When should brides start looking for a dress?
Ideally, brides should start shopping about a year before the wedding. Once they’ve found the perfect dress it takes 6 months to order and ship to the store. This is because most companies do not keep dresses in stock. Instead, each is made as orders are place. For bridesmaid, mothers and flower girl dresses allow 4 months for ordering.
What if the wedding is 6 months or less out?
Moments to Cherish customers have a few options:
- Some designers offer rush orders for an additional fee and we are happy to facilitate those orders.
- Purchase a sample dress off the rack. We will sell it even if it is a new style or model, especially if it fits fairly well.
- Shop our discontinued sample section. These dresses are in great shape and many times these dresses have hardly been tried on.
What should brides know about gown sizing?
- Be aware bridal and formal wear sizing is different than retail stores – they are based on measurements not size. On an average your wedding size may be 2 sizes above what you normally wear in the retail market.
- Dresses are ordered after measurements are taken and matched up to each company’s size chart.
- Formal wear is not custom made to your measurements. When ordering, the size will be based on your largest measurement. The style/design is taken into consideration and any dress that has a lace or decorative hemline will be ordered based on your height and the height of the shoes you plan on wearing.
- No one cares what size your dress is what is more important is how elegant and beautiful you feel and look in the dress.
- It is very rare to find a dress that fits perfectly. Expect alterations will be needed.
What sizes do you carry?
A few size 6, but most are 10-28. And, we have at least 20 plus size dresses available to try on.
What do brides need to know about the dress fittings?
Bridal gowns fitting will start about 2 months before the wedding. Expect 3-5 fittings since only so much can be done at one time. When you come for your first fitting bring your wedding shoes and any under garments you plan on wearing. Bridesmaid, mothers, flower girl dresses usually require two fittings, but allow one month in advance of the event. Since we have limited seamstresses available the sooner you set up an appointment you guarantee that dress will be done on time. We prioritize when dresses are worked on by the wedding date. If we have a lot of dresses that need alterations, we need to plan ahead so the seamstresses are not doing last minute alterations. Customers who purchase dresses from Moments to Cherish Bridals are done first over dresses that are brought in from other shops. There may be times of the year where we need to limit taking in outside alterations based on the seamstresses work load.
How much will a wedding dress cost at Moments to Cherish Bridals?
Most formal wedding dresses start at 800.00. If you are looking for lace or heavy beading these will add to the cost of the gown. Name brand dresses will cost more because you are paying for the designer name. All manufacturers dresses are very similar but with minor changes. Again, allow a minimum of $200.00 for alterations.
Buyer beware: You can order dresses online but it’s a big gamble. The cheaper the dress, the better the chances it’s a poorly produced mock-up of a designer dress and you’ll get exactly what you pay for. There are so many knock off online stores. If you want a quality dress, I highly recommend you purchase from a reputable brick and mortar store.
What if I have a limited budget?
Consider shopping for sample dresses that companies have stopped manufacturing. These dresses are in great shape and many times these dresses have hardly been tried on. We have a section dedicated to discontinued sample dresses in the store.
Why are alterations so expensive?
Good seamstresses are hard to find and are in great demand. The extent of work involved to tailor in a dress is labor intense and time consuming. Not everyone who sews has the skill to do alterations it requires a lot of experience, patience, customer service skill and knowledge of exactly what needs to be done.
What kind of alterations do you do?
Take in sides, hems, bustles, adding straps, add corsets into dresses, add beading, gussets to make the dress larger. We have customized some dresses to make it more personal.
Can all dresses be altered?
Any dress can be altered down two sizes. Any size larger is too expensive since you are basically making a new dress.