So as I previously wrote here, I found my wedding dress and got some discounts for it. The lovely Femme Frugality requested that I post about how I haggled, so this is what went down (it’s anti-climactic now that I think about it, since all I did was ask).
I first researched dress places around me and asked if they had dresses true to my size, since I don’t really like having to clip dresses so much in the back that you don’t get the true effect. It turns out in this case that I liked the floor sample in a store, but have learned to not impulse buy. So I went home, did some research, and discovered a couple of online sites that offered stuff such as a free veil, or free shipping and $300 for the next order which I could then use for bridal party gifts, veil, etc. I was a bit hesitant since I’ve heard some nightmare experiences by buying online for wedding dresses, and since it would be delivered around late December, it was a bit too close for comfort when taking alterations into account. However, the store didn’t have to know I had these reservations, so I called to ask for a discount.
Initially, they said that they would just dry clean it. I asked if there’s more that they can do, and when she said she had to speak to her manager, I merely replied, “Great, I’d appreciate it!” She called back and said they’ll add a back panel and take $100 off, and still not loving that, I said I would sleep on it.
I called other stores around me but didn’t have luck (or would convince me to come in to try alternatives, which I admit, I was too lazy to drive to). I also discovered dry cleaning can come out to a pretty penny, so I took this cost into account. I went back to the store, and asked if they can match the online offers, since I want to give them my business but the offers were hard to resist. They then came back that they’ll give me half off veil, and when I asked how about just give me a veil, they then offered half off veil and shoes. Despite not really liking their shoe selection, I figured the discounts were essentially a wash and at least I wouldn’t have to worry about delivery time crunches, and took the deal.
I also noticed some beading was coming loose and pointed that out to them, so they said their seamstress would retouch them up. I then asked if they would throw in taking care of all the alterations, but they said no. Hey, I tried! 🙂
I kinda hoped for a bigger discount and free veil, but oh well. However, here’s some teachable moments from this dress shopping process:
1) Once your wedding date is set, actively search for a dress right away! I scoured Craigslist, Ebay, and pre-owned wedding websites, and though I found some great ones on CL, they were gone by the time I inquired about it! Online sites are a bit of a challenge since you can’t look at/try it prior to purchasing, especially since wedding dresses run smaller than street sizes, but if you know the style you want then they can be great resources if you don’t mind pre-loved. If you want new, then I’d definitely search right away, so you have enough lead time for the dress to be made/delivered since it can take up to 6 months (or more!).
2) Consider renting the dress, though in my case, renting it would have only been $200 difference from purchasing. I figured this way, I can at least try to re-sell to recoup some of the cost afterward, provided I find a shorty-doo-wop who likes my style. 🙂
3) Do some homework online to make sure you’re getting the best price. Consider all the discounts or offers, and let the stores know that there’s some great deals online and would they match it. All they can say is no, and it’s not worth it to worry what they think about you since you’ll probably never see them again (especially wedding vendors). I am 96.35% sure you aren’t the first person to try and haggle, and no doubt you won’t be the last.
4) I don’t know how this would have played in all of it, but I probably wouldn’t have worn my engagement ring while trying to haggle, and I wouldn’t have disclosed my venue (neither are fancy, but I think the less vendors know, the better). I don’t know what good it would have done, but I noticed when I went for tastings at catering and cupcake vendors, they were a bit more accommodating when I threw out low-ball offers when I didn’t wear my ring. But who knows, since there’s probably more catering/cupcake vendors out there than wedding dress shops?
5) Haggle (or really just ask for discounts in my case) when you can. There’s so many wedding vendors vying for your business, that if you do enough research you can find the best price point, or you can get a lower price point and see if the vendor you like can match it. I’ve received anywhere from 10%-20% off on other wedding stuff, or tossing in free kickbacks, so again, all you can do is try!
Do you have any effective haggle tips?