One of the highlights of planning a wedding is when the bride-to-be picks out the perfect dress to complement her big day. It is often an amazing experience that many women have dreamed about for years. However, there is some complexity involved, and we’ve all heard stories about future brides who have tried on hundreds of dresses without finding the one for them. To make the process as easy as possible, we went to Wellington’s own bridal gown expert, Lenyce Boyd of Bacio Bacio Bridal Salon, for advice.
What does a bride gain from shopping at a boutique dress shop rather than a large chain or department store?
From the customer feedback that we’ve received since we opened in 2006, they like the personal attention and the nicer, warmer feeling. We have a relationship that develops with our bride and her family because we are available to work with a bride from the time we meet her until she’s walking down the aisle, often a year later.
What does a boutique dress shop offer that other retailers do not?
In addition to the personalized service, our designers would be different than a chain’s designers. Ours have exclusivity here for us — their dresses are not available all over the place. We also offer a “day-of” concierge service where we go to the wedding, steam the bride’s gown, help her get dressed, help the men tie their bowties and make sure the parents, grandparents and everyone in the bridal party looks good. It’s an extra charge, but Palm Beach County has a lot of destination weddings, so we often get calls from bridal stores in New York, Pennsylvania, all over the place, asking us to help their customers when they come down. Brides don’t need to buy their dress here in order to hire our concierge service.
What is the average cost a bride-to-be should consider for a dress when preparing a budget for their big day?
Our dresses average from $1,300 to $3,000, or about 10 to 15 percent of the total cost of the wedding. But whether a bride spends $500 or $10,000, they all get treated the same. The price fluctuates depending on the fabric, lace and beadwork, but mostly because of the designer. Some designers are more expensive than others. It’s the label, like jeans. You can pay $30 or $180 for jeans depending on the designer, but it’s still denim.
What are your recommendations when a bride-to-be begins her wedding dress search?
Try to limit the number of people you bring with you. Bring a small number, two or three of your most trusted friends and family members. Brides get overwhelmed with all the different opinions, and they don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. It can be upsetting for them. My second piece of advice would be to keep an open mind about style. Try on different styles and silhouettes. Often, a bride comes in thinking she wants a certain style, and we pull them for her. However, when she tries them on, none of them seem right. Then we throw in a wild card or two and, often, she falls in love with the dress, even though it wasn’t what she was looking for. What they think they like may be why they haven’t found the perfect dress. Once we know the venue, we can help guide them with styles as well. So, have that in mind.
What should the bride-to-be do to prepare for a day of wedding dress shopping?
In addition to limiting the number of people she brings and knowing her venue, she should know her budget and be honest with us about it. This is helpful for them and us, even if they don’t know exactly. If they say $2,000, does that include alterations, accessories, the veil, jewelry and shoes? Those are all part of the head-to-toe budget. Sometimes, when they realize that, they get nervous about money. But they can focus on the dress and come back later for the other things, when they’re doing their fittings and have decided how they’re going to wear their hair.
Do you recommend a specific day or time that would result in a better experience for their appointment?
Saturdays are busier because of everyone’s work schedules, but we try to space out our appointments. We assign about two hours for an appointment and try not to have more than two brides in at a time. That’s another reason we ask the bride to keep her party smaller — we don’t have enough space for seven people and a baby stroller. We do encourage wine and champagne here. There’s a liquor store next door, we have glasses, and we can turn up the music. We’ve heard over and over that brides have had “their best experience ever” here, and it’s because of that feeling of comfort. They’re allowed to touch the dresses and have fun. Some brides come in so nervous, and we have an inviting, warm and welcoming atmosphere. Regardless of their budget, they all get treated the same. We are just honored that they are allowing us to be a part of this special time. This business never gets old, it’s always changing. The dresses change, the brides change, the family members change.
Walk us through a bridal dress consultation.
Very often, it’s a bride’s first time ever trying dresses on. A lot of ladies don’t know their style, or they’re not used to dressing in dresses, so there’s a lot of learning. We don’t pressure them. We invite them to go home and think about it. Usually, we end up being the first place and the last place they come. They don’t want to shop anymore. They’d rather leave here and celebrate.
How far in advance do you suggest that a bride start the search for her one special dress?
A year to nine months ahead is good. We haven’t had to make too many drastic alterations later on. We have brides who have added a sleeve or wanted to re-make a grandmother’s dress. We may have a bride who went on some crazy diet and lost 30 pounds, but it all works out. Nothing has caught us too off guard.
What else should brides know when planning a dress appointment?
We definitely want to have the bride’s appointment be the only appointment that happens that day, especially if it’s a Saturday — no bridesmaids or flower girls. We don’t want to take away from the bride. If she has found her dress and wants to take a peek at flower girl dresses, that’s fine.
Would you advise a client get hair and makeup done similar to the look they will wear the day of the wedding or focus solely on the full effect of the dress?
Usually, when they visit, they’re not that far into the planning process, so I wouldn’t worry too much about that. Sometimes the dress will dictate the hairstyle. We do have clips if a bride wants to pin her hair up to see if the dress looks better with her hair up or hair down.
What are some things that you recommend the bride-to-be ask during the consultation?
It is very important to make sure you realize that these sales are final. When we place your order with the factory, those workers do not care if you have changed your mind. They’ve cut your dress in the color and size you ordered, and we still have to pay for it. We had one bride order a dress six years ago, and she came in four years ago to pick it up. If we don’t hear from you for 90 days, your dress is gone — sold or donated. That bride eventually got married at the courthouse.
What are some of the options for preserving a wedding gown, and do brides still carry out this tradition?
Yes, many do. Dry cleaners can preserve a bridal gown, but we offer that service as well.
Bacio Bacio Bridal Salon is located in the –Kobosko’s Crossing shopping plaza at 9160 Forest Hill Blvd. For
info., call (561) 792-6111 or visit www.baciobacio.com.