When it came time to shop for my wedding gown, I had lots of ideas about the dress! But I was also somewhat clueless about the process. From the moment I walked into Something Blue Bridal Boutique, I felt comfortable. Kristi Dole, the owner, and the other gals made the process so much fun and completely stress free.
For convenience, I wanted to find a dress shop near my wedding location in Sarasota, Fla. Something Blue is a full-service bridal and formalwear boutique in Bradenton. Not only did they handle my fittings and alterations, but they also dressed and altered the bridal party and helped our mothers find their dresses. The boutique is truly a one-stop shop with style and charm.
To help you with your search, here are some of Kristi’s thoughts on dress shopping:
What should brides minimally expect when working with a dress shop?
Brides should expect to have a warm and enjoyable experience. Some brides come in knowing exactly what they want and some don’t, so it is our job to help them find what looks great on them. It should be a positive experience they remember.
What makes your business different from the competition?
I would like to say that our customer service makes us different. We try to help every person that walks in the door. I have personally hired someone in every age group so that every customer could feel comfortable.
What motivated you to start your business? When?
When I was in college I worked at this location and realized that I loved doing this. I finished my business degree, and the previous owner called and asked if I knew anyone who would like to redo and manage the shop. One thing led to another and now four years later, my husband and I have redone the shop and added our own flair.
How do you choose what designers and styles to carry?
I pick designers for their demand, style, quality of the merchandise and their reliability to get the merchandise in a timely fashion. Sometimes cheap is not the best, because they’re not always reliable in their delivery of a special order. I take this part very seriously, because it is someone’s dream day.
How far in advance should brides purchase their gown?
A dress usually takes three-and-a-half months to four months to be delivered. Then you need time for alterations (at least a month to be safe). As soon as you find your dress, order it. As a shop, we have no way to know in advance if and when a dress will be discontinued.
How many alterations do you suggest to your brides?
You usually have two fittings—the first one is to make the adjustments and the second is to try the dress on and show you how to bustle it. Then we schedule with the bride when the dress will be picked up so we can have it pressed and ready.
No matter where you’re getting married or shopping for your dress, I recommend working with a full-service shop. It makes the experience!
Here are my favorite tips for dress shopping:
• Make an appointment. You want their full attention.
• Be prepared. Bring magazine pages or computer printouts with you. Or save some images on your phone to show the boutique clerk.
• Think ahead about your undergarments. If you are not comfortable baring your behind, skip the thong that day! You will require some help getting in and out of those gowns.
• Bring your camera. Not every shop will let you take photos, but the confident and customer-service driven shops will :)
• Wear appropriate shoes for the full effect. Whether you plan to wear heels or flats, bring something comparable.
• Take your mom or your sister or your best friend or all three! Try to limit your companions to three.
• Have fun! Feel free to daydream! You’re a bride!