Our top tips for finding the wedding dress of your dreams - at a fraction of the price!
Never been to a bridal sample sale before? They're a fantastic opportunity to scoop up some incredible bargains - but for the uninitiated they can also be a bit of a nightmare: remember Monica and Rachel's experience in Friends?
However, you can keep thing simple with our top 10 tips for sample sale success!
Get in the know
Sign up to bridal newsletters to receive the latest sample sale dates - and make sure you check Wedding's Diary Dates pages regularly (we're always adding new events) to find out when the next sample sale is happening near you.
Most sales operate on a first-come, first-served basis so it's vital to arrive on time. Also, remember to check whether the sale is by appointment-only so as to avoid disappointment on the door.
Know what you're looking for
Make sure you have a rough idea what you're looking for (a sample sale is not the best place for the uninitiated): what style, colour and cut of gown you're looking for, as well as how much you're willing to spend to find it. Also, make sure you know what the sale is offering in advance. Is it just dresses, or will there also be accessories, shoes and groomswear?
Bring a friend
You've been racking through the hangers for the last 45 minutes and you've finally - finally - found the perfect dress. However, is it really the gown for you? Having another pair of eyes will prove invaluable when you've been scouring dozens of dresses, so make sure you bring someone who knows what kind of style is 'you'.
Although it's good to have had some thoguhts about what you're looking for, try and keep an open mind as you scan the sale. Limiting yourself with specific pre-conceived ideas of how you'd like your dress to look will only make the search harder!
Sizing doesn't matter
Don't feel disheartened if you try on a dress at a sample sale and it doesn't quite fit. Remember, these are sample sizes - and most brands offer an alterations service so as to make the gown the dream fit for you.
Don't dress up
It's a lot easier to try a dress on over a pair of leggings then it is over a pair of jeans. Equally, a pair of ballet pumps is far easier to slip on and off than your spiky-heeled, lace-up boots. Keep things simple and make sure you're dresses appropriately for quick changes.
Ask the experts
Most sample sales are hosted by a team of experts who will be more than happy to answer your questions - so don't be afraid to ask!
Make sure you know what the brand's policy is when it comes to sample sale purchases: are you able to make returns? And if so, within what time frame?
Some sample sales are cash-only. If possible, check beforehand; if not, bring money or your cheque book so as to spare you a last-minute dash to the ATM...
Image: Seb Winter