What You Need to Know About Shopping for Your Dress!

Wedding Dress Basics from eleGALA.com

Chances are, your wedding dress will be the most important clothing purchase of your life. Yes, you will only wear it once; but, will you ever wear another dress more anticipated and more talked about? And while this is indeed an important clothing decision, you have probably never gone through the process of purchasing a wedding gown until now. As your devoted wedding experts, we have rounded up useful advice to get you started on your way to walking down the aisle in the dress of your dreams.

1. Start Shopping for Your Wedding Dress Early

Time is of the essence. Most likely, you did not get engaged after a week of dating, so why would you want to rush such an important shopping decision? Planning a wedding is stressful, and the last thing you want to add to your worries is dress shopping. You need time. Not only do you need time to shop, but keep in mind that you will also need time to wait for your dress to arrive and time for fittings. Try to start looking for your perfect wedding dress soon after you are engaged. Browse bridal collections online, first, for inspiration. You should aim to purchase your wedding gown at least six months before your wedding date, as this will ensure enough time to wait for your gown to arrive and have it tailored.

Wedding only six months away, and you haven’t even tried on your first dress? Don’t panic. While shopping early is preferred, you can always try to buy a dress off the rack, and many bridal salons can turn a dress around more quickly if necessary. You just have to be quite a bit more flexible in your dress choice.

2. Educate Yourself on Wedding Dresses

Wedding dresses come with their own unique glossary of terms (or jargon, as you may want to call it). Before stepping foot into a bridal salon, try to brush up on your vocabulary. There are terms for gown silhouette (the basic shape of the gown), neckline, bodice, sleeves, trains, etc. Learn the basics and try to narrow down which options you prefer and which ones best suit your figure. Overwhelmed? No problem; we’ve done a lot of the research for you. View our Wedding Dress Styles guide for more detailed descriptions.

3. Envision Your Perfect Wedding Dress

Many bridal salons do not allow you to simply browse through all their wedding dresses. At Etain, our consultant first asks you a few questions about your wedding and your overall style and brings dresses that reflect your vision to you; therefore, it’s best to have an idea of what you want before you shop. After you have educated yourself on the various parts of a dress, think about what wedding dress style suits you. Always dreamed of being a princess? A ball gown silhouette is probably your best bet. Dream of showing off a figure sculpted by hard work at the gym? A sheath dress may be perfect for you. For more information, browse our wedding dresses styles guide.

4. Know Where to Shop for Wedding Dresses

The most popular choice is the bridal salon, known for a high level of customer service. All bridal salons are not the same! Some feature wedding gowns from multiple designers, others feature only gowns from one specific designer custom for their particular store. Price ranges vary as well. Etain’s current collections range anywhere from $700 to $5,000. Brides on an even tighter budget can try Sample Sale collections, which are sold off the rack as-is. Read more about this below under “Shopping for Your Wedding Dress”.

5. Determine Your Wedding Gown Budget

It’s best to have an idea of what you would like to spend before stepping into a bridal salon. This will save you the hassle of going to salons out of your price range or allowing the sales clerk to bring you dresses you cannot afford. The average cost of a wedding dress is around $800. Shop around online and in magazines to get an idea of how much wedding dresses cost and how much you want to spend. In general, your wedding gown shouldn’t exceed 10 percent of the cost of the wedding reception. Our wedding dresses savings guide offers tons of budget saving tips.


Shopping for Your Wedding Dress 101

Shopping for a wedding dress is slightly more complex than you might think. We’ll walk you through it.

You’ve done the research. You’re an expert on wedding dress styles and wedding gown designers. Now the time has finally arrived. It’s wedding dress shopping day! But before you begin, it’s best to know what to expect.

1. Decide Where to Shop

Independently owned full-service bridal shops, like Etain Bridal Boutique offer a full range of services for the bride and the wedding party, with designers and prices ranging from moderate to high end. Off the rack purchases are a challenge because stores typically special-order wedding gowns for brides and attendants, so you should be prepared to wait anywhere from 3-4 months just for your gown to arrive. You will also be able to purchase all of your bridal accessories, such as shoes, veils, undergarments, and jewelry, and we will recommend an experienced seamstress to consult with you on alterations.

Discount bridal outlets

Discount bridal outlets offer a mix of discontinued national brands and privately labeled or discontinued merchandise at reduced prices. But buyers beware! You will not find the same level of service found at privately owned bridal shops and a gown purchased off the rack usually requires significant alterations and/or cleaning.

Nationwide bridal chain stores

Bridal chain stores mass manufacture, import, and sell their own label wedding gowns. The style selection is more limited than in other types of stores and prices are actually not much lower after you’ve paid for every little extra. For instance, unlike independently-owned shops, these stores make up for slightly lower dress prices by charging for items like your garment bag, your dress steaming, or even to hold your gown at the store. And buyers beware! You should also be prepared for a lower level of service and pushy or pressured sales. However, nationwide chain stores like this do offer the ability to buy off the rack at a reasonable price, which can be your only option if you’re planning a wedding in a very short timeframe.

2. What to Expect Once You’re There

Make an appointment

…and, if possible, try to shop during a weekday. You will receive more attentive service if your sales associate can dedicate his/her time especially for you.

Bring Undergarments

Consider bringing the lingerie that you will wear at the wedding. This will help you determine exactly how the wedding dress will look and feel on the big day.

Bring Trusted Companions

Bring someone with you whose opinion you respect and trust, but avoid bringing an entire brigade of “experts.” Too many opinions will distract you.

Communicate with Your Consultant

Many bridal boutiques will not simply allow you to browse through the selection of wedding dresses; rather, a sales associate will sit down with you to discuss your style and will bring you dresses that reflect your vision. That said, allow them to bring you many styles. While you may have an idea of what you want, you never know what looks best on your body until you try it. Not to mention, wedding gowns are hard to choose based on what they look like on the hanger! The consultant has a better idea of what each dress look like on. Let them help you.

Don’t Overanalyze the Fit

Most likely, you will not try on dresses in your actual size. Stores typically carry sample sizes, and the sales associate will clip it to your body. Once you decide on a gown, you will have to be fitted up to three times before your wedding dress fits you perfectly. Also, wedding dresses tend to run small, so be prepared to order a size that is larger than what you normally wear.

Trust Your Instincts

Go with your gut! If you need to be convinced that a wedding dress looks good on you, it’s probably not “the one.” But at the same time, if you are “in love” with it, you do not need to keep shopping. So many brides feel this is necessary, but it could simply result in getting overwhelmed, worn out, and confused by seeing too many dresses. You may also be offered some special discounts if you are ready to buy during your first appointment!

Alterations & Accessories

When determining the cost of your wedding dress, remember to factor in the cost for alterations (which typically run $100 – $200), the veil, and other accessories like the shoes, headpiece, etc. If there is a specific feature you want changed, you can usually request it. Keep in mind that any design changes will increase the cost of the wedding gown, but in the end it is worth the change to get what you want. And because your dress usually takes a few months to arrive, make sure you leave enough time for any necessary alterations.

Wedding Dress Deposits

Once you have found the dress and made your final decision, you will pay a 50% deposit to order your dress. At Etain, the remaining balance is then due immediately once the dress arrives. Or, you may also choose to make payments of any amount on your remaining balance while you are waiting for its arrival.

Get To Know an Etain Bridal Consultant!

This week, we are introducing you to our newest Consultant, who just joined Etain Bridal Boutique this month. But, she is no “newbie” to the bridal world! She works part-time as a certified Wedding Coordinator and worked for several years as a Consultant at a bridal shop in Knoxville, Tenn.

Meet Sarah Duncan…


Sarah, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Originally from Knoxville, TN, my husband and I moved to Newnan in early 2012.  I previously worked for an exclusive bridal boutique for over 7 years and am a certified wedding coordinator through the University of Tennessee.  I have always enjoyed working with brides which led me to start my own wedding coordinating business.  I’m excited to be joining the team at Etain and am even more excited to meet you!
When you’re not helping a bride find the dress of her dreams, what are you doing in your free time?

I love spending time with my wonderful husband trekking through the Great Smoky Mountains.  There is nothing as peaceful as standing on top of a mountain.



What is your favorite part about being a Bridal Consultant?

It is an absolute honor to be involved in helping someone select the perfect wedding dress.  She may only wear it for one day, but it will be the day that she remembers for the rest of her life.  I love to help brides complete “the look.”




How do you know when a bride has found “THE” dress?

Shopping for a wedding dress can be one of the most stressful parts of planning a wedding.  Over the past 7 years, I’ve seen one common expression that signals they have found “the dress”: relaxation.  Seeing stress replaced with excitement is always so much fun!


What is your favorite current bridal gown at Etain?

I had a hard time choosing, but this Essense of Australia gown is probably one that most resembles my style. Simple, understated, elegant.




“Sarah’s Pick” Essense of Australia D1129…


And finally, what is the most important bit of advice you’d share with a bride-to-be?

Relax and enjoy this time in your life. Remember, while you are planning a wedding, it is also the start of something wonderful: marriage.  On my wedding day, I started worrying about the weather when the pastor leaned in and gave me a piece of advice: “No matter what happens, at the end of the day, you will still be married to the love of your life.”  The snow I was so worried about ended up being one of my favorite memories!



Thank you for sharing, Sarah! We are excited to have you, your experience, and your talents at Etain.

Get To Know Your Etain Bridal Consultant!

Join us for a virtual “meet -n- greet” with the consultants whose job is to make your dream come true everyday at Etain Bridal Boutique.

Meet Chelsea, part-time Consultant with Etain since January 2012…


And now for the Q & A!

 Chelsea, tell us a little about yourself.

 I was born & raised right here in Newnan. I have a beautiful six year old son who is my life. I have been in the bridal industry for a few years now and I love it!






When you’re not helping a bride find the dress of her dreams, what are you doing in your free time?

Aside from working as a Consultant at Etain, I am also a Cosmetologist at Euphoria. So when I actually have free time, I just love to explore the outdoors with my son. That’s something we both just love to do together. Other than that I’m usually decorating something or doing anything that involves music.



What is your favorite part about being a Bridal Consultant?

Making someone feel incredibly important and reminding them how beautiful they are. I love to see people smile!




How do you know when a bride has found “THE” dress?

I usually know the bride has found “the one” when she begins to smile and dance in it. You can always tell from a bride’s facial expressions if she is in love or not.



What is your favorite current bridal gown at Etain?

That has to be “Tigris” by Matthew Christopher. The lines in that dress flatter a woman’s body to a “T”!





Of course, now we have to show you this gorgeous Matthew Christopher design that Chelsea loves….


And finally, what is the most important bit of advice you’d share with a bride-to-be?

Never forget about your happiness and why you are here. You are here because you fell in love and you get to spend the rest of your life with the man of your dreams. So, that in itself should make you ecstatic! Don’t sweat the small things. By the end of the day, you get to marry your best friend… whether the table cloths are crooked or not.  ;0)

Thanks go to the lovely, Chelsea! We hope to keep you on our team here at Etain for as long as we can.

Popular Myths & Misconceptions: Insider Tips from a Bridal Consultant

Are you getting ready to start the search for your dream wedding dress?? Read this first!


Most of us, (I’m talking to you, gals) have dreamt of the day when we would find our perfect mate, accept his proposal, and finally begin the much-anticipated search for our dream wedding gown. This is a fabulous journey. But…. although you may have the man, the ring, and the wedding date; it’s possible you may not be as ready as you think you are. Here, I have listed five of the most common myths and misconceptions in regards to the gown.


 “I don’t need to start shopping yet.”


This has got to be the most common misconception when it comes to shopping for a wedding dress. If you are newly engaged and plan to save the dress for last – listen up. For most of the brides we encounter, this is the real shocker. Our store, like most others, carries only sample gowns in stock. Which, of course, you try on in the store and then special order YOUR dress in your preferred size, color, fabric, etc. The ordering process for most wedding lines takes between 4-6 months. That’s right! It can take up to 6 months to get your dress in once it is ordered. So, those with a short engagement or just a year to plan (which is the average length of an engagement period today), you may want to go ahead and start shopping now, rather than later. As long as you have at least a tentative date set and a budget in mind for the dress, come on in! If you wait too late, you will run into limitations, restrictions, and extra fees to have the order rushed. Now knowing this… you can go ahead and start making appointments to find your gown.

*Insider tip*: Be ready to FIND the dress when you start shopping for the dress. As long as you are ready to commit to “the one”, salons usually offer discounts and/or some type of benefit to those brides who are ready to place their order THAT DAY. You are shopping aren’t you?? Well, you should be prepared to find what you’re looking for!



“I know what I want and what I don’t want.”


You do? Well, I have to tell you that as sure as you may be about the style or type of dress you want to wear, you’re never going to know for sure until you try them on. Many of the brides we get in the store are absolutely certain they know what type of dress they’re looking for; and they will tend to shy away from other styles that they don’t think they like. So, this is a two-parter.

The first misconception is to think that the way it looks on the hanger is how it will look on you. The hangar simply doesn’t do it justice – trust us.

The second misconception is thinking you should only try on only styles you think you like, instead of trying on several styles to see how each one fits your body type. Keep an open mind and don’t be afraid to trust your consultant. We could surprise you by pulling out a gown you never thought you could love.



“I know what size I am.”


Actually, I hate to break hearts, but you probably have NO idea what size dress you will fit into. 99-percent of new brides who visit us for their first appointment do not realize that most designer collections run SMALL. You will have to go up at least two sizes. So, take your usual dress size, go up two sizes and that will give you a good idea of the sample sizes that will best suit you. Although I should add, you simply can’t expect to try on YOUR size in a bridal salon. Most only carry average sample sizes. But don’t worry! A little tweak here and there will show you what you’ll look like once you do have the dress that fits you.

So, bottom line… keep in mind that wedding lines run small and you will have to try on sample dresses before getting the gown you want in your size.



“I need a lot of help making a decision.”


Choosing your wedding dress is a BIG decision. We completely get that, and yes. It is! But, we see this happen time and time again. Brides will bring several family members and/or friends with them to their appointment… and simply be left with too many opinions that hide her own. It’s important to remember that this is a purchase, like any other, that YOU will be living with. Not them. So, the decision should ultimately be yours and yours alone. Having some “back-up” or reinforcement isn’t a bad thing, but just beware of the over-crowded appointment.

A good number is you plus no more than two. Bring friends or family who know you best and make sure they will understand that you want to pick the gown that YOU love – not the gown THEY love. Also, remember that you have a consultant who is on your side. If you put her up against a lot of other opinions, she won’t have a chance to hear what YOU think or to share professional advice that could help you.



“As long as I order my size, I won’t need alterations.”


On average, 75-percent of wedding gowns will need some type of alteration. This is your wedding. It’s a special day and you want the special dress to go with it. Not just any ‘ol dress off the rack will do. You’ll most likely want to do some tweaking and/or add some customizations for comfort and to get just the right fit for your body. So while shopping, remember to add some extra cost for the alterations you will (9 times out of 10) need to make it your own. Also ask for professional recommendations before trusting a seamstress with your wedding gown.

Special Summer Savings

Call us to schedule your appointment with Etain today so you can take advantage of our very Special Summer Savings!


Brides who order their dress now through August 31st, 2012 can pick from a variety of special offers in our Summer Savings Vase. You could receive any one of many great special offers, such as…


7% (or free tax) off the price of your gown,

a free Mariell veil,

$50 accessories credit,

$75 accessories credit,

$100 accessories credit,

a free pair of PINK Paradox dyeable bridal shoes,

10% off the price of your gown,

a free necklace & earring set from Mariell (excludes Swarovski crystal pieces),

10% off any Sara Gabriel custom veil or headpiece,

a free bridal sash or belt of your choice (valued up to $249 max.),

a free garter,

a free handbag,

a free rhinestone “Bride” pin,

50% off a pair of PINK Paradox bridal shoes,

50% off a Mariell veil or headpiece,

25% off a Mariell veil or headpiece,

50% off a custom Sara Gabriel veil or headpiece,

25% off a custom Sara Gabriel veil or headpiece,

or 50% off any bridal sash or belt.



Remember, you can “Like us” on Facebook for the latest news about sales and promotions. We hope to see you again soon!

Essense of Australia Trunkshow: October 6-7, 2012

We have exciting news! We will be hosting another Essense of Australia Trunk Show! The event will take place October 6 & 7 here at Etain Bridal Boutique, your favorite Bridal Shop! Last year we booked up quick. Appointments will be required, so call us soon to reserve your time!

We will have several gorgeous gowns from Essense of Australia! Check out their website to view their collection! They have gowns to fit any style. You won’t want to miss this event!

Here is a small taste of all the wonderful gowns they have to offer:

We are loving the newest trend: Two looks for one dress!

We are loving the direction bridal is going. Brides are wanting two gowns or looks, which always meant they had to purchase two gowns. Designers have caught on to the trend and are now making gowns that offer two very different looks in the same gown. Of course, we love the idea! Anything to help our brides get their dream wedding while staying within their budget, especially in these tough economical times. So here are our favorites picks to offer our brides more options! Love these gowns? Call us to request an appointment, we’d love to see you and help make your dreams come true!


Allure Bridals 8800

Allure Bridals 8800

Jasmine Couture T142001

Jasmine Couture T142001

Ella 5564

Ella 5564

Essense of Australia D1331

Essense of Australia 1331











Essense of Australia D1266


Essense of Australia D1266


Essense of Australia D1258

Essense of Australia D1258