FAQs | Special Occasions
FAQs

Shopping

Do I need to make an appointment to try on dresses?
No appointment is required for trying on gowns. However, appointments are necessary for alterations.
What should I bring to try on bridal gowns? Who should I bring?
We suggest bringing any pictures of styles you like as well as an open mind. You should bring mom, sister or a trusted friend. You want honest opinions from your entourage to help determine the right dress for you.
What sizes are available for me to try on? To order?
We carry an assortment of sizes, including plus sizes; however most store samples are sizes 10-12. The following designers have the corresponding sizes available to order from current styles:

  • *Maggie Sottero: 0-28
  • *Sottero & Midgley: 0-28
  • Mary’s: 2-30
  • Alfred Angelo: 0-30W
  • Mori Lee: 2-28
  • *Some styles have limited size ranges

I am getting married in a hurry. Do you offer gowns that can be available immediately?
Every gown in our store is available for purchase. Some designers offer rush and super rush delivery for an additional charge. We also carry retired bridal gowns at a reduced price.
Are there ways to customize a gown to be uniquely mine?
Yes. We can add or remove straps depending on style, add belts or sashes, add flowers, and add color. Ask your consultant for options or ideas.
When should I order my headpiece and/or veil?
Headpieces and veils can be chosen when you pick out your gown or at your first fitting appointment.
How can I clean my gown?
Bring your bridal gown into Special Occasions professional cleaning services. Stop by as soon as possible after your wedding to avoid discoloration. We offer cleaning and preserving services through Wedding Gown Preservation Co.—a trusted source since 1913 and backed by a 20-year guarantee.
When is a good time to pick out bridesmaids dresses?
First, select your bridal gown as it determines the overall appearance of your wedding. Then, choose a color and style that flatters all attendants. If you want each bridesmaid to pick her own style, select a designer, color, fabric and length to ensure a cohesive look. Remember, orders need to be placed 6 to 8 months prior to the wedding date. We recommend all dresses be ordered together to ensure color lot.
Do you offer maternity dresses?
Some designers do offer maternity dresses. Some styles of non-maternity dresses can also be flattering and comfortable options and can be altered to accommodate your changing figure.
What is the flower girl size range and how long will it take to receive it once ordered?
Flower girl dress sizes vary depending on style and manufacturer. Most can be ordered one month prior to the event; however, some alterations may still be necessary.

Ordering

Is it safe to purchase my gown online?
Please be aware that purchasing gowns on the Internet through a non-authorized retailer is NOT recommended. By doing so, you will be receiving a counterfeit gown of much lesser quality that looks nothing like the original sample. Your wedding dress is very special and your satisfaction and good service should be high priorities. While we understand that in today’s difficult economic times, finding the “best deal” is important, we also know that compromising quality and service to save a few dollars can result in a dress disaster.
Do I need to pay in full for my gown once I have ordered it?
We require at least 50% down payment to order merchandise. We offer interest free financing as long as payments are made every 30 days. All charges must be paid in full before merchandise leaves the store.
Can I order my gown in custom lengths?
Some designers offer custom lengths. Ask your consultant for further information.
Can I purchase a shawl or extra fabric?
Yes. Some dresses include shawls; otherwise, fabric can be ordered in one-yard increments for custom shawls, sashes, flowers, pocket squares, etc.
I am planning to lose weight before the wedding; when should I order my gown?
Many brides want to lose weight before the big day; however, this typically does not change the size you need to order. Plus, everyone needs alterations to their gown and it is easier and less expensive to take in rather than let out the seams.
Once I’ve placed an order, how long will it take for me to receive my bridal gown? Bridesmaids?
Delivery times vary according to designer. We suggest purchasing your wedding gown 9-12 months prior to your wedding date. This allows for delivery from overseas plus time for alterations. Bridesmaids’ dresses should be ordered 6-8 months prior to the wedding date. Some designers do offer rush services for an additional charge.
My bridesmaids are located in different cities. Should they order their dresses from different stores?
No. It is best to order all dresses together from the same store to guarantee the same dye lot and delivery date.

Alterations

Do I need to make an appointment for alterations?
Yes. We require appointments for all fittings.
When should I schedule my first bridal fitting? Bridesmaids?
Depending on season, bridal fittings should be started 4-6 weeks prior to the wear date. Bridesmaids should be started at least 4 weeks prior to the wear date. Special accommodations can be made for out-of-town attendants.
What do I need to bring to a fitting?
You will need any special undergarments you plan on wearing with your dress as well as shoes. We offer long-line bras and shapers for purchase as well as slip rentals.
How many fittings are usually needed?
Two to three fittings are usually required depending on the alterations that have been made to your dress.

Tuxes

How far in advance should I select our tuxedo style?
Once you have selected the bridal gown and bridesmaids’ dresses you are ready to select the tuxes. For guaranteed selection, we suggest you register with us no less than 6 months prior to the wedding date.
How is a tuxedo different from a suit?
With few exceptions, tuxedos must have an accent on the collar and/or lapel of the coat, adding to the formal look. Tuxedo trousers usually have an accent stripe down the outside of the leg. Both are typically done in satin to create a different fashion statement available only from a tuxedo.
What is the smallest tux size you offer?
Rental tuxes are available starting in size 3. We also offer basic tuxes starting at 6 months for a minimal purchase price.
When do we need to have all measurements submitted for a tux order?
All measurements need to be submitted at least one month prior to the wear date.
When does my tux order arrive?
Tuxedo orders arrive and are available for trying on the week of the event.
When do I need to return my tux rental?
Your tuxedo rental is due the following business day after your event. Those living out of town or unable to return their own tux may have another party member return it for them.

The Best Place to Buy Your Gown: Full Service Bridal Stores

We recommend that you purchase your gown at the store that gives you the best service. Beware if the store cannot provide gowns to try on as well as assist you with your fitting, alterations, and pressing services. You can usually save time and money by doing it all at one place – with assurance that your satisfaction will be guaranteed. Hometown service is a plus – no out of town trips for ordering or pickup. And the perks are always a plus. A dress purchased out of town will require excess charges and no guarantees!

Avoiding Common Mistakes

Every bride wants the best price when purchasing her wedding gown. Be certain that you are comparing “apples to apples” when making your decision. A “discount” does not necessarily mean that you are saving money. Look at the “free services” that are included (or not included) in the price and the terms of payment. Be especially cautious of anyone who requires you to pay in full before ordering your dress.

“No Inventory” Dealers

Many discount offers come from part-time “gray market” dealers who have no dresses. Some call themselves a personal shopping service; instead, they ask that you shop around and find the style you want and call them with the manufacturers name, style number and your measurements. They order your dress, not from the manufacturer, but through a third party. You may have to pay shipping charges, pay the full amount before seeing your dress, find a seamstress, go to another location for fitting, and, in many cases, pay more for pressing and alterations than in a bridal store. When you add up all these extras, you would have probably paid less, and saved a great deal of time, by buying the dress from the bridal store that assisted you locally.

Ordering Over the Phone and On-line

It’s smart to buy some things over the phone and the Internet, but not an item that requires measuring, fittings, alterations and professional pressing. Following Is a TRUE story. A bride had been in a full­ service store looking for her wedding gown. She found what she wanted; however, she ordered it over the Internet as she found a source that would sell the same gown for $100 less. After receiving her wedding gown: (I) In a small box, (2) dirty and (3) not the correct size, she is having to pay $250 for the necessary alterations and $175 to have the gown professionally cleaned and pressed. When she tried to phone the Internet business where she ordered the dress, their number had been changed to an “unpublished” number. USA Today reported that shoppers were getting a poor deal from Internet retailers. Consumers International research group found that one in ten Items never arrived when it ordered 151 items from various Internet sites. Your wedding gown is too important to take a chance.

Big-Box Style Chains

Many brides that buy from a national chain do so because they assume they will save money. It’s our opinion that they do not. It’s understandable how a bride could be confused, because a chain may advertise $99 bridal sales; however, some bridal chains only offer their own line of Imported wedding gowns. They do not offer the designer wedding gowns featured in the bridal magazines. They sell the same style dress to many brides. It appears that they carry more styles than they actually do, because they stock many dresses of the exact same style. One of the comments that we hear is that a chain store may have styles that look similar to designer gowns, but the fabric is lower quality. Our advice: If there is ever a time when you deserve quality, it’s your wedding day!

Counterfeit Education

Learn more about counterfeit education through Maggie Sottero.