Dear Bridal Talk,
I just got engaged and I keep hearing about wedding dress trunk shows. What exactly is a "trunk show"? Is it worth going to one?
-- Ilene, Springfield, NJ
Ilene, looking for your dress is one of the most exciting parts of your wedding, and going to a trunk show can really ratchet up the excitement! According to bridal salon owner Nicky of Maplewood Bridal, New Jersey, at a trunk show, "The designer or their representative brings his or her entire collection (yes, in trunks!), and provides personal consultations."
Most salons usually only carry a handful of designs by a specific designer; at a trunk show, you'll have a chance to browse all the looks of your favorite designer—sometimes even before they're available in the boutiques. What's more, at many trunk shows you'll work one-on-one with a fashion expert, either the designer's representative or the designer themselves. They'll personally assess your figure and wedding style and recommend the best gowns from their collection. As Nicky explains, "They may suggest custom changes, and offer special pricing and incentives on orders placed during the show!"
Trunk shows remind me of how European aristocrats used to shop—privately. A couturier would present the season's latest creations to the Duchess of this or the Countess of that, who would be advised on the most flattering ball gown. Think of a trunk show as your own princess moment.
Trunk Show Tips:
Begin by browsing designer websites to get a sense of which styles appeal to you and fall within your budget.
Though trunk shows take place throughout the year, you'll have the widest selection of designers from January–March when these events are more numerous.
Trunk shows are by appointment only and fill up fast. So don't wait to reserve your slot (and if you can't keep the appointment, please be courteous and call to cancel.)
Bring one or two people with you whom you trust and who know you well. Resist the urge to have a larger entourage accompany you—too many opinions can get confusing.
Be prepared to make a purchase in case you find "the dress" in order to take advantage of possible show discounts. But don't feel pressured to make a decision if you aren't 100% convinced.
Dresses aren't the only fashion element in a trunk show. Wedding veils, head pieces, wedding jewelry, bridesmaid dresses and shoe designers have trunk shows, too!