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Something Sweet Is Happening at September’s Bride!

SpringSweetLogoIf you’ve walked past the boutique in the past few days, you’ve probably noticed the windows are covered and we’ve only been open by appointment! Besides a lovely remodel that is going on behind those covered windows, this is an exciting time at the boutique and we have great news to share!

After over 7 years of owning, building and growing September’s Bride as a destination bridal boutique in West Michigan, the boutique has been purchased by another well-known business owner from the downtown Holland Area.

Spring Sweet (her given name and also the name of her lovely boutique!) has purchased September’s Bride effective July 21st. You can expect the same customer service, many of our product lines and culture you experienced with September’s Bride! Although she will not be keeping the name “September’s Bride”, we are sure you will love the additional services and products that Spring will be adding from her boutique. Check out the Spring Sweet Facebook page to see some of the lovely flowers, wedding gifts and clothing you can find in her boutique and soon at September’s Bride, too!

What this means for you:
If you have an appointment at the boutique anytime in July for fittings or try-on appointments, plan on keeping that appointment, but please give us a call to confirm. We do not anticipate needing to change any current appointments on the books during this transition. However, the boutique has been closed for new appointments and walk-ins from July 18th – 30th for moving and reorganizing.

Click here to read the official press release submitted to the media.

The same September’s Bride staff will be here to serve you and will be available to answer any questions you may have!

We want to again, reassure you that all of your needs will be met during this transition and that we are here to answer all of your questions resolve any concerns you may have. Please call the boutique at (616) 355-1433 anytime with questions.

Tami will be continuing as owner and operator of Great Lakes Wedding Gown Specialists, the area expert in cleaning, preserving, and restoring wedding gowns.  You may contact her about these services at greatlakesgowns@charter.net.

 

Paying for the wedding…

When Jennifer ordered her wedding gown several months ago, her mom completely surprised us all with her method of payment…several bank envelopes, all full of $5 bills.  We were a little flabbergasted, and of course it’s not polite to ask too many questions about a customer’s cash.

But Jennifer’s mom shared the sweet story with us.  When Jennifer was young, Mom would take $5 each day out of her own lunch money and tuck it away in an envelope instead of splurging on lunch with friends at work.  She would pack a lunch, or eat inexpensively.  Over the years, those $5 bills began adding up and Mom is funding Jennifer’s entire wedding with them!

Jennifer was back in today, trying on her gorgeous dress.  Her supportive and loving Mom was right there with her!  What a great story they have to share.

And what a great idea for all any young parents out there…start saving now; it adds up!

What to Expect? What do you Deserve?

…by Audrey Koppenal Bagalay, newest SB consultant and recent bride

 

Walking into a bridal boutique can be such an exciting big step into the wedding planning process.  As a bride, you feel that this big purchase sets the tone for the wedding, as well as making the whole process feel real.  Buying your dress should make you feel like you are all that matters to those present.  You should feel that you are being listened to and your needs and wants considered.

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Before I came to work at September’s Bride, I was one of their brides.  SB was not my only shopping experience.  I had been to a few other shops and realized that wedding gown shopping was not only about the dress, but about the experience as well.  Don’t get me wrong, I was not expecting a TV reality show experience, but I did want to feel special.  The first place I shopped started off well!  I was the only bride with the consultant, the dresses were beautiful, and I found a dress I liked quite a bit.  But, midway through the appointment, it began to go downhill for me.  The consultant saw that I liked a few dresses and, rather than encouraging me and helping me decide what I liked about each one, began to push me to purchase the most expensive of them.  I shut down and ended the appointment because I felt very overwhelmed and pressured to choose the dress she wanted me to buy instead of a gown I loved.  I had a different experience at another local store, where I walked into disorganized chaos.  After waiting a big, I was told to just pick out what I wanted to try.  After finding and lugging dresses to the fitting room on my own where I was left alone, I walked out.

 

From my first call to SB, I got  much different vibe.  Even on the phone, they were friendly and listened to my desires.  That carried over to my appointment.  I was immediately greeted when I walked in the door and my consultant sat down with me to find out about my wedding and what I was looking for in a wedding gown.  After that, I was able to choose a few dresses and my consultant made some suggestions as well.  Most of all, both the consultant and the owner made me feel like I was the only person that mattered to them at that moment.  At SB, I found my dress; the dress that met my wants and needs, but I also found the service that I wanted!  There was no pressure to make a purchase, but I knew it was right and my consultant was ready to help.

 

When shopping for your big day, you deserve to be treated like I was at SB.  When I found out they were hiring, I applied because I want to be able to give other brides the experience they deserve and help them find the dress of their dreams.  Don’t settle on your expectations, and don’t give into high pressure!  It’s your wedding day and it’s your one wedding dress.

 

Online Purchasing

Technology has helped the process of planning a wedding in so many positive ways. From Pinterest wedding boards that get a bride’s creative juices flowing, to personal wedding websites and Theknot.com, the World Wide Web is a powerful tool that aids future brides tremendously. Even within the bridal industry we are grateful that with a few clicks of the mouse we can pull up our bridesmaids dresses in a variety of colors so that brides can see their color choices before making a purchase.

But at times we become to comfortable with our friend “The Internet” and its ability to find us anything at a moment’s notice. A new trend  has been popping up across the country with promises of low prices and easy shopping: Online Wedding Gown Purchasing. In a time when we are encouraged to look for a bargain, encouraged to shop from our couches and living in a budget conscious society, buying a wedding dress online seems like a great alternative to shopping at a bridal boutique.  But there are several risks involved that we would like brides to be aware of before placing your wedding dress in an online shopping cart.

Quality of fabric/design. You cannot touch a dress through a screen. It may look beautiful in the photo but even the most high-res photo will not give you the true quality of the fabric. When a dress is available online, the seller is looking for ways to save cost, including using cheaper fabrics. The same goes for the design and any bead work or lace. There never is a guarantee that what you saw on the website will be what arrives at your doorstep. Many times the sample that is portrayed online is their best attempt, made from the best materials. What they ship out is a cheaper version.  

Timing And Shipping. When ordering online you have no control over when your dress arrives. When ordering through a bridal shop there are several points of communication along your dress’s journey from creation to shipping to you. The consultants you work with are there to make sure your dress is ordered and shipped on time, the manager who places your order makes sure that there is no need for a rush and the dress designer is always a phone call away to provide peace of mind and a status on your dress. Too often with websites,the only option for contact is a standard email address and there is no exchange of wedding date. While at a bridal shop where everyone is well aware by what date you need a dress, a website is blissfully unaware and will ship when it is ready.

Service After the Sale. Gown shopping does not end after you make your selection and fork over the money. From veils and jewelry, the height of your shoe, undergarments, bridesmaid dresses, tuxedos, the list goes on and a website can only provide you with an electronic receipt. It cannot recommend what necklace will work best with your gown’s neckline or how easy your dress will be to be hemmed. The consultant who helped you at a bridal salon will not only help you decide which dress looks best on you, she will be there to answer all your questions and help with all the little details beyond your biggest purchase.

Alterations. Because of the often-times poor quality of the construction of online wedding gowns, an online purchase is nearly impossible to alter. If it is possible it is usually more expensive to have the dress properly fitted due to poor construction than it would have been had a bride purchased from a reputable source.

Counterfeit websites/scams. It is far too easy to stumble upon an online scam these days. A bride can spend hours searching for the perfect dress only to lose her entire gown budget in minutes on a fake website.

Livelihood of Bridal Boutiques. If a bride is considering purchasing a dress online, she knows she needs to try on similar shapes and fabrics before she purchases. Which means she will need to make an appointment at a local bridal boutique to get an idea what looks best. Dress shops are not paid for the amount of brides they service. They are paid when brides order through their store. So when a bride comes to get ideas, then purchases online for a better price, the shop suffers. And if it isn’t a giant chain like David’s Bridal, it’s families that suffer. Small, independently owned boutiques are run by mothers of college age kids, mothers of toddlers, aspiring designers, newlyweds hoping to adopt. A couple hours in a shop followed by a few clicks of a mouse is not just about the discount.

At September’s Bride we understand the desire to get the best deal possible (we are located in a Dutch community after all :) ) and we offer a wide variety of wedding attire at just about any budget. But we also deeply understand the importance of customer service, quality of fabrics and construction, and the bride within the sale, not just the sale itself. These are the things that the World Wide Web isn’t able to offer.

To schedule your own private, personalized appointment at our boutique and discover the benefits of shopping in person call 616-355-1433 or email us at tami@septembersbride.com.

Tuxedo Refresher

Let’s keep wishing and praying for Spring time with a reminder that Summer weddings are quickly approaching; now is the perfect time to begin your tuxedo orders. Below are the top five tuxedo details that we want everyone to keep in mind.

1. Time Frame. Depending on the number of rentals, their distance from our shop and sometimes even their age, you should begin your tuxedo registration anywhere from 4-6 months before the wedding. It may not take you a long time to make your color/style selections but if you have a large party, or if they need to call in their measurements from out of town, or even if they are younger and in school it may take a while to complete the registration and collect deposits. We prefer to have tuxedo orders placed at least two months before the wedding. Any later and orders may be charged a rush fee.

2. Flexibility. More often than not, tuxedo orders have few to no changes to be made. But just like all women look and fit differently into different wedding gowns, not all men fit into their formal wear the same. We may measure an outseam correctly but if the groomsmen decides to wear his pants slightly higher or lower than is traditional then a little tweaking may be necessary. Likewise for biceps. An arm length may be correct but that doesn’t take into account thicker arms, or the comfort a groomsman desires when moving. Do not panic if we need to make a change or too. Our tuxedo distributors are wonderful at delivering exchanges in a timely manner.

3. Returned Tuxedos. It is important to return all rental pieces on the date specified (usually the Monday following the wedding). Each rental does not have to be returned by each individual groomsmen, in fact, we recommend a parent collecting and returning all items in one load. Our distributors patiently wait for returns in order to clean, package and ship them out for the following week’s weddings, we like to help them out by getting them back in a timely manner. Certain circumstances warrant longer return dates but need to be discussed prior to the wedding with a tuxedo consultant.

4. Informal Wear. If you have jumped onto the casual bandwagon in terms of Men’s wedding wear, don’t assume that you have to purchase your pieces at a department store. September’s Bride offers packages for a more button-down and relaxed style. From tan/gray three piece suits to patterned ties and packages that do not include jackets, we can accommodate  almost any style.

5. Customizing. We have many options for customizing the Groomsmen’s look for your wedding day. From suspenders, to a new gray formal shoe, to pocket squares, socks, flat front pants and fitted shirts, there is no need to settle for the most basic that is offered in each package. Would you like an extra shirt for your father in case of a spill? Do you think your groom would look better without pleated pants? Just let us know what you are envisioning and we will help you make it a reality.

To begin your own Tuxedo Registration call 616-355-1433 or email our lead tuxedo consultant at tiffany@septembersbride.com

 

Test Your Gown Knowledge!

Most brides are surprised at how much detail goes into selecting their wedding gown. From the color choices per fabric and the length of the train appropriate for their venue to ordering timelines and custom options, there is a lot of that goes into even the simplest white dress.  Test your knowledge of wedding gowns with our quiz below and see how informed you are about the wedding gown industry. Whether you are in the dark or practically a consultant these questions will help you get into the gown ordering mode.

 

1. How many months does it take to order a wedding gown?

A.  Six to eight weeks

B. 8-10 months

C. 5-7 months

D. Dresses are usually in stock and come within weeks of placing the order

 

2. True or False. Wedding gowns come with a bustle.

 

3. How does the length of a gown change?

A. The smaller the size, the shorter the dress

B. The gown length only changes if a custom length is ordered

C. Gowns only come one length and a seamstress has to adjust

D. Gown designers adjust the length based on height of bride

 

4. How much time is recommended for alterations?

A. Two to three months before the wedding

B. One month before the wedding

C. As soon as you are at your desired size

D. Once the dress arrives

 

5. True or False. Not all wedding gowns are available in white.

 

6. In Bridal, dress sizes run

A. Generally one to two sizes smaller than a bride’s normal dress size

B. True to size

C. Different depending on the shape of the dress

D. Generally one to two sizes larger than a bride’s normal dress size

 

Answers

1. C. Depending on the time of year, designer, and any custom changes a gown can take anywhere from 5-7 months to arrive. However, 10-12 months is the suggested time to begin shopping AND ordering. That way the bride has plenty of time for alterations, any custom changes, etc.   2. False. Wedding gowns purposefully come without a bustle so that a bride can choose the bustle option and to allow for hem adjustments.   3. B. Wedding gowns will come a standard sample length unless ordered shorter or longer, regardless of size.   4. A. Two to three months allows enough time to fit in two or more fittings without any rush to complete the changes. However, more or less time may be appropriate depending on the situation.   5. True. Some fabric, for example silk, can only get as light as an ivory. That being said, all shades are differently named depending on designers.   6. A. Bridal runs small so don’t be alarmed. Always order based on how your measurements fall on the size chart. We don’t recommend ordering based on future weight loss, department store dress size. etc.

 

If you got 0-2 Correct: You are a Gown Novice. You may not know much about the technical side of selecting/ordering a wedding gown but that won’t stop you from making the right decisions when the time comes. With the help of one of our gown consultants and your dress wish list, your gown will arrive in time and with all the pieces in place.

If you got 3-4 Correct: You are an Intermediate Shopper.  You like to be informed when making a major purchase but you don’t go to the extreme of learning every facet of an industry. With a general understanding of the ordering process you can select a gown for your big day and allow our gown consultants to fine tune the details to assure your gown is exactly how you picture it to be.

I you got 5-6 Correct: You are practically Consultant! You have looked forward to wedding dress shopping for a long time and you have researched the shopping experience down to the fine print.  Since you have such a vested interest in the gown industry you might enjoy getting creative with one of our consultants and learn how to design a unique gown just for you. From changing silhouettes and fabrics to custom colors and sketches, you can learn even more about the bridal industry when ordering at September’s Bride.

At September’s Bride we accommodate all types of brides from those who aren’t sure of the process to those who know every detail. To make your private bridal appointment today call 616-355-1433 or email tami@septembersbride.com.

Prom on Eighth Street

It’s that time of year for glitz shopping, glam shopping, lovely, fun, or sophisticated shopping and everything in between. Prom season has arrived and at September’s Bride we have a wonderful variety of styles available for the prom queen in your life. From classic black to cheerful colors like pink and yellow, from full tulle skirts and sequined tops to flowing chiffons, we have gowns that will suite everyone’s taste.

Stop in with your prom goer and enjoy the variety in our selection, the coziness of our boutique and make a memory selecting her special gown in a location that is beyond the typical department store or mall. You may rest assured that your daughter won’t be wearing a duplicate dress when you purchase at September’s Bride because we only carry one gown in each style. Call to set up an appointment or stop in the next time you are downtown. 616-355-1433.

 

Mom…hostess, honored guest, and more…

They often wander into the boutique with a stunned look.  As a mother of a young adult myself, I am beginning to understand.  “My son/daughter is getting married”, they say, “I guess I need a dress”.  “When is the wedding?” we ask.  The answer is often just a few weeks or months off.  Of course they had no idea that they needed five months to order a dress.

Add in the insecurity that often comes to women as we enter our 40s and 50s…we’ve been too busy taking care of these kids to always pay attention to ourselves.  I find it hard to believe that I myself am closer to shopping for a gown for my child’s wedding than the fresh memories I have of shopping for my own wedding gown.  I am certainly beginning to understand and relate to these women more each season!

Over the years, I have written several blog posts for moms who are shopping for their gowns.  Here is one from a few years ago with some great guidelines for shopping, and here is another that Tiffany wrote earlier this year.

If you’re shopping for a mother’s dress or gown, we have options from $170 – $950 and everything in between!  Our boutique is helpful, comfortable, and pressure-free.  We would be honored to serve you.

Customer Service

It’s easy to like the idea of buying based on great customer service isn’t it? Of course we all love and support buying local, shopping at small, family owned businesses that are conscious of the environment or donate to their community and we love when a sales representative treats us like we should be treated: a person who is more than just a sale. But let’s face it, there are several obstacles that may keep us from making a large purchase with quality customer service in mind. From budget to distance and everything in between, there are many people who allow unique situations keep them from seeking out quality sales assistance.

In the bridal industry great customer service can either make or break your wedding experience. Especially in gown shopping. Now bridal boutiques can talk about the importance of customer service until the they are blue in the face and I am sure that many brides are going to raise a skeptical eyebrow; of course you are going to talk up your great service, you want the sale right? So take the advice of a gown consultant that knows first hand the importance of good customer service because I, unfortunately didn’t have it when I purchased my gown.

I did not buy my gown from September’s Bride. I went shopping before I started working at the boutique and I didn’t get it. I just didn’t get the importance of customer service. I shopped at September’s Bride, of course. I was attending Hope College and it was the only place I could get to without begging for a ride. And I, of course, found beautiful gowns and was treated like I was the very first bride that they had ever worked with. I had a private appointment, I was asked my story, all the consultants came by as I changed into different gowns and gushed over how beautiful I looked. I loved every minute of it.

Do you know what kept me from purchasing from September’s Bride? I didn’t think I was worth the service. Most of the gowns were not in my price range and despite the fact that I was graciously offered the sample of the gown I loved at a price that was in my budget I was unsure. It is such a beautiful building, the quality of gowns is so lovely, everyone seems so professional, it just seemed to good to be true. Coming from a Dutch background with parents on the mission field and a small wedding budget something kept pulling me away, telling me this was for a different type of girl.

But the thing about great customer service is that it is for everyone and every budget. When a bride is shopping for the dress that she is going to get married in, the service should always be there, regardless of background or price point. September’s Bride understands that. It is why I was offered their sample at an affordable price; they heard my story and wanted me to be happy.

I purchased from a store that didn’t make me feel like the only bride. I felt rushed, annoying, one in a thousand. In the moment I thought it was fine. I was just one in a thousand brides, I thought. All I needed was the dress, I couldn’t afford to be pampered. But it was my wedding, something I had dreamed of planning and shopping for for years and now when I look back at gown shopping it won’t be happy memories of being treated like a princess. It will be memories of an impatient consultant, crowded fitting room and rushed appointments.

At September’s Bride our consultants all have different flames behind our personal service that we offer the brides we work with. Mine is that I never want a bride to feel the way I felt when shopping. If you are looking to be pampered when finding your dress make an appointment at September’s Bride. Regardless of price range or story you will be given your own consultant, a spacious fitting room, space for your guests and the attention that you deserve when selecting the most important attire of your life. Call today to schedule your own appointment. 616-355-1433.

 

Pinterest And Planning

There are some days that I truly envy today’s brides with their Dream Wedding Pinterest Boards. Six years ago all I had was a flimsy poster board with magazine clippings glued into a collage. But then there are days that I am thankful that I got married pre-pinterest and didn’t have the torture of the millions of wedding possibilities scrolling endlessly before my eyes. The wonderfulness of Pinterest is obvious: Having the ability to easily store all your wedding plans and inspirations in one spot and search for new and fresh ideas. But the down sides to the pinning sensation is obvious as well: Pinterest has no budget and no time frame, while the rest of us do.

Creating a virtual wedding can be tricky and dangerous when you have access to images and ideas that were created with resources that you might not actually have access to. Comparing your wedding in reality to your virtual one can leave your big day looking lackluster. Below are a few helpful pinning tips to get the best use out of the sight while still being realistic.

Use the Delete Button. As you progress through your wedding plans, keep in mind what you have already purchased/booked/decided on and then delete the wedding pins that don’t match up to your finalized plans. For example, if you have already found and purchased your wedding gown, delete any gown pins that you may have saved. Or if you have already booked a ballroom venue delete any pins of outdoor receptions or locals that don’t follow the scheme of a ballroom. Keeping ideas around that challenge the decisions you’ve already made will only confuse you.

Use Perspective. Yes that $10,000 Panina Tornai is stunning but is it realistic? Those four foot tall centerpieces with cascading roses and ivory tulips that won’t be in season in your wedding month would be jaw dropping but is it in your price range? If you aren’t seriously considering forking over the money for an elaborate pin then keep scrolling and pat yourself on the back for sticking to the  budget.

Use Your DIY Common Sense. I love seeing the captions under pins that say something like, “hmm, this is really cute and shouldn’t be too hard to make. DIY time!” I have only met one person in my life who can literally re-create almost anything she sees on Pinterest and she happens to be our boutique manager, Rachel. But even Rachel is realistic when it comes to cost and time. DIY wedding projects are one thing when you find a pin that has instructions and material lists to re-create, but if you see something online and are sure you can make it yourself faster or cheaper than purchasing, make sure to seriously consider your craftiness level and your wedding timeline. Here’s a personal example. We hosted a DIY Bride night at September’s Bride a couple of years ago and, being the all-knowing crafter that I am, I decided to make this adorable tissue paper flower centerpiece. It looked simple enough, so simple that I waited until the night before the event to make them. Three hours in and I had one flower to show for my time (and it wasn’t even a good one) and I had to scrap the entire project and scramble to find something easier. Let my bruised ego set an example.

Despite these guidelines it is still hard not to get pin-happy when lounging on the couch and dreaming of the best day of your life. If you need a little extra guidance and help flushing out your wedding vision, our wedding coordinators at September’s Bride are more than happy to spend an hour or two sorting out your wedding plans. To schedule a consultation contact us at 616-355-1433 or rachel@septembersbride.com.