Frequently Asked Questions
We recommend starting your search about one year before your wedding. Start by looking at different styles in magazines and online and envision what type of gown suits your personality. There are two seasons per year where wedding gown designers normally release their new collections. Therefore, because wedding gown styles change every couple of months, starting too early might deprive you of new styles. However, you have to remember that there will always be new dresses coming out so if you really find one you absolutely love, don’t hesitate to commit. It is easy to get confused with all the options you have today. Setting up appointments about 9-12 months before your wedding will put you in an ideal time frame to order and receive your gown with plenty of time to spare before your big day!
At Helen’s Bridal, we pride ourselves on providing personal attention to all our brides and as a result, we do not permit self-service when trying on gowns. Every future bride is assigned a bridal consultant that will focus on her needs. We always try to accommodate walk- ins but appointments are always given priority. With an appointment, either a consultant is waiting for you or you will automatically be next. Appointments are highly recommended on weekends and evenings as those times tend to be the busiest. You are welcome to come to the store anytime and browse our selection of gowns but without an appointment, we can’t guarantee that you will receive the level of service that you deserve. Bridal appointment for yourself and two guests are approximately one hour.
You may bring a strapless bra and shoes with your preferred heel height to your consultation but they are not necessary. Most of our wedding gowns are fully boned so support is already built in, eliminating the need to wear a corset. Bring a good camera to note down the dresses you like.
Definitely! BUT, keep in mind that the models used by the bridal designers average 6’ tall and wear a size 4! So, it’s possible that the gowns may not look the same on you. You will definitely want to see yourself in the gown before you buy it. You should also be aware that many designers sell gowns that are not advertised in the magazines and are not available online. Your Helen’s bridal consultant will be able to select gowns for you to try that will flatter your figure and match your style and budget requirements, even if it was not the exact gown in your picture. So, keep an open mind when you are shopping. There have been countless brides that have come in with a picture of a certain gown that have left purchasing an entirely different gown – all because their bridal consultant worked to find the gown that made them feel perfect. If we don’t have the exact gown you are looking for, we almost always have one that is a near match for much less money.
Our samples range in size from 4 to 18. The majority of our gowns are 10’s and 12’s. If the gown is too small or too big, we can usually clip you to give you a general idea of what the gown will look like in your size. Please be understanding that since we are a bridal boutique and not a department store, it is impossible for us to stock every size and color. We try our best to offer a range of sizes and colors so that all of our brides can try on the gowns she desires.
At the beginning of each appointment, a bridal consultant will have you fill out a customer information form so she can learn more about your wedding, budget and style preferences. Appointments are generally one hour long and you are welcome to try on as many dresses as you can during that time frame. We usually recommend trying on no more than 6-8 gowns. Trying on too many can confuse you and cause you to forget previous ones you’ve tried on. We normally allow you to freely browse our racks to see what styles you like. After trying on 3-4 gowns of your picks, your consultant will usually have a better idea of what types of styles look best on you and help better guide you towards dresses you should try on.
Of course you can! We do not impose a “no picture” policy as we understand that it is impossible to remember all the gowns you’ve tried on. It is a great tool for referring back to the dresses you tried.
Don’t fret! Your bridal consultant will write down your favorite styles on the customer information form you filled out at the beginning of your appointment. When you’re ready to come back, we can just look at your file and know exactly which dresses you tried on along with any notations you may have discussed.
QUESTIONS ABOUT SHOPPING AT HELEN’S BRIDAL
Brides travel from all over New York, nationally and even internationally to come to Helen’s Bridal because they want to ensure that they are getting the best possible service. From the first appointment to when you are picking up the dress, we are with you every step of the way. The bulk of our clientele are referred from our past customers who rave about the superior service they received at Helen’s Bridal. They know that we are always a phone call or email away.
Never purchase your wedding gown online. That would be one of the worst mistakes you ever make! There are many places that produce replicas that try to trick you with rock bottom prices. We are an authorized retailer for all the designers we carry and in many cases, a premier retailer. This means we have unparalleled service and special access to gowns that normal stores won’t have. We price our gowns at the lowest prices permitted by the designer. At Helen’s Bridal, we feel that every bride should have a personal consultant to guide them in the process of choosing their bridal party wear. You will be assigned this personal consultant who you are encouraged to contact whenever you have questions or concerns.
The majority of our gowns are special ordered. Unlike a department store, we do not stock a gown in every size. Therefore, you must try on the gowns in whatever size we have and when you are ready to order the gown of your dreams, we take your measurements to determine what size you are closet to. We also sell our gowns ‘’off the rack’’ to brides who are getting married soon and don’t have time to special order a gown or to brides who find a gown that fits perfectly and are on a budget. We normally sell our off-the-rack gowns at a discounted price.
One word alone describes the wedding gown prices…AMAZING! It’s also important to know what you’re getting for the price. At Helen’s Bridal, we ONLY sell high-quality, well know designer gowns, we do not sell “look-alikes”. We have a GREAT selection of gowns priced very reasonably. We have simple gowns perfect for destinations weddings; exquisite gowns perfect for the most formal of wedding ceremonies; and anything in-between. When you come to Helen’s Bridal, advise your consultant as to your budget and she will help you find a designer gown that fits your style, your figure AND your budget. We are very price competitive so if you find it at another legitimate retailer for less, let us know and we will do our best to match it. Be wary of online. Remember, if the price seems too good to be true, it usually is. On any given day we also have featured gowns and/or floor samples offered at a substantial savings. Check back often as these gowns go fast.
Many designers offer rush service for an additional fee. Rush times vary from designer to designer. Most designers cannot rush in less than 3 months. In this case, you might need to purchase a gown off the rack. Our in stock gowns are kept in pristine conditions so buying one will not only save you lots of money but you can be assured that your gown is as good as new. If you are a bride who’s wedding is rapidly approaching, your best bet is to give us a call or email us and see what your options are!
Each designer has a different lead-time for production of your order. We will work with you to determine order and delivery deadlines for items you have selected. We generally recommend ordering your gown at least
6-9 months before your wedding. It typically takes about 4-6 months from the time of ordering for your gown to come in. Gowns with custom changes may take longer. You will want to leave 2-3 months from the time of -months of buffer time for alterations and possible shopping delays.
It does not take as long to order bridesmaid dresses but because they are made to order, we generally advise ordering them 4-6 months before your wedding. Please keep in mind that it might be difficult to coordinate all the bridesmaids to place their orders in a timely matter, especially if you have a large party. Starting the process early will ensure that by the time the last bridesmaid’s order is received, there is still sufficient time for the dresses to come in. Please note that bridesmaid orders are placed at the same time so that the dresses are cut from the same roll of fabric, thus preventing dye lot variations.
Our experienced consultants will take your measurements to ensure that your gown will be ordered in the size closest to your measurements. Often, your measurements will fall in between sizes and your approval will be required before we determine what size to order. Although the collections we offer are made to order, they are not custom-made. Therefore, alterations may be necessary to ensure the perfect fit. As a result, we usually advise ordering the larger size as the gown can always be taken in. Please note that different designers have different measurement charts so it is possible to be a size 8 in one brand and a size 10 in another. In addition, bridal sizes tend to run small so don’t be alarmed when your bridal size is not the same as your clothing size.
Most wedding dresses are designed for a 5’7” girl with 3” heels. If you do not fall in this category, you will need to order the gown to your height. Most designers charge $100 for this service. However, most girls are not sure what shoes they will be wearing for their wedding day in which case, they can order their dress in regular length and have the seamstress hem the gown when it come in.
As mentioned above, we can only recommend what size to order based on your measurements at the time of ordering. We are not responsible for any fluctuations in weight (including pregnancy) resulting in the dress not fitting. However, we will work with you and our professional seamstresses for any possible solutions. It is not unusual for our seamstress to take in 3-4 sizes or let out 1-2 sizes.
We require a minimum of 50% deposit for all bridal gown orders and the entire amount on all bridesmaid dress orders. We accept Visa, Master Card, American Express, Discover, debit, cash or check. Checks are not accepted for final payments.
Due to the special nature of our business, any orders that have been placed cannot be cancelled after 24 hours. We understand that special circumstances do arise and we will do our best to offer as many options as we can should you need to cancel your order your order. However, deposits are non-refundable.
QUESTIONS ABOUT AFTER YOUR PURCHASE
Yes, we have outstanding seamstresses on the premises. They are always here to help and answer any questions that may arise. They specialize in wedding gowns, bridesmaid dresses and evening gown alterations. There is an additional cost for alterations and your bridal consultant will go over the fees with you at the time of purchase.
Once you receive a call from us notifying you that your gown has arrived, the next step is to set up an appointment to come to the store and try on your gown. We would like you to come as soon as possible to ensure that your gown is exactly what you ordered and to assess the alterations that will be needed. This appointment is also a great time to pick out accessories like your veil, tiara, as well as any jewelry you might want to wear and the shoe height you want to wear with your dress. During this appointment, the balance of your dress will be taken and your appointment for your first fitting with the seamstress will be made.
We generally schedule your first fitting 1 – 1 ½ months before your wedding. Most brides feel that this is too close to their wedding. The reason we do the alterations so close to the wedding is because it is pointless to do the alterations too early as most brides change in weight right before the wedding. If your gown is altered too early, the chance of it needing to be re-altered is much greater. We believe in the minimum approach. The least times the dress is altered, the better. However, we do respect your needs and should you want to schedule your fitting earlier, you can do so as well.
You are more than welcome to have your dress altered by someone other than our seamstresses. However, we strongly advise that your wedding gown be altered by a professional wedding gown seamstress.
There are generally two fittings. Since we do the first fitting so close to the wedding, your size then should closely resemble your size at your wedding thus eliminating the need for additional fittings. Complex jobs such as building up and creating will usually require at least three fittings. Of course, ultimately there will be as many fittings as necessary to make your gown perfect!
You should bring the shoes and undergarment (bra/corset) that you will be wearing on your wedding day. A majority of our brides chose not to wear a bra under their wedding gown and opt to have cups built in. This can discussed with the seamstress. It is very important to bring the shoes you are wearing on your wedding day so that the seamstress can hem your gown to the proper length.
The second fitting is usually about 2-3 weeks after the first fitting. If all goes well at the second fitting, you can then schedule an appointment to pick up your dress. If additional alterations are needed, your third fitting will generally take place in less than a week.
Yes, your dress will be steamed and/or pressed and put on a body form all ready for you to take home at the time of pick up.
You can definitely pick up your dress the day before the wedding. However, the last couple of days before the wedding can be very hectic so it might be hard to find time to pic up the dress then. We advise having the dress at home at least 1 week before your wedding so the picking up of your dress does not become as last minute errand.