Finding the perfect gown for your wedding day is always a challenge, but securing that dress at a price that fits your budget is even more difficult. Thankfully for Houston brides-to-be, what organizers are calling "the industry's largest designer bridal gown sample sale" is taking place Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Highland Village.
Joan Pillow, owner of designer bridal salons in Houston and Atlanta, came up with the idea of creating a bridal gown sample sale like nothing seen before. By collaborating with seven of the country's leading bridal salons — including Pillow's two stores and exclusive boutiques in New York, San Francisco, Miami, Philadelphia and Chicago — the sale features 350 stunning gowns from top designers like Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Vera Wang, Monique Lhuillier, Marchesa and Jenny Packham.
Pillow suggests brides come to the event with an open mind and not hold stringently to the idea of what they think they want.
"It's unprecedented," Pillow says. "Nothing like this has ever happened and I've been in the bridal industry since 1989."
The sale, located in the 3,500-square-foot former Coldwater Creek space at 4050 Westheimer, features gowns up to 75 percent off the original prices. The gowns are placed on separate racks by cost, starting at $1,600 and extending to around $5,500.
Pillow hopes the event helps brides-to-be find their dream designer gown at a price they can afford. "Over the years, I've had girls come in and see me after their weddings and they've said how they wanted so much to buy a dress from my store but it wasn't in the budget," she says. "This allows those girls — wherever they are — to come and buy the finest."
Expect the gowns to run small, Pillow says. "All bridal is smaller than normal sizes. We'll have [size] 8's, 10's and 12's. In order to translate that, (dress size) 4's and 6's would be an 8, 8's would be 10's, and 10's would be 12's." The sale features a wide array of smaller sizes, as well.
Pillow suggests brides come to the event with an open mind and not hold stringently to the idea of what they think they want. "Until they actually start trying on dresses, they really won't know what looks best on," she says.
And bring along your best female friends to help in making the big decision, Pillow advises, although only two guests will be allowed per customer.
Unlike at most upscale bridal salons, no appointments are required for the sample sale. "When the doors open, it's first-come, first-served," she says. "It's a cash-and-carry kind of situation." Credit cards are accepted, too.
The group has advertised the event in many publications across the United States — from California to New Orleans. Even Randy Fenoli, host of TLC's Say Yes to the Dress, helped promote the one-of-a-kind bridal event by posting details on his Facebook page.