Buying a Wedding Dress Off the Rack–Helpful Tips

posted in: Dresses, Tips & Tricks | 0

Pretty ladies, let's start this post with some helpful background information about buying wedding gowns. No, I can't give away all my secrets, silly, but I can explain a little bit about how we work and our selling philosophy here at Strut.

At our wedding dress store, we sell gowns two ways:

1. You can order it, or

2. You can buy it off the rack.


When you order a dress you usually need 12+ weeks (16+ weeks if you want a custom gown, meaning you've made changes from the original design). We do have some dresses that have a 6 week order. And, of course, you can pay rush charges of about $100 if you need your dress faster (faster than 12 weeks; I don't think we get anything in less than 6 weeks!).

But sometimes brides don't have that much time to wait. Or, frankly, they just want to take care of that purchase that day and not wait for their dress to arrive. In that case, we can sell a wedding dress off the rack. That means you buy the sample we have in stock. There are definitely pluses and minuses to doing this, so let's list a few.


  • You take it home that day–no more shopping around, no waiting for it to come in, no worries about it arriving before your wedding date
  • You sometimes can get a small discount on the price, depending on the state of the dress (dirty hems, small snags, loose beads all get you a little off the purchase price). Discontinued dresses will get you a bigger discount because we can't reorder it, so we need to sell the sample!
  • You can still have it altered to fit you; in many cases, you can take a dress in, or out, about two sizes, so the dress you pick doesn't have to be your exact size (that means more options for you when you're wedding dress shopping!)


  • Ummm… Sometimes they have been tried on before.

Yep, I think that's it. In a smaller wedding dress store like Strut, we don't have dozens (or hundreds) of women trying on the same dress, and we get in new inventory all the time, so there's a good chance it hasn't been worn at all.

So, you may be asking, why would we sell a wedding dress off the rack? Well, twice a year wedding dress designers come out with new lines. And twice a year we have to purchase new dresses from their new collections. From each designer we carry. That's a lot of dresses. Plus I love shopping so we often buy between collections even. So if you want to take home something on the floor, we're thrilled because that gives us room for new stock (and for me to fall in love with another new dress; this happens nearly weekly!).

As promised, then, here are some helpful tips for buy your wedding dress off the rack:

  • Buy a dress that is within two sizes of the perfect fit on you
  • And, if you're buying a dress that's too small, make sure it can be let out enough!!
  • Check the gown over carefully before buying (makeup stains on the inside don't matter but a torn chiffon overlay may be noticeable)
  • If you want to make a lot of changes to the dress, talk to a tailor first, to make sure it's possible.

If you have other tips, let us know and we'll add them to the list!

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