The COVID-19 pandemic interrupted our normal way of life just as the window for brides shopping for their fall 2020 wedding gowns was beginning to close. Wedding planners typically encourage their brides to purchase a gown at least 8-9 months preceding their wedding date. This time-frame allows for production, unforeseen shipping delays, alterations, and shoe and undergarment shopping before the bride’s first fitting. Who knew that a pandemic would eventually have to be added to this list?
De’Angela Boone of the luxury wedding planning and design company B Astonished Events shares her personal experience and advice on dress shopping during the pandemic. She expresses how her fears and anxiety eventually turned into excitement when she received word that the bridal shop where she purchased her dream wedding gown was finally re-opening (with restrictions).
I purchased my wedding gown on September 21, 2019. This day was so memorable for me as I was on cloud 9 shopping for the perfect dress with my mother, grandmother, and matron of honor/wedding planner (Melissa of B Astonished Events) serving as my “opinionated entourage”. When I purchased my dress, I fell within the 11-month window of my wedding date and I knew for sure that I had an ample amount of time for my dress to be made-to-order and shipped to the bridal shop with time to spare. My gown arrived 5 months later in February and I was off to the shop with a new entourage (my sisters) to try it on. After the fitting, the bridal shop set 3 fitting dates for May, July, and August and I was on my way. 3 weeks later the governor ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses in the state of Maryland.
One evening in March I turned on the news and they were running a story about brides panicking about their wedding dresses being delayed due to the coronavirus. Initially, I wasn’t worried because I had just seen my dress in person, but as weeks passed by and bridal shops remained closed, I began to grow worried about my alteration appointments. It wasn’t until 2 weeks before my first scheduled fitting that I heard from the bridal shop. I was able to keep my original appointment, but there were new stipulations in place for my visit. I chose to attend this appointment alone to eliminate any unnecessary social distancing violations (sorry entourage!).
Upon entering the shop, I was required to put on my mask (the new makeup) and call the shop so they could confirm that a space was sanitized and free of other brides or customers. Once I entered, everyone was wearing a mask, which made me feel at ease and comfortable. The staff was rigorously wiping down high touch areas and everyone was so happy to be back in the swing of things. As I made my way to the designated area with the seamstress I passed a bride holding the “I said yes to my dress..” sign while wearing a mask. I thought, I can’t believe how much has changed since I was here in February. Cheers to the new normal!
My advice to brides that are currently returning to bridal shops for wedding gown shopping, fittings, or alterations is to remain calm and follow the guidelines.– De’Angela Boone
We all want the large entourages to tag along with us for comfort and to help us pick out our gowns, but it may be best to limit your party to one other person and invite the others via video chat. The experience will be less chaotic and the bridal shop staff will feel more comfortable maneuvering and communicating with you.