Monday, September 21, 2009

Local Wedding Vendors I Like: Encore Bridal

You know how sometimes you go to a store and want to tell all your friends just how awesome it is and how great the staff is so they'll go and shop there too?  That's how I feel about Encore Bridal,* the great little shop/online store where I found this beauty at nearly half-off the standard Watters prices. And the great little shop/online store where Julie (the owner) and Dani (her staff) went completely out of their way to answer questions about the dress with multiple emails and phone calls, to keep the shop open for me after hours to try on the dress in person, and to just provide an all-around feel-good experience.  Even if the dress ultimately isn't the one (or a one, since I'm not so sure I believe in the yesyesyes moment for me and dresses) I left the store feeling warm-and-happy about the entire shopping experience, and wishing I could buy something to support this local vendor, because they were just that friendly and awesome.  For example, when I first talked with Julie on the phone to try and schedule a visit, she couldn't make Saturday because - get this - she was having one of her brides over for champagne to celebrate the new dress, because they'd become friends over the course of the dress search.   That's the kind of bridal shop and entrepreneur I feel good about supporting.

Now, I've mentioned before that I'm not really a couture girl, but that's primarily because designer dresses are way out of my budget, so it wasn't even worth considering.  However, it turns out that Encore has a few dresses that fit my style and can be made to fit my budget (let's call it sub-$1000 for dress and alterations, although yeah, I'd prefer to pay less.)  And because they carry high-quality designer options, reselling the dress after the wedding would be a very viable option. 

Ristarose Angie for $699

Encore Bridal certainly has several lower-cost gems, but they also have a salon-full of beautiful couture dresses for brides with a higher budget than mine.

Why yes, I did just fall in love with this Avina Valenta. And no I still don't have $1650.  But someone probably does and would appreciate the significant $1400 savings at Encore over retail prices. And someone local would especially appreciate the chance to try on any of these dresses at one of Encore's bi-monthly open-shop salons in Manhattan Beach (online prices with in-person service?  Yes please.)

I had the briefest hope last week that my wedding dress search was over before it had barely begun.  And although I fell in love with the Watters dress I mentioned in this post and it's definitely the right style for my body type, it was heavier than I had anticipated (oof - 7 pounds), was too short for heels (I'm pretty tall), and would need significant alterations to fit my smaller-than-the-dress frame. But oh, the dresses. And oh, Encore Bridal.  Julie and Dani were so helpful and their dresses so beautiful that Encore will maintain a permanent bookmark in my future dress search.  

*This is not a sponsored post.  I've been around a month here in blogland, so sponsorship isn't really a question at this point.  I just really had a great experience and want to support local vendors who help make the wedding experience somewhat less painful and sometimes even fun.

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