What to Expect at a Sample Sale

With all this talk of the royal wedding, we are all abuzz with ideas about Megan Markle’s gown! One thing we know for sure, though, is that you shouldn’t have to have a royal wedding to get the dress of your dreams!

A sample sale is a sure way to score a beautiful designer gown at a great price. However, it can be confusing if you don’t fully understand what a sample sale is and what to expect.  We love getting to help our brides find the perfect dress for less! So, here are a few important tips to keep in mind while shopping!

Tips for Finding your Dress at a Sample Sale

1. Do some shopping before you attend a sample sale.

You will hear over and over again that a sample sale is a great way to get a dress at a good deal. But, it’s probably not where you should start your shopping experience.

One reason for this is that Sample Sales are more about finding your dress, and less about figuring out what you like. The store may have limited the number of dresses in the sale, so they will not always have everything you want to try on available that day.

Additionally, sample sales at Altar are usually walk-ins only, so you will get less personal attention and expert advice than at a full scale appointment. Sample sales can be very busy, so if it’s your first time shopping, the experience can get very overwhelming.

2. Be ready to say “Yes”!

Come ready to commit if you are serious about finding your gown at a sample sale.  Gowns can not be held for you to think it over, or have someone else chime in with their opinion at a later date. Unless you say “yes!” to a dress, it goes back on the rack for other brides to see it! Sales are a love-at-first-sight kind of event, so be prepared to buy if you can’t stand the idea of walking away from it.

3. Limit the number of people you bring with you.

Sample Sales are the perfect time to bring the helpful people for your decision. If you really need your mom’s opinion, or your maid of honor’s, bring them along to help make the decision! However, too many opinions can make the decision more difficult. So, try to refrain from bringing too many people. Usually, 2-3 of your favorite people ends up being the perfect sized group to get feedback, without being bombarded with differing opinions.

4. Know your sizing.

Sample sale gowns are typically in a bridal size 10 or 12.  These sizes usually translate into a standard size 8-10. Additionally, the average bust fits a B or C cup.   The standard length of a gown typically does not work well for someone that is shorter than 5′ or taller than 6’0.  Bridal gowns can typically be tailored down 2-3 sizes. However, it is much more difficult, or impossible, to go up in size. With this in mind, don’t worry too much about finding a dress that’s a perfect fit. Instead, try to find something that can be altered to fit your body!

5. Be prepared to buy your dress as is.

Sample sale gowns are the gowns one would try on in an appointment to order a dress.  Therefore, some of the gowns do have a bit of wear and tear from being tried on multiple times.  Most of our gowns are in good condition. But, if you do want it cleaned, we can definitely help to arrange that.


We can’t wait to meet you at our upcoming sample sale!

Posted in