Did you know that there’s an alternative to David’s Bridal?
Oh boy, do I have a treat for you today! I found the most perfect place to shop for wedding dresses in Austin – Second Summer Bride. Owned by Blush Bridal Lounge across the street from Jefferson Square, Second Summer is nestled near Anderson and Lamar and offers once-wed or store sample designer gowns for incredible prices. Do yourself a favor and check this place out before you go to David’s Bridal!!!
This store blew me away. I’ve always been intrigued by reused wedding dresses, but I had no idea what to expect at Second Summer Bride. It felt like a beautiful, upscale bridal lounge with dresses ranging from $200 to several thousand. I was astounded by how many dresses they had! They clearly were hand-picked, and most of them are store samples or dress styles from Blush that are discontinued and can no longer be ordered.
Natalie is a warm, sweet, lovely lady and a fantastic consultant! Recently married and freshly back from Italy, I enjoyed getting to know her over at my house for sushi last month!
Selection and prices
I was amazed by the selection they carried. Currently Second Summer Bride has 350 dresses in stock! There are so many different styles and plenty of dresses to choose from, and they even have a “shorties” rack with cocktail-length dresses! Prices range from $200 (YUP, you read that right) to many thousands. If you’re looking for an ultra high-end wedding dress, you CAN get it here! It’ll just be a whole lot more affordable than its retail price. Some of these dresses were worn by real brides once, but many of them are passed on from Blush, so they have never been worn.
UPDATE: Second Summer Bride has EXPANDED. In fact, it’s doubled in size, at least! Now there are two amazing rooms full of dresses and 4 fitting areas. There’s really no reason you shouldn’t check this place out before heading to a chain.
All of the dresses are designer dresses and many you won’t ever find at a chain. They are fairly unique. In fact, I’ve never seen any of the dresses in stock on my brides at any point.
This is a light pink salmon dress fading to a yummy beige at the bottom. Stunning!
Second Summer Bride also sells TONS of gorgeous, brand-new hair accessories, jewelry, veils, jackets, shoes, clutches, and sashes at discounted prices!
The difference between choosing your wedding dress at a small boutique like this and a big-box chain like David’s Bridal is staggering. On a Saturday at David’s, you’ll find 6-8 brides with their entire families trying on dresses at the same time. It’s kind of like a zoo!
At Second Summer and Blush, there are normally 2 brides maximum trying on dresses at the same time, and they each have a personal helper. The staff at Second Summer Bride will sit you down on this beautiful couch when you arrive for your appointment and they’ll take you through a questionnaire. That’s when the wheels in their heads start turning and they’re already thinking of what dresses to recommend to match your needs and personality. They will even take into account what kind of setting you’ll be in on your wedding day. The decor is lovely, the ambiance is relaxing and quiet, and the staff members are highly knowledgeable and there to answer all of your questions. It’s exactly what finding your wedding dress should be like!
Once you’ve picked out 4-6 dresses with a staff member’s help, you’ll go to a private room with a curtain to try them on with a full-length mirror. There are some cubbies for your belongings so you don’t have to leave them out in the open. If you find a dress or two that you adore, you can stand on a box in the main room to see how the fabric falls.
At a big chain, they’ll probably schedule 2 fittings and charge you for each separately. At a bridal lounge with an independent seamstress, you’ll schedule 3-4 fittings, the last of which happens a few days before the wedding. The way it’s priced is different too. You might be charged by the alteration, so if you happen to lose or gain weight, you have to pay, or you might be charged by the type of alteration as a whole and it works out to be more like a flat fee. Don’t forget to budget $300-$600 in alterations for your wedding dress, since most of them won’t fit your body perfectly the first time around.
Want to sell your wedding dress?
As long as you bought a designer dress brand-new and it’s not more than 5 years old, you can consign it at Second Summer Bride and recoup some of your wedding costs! Some brides want to have their dress for all time. Others are ready to let their dress go and would enjoy knowing that another bride will be married in it. You can expect to receive 50% of the selling price at Second Summer. Read more details here!
Where to start shopping
I don’t think most of my brides know that there are alternatives to David’s Bridal, so they just go with what they know. David’s Bridal may turn out to have your dream dress and be the perfect place for you! But there are several fantastic independent bridal stores in Austin that I would highly recommend checking out before heading there. Can’t hurt, right? Here are some great reasons to consider an independent salon:
- Having more choices doesn’t always lead to a more satisfying decision.
- Peace, quiet, and a pleasant ambiance affects your dress-buying experience more than you may realize!
- Having an expert consultant assist you can make the process much less painful, confusing, and time-consuming. Store staff that are knowledgeable really CAN help you out, and the cream of the crop work at independent bridal salons.
- Their knowledgeable (and awesome, see below) consultants can show you stunning options you would never have picked for yourself. You might be surprised!
Where did you buy your wedding dress?
What did you like or not like about your dress-buying and alteration experience? AND, would you ever consider buying a store sample or a once-used wedding dress? Leave a comment below!