How was RK bridal? I had a recommendation to go there from another friend.
Do you think I can get a designer dress (plus all the alterations, taxes, etc) for $3000? I want to die for thinking that number is reasonable, it's so high, but just a sanity check!
RK Bridal is def. worth checking out--if not to buy your dress, but to see what's available for the quality and price of a non-super-designer dress. (They carry stuff like Casablanca for brides, but Jim Hjelm and others for bridesmaids/mother of the bride.)
I just went with Doris. Her experience and my experience at RK were similar, I think:
--We went first thing on a Sat. morning (opens at 9:30, I believe); there's likely to be a short line if you get there early (9 to 9:15) b/c it's first come, first served--but if you're one of the first, first-time for a wedding dress women, you should be fine wait-wise
--You sign-up on a sheet, then they assign you a consultant; then you describe the dress you want (show a picture or tell them no lace, some lace, no straps, no tulle, medium train, etc.) --Then the consultant tells you some designers you and your bridesmaids/mom should look through the racks and the consultant will try to help you find dresses too
--You pick 5; she picks 2 (this is a Saturday remember); then you try them each on; and go in front of the mirror outside; then you let the saleslady know if you liked the dress or not, or what about the dress you didn't like, so she can try to figure out if they have anything else.
--(On a side note, Jon's cousin got her dress from RK and went during a weekday--she said she got to try on a crazy number of dresses)
This is totally low pressure sales:
--They're not ones to tell you that you look gorgeous--and make you buy something on the spot. (Kleinfeld's is a little more like that.)
--They write down the dresses you're interested, and tell you how to come back to see them again, if you want, with a actual appt.
These dresses at RK can mostly be found online, so make sure you have the designer and style number written.
Also, no pictures--though again, have a friend posed ready with a stealthy cell phone cam, and it might work. Note too that dresses start around $500 and go up, but dresses are made of nylon and other fake materials; I found a silk charmeuse ballgown that was about $1050 though. It was a great deal, just not THE dress.
I think you can get a designer dress with all the works for $3000, but it'd be very, very simple. for instance, my dress was pretty simple, but they were asking for 4K (but b/c of the trunk sale, I got it for less)--I still think it's worth it though b/c i haven't seen another dress that I'd rather have gotten married in.
Also, to give you some perspective, I told Rita at Kleinfeld's that my budget was $3000. Unless you're thinking of a beach-wedding type dress, it might be difficult to manage finding a designer dress less than $3000.
Still, my advice is to get the dress that you love, but make sure that the price doesn't make you feel sick! If the PoB dress that's $10K and screaming at you to try it on, don't. But if you think you can swallow a $4K or $5K price tag without feeling horrible, esp. cause it's on sale, then def. try it on.
Kleinfeld's alterations are all-inclusive and is either $500 or $600--I didn't use them b/c my grandma did my alterations, which was just the hem and the bustle. If you want to add beading and stuff like that you may want to use Kleinfelds, but if you need a simple hem and bustle, I'd get that done elsewhere.
You're not tied into using Kleinfeld's unless after you get the dress you decide you want to (though note that they will charge you up front for it, but that can be credited to your balance later on). To save on tax you probably want to ship to NJ. Kleinfeld's shipping requires a signed/notarized contract, but it's really simple, and it's $50 (vs. the 8.725% tax you'd have to pay on a $3000 dress otherwise). You must guarantee someone will be home to receive it too.
I hope I didn't bum you out about dress prices, but you're pretty much guaranteed that you'll never spend this much in your life on a dress--and why not it be for your wedding day? No one's going to remember letter press invitations or chiavari chairs or spectacular lighting--they will remember how beautiful you looked in your gown though. So no regrets!