Experts share their insight so you can go into the trunk show with confidence.

By Alyssa Brown
March 10, 2020
bride dress full length cape
Credit: Jen Huang

Attending your first wedding dress trunk show can be more than a little overwhelming. We recently consulted with Claudia Hanlin of the Wedding Library, and Jackie Avrumson, a New York-based bridal and wedding attire stylist, to get their top tips and best advice for attending a trunk show. Here's what you need to know—and how to prepare—for one of these shopping events.

What will you see at a trunk show?

According to Hanlin, you'll get to try on brand-new dresses from one specific designer, including looks that might not be available to the larger public yet. "So, make sure your wedding date is after the new styles you're seeing will become available—you should be able to check when making your appointment," she adds. Even though the goal of a trunk show is to see new gowns from one designer, you'll generally be able to try on any other wedding dresses carried at that bridal salon, too.

Will there be multiple designers' gowns at a trunk show?

"You should not expect to see other designers during a trunk show," says Hanlin. "Sometimes, the whole showroom will be cleared and dedicated to the designer showing that day." With that being said, the likelihood that you won't be able to try on anything else is slim—you just won't be able to meet with the designer him or herself. While the goal of a trunk show is to introduce brides to one designer's dresses, odds are good that unless it's an extra-special event, you'll also be able to try on dresses from other designers.

Do you have to purchase dresses during the show?

Simply put, no—but there are usually discounts associated with buying your wedding dress during the trunk show. Avrumson says, "Most designers and stores will give you special incentives to purchase during the trunk show, which can save you some money in the end. These incentives are usually not honored for an extended period, so take advantage of this!" Whatever you do, though, don't let that discount force you to make your decision on the same day. "Because stores often offer a discount for dresses ordered during the trunk show (and it's a lot of pressure), wait until you get home to call in your order or ask if they'll extend the discount for a few days if you can't decide," Hanlin advises.

What do you need to know about the schedule for ordering?

Avrumson says, "Depending on the time of year, certain gowns may not be made in time for your wedding day because the trunk show highlights a collection that's not yet in stores. Be sure to have this conversation with your consultant so you don't fall in love with a dress that you may not be able to get. This all varies on the designer and the dates."

What should you bring to a trunk show?

Treat a trunk show shopping trip the way you would treat any other visit to a bridal salon. "Bring along great undergarments, high heels in the height you expect to wear to the wedding, cell phone (camera), and your mom or best friend," Hanlin says. "You may not see your favorite dress again before you have to order it. So, take pictures, request a swatch, and really feel certain that you've found the right style."


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