View Full Version : Wedding gowns in greater DC area

08-21-2000, 01:03 PM
Hi, well, i hit about 10 shops in a span of one week and have a couple of observations for brides in this area:

1) i was almost disappointed that i couldn't catch any tag-rippers. so many shops here ARE reputable!
2) the cost for alterations in this area is unbelievably out of this world...up to $400 for simple stuff!
3) after the initial sticker-shock of what dresses cost, i sucked it up and dropped some cash...but:

i went to a place called "i do, i do" in rockville...a consignment shop! ...it had wonderful dresses, DESIGNER dresses, big selection, considering...and all had either never been worn, or worn just once. the service was so personal and sweet (i'd gone alone so appreciated these nice ladies)...i got a once-worn prisilla of boston gown for $800....it originally retailed for $1600, i believe. and the seamstress they recommend is very reasonable. i shouldn't have to pay more than $100 for alterations.

my wedding isn't until april, but it is a great feeling to have the dress hanging in my closet now!!

good luck, brides!

08-23-2000, 01:32 PM
I too went to "I Do I Do" and saw some nice gowns at decent prices. Some of them were in really good condition, while others definitely needed to be cleaned, though.

If you can fit into a sample dress size (or don't mind paying to have it altered), Bridal Images in Rockville has tons of designer names (Diamond, Pronovias, Manale were among some of the ones that I saw) and every so often, they have sample sales for 50% off the original price. A friend and I both bought our dresses there. The samples were in excellent condition (better than any other store I saw), and there were many, many samples to choose from (unlike other stores who mark down maybe a dozen ripped and soiled dresses). I got a silk dress in perfect condition for under $1000, as did my friend. My friend's dress had a barely noticeable mark near the armpit and they even cleaned it for her for free.

Regarding tag ripping, I found that some of the dresses at Rosalin's in Falls Church were missing tags (although others did have them on). When asked, our salesperson seemed hesitant to tell us who the designers were. A definite turn-off. We never went back.

09-15-2000, 04:23 PM
I found the nicest place...in Springfield Mall. Prices were wonderful and the greatest salesperson (ask for Sylvia). She was honest and helpful. She saw what I was looking for and pulled out the perfect dress. I might have skipped it over other wise.

Davids Village Shop (as far as I know NOT affiliated with David's Bridal) I went to David's Bridal the same day and gosh I was disappointed. I made an appointment yet hardly saw my sales girl. As for their "roomy" dressing rooms, roomy compared to what???? I've been in portajohns that were bigger. Then I had to hang my dresses there and there was hardly room for me. They don't sort the dresses by style so I probably missed something.

Oh, and by the by one of the salesgirls told me this. If you have a copy of the brochure, there's a white satin strapless with beading streaming down in a supposed flower pattern. One bride who bought the dress brought it back the next day. Seems if you look at the beading you can see faces and once you see them, you will always see them. The entire dress looks like it's covered in fraggles.

09-27-2000, 03:10 PM
I too had a terrible time at David's Bridal. My salesperson was actually helping 5 other women, so I never saw her. When I needed help, she had to be paged over the store intercom, and it took 5 minutes for her to respond. Plus, I found that many of the dresses had tears, lipstick stains, etc.

09-27-2000, 05:25 PM
I went to alot of shops in this area (I live in Gaithersburg, Maryland), including I Do I Do and because I'm a plus-size bride, there was just nothing available to even try on....EXCEPT....at David's Bridal in Rockville. I bought my gown there and am v-e-r-y satisified with everything...price, customer service and the gown itself.

I have and would again recommend David's Bridal for both plus size brides and others. :-)

11-08-2000, 06:45 PM
I also have had a great experience with a bridal shop, but you have to drive a few minutes to get there. It's called the Bridal Shoppe, and it's in Manassas, VA. (Right off I-66).
You don't need an appointment, and they give you their undivided attention immediately. They are even open until 9pm on weeknights!

I ordered a dress through them, and the next day had serious misgivings. I called them up and they were very accomodating and canceled the order for me even though I had signed a contract!

So that night I went in to try a few more dresses and ordered a different one. I realized I had forgotten my camera so I asked if they knew if my dress had been in any bridal magazines recently, so I could have a picture of it. They immediately sat down and looked through their magazines for me. They found my dress, but in a magazine that was no longer on the newsstands. Without a second's hesitation, they ripped the page out of the magazine and gave it to me!

Then, I went back last week to order bridesmaid dresses. The saleslady who sold me my wedding dress had told me I would get a 15% discount on my bridesmaid dresses, but she wasn't there that day. Even though my original saleslady was mistaken about the size of the discount (it should have been 10%), they honored her verbal agreement with me - without even checking with her first, and with no hesitation!

11-09-2000, 03:06 PM
I also went to the Bridal Shoppe and the people there were really nice. The store was a little cramped (a lot of dresses for the space they had), but it's also nice to have more of a selection. The only problem I had with the store is that they do not carry higher end designers. While I had a generous budget for my wedding, I bought Bridal Bargains because I wanted to get the biggest bang for my buck. I wanted a high end designer gown, but not at high end designer prices. While their prices were good for the brands that they did carry, they just didn't have what I was looking for.

I also visited the Jeannette's Bridal & Tux Shop in Manassas. Although I did not buy my gown there (bought a fabulous designer sample gown at Bridal Images in Rockville), my bridesmaids ordered their dresses there and we got good service. My consultant, Kathy, was really nice and always helpful, even when I changed my mind about the b-maid dress three times. However, your service at Jeannette's may depend on who you get. My friend, who is also a bride, got a different bridal consultant and she was really turned off.

Even though I bought my dress at Bridal Images, I did like the service that Kathy gave me and wish that I could have gotten the deal I got at Bridal Images at her salon. I felt a little rushed at Bridal Images, although they were never rude or anything. I simply felt as though I had the exact amount of time allotted for my appointment and no more. Kathy at Jeannette's, on the other hand, was always willing to spend extra time with me, whenever she could.

12-12-2000, 09:13 AM
I just bought my wedding dress last night. Bridal Visions in Falls Church was wonderful. I was able to get an amazing and very formal dress for 468!! The people were wonderful. You would have thought I was buying a $3000 dress by the way the were helping. They were wonderful to my parents and even got my dad a paper to read while he was waiting. They also have very nice Masters Tux's on sale for $259, that includes everything but the shoes!! At that price my fiance is just going to buy his own. That way it will fit him well.

I also wanted to warn people away from Elies in Old Town. They are only intrested in a sale. They quoted me $250 to hem a wedding dress!!!

They were not honest and they don't have the brides best intrest in mind!

12-26-2000, 05:45 PM

I just wanted everyone to know about my experiences at a couple of shops in the Washington, DC area.

I first went to Hannelores' which is located in Old Town Alexandria. As for bridal dresses, tuxes, etc. they had everyting under one roof. The only thing that I really did not like was the main attitude of the place. They were nice enough, however they were really "stuck on themselves." They also showed me dresses that were way to high for the price range that I was looking for. I did want the book suggested and went about 10% below what I really wanted to pay. But they just kept bringing me gowns that were $1500.00 and even some were in the $3500.00 range. My price range was $1000.00. On top of that, they quoted about $300-$400 dollars on alterations (even if I just needed the hem, and bustle done) which I thought was way to expensive.

So, I took some advise from friends that have gone through this game before and went to Towson, Maryland to a shop called GAMBERDELLA. It was a bit of a drive, but the service was excellent. I told them I only wanted to spend about $800-$900 dollars. The dresses that they bought out were within the price range. They asked me if I wanted to try on dresses that were a bit out (only about $300.00) of my range and I agreed. I ended up having three different people giving me advise and helping me choose.

Then when I decided on my dress they asked if I wanted to take my measurements, for their files so that when I call back to order the dress, I would not have to come in again. Then the service rep. asked me if I would mind buying the sample gown (the one that I was trying on) at a discount. I said yes and saved about $300.00 on the originial price. The alterations would only cost me about $60.00.

I cannot say enough about this place and everything that my friends have told me about this place it true. It was definitely worth the extra mile.

Just thought I share it with you.

Good Luck Everyone.


01-26-2001, 09:06 AM
I found a wonderful shop in Suburban Maryland that I would highly reccommend. The name of the shop is Distinctive Designs in Gaithersburg. They are fairly small but have a wide and diverse selection of dresses. They salespeople were young and friendly with out being pushy. Their prices range from $500_$2000.

02-01-2001, 04:29 AM
Hi Fellow DC Brides!

I am in Fredericksburg and in dire need of finding a reasonable yet excellent seamstress to make alterations on my gown, preferably in Northern VA or DC. It sounds as if many of you have found seamstresses that you feel comfortable with. I appreciate it if you could list the contact information for them.

It would be a GREAT help!!!!

02-01-2001, 03:01 PM
I agree about Hannalores. They seemed to have an "attitude" when I was there also. They do have some terrific gowns, but I purchased my gown on the net.

Good luck to all,


03-12-2001, 11:26 AM
i live in alexandria, but made the hike to rockville for dawn brooky. she is fabulous and very, very reasonable. her number is 301-816-9315. i love what she did with my dress!

03-12-2001, 02:08 PM
ha! i went to ellie's when i was shopping...i found a beautiful dress...it's price was around $900...and the saleswoman, who was very helpful and sweet, told me alterations would cost another $400!!! i was stunned. i didn't buy there...and once i did buy my dress (at i do, i do in r'ville), the alterations only cost me $124.00. that i could deal with!

03-12-2001, 02:11 PM
i bought my shoes from hannelores...they have a nice selection, and the shoe salesperson was very nice...but they DO have attitude. they never called to tell me my shoes were in (you have to order them)...and i don't like their "no return" policy. i wouldn't recommend them to anyone, although they seem to have a wide-variety of merchandise.

03-13-2001, 06:48 PM
I too am using Dawn Brooky and she's great (well worth my trip from Arlington). She also makes veils, and I'm having her make my 2-layer, fingertip veil for a very reasonable price.

03-14-2001, 07:59 AM
ooooh! i really wanted to get dawn to do my veil, but i didn't realize she made them until AFTER i had made my appt. w/kathy at i do, i do. can you tell me what dawn is charging? my two-tiered finger-tip veil w/a comb (w/austrian crystals and pearls) is $168.

03-14-2001, 07:59 AM
ooooh! i really wanted to get dawn to do my veil, but i didn't realize she made them until AFTER i had made my appt. w/kathy at i do, i do. can you tell me what dawn is charging? my two-tiered finger-tip veil w/a comb (w/austrian crystals and pearls) is $168.

03-23-2001, 06:49 PM
My veil, a 2-layer, fingertip veil on a comb with a small line of pearls and beading, was $75. All of Dawn's veils are under $100. She's great! :)

03-27-2001, 03:12 PM
I am beginning my search for my wedding gown and have been trying to find as much information about purchasing on-line as well. Who did you buy from? I have read some horrible things about Pearls Place and am just too scared to take the plunge. Any suggestions?

I also went to Hannelore's terrible terrible place. Would never recommend it to any one. Very rude! I was actually left in the dressing room for 10 min. while she recieved a phone call! And she chastised me for actually shopping early! Can you believe that?


03-28-2001, 08:41 AM
i bought from "i do, i do"...i went alone and they were so nice to me! but...their selection is somewhat limited. i got lucky...actually, i found most of the stores around here, oddly, had limited selections (i.e., i rarely saw dresses that i'd seen in magazines).

i did call pearl's place to get a quote on a dress i'd tried on at ellie's bridal and found them to be very efficient and helpful. i wouldn't count them out!..the only reason i didn't "take the plunge" was b/c i wasn't all that sold on the dress.

i've heard good things about katherine's bridal shop on duke street, but never got to check it out.

ones i'd never go back to: david's bridal (ick), rizik's (snobbier than hannelores!), and hannelores (though they do seem to have quite a selection).

good luck!

03-28-2001, 08:46 AM
just $250? you were getting off cheap...ha!! elies quoted me $450 (on a $950 dress) b/c it was hand-beaded...yeah, right,...in CHINA!! i doubt the "custom fitters" overseas see any of that money.

incidentally, pearl's place found that same dress for me for about $200 less.

03-28-2001, 09:40 AM
How were they [I do,I do] on the pricing?

Has anyone tried to match a quote at a bridal store, or would this be considered poor form?

What about RK bridal, anyone have suggestions, comments? DBS?

More about Hannelores in Old Town, I found there selection limited, but then again it might have been because the rude salesperson that "helped" me did not feel the need to find or consult with me re. dresses. Like I said I was left in the dressing room w/ my MOH for 10 min., we just took it upon ourselves to continue to try on dresses. Ladies, BEWARE. If you want a happy fun experience, don't go there.

It's a wonder they stay in business.

03-29-2001, 10:49 AM
I snuck over here from the baby site ... just saw this topic.

I bought my dress from the Bridal Shoppe too and had no problems with that end of it (my wedding was in April 2000). However ...

Do not rely on them for the fittings and alterations. I was stood up for two appointments (I work downtown and had to take off to drive out to Manassas only to find that the seamstress wasn't there ... twice!). The second time I luckily had my mother with me and she convinced me to just take my dress and a refund for the alterations (I'd paid $140 up front). She (my mom) ended up doing the alterations and they were perfect. But, this was not a stress I needed less than 2 weeks before the wedding! I'd find a reliable seamstress elsewhere.

I'd also heard complaints about alterations while in the store and on a DC wedding forum prior to this, but had ignored them thinking that these must be bridezillas. I assure you that I was not and this was the only vendor that I had serious problems with.

03-29-2001, 12:37 PM

I would not try to match an internet quote to an actual bridal store. You may get yell at.

As for Pearl's Place. I ordered all 5 of my bridesmaids dresses (Wtoo) from them. But before I placed the order, I shopped around the net for the lowest prices. When I did, I asked Pearl's Place to match it, and they did.

They orginially told me that the dresses usually take about 9-12 weeks. But it only took 6 weeks. I got the great prices and they delivered it before I knew it.

It takes a while to get through, and they do seem to be a bit rushed on the phone, but I got what I wanted at the price that I wanted.

Also, I've heard good things about RK bridal, and they were very helpful over the phone.

My final choices were to either order from RK or Pearl's Place.

I hope this helps you out.


03-29-2001, 04:45 PM
Thanks a heap! I think that i am going to go through RK Bridal, there website indicates that they will match a lower quote, so we shall see. Pretty disconcerting to find out how seedy the bridal industry can be, though (at least according to all the research I have done)


Mrs_ Porter
09-06-2002, 12:46 PM
Wow! No one has anything nice to say about Hannelores'!

I did NOT shop at Hannelores' because every bride that I know that shopped there had a completely negative experience. Everyone seems to have the same complaints that have been posted here on the message boards: unprofessional, snobby salespeople who failed to respect the bride's stated dress budget, and exhorbitant alterations fees.

A Hannelores' salesperson actually asked one friend if she was sure that she could afford to shop at Hannelores'. I wonder how Hannelores' stays in business by abusing brides! Everyone that I know of who went to Hannelores' refused to give them her businesss.

I purchased my dress and bridesmaids dresses at the Saks Jandel Vera Wang salon in the Watergate Hotel in D.C. I loved my dress and the bridal consultants were wonderful -- friendly, professional, and helpful. I couldn't have been happier. The salesperson that I worked with, Leilani, and the store manager, Jennifer, were there for me every step of the way.

I was especially impressed with the salon's seamstress. My dress came with white silk organza with white satin silk trim. I realy wanted the dress to be trimmed with platinum silk trim though. We couldn't "special order" a change in the trim from Vera Wang, so the salon ordered platinum silk satin and changed the trim for me. It looked amazing! Also, the seamstress custom designed a purse for me that matched my dress, complete with platinum trim.

Also, although I had already received my dress, Leilani called me about their sample sale so that I could let any friends know about the sale. A newly engaged friend went to the sale, bright and early and found her dream dress at a great price. My friend was thrilled and she looked absolutely beautiful on her wedding day.

Mrs. Porter

03-15-2003, 07:08 AM
I know that this thread hasn't been touched in some time, but I had to let everyone know that Dawn is still very much in business and just WONDERFUL to work with. I already had my veil, or I would have had her make mine. She did my gown alterations in a snap, and for a very reasonable price. She doesn't advertise...she is strictly word of mouth. I live in Sterling, VA, but it was definitely worth the trip!


05-03-2003, 08:05 PM
I had a very different experience at Hannelore's. Reading other message boards, I have "met" many other brides who have bought their dress at Hannelore's and received wonderful treatment.

I live in another state and actually traveled to Alexandria a week ago for a trunk show. Prior to the trip, the consultant that worked with me called me on several occasions to introduce herself and answer any questions I had. They also have been very quick and responsive to questions I have sent via e-mail.

When I arrived at the store, everyone was pleasant and helpful. When I told my consultant that a veil she brought over for me to try on was just too expensive (I felt) for the veil, she quickly brought over another much more reasonably-priced veil for me to try on. I bought my dress from them.

I am sure there are people who have had negative experiences there, as that is just the way it is--every store is going to have someone who doesn't like it for whatever reason. I just want to let other brides know that there *are* plenty of ladies that have had great experiences there (logically, they wouldn't still be in business if this weren't so).


05-15-2003, 11:07 AM
On the expensive side: Naomis Creations (Falls Church, VA, Rte 50 near Seven Corners). Cost me $215 to alter my wedding dress (some taking in, and much work on the hem to shorten-although a complicated hem, I will give her that!). I am not even convinced that she took in the amount she measured that she should've taken in, I see chalk marks "too far out" on the bodice that indicate it wasn't brought in as much as we had pinned it for. When worn on my wedding day, it also was too loose up top (not necessarily due to stress weight loss before wedding)

WONDERFUL to work with: Desparis Designers- (Sophie) in Falls Church. She runs dress alterations (and sewing fancy dresses from scratch) out of her house and helped with what I would consider a pretty serious matter when confronted with a mismatched/sized bridesmaid dress (Jim Hjelm, too SMALL! and NOT because I got fat as compared to time when I got measured)She is a dream, does a great job and VERY reasonable price!! (was about $100, but she had a good amt of work to do and it was worth every penny in my relief!)

05-29-2003, 12:01 AM
We bridesmaids accompanied the bride to Hannelores to pick out her headpiece. First, we were virtually ignored even though the bride had an appointment. Then, a very disinterested sales girl showed us a small selection of headpieces (they were quite nice, but nothing outstanding or unique) and acted like we were wasting her time, even after the bride placed an order for a $370 item. As a previous poster noted, they didn't call to tell her the headpiece had arrived (two weeks late, as well). When she and her finace went to pick it up WITH an appointment (yes, an appointment to pick up a pre-paid headpiece), they told her she'd have to come back at another time because they were too busy to go into the back to get it! Her finace nicely, but firmly, explained the concept of customer service to them, and they did get the headpiece that night, but Hannelore's lost out on other sales opportunities with her as well as those of us who witnessed Hannelore's snottiness.

06-25-2003, 12:00 PM
I too like the inventory at I Do, I Do in Maryland. I also liked the price list that they had for alterations. They may have more control over the pricing for the alterations than an individual does who goes to this seamstress. I actually used this person (Don Brookie) based on a thread that I found on this site recommending her. Unfortunately, Don has an assistant that is very unscrupulous. She will give you a low-ball estimate by phone (e.g. to get you in for a fitting & then the new estimate is about 20% higher than the highest end of the range quoted by phone). I was too exhausted to start the process all over again, so I just sucked it up. However, I did mention this to Don's assistant & she extremely defensive and insulting. She talked over me the whole time & said that she would be very suspicious of anyone who questioned the prices. You don't need this aggravation.

11-11-2003, 07:49 PM
Beware of Bridal Images in Rockville, MD

Words of advice:
- All their dresses are marked up higher (about 400.00 more) than retail.
- Avoid Azir, she is rude and very unhelpful: more negative comments are written about her on www.weddingchannel.com
- They have false advertising on the web claiming "satisfaction guaranteed."
- Once you buy the dress- you can make absolutely no changes. They are not flexible at all.

11-28-2003, 06:59 PM
Well, it's Nov 2003, and this message is for those brides to be in the DC area.

I went to Bridal Shoppe in Manassas, VA and agree that they have a great selection of bridal dresses. The only thing that I didn't like about this store is that when I asked for the style number of the wedding dresses that I tried on, they lied to me and stated that their style numbers were different from the ones on the internet, etc. Of course, I didn't believe this. I went home and remembered two of the dresses I had tried on and researched them on the internet when I got home. When I came back, there was a different sales rep and she pulled out my card. I couldn't help but notice that the style numbers from my research exactly matched those on her card.

I guess, they don't want to give the style numbers so you can research the prices and get it for a better deal (almost like tearing out the tags). I did't confront them about this.

12-17-2003, 02:40 PM
Well, I found a few in VA that were less than reputable....one even claims to be the premiere salon of the area. They rip tags and would NOT give me model numbers for BM dresses. Another salon I found had WAWAWAWAWAYYYYYYY too high priced BM gowns. $400 for a machine stitched, polyester blend tafeta fabric "gown" that would normally go for around $125 in prom season. I'm having mine made.

12-17-2003, 02:48 PM
>I went to Bridal Shoppe in Manassas, VA and agree that they
>have a great selection of bridal dresses. The only thing that
>I didn't like about this store is that when I asked for the
>style number of the wedding dresses that I tried on, they lied
>to me and stated that their style numbers were different from
>the ones on the internet, etc. Of course, I didn't believe
>this. I went home and remembered two of the dresses I had
>tried on and researched them on the internet when I got home.
>When I came back, there was a different sales rep and she
>pulled out my card. I couldn't help but notice that the style
>numbers from my research exactly matched those on her card.
>I guess, they don't want to give the style numbers so you can
>research the prices and get it for a better deal (almost like
>tearing out the tags). I did't confront them about this.

The EXACT same thing happened to me. I was considering having my BMs buy their dresses instead of having them made, and I had heard such wonderful things about them. But when my salesgirl refused to give ME the numbers, I made my decision then and there NOT to use them. I don't like playing games when it comes to $$$$$

01-06-2004, 04:48 PM
Does anyone know of a reputable bridal shop in the Washington DC area offering Suzanne Ermann gowns?


01-22-2004, 10:10 PM
I just saw Gamberdellas and had to reply. My friend got her wedding dress there and we got our bridesmaid's dresses there. I did not like the place. They seemed completely unorganized. When I came in to pick up my dress, they could not find the receipt. Eventually they found it stuffed in the cubbyhole of one of the cute wooden desks there which I guess are supposed to function as their organizational system. The place is also not that big and I found it pretty cramped when I was trying things on. I guess I'm partially influenced by the fact that I really didn't like the bridesmaid dress and the sales consultants kept insisting that it was beautiful.

03-04-2004, 11:12 AM
I have a couple of shops to recommend in the DC area, particularly if you are not looking for a traditional bridal shop. One is Gossypia in Old Town, Alexandria (http://www.gossypia.com/). They are not at all your typical bridal shop and have folk art, jewlery, and clothing on their lower level and bridal gowns and special occaision dresses upstairs. The selection is somewhat limited, but if you find what you want you can get a good price. The sell both new dresses and off the rack dresses. The saleswoman who helped me was very nice. I went on a weekday afternoon and did not need an appointment, but was told that it can get very busy on weekends. The other shop I want to recommend is the Jessica McClintock boutique in Tyson's Corner. Again, this is not a typical bridal shop. You can look through the sample dresses on your own and try on whatever you want. I happen to really like Jessica McClintock's style and her prices are better than a lot of other designers.