View Full Version : Honest Bridal Shops in the Bay Area

One Frustrated Bride
11-15-2000, 04:01 PM
Does anyone know of reputable bridal shops in the San Francisco bay area? In particular, I am looking for stores who would not hesitate to tell me who the manufacturers are of the dresses they carry. I believe this should be part of good customer service from the store.

I've been to several places already and a few of them would NOT tell me who the manufacturer was of dresses that I tried on. They would only give that information when I BUY the dress. How ludicrous!

Thank you!!!

11-16-2000, 04:14 PM
I just bought my dress at the Wedding Gown Superstore in Fremont, and I was quite favorably impressed with how they do things. After reading Bridal Bargains, I was absolutely dreading going to a "traditional" bridal shop. I am a larger size, and worried that I wouldn't be able to try on many off the rack dresses, in addition to all the worries about manufacturers tags, etc. At the Superstore, which just opened in Feb. of this year, they have hundreds of dresses (from many of the leading designers) on the rack, all with tags, and you can try on up to seven. No appointment is needed, and you get as much service as you need, but not way too much, if you know what I mean. I bought my dress off the rack, at a reasonable price. You can take it home or pay it off over six months. My bridesmaid also picked out what she needed and ordered it in less than 10 minutes. They will refer you to people who do alterations, but don't do it themselves, so you don't feel like you're getting ripped off there.

If this isn't in the 5th edition of Bridal Bargains...it should be!

12-08-2000, 07:47 PM
I was VERY happy with Clarissa Bridal Salon in Walnut Creek. The salespeople were very good at picking appropriate dresses and were very forthright about prices and designers. It's mid to high end I'd say. I tried on gowns by Marisa and Priscilla of Boston.

Ultimately I got a sample Priscilla of Boston, saving $900 but that may have been dumb luck.

Many other brides have also mentioned that they happily bought a dress there.

Best of Luck

12-08-2000, 08:41 PM
San Francisco's South of Market area has a huge number of bridal warehouses with discount gowns. Check the phone book. There's also the Jessica McClintock outlet near Union Square, which has dresses starting at $25 (not a misprint). My best friend got a $40, two-piece, ivory sample gown there a few years ago and looked sensational.

Can't vouch for quality or reliability of these places, but if you make a store list and spend a day hunting around the same general area, you might strike something.

12-11-2000, 02:14 PM
You might want to check out the Jessica McClintock outlet situation before you go--my understanding is that the SOMA outlet closed down, and the only one they have is in South San Francisco. I had a friend who found a $50 dress there that looked great, but that was over a year ago, and the store she went to no longer exists (at least according to their web site and this site's updates).

12-12-2000, 03:53 AM
LAST EDITED ON Dec-12-00 AT 01:55AM (Mountain)[p]I just read an article that cutting designer labels or tags off bridal gowns is illegal, you might want to let the salon know that. Also, my cousin recently got married and bought her gown at Grace Bridal salon, though they aren't cheap, but the staff is wonderful!!!!

One Frustrated Bride
12-12-2000, 10:17 PM
Thank you everyone for your input. I've found the dress at a salon in the south bay, so my search is over. Thanks!

02-26-2001, 10:30 PM
Where did you buy your dress. I am just starting to look and would be interested in your suggestion, given all your frustration.

One Frustrated Bride
04-06-2001, 07:46 PM
I got my dress through Discount Bridal Service. Not only did they beat the price by about $240, the dress came in about a month earlier than what was originally quoted by the rep I went through. The dress came in perfect condition - there was nothing wrong with it. Apparently, DBS has a site back east where all the dresses are inspected prior to shipping it out to the customer. My experience with DBS is definitely a highlight throughout this whole wedding planning ordeal!

I'd also have to say that my experiences at most bridal salons in the bay area was not as bad as it could have been. But, be on the watch if they refuse to tell you the style #, the manufacturer, etc. You do not want to deal with those places!

Good Luck!

04-13-2001, 01:33 PM
I think experiences must be mixed at this shop. I had the worst bridal shopping experience yet at Clarissa's last month. Not only were they initially rude, treating me as though I were inconveniencing them by being there, even though I had an appointment, they had all the tags torn out of the dresses and the sales woman lied about who made them in at least two instances. The only ones she told the truth about were those where the manufacturer was embroidered on the ribbons they use to hang the dress.

The sales woman was incredibly condescending and refused to bring me any styles I told her I'd looked good in at other shops, instead insisting she wanted to see me in a different look -- one which had always looked bad on me, that I TOLD her had always looked bad on me, and -- guess what -- still looked BAD on me.

The last straw was when she brought out the final dress. I'd told her my price range and how firm it was, how I was paying for my entire wedding all on my own, and yet she came back with a gown that was WAY more than what I'd quoted. Guess what? It was in the style I'd been asking her for all along, and, furthermore, it looked great. Then, when I asked her who made the gown, she lied. I found the dress on theknot.com listed under another designer.

All in all, I did not have a good experience here, and I will not be back.

June Bride
04-19-2001, 11:53 AM
Whatever you do, don't go to La Boutique Des Brides in San Francisco.
First of all, the owner is very pushy and rude, and the shop is a hole in the wall with dresses crammed into racks and no space to browse.
I went in to look at a possible bridesmaids outfit. The woman told me we had to purchase NOW or we would not have them in time for my wedding (which was 8 months away.) While I was in the dressing room trying one on, she tried to get the bridesmaid that I had brought with me to put down money on the dress - she said that while she was in the dressing room, I had definitely decided to get the dress!!! It was a bold-face lie - she was trying to force my bridesmaid to put money down on a dress that I had not even chosen yet! Thankfully my bridesmaid said no and when we left, she told me the whole story.
Very sneaky tactics at this shop...

11-28-2001, 11:46 PM
Bridal Image on 6th street and Brannan in S.F. leaves the tags in and seems pretty reliable. It's not fancy, but the service is good and they leave tags on!!!! Their prices seem good, and they have some nice dresses in the under $1500 range, including a few silks and designer dresses. I've found "the dress" there - a beautiful simple silk one for under $1500! They're in Sally Socolich's bargain hunting guide as well

11-30-2001, 03:59 PM
I've been looking for a bridesmaids dress done in white (low budget bride here!) but there are some salons I'd reccommend based just on that:

Trudy's Bridal in San Jose (Campbell, actually) - all the tags are left in, in bridesmaids, at least, and their selection is HUGE. I've heard great things about the bridal service.

Margene's in Oakland - a smaller shop, with very personal, though not over-fussy, service. Another one with a good reputation, at least on the BayAreaBrides listserv.

I'd love to hear about more!


01-19-2002, 11:49 PM
I just visited Cherished in Walnut Creek today. Amazing!!!! It is a consignment store and I totally expected to walk in there and find only consigned dresses. I was wrong!!!! They receive sample couture dresses from all over. Vera Wang, Rheem Arca, etc. I bought a Carmela Sutero dress that is absolutely beautiful - and it was marked down by half of what the store had already marked it down. The woman that owns the shop is so helpful and absolutely wonderful. I highly recommend anyone in the Bay Area visit this store before they go anywhere else.

02-13-2004, 04:31 AM
I had a very good experience with Cherished in Walnut Creek - http://www.cherishedweddinggowns.com/

The brand name tags were still on the gowns, I had a much more pleasant shopping experience than I anticipated, and I found *the gown* on my first day of serious shopping. Incidentally, my sister, who wasn't shopping for a wedding gown, also found a gown that would have suited her perfectly.

I found a Manale gown that was exactly what I was looking for - it cost about $650, but would have cost several times more than that new.

My sister and I went together, and must have tried on a dozen gowns. I thought the staff was pretty generous with their time and pretty astute about what sorts of gowns I would want to try on. Suki was so much help. Besides the fact that the labels were still in the gowns, Suki indicated the brands of the gowns that I was trying on.

As of last spring, when I did my shopping, the web site didn't accurately reflect the current inventory, which I mostly knew because my gown wasn't on the site. But Cherished is a small business, and they have a very impressive inventory.

And while I didn't buy from them, House of Fashion in Sacramento was very good to me. Again, very generous with their time, though I don't recall the situation with labels and tags, except to note that in the course of trying on a gazillion dresses, the woman that was helping me Yvonne, I think?, happened upon the very dress I brought in a picture of, in my size.

02-29-2004, 03:44 AM
Check out Lily Helene gowns in Mill Valley. Sarah, the owner is great, she really takes her time and the gowns are not overpriced!

02-29-2004, 03:45 AM
>I got my dress through Discount Bridal Service. Not only did
>they beat the price by about $240, the dress came in about a
>month earlier than what was originally quoted by the rep I
>went through. The dress came in perfect condition - there was
>nothing wrong with it. Apparently, DBS has a site back east
>where all the dresses are inspected prior to shipping it out
>to the customer. My experience with DBS is definitely a
>highlight throughout this whole wedding planning ordeal!
>I'd also have to say that my experiences at most bridal
>salons in the bay area was not as bad as it could have been.
>But, be on the watch if they refuse to tell you the style #,
>the manufacturer, etc. You do not want to deal with those
>Good Luck!
I was thinking of using DBS as well. Where are you going to get your dress altered?