View Full Version : Austin Texas Bridal Salons?

02-11-2002, 04:16 PM
Anyone have any recommendations for places in Austin, TX that have beautiful gowns - looking for quality material at a good price (aren't we all....). Any ideas? :O)

02-21-2002, 06:29 PM
You might have already gone, hope this helps. I live in Austin and recently went to some of the stores here. So this is a rundown.

Melange has prices from 600 and up (I think it would be best to call them)they had lots of nice dresses and great designs. I enjoyed the service.

Davids was terrible. I went on a Saturday, which was my first mistake, the sales lady had no time for me which was kind of a benefit. My friend helped me dress and we were pretty much left on my own. Davids is a great place to go if for nothing else than to get an idea of which style of gown looks the best on you. It has pretty much every skirt, sleeve, neckline etc... Just go in knowing that your service might be less than.

Bridesmart. Same as Davids except the service was good, lighting was bad. I did find some really nice stuff there. Still giving me an idea of what style I am looking for.

Balina Bridal - I like this place as well. They were pretty much helpful. But they carry St. Patrick and Pronovias, which so far is my favorite, although I wish they had more.

I haven't been to others. Although I did hit San Antonio as well.

Hope this helps.

02-22-2002, 06:41 PM
I replied to this the other day but I am not sure it took. I am also assuming that you might have already gone looking. I live in Austin as well. But here it goes again.

I liked Balina Bridal, Melange Bridal - the service was good, the prices ranged from reasonable to not so reasonable. Melange had a lot of Paloma Blanca and Balina carries Pronovias and St. Patrick, which have become my personal favorite.

If you haven't gone looking at all. I found Davids and Bridesmart useful. Davids had awful service, but they have every style of gown you can imagine. Bridesmart had better service and awful lighting, again lots of styles.

I, personally, followed the advice of "Bridal Bargains" and went to a place that would have higher end dresses first, Melange to check out quality. Then I went to Davids to check out all of the different styles.

Also if you are looking to go to San Antonio, Bridal Galleria has gowns from 600-3000 and Melange might as well. The highest price I saw at Melange we 1330 and the lowest 600. Not sure what falls in good price. Also Balina had some nice St. Patrick dresses between 600-800.

Just to give an idea.
Hope this helps.

06-02-2002, 02:10 AM
I had a horrible experience with Balina Bridal. I found the perfect dress there, and they told me it was made by Helmi. I didn't know better since there was no tag in the dress. After searching extensively online for this designer, I figured out that it doesn't exist and that Balina just made it up to mislead naive brides. I went back with my mom and we got them to admit that it was a Mon Cheri gown, although they still claimed that Helmi was a division of Mon Cheri. Apparently they have done this to other brides as well (which I learned on some other wedding message boards). I would NOT recommend Balina to anyone. They have the lowest prices, but in this case you get what you pay for.

I would like to know if anyone has bought a dress through Making Memories? It's right across the street from Balina, and the owner helped me find my dress style after I learned who the designer was. She was very nice and seemed honest. I would just like to know if anyone has any experiences with this store.

08-04-2002, 07:43 PM
Here's my rundown of my recent experiences searching for "the dress" in Austin:

I visited several stores, including SC Bridals, Bridesmart, David's Bridal, Serendipity, and Belle Saison. I am on a budget and in a time crunch (two strikes) so I was looking for a dreamy dress, an overall good experience purchasing said dress, and the best price.

SC Bridals staff was helpful and they had a large selection. However much of the inventory seemed to be too tradional for my needs (I was looking for a lovely but informal gown) and the prices were higher than what I wanted to spend. Seems like the place is run more like a mom-and-pop bridal store so you won't get fancy salon ambience.

If that's what you're looking for then I suggest Serendipity which is high on the fancy factor and on the prices. At least as fancy as you can get in a strip mall. I waited to be helped that day so I can't say much about their service as I experienced it. Although they don't suggest that you need to set an appointment during the weekdays I would do so anyway so that you get some kind of service. Their gowns were gorgeous but in the thousands. However they do carry Watters & Watters which is a great line of not-too-expensive less formal, modern gowns. And the saleslady even found a nice way of telling me that I was too chunky and impoverished for their inventory (I'm not, but I guess I looked it that day).

David's Bridal is the pits. Service is awful, the gowns are mostly mediocre. My sister actually purchased her Quincenera gown there and had a bad experience but I gave it my own chance and didn't care for their store either.

Bridesmart was much better. Their salespersons seemed much more interested in my needs and desires and they have rack after rack of gowns to try on. It was fun, but I still didn't strike gold.

Until Belle Saison. I walked in and was immediately addressed. Plenty of inventory. They also carry Bridal Separates (mix and match bridal tops and bottoms) which I hadn't seen elswhere (except for bridesmaids). I looked without pressure and was helped when I needed it. Plus they run specials which allow you to choose either their "package" deal -- really just miniscule discounts on additional services they offer like invitations, shoes, etc. -- or take a percentage off your gown. I got 15% off which made my gown even lower than several discounter's quotes. So I am one happy girl. Now I just have to wait for the dress to come in. I'm hoping not, but if things happen to go awry I'll be sure to post it for the benefit of others. Good luck!

Ida : )

08-03-2003, 08:46 PM
I went shopping for bridal gowns in Austin yesterday (with my mom and maid of honor) and thought I'd share my experiences.

We got to Melange Bridal right when they opened at 10 a.m. and were the only customers there for awhile. When we walked in, the salesperson explained to me how the racks of dresses were arranged and told me to pick out some dresses to try on. Since this was my first experience shopping for a wedding gown, I selected a lot of different styles to begin with, even though I was pretty sure I wanted a strapless gown. The saleslady helped me try on each gown, while my mom & MOH watched. She was friendly and helpful without being pushy. The store has a good selection of dresses from a lot of different, moderately-priced designers. After I had tried on all of the dresses I was interested in (and determined that strapless really DID look the best!), the saleslady took digital pictures of me in my "top two" picks. She is supposed to e-mail me the pictures later this week. Overall, I had a really good experience in Melange. Though I didn't know it at that point in the morning, the first dress I tried on there ended up being *the one*!

The next salon we visited was Serendipity. Appointments are "preferred," so I had made one. But when we got there, I was told that the saleslady with whom I had my appointment was running behind. We picked out some dresses while we waited. My appointment finally began about 20 minutes late. It didn't end up being a big deal because the lady who was dressing me was unbelievably FAST, whipping the dresses off the hangers, having me dive into them, and then hanging them back up. My mom and MOH sat in the large dressing room with us and watched. The saleslady gave me about 5 seconds of looking at each dress in the mirror to give her a 'yes,' 'no,' or 'maybe.' Then she had it off me in no time. She seemed to be in a bit of a hurry, but maybe she was just trying to make up for getting behind in her appointments. At any rate, she was efficient! I kind of felt like she was just telling me what I wanted to hear as far as how the dresses looked, and I felt a little bit of pressure here. Overall, though, it was a good experience. The designers carried at Serendipity are moderate to expensive in price. The dress I loved at Melange (a Paloma Blanca) was carried at Serendipity as well, but it was more expensive here ($50 or $100 - I can't remember for sure), which gave me a point of comparison in prices. Both Melange and Serendipity had all of the tags in their dresses, which I really applaud.

Next was Belle Saison. This was a no pressure place where the salespeople were there when you needed them but otherwise stayed out of the way. My mom & MOH had to dress me, but since they'd seen how it worked in the two other salons, it wasn't a problem (of course, they were nowhere near as fast as the last lady!). The first thing I noticed here, though, is that the tags had been ripped out of all of the dresses. I ended up finding a dress I really liked, so I innocently asked the saleslady if she could tell me the brand. She told me that they can't give out the brand until the dress has been purchased. I asked why not, and she said because of all the competition on the internet. I was like, "hmmmm," so she quickly added that she had been known to tell brides the brand of their favorite dress, even though she wasn't supposed to. She came back later and told me that the dress I liked best there was a Mori Lee. I really appreciated that, but when I got home that evening and tried to find it on the Mori Lee website, it wasn't there. So now I don't know if maybe the website doesn't show every dress or if the saleslady lied to me about the brand. Since this dress was my second pick overall (behind the first one I tried on that day), I probably won't push the matter. However, if my other dress falls through for some reason, I will definitely revisit this saleslady and try to find out if that dress is indeed a Mori Lee. It is absolutely RIDICULOUS to expect someone to buy a dress that they don't know the brand of. How would I know if I was getting what I paid for? Does Foley's cut the tags out of their clothes so you can't see how much they would cost at Dillards? GRRRR...

Next we stopped by Ahead of the Curve at the Arboretum. This salon had a small selection of beautiful (and expensive) dresses by high-end designers. The sales staff was sweet, helpful, and not pushy or snooty at all. The dresses were a little out of my budget, but if you have several thousand dollars to spend, I say go for it! This is a really nice shop (with all tags intact).

Our last stop of the day was S C Bridal. Once again, the tags were cut out of all the dresses here. When I asked why, the saleslady told me because of internet competition. I did not push the matter because, quite frankly, there was really nothing here that stood out to me. Not that they don't have a large selection of dresses...it's just that the styles were a little less contemporary than the other salons we'd visited. I found one dress that I liked, but not as much as lots of others I'd already tried on that day. Even if I'd fallen in love with a dress here, I would not have bought it unless I was told the brand.

I did not end up visiting David's Bridal or Bridesmart because it had already been a long day, and I knew I was not interested in buying my dress at either of these places based on other reviews I've read. I agree that you should try on a bunch of different styles when you first go shopping to see what really flatters you, but I feel like you can do that at just about any shop with a decent-sized selection (which Melange, Serendipity, & Belle Saison all had). I would also recommend that if you are going dress shopping for the first time ever, you first stop at a salon where they help you get dressed. Trying on wedding gowns is not like trying on other clothes, and if my mom & MOH had not repeatedly seen how it was done by the time they had to help me dress, we all would have been there a very long time! Oh, and wear a strapless bra! Most of the places have a bra or bustier that you can put on under the dresses, but keep in mind that you'll probably be stripping down all day in front of quite a few people. My bra was one less thing I had to take off, and it was nice that it actually fit me.

As a side note, I am seriously thinking about sending e-mails or writing letters to all of the salons I visited yesterday. I want to commend those who leave in their tags, and to the stores that rip them out, I want to say that that's the reason I didn't buy my dress there!

Sorry this is so lengthy, but I hope it helps some of you Austin brides! Good luck!!! :)