Brand · Business · Review · Wedding · Yelp

David’s Bridal Exposé

What’s the default place newly engaged and their bridal party flock to to look for dresses? Probably Davids Bridal (DB) in the US. There are several other boutiques and higher end chains that are usually more expensive with appointments required. However there’s no denying that they have cornered a monopoly for (affordable) bridal attire. All of my bridesmaids admittedly ordered their dresses from this place and it was convenient coordinating colors since they have the set palette. My post will be 2 pronged talking generally about their (1) wedding dress line, along with the (2) options for bridal party and special occasions. Of course we can’t forget the overall rating at the end!

Now if you’re wondering, another bride mentioned finding her perfect dress from Marry & Tux in Nashua, NH [Yelp Review], which my future mother-in-law (FMIL) and I also visited. The starting price at that place was $900-1500 for the lowest end of budget. Going up north to NH is not a bad idea though if you want to save some tax $. The luxury tax threshold in MA is only $175, so most likely you will have to pay something additional. Sadly $1,400+ is the average amount spent on wedding dresses these days. Alarming Avg. Figures for Dress Costs – Boston Globe

Stylequiz
I took their style quiz and here are the “picks”.  I can’t stand strapless haha!

DB gets a bad reputation due to its accessibility some have even equated it as the Wal-Mart of the wedding world. In recent years DB has been trying to change their image from the “Walmart” of wedding dresses. I find that quite ironic considering that the average price of a gown from there is still around $500-$1,200+. Keep in mind if you are getting a lower priced dress you will also have very limited sizing selections fighting with other brides/bridesmaids to get a deal! I’ve been to two locations one in Natick [Yelp Review] and in Westwood [Yelp Review]. No major complaints about either.

 

PROS
  • DBcolors1
    Only at “I”!

    They’re EVERYWHERE! – Undeniably this chain permeates most suburban shopping strips/malls. This was convenient when one of my bridesmaids was in Hawaii and she could go to a store herself to try on the dresses in the color we decided on!

  • Size Range – They do have a larger size range than most boutiques, but only in certain styles.
  • Color Range – Their official color palette shows 45 colors, but you’ll find that some of those less popular colors are not fully stocked. Browse all colors to check!
    • Image on right shows their limited edition / specialized colors too so you only see 1 dress available.
    • Same color different style. I let my bridesmaids pick what style of dress they wanted. We haven’t seen all of the dresses altogether so there’s some uncertainty if they chose different dress materials.
  • “Affordable” – Depending who you talk to that could be the case they are also always running promotions. (i.e. $99 dresses, $X amount off dress)
  • No Appointment Required – It’s recommended you book one to get someone to help you, but if you want to just browse around you can just stop by the store! Most boutiques YOU MUST book an appointment to even see the dresses.
  • Online Store – You can browse their full range of dresses, colors and sizes online to get an idea of what you or bridesmaids want to try on beforehand.
  • Press / Steam Your Dress – kind of a pain if you don’t have a location near you but they will do it for free before your event. If you’re getting it altered, the seamstress will usually do this for you too.
  • Prom & Special Occasion Dresses – That season is also right around the corner for teens and wedding guests! One of my bridesmaids actually got her prom dress from the DB Natick.
    • My FMIL also browsed their selection for her dress, but she decided to go with a full length gown from somewhere else.
    • Personally this wouldn’t be my first choice to look because of the restrictive return/exchange policy, see below.
  • Groomsmen Attire (partnered with Mens Wearhouse)  – I have not browsed their offerings nor have I really seen many displays in the DB stores, but they do in fact have that option, and they offer a slight discount if you buy your bridal gown and bridesmaid dresses there. Not surprising that they partnered with the other major chain. You may find that there’s a MW in the same shopping plaza as your David’s Bridal too! (Westwood Plaza case in point.) Tread with caution folks. I’ve seen many unfavorable reviews.
CONS
  • Inflexible return / exchange policy – If you read their terms online once you buy something you are locked in. Very unlikely you will get an actual REFUND. 14 DAYS? That’s extremely short considering most retail stores give you 30!
    • If you don’t need a specific bridesmaid dress or bridal gown, you’re better off checking other stores with more lax return policies for a special occasion dress for those bad at deciding.
      • You can buy several to try on at home (in more realistic/unforgiving lighting) and return the ones don’t want!
  • STRAPLESS OR GO HOME – Good luck to my girls who are in the same boat as me and abhor strapless dresses. I suppose those are the easiest to alter since you don’t have to deal with sleeves or straps, but seriously… more options would be nice.
  • Selling Your Info! BEWARE of their CONTESTS – I foolishly entered a contest, thankfully just with my wedding e-mail and lo’ and behold I got tons of spam from their affiliates. One of them probably being Mary-Kay trying to scam me into thinking I won a pampering session.
dbtemp
Just say no… I’ve scoured the internet and have yet to find any winners’ testimonials!
  • Longer than Expected Ship Time – For an online chain I would expect that they would have stock of common sizes in certain colors on hand. Are they manufacturing them as they are requested!? My bridesmaids ordered their dresses from within the store and each time it took 6+ weeks!
    • Unless you buy off their rack, which also has hundreds of women trying them on (makeup stains galore); you aren’t saving time!
  • Secretive Alteration Costs – As I mentioned in my Westwood DB review, we were able to extract the strictly hemming cost for 1 layer at around $60. However, the manager would not let us get a copy of their lists. Nor can you find any of this info on their website.
    • Digging through the net I found a post from WeddingBee of some other estimates from 2014!
    • General consensus is that it’s more expensive to get your dress altered through DB. You may sleep better at night not worrying that your dress could be ruined by a tailor, and DB might stand behind their brand’s work.
  • Constant Sales aren’t Deals –  Sorry to break the news to you but the affordable PRO above can actually be a CON too. This trend afflicts all of the retail world, but it rings especially true with this bridal monopoly. I understand that they want to constantly promote their site and make it look like some NEW and exciting deal for whatever event is going on, but savvy shoppers take note!
    • Take a look through the laundry list of EXCLUSIONS for each of the endless promotions they have. When one of my maids of honor was purchasing a dress she tried to use a code for free shipping and it would not work because she was purchasing a sale dress. So she ended up ordering 2 to get the free shipping over $99.
dbpromo1
They put “limited time offer” on every promotion to create a sense of urgency. Same deal is going on under a different name now.
dbtemp2
Sorted clearance low to high, lowest was $69.99 haha!

Don’t dampen your spirits though, check out these other posts from ladies who successfully purchased their dress from DB! I personally also know several other women who have successfully purchased their wedding dress from the store and it turned out spectacular on the big day! Plus you get to RING that bell in the fitting room when you find the one! It’s kind of a campy moment but fun nonetheless.

I purchased my dress online at ModCloth for a great price, and I was lucky that it ended up fitting! I’ve spoken with other brides who have gone a similar route and needed extensive alterations which would cost more than the dress itself. In the end it’s up to you what you want to do. I knew I didn’t want a designer dress and wanted to minimize costs since it’ll be ONE day that you wear this dress and I will be thinking of ways to sell this dress afterwards to free up precious closet space. Let me know if you’d be interested in a post-wedding post about what happens with the dress.

Overall DB deserves 3 out of 5 stars since it gets the job done, filling the void of “affordable” wedding options. Is it wishful thinking to hope that some other retailers will disrupt the wedding market at this price point!? If circumstances were different I might have suggested my bridesmaids just get a dress in the same color family to have the ombrée / mismatching look from a store with more flexible return policy. Unnecessary life skill, but we can spot any DB dress/style from a mile away now.

Question(s) for y’all:
How many places did you visit before deciding / how did they compare?
If you have been a bride/bridesmaid what did you do with your dress(es) afterwards? Have you re-worn the dress or re-purposed it? Bridesmaid dresses have a distinct look!
Did you recoup some $ by selling it?
Any additional advice for finding the perfect wedding day of outfit is welcome!

 

Rating: 3/5 ★★★

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7 thoughts on “David’s Bridal Exposé

    1. Yeah I mentioned that you could buy as is off the rack haha but those dresses are so worn down and makeup stained. You ended up keeping those 2 other dresses you got from there for the rehearsal/other events?

      Like

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