Buying your wedding dress is an exciting, though sometimes nerve-wracking, experience. Each salon you visit will pair you with a bridal consultant whose job is to guide you to your dream gown -- and you want the best of the best helping you make this very important decision. While most consultants are gracious, helpful professionals, others simply are not. To help you determine the difference, here are six warning signs that indicate your consultant is inexperienced, unprofessional and perhaps unable to find you that dress of your dreams.
1. You don't feel welcomed the moment you walk in the door. If you walk into the bridal salon and the first thing you hear is "We close in 20 minutes" -- leave! From the moment you walk into the salon, you should feel welcomed and comfortable -- whether or not you have an appointment. If you get the feeling that that the people running the store don't want to help you, you're better off leaving right away before you have a sub-par experience.
2. You feel pressured to make a quick decision. If your consultant begins with a sales pitch the moment she opens her mouth, run the other way. You should never feel like you need to make an on-the-spot decision -- no matter how soon your wedding is. A consultant should never try to instill terror in you by insisting that you're "running out of time;" rather, she should be able to calmly and capably work with you to find a dress that will be ready when you need it. When your consultant prioritizes her commission over your needs, she isn't the right person to help you, especially if you're in a time crunch.
3. You feel like she's not listening to you. If you have expressed your specifics in terms of budget and preferred style, your consultant should following these guidelines. While she might encourage you to experiment a little in terms of the cut and material of your gown, she should only do so in an effort to expand your options -- not as a result of her lack of listening or caring about your wishes. If you find that dress after dress she brings you is far off from anything you'd want, despite your continued attempts to give her direction, you should end the appointment and stop wasting your time.
4. You feel judged. One of my most important rules of retail (and of life in general) is to never pre-judge someone. The person who helps you find your gown should not look at you -- someone she has never met -- and then have the audacity to think she knows who you are based on the way you appear to her. A consultant who gives you the up-and-down and acts as though she is doing you a favor by assisting you, is most certainly doing harm. And if she implies that your price point is too expensive for you, it's time to terminate the appointment. No one deserves to deal with a rude and condescending consultant. Consideration and respect are requirements of the person who will guide you through the dress-picking process.
5. You feel neglected. Your time with your consultant is precious. That said, a bridal salon can get busy and your consultant may have to leave you for a couple of minutes at some point to assist a colleague or another client, should something come up. However, busy and neglectful are very different things. Your consultant should have the common sense to communicate her whereabouts with you, should she need to excuse herself for a moment. She shouldn't disappear for even 10 minutes without letting you know first and she should certainly never leave you half naked to fend for yourself in the dressing room. If she does, she doesn't deserve your patronage and clearly doesn't have the training to know that she should treat you like an honored guest.
6. You don't feel like you're getting the full experience. In many cases, you go to your bridal appointment not just looking for a gown but for a full ensemble, which may include a veil, a headpiece and jewelry. But whether or not you're going to be purchasing these accessories from the place you buy your dress, a consultant who doesn't offer to style you to the nines is not giving you the full experience. This is a special purchase that requires special attention from your consultant -- you don't want a lazy person working with you.