If a provocative statement like “who wants to be left empty-handed or with a rag for a once-in-a-lifetime night” doesn’t get your attention, then maybe knowing that every year, 600,000 knock-off wedding dresses are sold on the internet will. What looks like a great online deal is often a fake and underscores the old adage, “you get what you pay for”.
Prompted by multiple lawsuits filed by the American Bridal and Prom Industry Association, a federal judge recently ordered more than 1100 websites closed and froze all of their online payment accounts. A step in the right direction, for sure. We would bet that most brides think they could spot the fakes but that’s not always the case. The scammers use the designers original copyrighted photos and trademarked names to trick shoppers into thinking that they’ve found the dress they love at an unbelievable price. All of which prompts us to say “buyer beware”!
So what’s a bride to do? First, be happy that the sites are closed and be especially careful of buying ANYTHING online. We think the best plan is to buy from a reputable local retailer whose hallmark is personal and professional service. A business like our fav shop, Bustle, located in the small Eastern Shore town of Berlin, MD. About 10 miles from Ocean City, the boutique is tucked away among other charming locally-owned businesses, from antique stores to specialty shops. Mother-daughter proprietors Kathy Walsh and Jennifer Davis, have taken special care to offer clients a custom shopping experience. Literally the opposite of buying online, Kathy and Jen want every bride to feel special and find the gown that’s truly perfect for them.
“A bride’s experience here at Bustle starts the minute she steps into our boutique”, says Jen. “The furnishings and decor are soft and feminine, setting the tone for a relaxing bridal appointment. Our selection of dresses is very diverse but not so abundant that it overwhelms her. We feel our job is to make the bride feel comfortable while being attentive to her vision and offer suggestions when appropriate. Our goal is for our brides to have one-of-a-kind experience where memories are made and Bustle Brides are born!!”
Bustle offers what they call “Private Champagne Appointments” which, they say, their brides love. These appointments are during non-business hours, whatever best suits the bride and her entourage. The girls have the entire shop and dressing rooms to themselves. Kathy and Jen serve champagne and something sweet to eat. As you can imagine, there is a lot of excitement, laughter and sometimes tears!
While budgets are almost always a concern, Bustle has thought about that, too. “Our dresses range from $750-$1200”, they say. This is in keeping with the average cost of a bridal gown- $1000. “We hand-select our gowns from reputable designers and always keep ‘classic’ and ‘timeless’ in the back of our minds when choosing the dresses that we feature in our shop”.
So, how important is putting a value on getting what you pay for? We’d say it’s just about at the top of it all! Bustle will not only guarantee that you get that but also the personal experience you’ve always dreamed about. Jen and Kathy go out of their way to make sure that your gown looks and feels AMAZING on you and is EXACTLY what you’ve expect!