Trunk Show Advice from the Nation's Top Bridal Salons

Learn how to find your dream wedding dress at a trunk show.

Brides looking for their dream wedding dress may very well want to attend a trunk show! What is a trunk show exactly? A bridal trunk show is a special, in-store event that normally spans one to three days and gives brides the opportunity to preview new collections.

Photo: Sarah Pudlo & Co

Brides looking for their dream wedding dress may very well want to attend a trunk show! What is a trunk show exactly? A bridal trunk show is a special, in-store event that normally spans one to three days. With the beginning of each bridal season – fall and spring – a bridal designer's collection goes straight from the runway or showroom to a series of trunk shows at retailers across the country. These events give brides the opportunity to preview the new collection of gowns and place orders on the styles months before they hit the stores.

Many brides confuse trunk shows with fashion shows, but they are special shopping experiences. Bridal salons take appointments and brides work one-on-one with a consultant to try on gowns sent in for the event. Oftentimes, the designer is even present and special pricing is offered on the gown itself as well as custom changes. For a trunk show shopping experience to be successful, there are a few tips for brides to follow. We asked some of the top bridal salons in the United States to share their advice.

Bride in Romona Keveza wedding dress trunk show
Photo by Carasco Photography; From Real Wedding: Southern Charm + Modern Touches with Peach Details in Chicago

Read the below tips from some of the nation's top bridal salons for advice on attending a trunk show:

- "Do some shopping beforehand, so that you have an idea of what you like and dislike. You don’t want to find the perfect gown and then second guess it because you have nothing to compare it to." - Natalie Bauer, Co-owner of Bella Bianca Bridal Couture

- "Take the time to research the designer and save a few dresses that you just have to try on! Make sure to notify the salon prior to your appointment so they can assure whether or not a dress you’d like to try on will be available. Also, make sure to establish a budget so you don’t end up falling in love with a dress that falls out of that range." - The Experts at Kleinfeld Bridal

- "Be prepared and know that finding the perfect gown takes time, possible two hours or more." - Belle Manjong, Founder of The Boutique by B.Belle Events

- "Bring all of the important people that you need to help you say yes in case you fall in love! Trunk shows are typically only two-day events and the salons are usually booked solid, so if you find the gown of your dreams and want to take advantage of trunk show incentives, you will have to act at that time." - Natalie Bauer, Co-owner of Bella Bianca Bridal Couture

- "If you find yourself liking multiple styles from the same designer, a trunk show is a wonderful opportunity to narrow down your search with many benefits that come along with it. Most likely some of the dresses you’ve been eyeing on the Internet or in magazines will be from the designer’s new collection, so a trunk show would be your chance to see them first and try them on!" - The Experts at Bridal Reflections

- "Remember that the gowns shown at a trunk show very well might be runway size. These gowns are the designer’s own samples, which means they were used on the runway. Your stylist will do their best to make sure you get the very best image of how the gown should fit, but being prepared for this will help you have a more positive experience." - Natalie Bauer, Co-owner of Bella Bianca Bridal Couture

- "At trunk shows, brides have a unique opportunity to view and try on wedding dresses straight off the runway before they are available in stores as well as styles from previous seasons. A trunk show is a special event not to be missed and offers brides a very exclusive and fun experience along with many benefits!" - The Experts at Bridal Reflections

- "Be open to trying on all silhouettes. Pick your entourage wisely and try to keep it under four guests. Determine your budget before trying on any gowns and be clear about whether your budget is inclusive or exclusive of veil and accessories." - Belle Manjong, Founder of The Boutique by B.Belle Events

- "If you’re a fashionista, a trunk show is the right place for you to shop. Many of the more 'editorial' gowns shown by designers at runway shows are not commercial enough for stores to buy a sample. If you want a more unique gown, shop a trunk show." - Mark Ingram, Founder of Mark Ingram Atelier

- "Your consultant will help lead you in the right direction by asking questions about your fiancé(e), your wedding venue, theme, decorations, personal style, and more! Once you’ve covered the basics, you’ll then work together using inspiration that you may have brought with you (photos from Pinterest, Instagram, or online) to help you find what you are looking for. If you’re not sure, don’t fret – you can try on different silhouettes and fabrics until you get a better idea of what you might want." - The Experts at Kleinfeld Bridal

- "Be honest with your bridal consultant! The more you describe what you do and do not like about a gown, the easier it is for your consultant to help you find your dream gown!" - Belle Manjong, Founder of The Boutique by B.Belle Events

- "Remember to be respectful, often a representative of the designer, or sometimes even the designer themself, is present at the show. If you don’t like a gown, just quietly tell your consultant." - Mark Ingram, Founder of Mark Ingram Atelier

- "If you’re wondering if you can try on other designer wedding dresses while at a salon’s trunk show the answer is yes! Salons are usually more than happy to accommodate you trying on their full selection of dresses should you prefer to do so." - The Experts at Bridal Reflections

Read more about what a trunk show is here, and be sure to sign up for the Inside Weddings newsletter to get weekly trunk show updates in your inbox!