The Bridal & Formal Experience

Known throughout the country, Bridal and Formal has been serving Brides since 1979. Their vast selection of bridal gowns, bridesmaids gowns and accessories attracts girls from all over the world and from all different walks of life.

Visiting Bridal and Formal will be an experience unparalleled by any other bridal store. At Bridal and Formal you will experience customer service most brides are not familiar with. The attention that a Bridal and Formal bride receives is impressive, especially in this day and age of self serve discounters. The Bridal Consultants at Bridal and Formal work one-on-one with brides.

Bridal and Formal is very unique in that it is a family-owned and operated corporation, and in that it carries a diverse selection of bridal gowns and accessories that cannot be rivaled. We are not a discount chain store selling the same 50 dresses nationwide. The store carries over 50 of the “hottest” designers as seen in the national bridal magazines, and have over 3000 different bridal gowns to try on. We are a full service salon that stands behind its products. The Company is there for the bride long after the deposit is made. The owners feel that buying a wedding gown should not involve pressure or sales pitches, that it is a decision that takes consideration.

What to expect before you arrive.

No appointment is necessary as brides are assisted on a walk-in basis, but we do accept appointments 7 days a week. Bridal and Formal is open seven days a week with extended evening hours to accommodate the busy schedules of today’s bride. Weekends are our busiest time and we often have Trunk Shows highlighting a specific designer. If you plan on coming on the weekend or are fortunate enough to attend one of our many trunk shows, here are a few tips to help you make the most of your visit.

Check out the designers in advance. Visit our designers page to view a a list of all of our designers with links to their individual sites. Find designers that have styles that inspire you. Also, bring pictures of your favorite gowns to show your Bridal consultant.

  • Come Early. Brides travel from all over the country to visit Bridal and Formal, especially during trunk shows. Come early so you can choose from the widest selection available. Not to mention during trunk shows you can snag some one-on-one time with the designer or the designer’s rep.

  • Be patient. Since weekends and trunk shows are busy, relax once you get here. You may have to wait for a gown, a tiara or a veil, but that just means that other brides are getting the same level of dedicated attention that you will receive.

  • Listen Carefully. Trunk shows are a rare opportunity to get personal insight from top couture designers and their employees so take full advantage of their sage advice.

  • Keep an open mind. The gown you have been dreaming of in the magazine may look different in reality. Try on a dress even if you think it won’t work… you may be pleasantly surprised!

If a bride has any questions prior to visiting Bridal and Formal, she can visit the store’s website or call (513)821-6622. When a bride calls, she will speak with one of our store’s knowledgeable Bridal Consultants. The bride may check the availability of two or three of her favorite gowns from the national magazines/websites or ask any number of questions that she may have concerning bridal gowns and our store. She can also visit our website, which contains a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page with answers to many popular questions asked by brides. Our website also has pages dedicated to Bridal gowns, The Bridal Party, Accessories and even Prom Gowns with a complete list of the designers we represent with hotlinks to their respective websites. If a bride’s questions are still not answered, or she would like to check the availability of a particular gown, an email address is provided. A professional consultant will respond within 3 business days.

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What a bride can bring with her.

Being family owned and operated for over three decades, Bridal and Formal understands the importance of family. The staff suggests that she bring one to two people with her for support. She can bring as many people as she wants with her,  but it is important that she bring people who will respect her individual style and opinion.  She should bring only the closest and most important people in her life– her mother, best friend, sister or even future mother-in-law.  And, although the staff loves children, it is suggested that they not be brought in for showings due to the frailty and delicacy of our gowns.

As far as undergarments, the staff suggests bringing a good pair of pantyhose or Spanx. Bridal and Formal provides clean crinolines and long-line bras to use when trying on gowns. If you are bashful a pair of leggings, a small slip, or spandex shorts might make you a little more comfortable trying on.

Lastly, the bride may want to bring some of her favorite pictures from the magazines or internet. And if they are from the internet, make sure that the website is listed. This will help our Bridal Consultants find the gowns quickly.

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What to expect when you arrive.

When a bride arrives at Bridal and Formal, her first stop will be the front reception desk where a friendly greeter will take her name and wedding date and have her fill out our registration form, and explain the floor to her. When the Bride meets her own personal Bridal Consultant she will assist her during her entire shopping experience. The bride can tell her consultant about gowns she has seen, who her favorite designers are, and show her pictures of your favorite gowns. The bride will then have the opportunity to look through over 3000 of the most beautiful bridal gowns available. Whether the bride’s style is traditional or trendy, or her budget is $200 or $6000, her personal Bridal Consultant will work with her one on one to find the dress of her dreams. The Bridal Consultant will not insist on her own personal preferences in helping the bride with her selection. Nor will she simply tell the bride that she looks beautiful in everything. She will listen to the bride’s ideas, make suggestions as to what is flattering for her figure, and help you to get over 3000 dresses narrowed down to just one perfect gown.

To make the process easy for the brides, the gowns are arranged by designer, allowing each bride can look at her favorite designer gowns all at once. The designers are also loosely arranged by price with one area of value priced gowns, one area with a wide range of prices and an area of couture gowns. We also have 2 racks of Women sized gowns with over 100 gowns in size 16 to 30. Bridal and Formal carries gowns that cost from a few hundred to over $10,000. Additionally, the store carries samples in sizes 1-30. If it is the bride’s first visit, we suggest choosing many different styles and shapes, so the bride can try on a variety of styles. After you have about six to eight gowns pulled, your Bridal Consultant will take you back to the dressing rooms.

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The dressing room experience.

When it is time to go back to the dressing room you and your Bridal Consultant will select 3-4 gowns to get started with. Your Consultant will lead you and your 2 closest friends or family members back to our dressing room. She will discuss your wedding plans and what you envision for your bridal gown. She will then proceed to help you into and out of each gown, listening to your opinions about each and offering insight into what is most flattering for your figure. Once she has seen the first gowns on you, your Bridal Consultant may go and pull other gowns that she feels you may like, or introduce a new style that you haven’t tried on yet. This will give you the opportunity to not only try on gowns you have pulled, but to try on gowns that you may have not selected.

When you have found your perfect bridal gown, your Personal Bridal Consultant will then select from a vast collection of heirloom custom hair jewelry, elegant veiling, and designer jewelry to accompany your bridal gown and complete your ensemble.

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Placing your special order.

Once you have completed your fairy tale look, the manager will take your measurements to determine which size to order, and you can relax knowing that the cornerstone for your wedding is in place.

Wedding gowns when ordered are considered “special order” merchandise. Gowns are made when the order is placed, therefore it takes anywhere from 5-8 months on average for delivery. A 60% deposit is required at the time of purchase, and the rest is due when your gown arrives. If your wedding date is close, rush charges may be available, depending on the designer, factory schedules, and time constraints. There is always a charge for rushing in a gown, which is determined by each designer.

When we fill out your order form, special care is taken to double check accuracy. Each item is read to the bride while she looks over the order form to insure that no mistakes are made, and every base is covered.

Once the order is taken it is placed in our new state of the art computer system, designed exclusively for our store, and is personally tracked by one of our managers. We work closely with the designers to ensure that your gown arrives on time and correct.

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Picking up your bridal gown.

Once your gown arrives in our store, it will be hand inspected for flaws and workmanship. If any manufacturer flaws are detected we will work directly with the manufacturer to correct the problem.

Each bride is notified by phone when her merchandise has arrived. Once you have received notice that your merchandise has arrived you may come and pick it up. When you arrive at Bridal and Formal, you will present your receipt at the front desk and we will have your gown and accessories brought up for you. One of our friendly Bridal Consultant Assistants will escort you to the dressing room to try on “your” gown and veil. She will also get any undergarments you may need to purchase with your gown. As we mentioned before we also have an excellent jewelry department for you to put the last finishing touches on your perfect bridal look!

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Having your gown altered.

About four to six weeks before your wedding you may need to have alterations done. Since most of our brides travel from several miles away, we offer a list of over 40 independent bridal alterations places for you to have your gown altered. Alterations are an additional charge. They vary depending on the gown style, type of fabric and alterations needed. We feel that alterations are a vital part of the bridal gown purchase. Quality is key. Experience has shown that free alterations often result in poor workmanship. Therefore all of the independent seamstresses we refer to our brides, come only with the highest of recommendations, and many have been on our list for years.

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I have my bridal gown purchased, what next…

Once your bridal gown is selected, you will now be able to start thinking of other aspects of your wedding. Bridesmaid gowns are worn by your closest friends and loved ones standing in support of your marriage. You will want to find a bridesmaids gown to compliment your gown. We have over 1000 bridesmaid gowns in our store to try on. Our bridesmaid gowns are arranged by designer, so that you can see a full spectrum of what styles and colors each designer has to offer. This enables you to search by either style or color – we also have swatch cards for each designer and fabric to share the full spectrum of colors with you. We also have professional consultants, trained to assist you in coordinating your bridal party.

These days bridesmaids seem to be scattered all over the country! We cater to this fact. You can select your bridesmaid gown and have each bridesmaid be measured wherever they are, and they can call, snail mail, email or fax us their measurements. We have a measurement card (pdf) for them to use at the bottom of each page on our website, and an email form on our Contact Us tab (upper right corner) called “Send Authorization” designed to make this process simple and easy for each bridesmaid to send us their measurements and deposit information. We always wait until all deposits are in for the entire bridal party before ordering, since we want for all of the dresses to be cut from the same bolt of fabric – to ensure that the fabric matches. Ordering the same dress from different places at different times can result in obvious variations in the dye lot. Full deposit is required on each bridesmaid gown and since you have purchased your gown with Bridal and Formal each bridesmaid will receive a generous discount off of the suggested retail price of their gowns also!

Bridal and Formal is also attentive to other important members of a bridal party. The Store has a great selection of mothers gowns, junior bridesmaids gowns and flower girl dresses! And as with bridesmaids gowns, each bridal party member will receive extra discounts, because the bridal gown was purchased at Bridal and Formal.