The Complete Guide to Trying on Wedding Dresses Without Paying

Last Updated on June 2, 2024 by Jo

Your wedding day is a momentous occasion, and choosing the perfect wedding dress is a pivotal part of the journey towards your special day. As you embark on the quest for that one gown that will make you feel like the bride of your dreams, you might wonder, “Do you have to pay to try on wedding dresses?”

This guide will give you tips for trying on gowns without paying a dime.

We’ll cover whether you have to pay to try on dresses, strategies to avoid fees, and sample questions to ask salons.

Read on to learn the inside scoop on trying on wedding dresses for free.

Do You Have to Pay to Try On Wedding Dresses?

The short answer is no, you do not have to pay just to try on wedding dresses. Many salons allow brides to try on gowns at no cost as part of the shopping experience. However, some salons do charge a fee, which can range from $25 to over $100. This “trying fee” is sometimes applied to your purchase if you buy a dress. But if you don’t make a purchase, you lose the fee. To avoid surprise fees, ask about try-on policies when booking appointments.

The Costs Associated with Wedding Dress Appointments

Aside from potential trying fees, there are other expenses to factor in for wedding dress appointments. Many salons require deposits to book an appointment, typically around $50. This deposit often goes toward your purchase or is refunded if you don’t find “the one.” You may also need to pay for parking if the salon is in a metro area. Consider extra costs for guests too, like $10+ per person. Finally, be prepared for pressure to buy. Consultants may encourage expensive gowns and upgrades. Know your budget ahead of time and don’t feel pressured to spend more than you can afford.

Tips for Avoiding or Minimizing Fees When Shopping for a Wedding Dress

There are a few strategies brides can use to avoid or reduce fees when wedding dress shopping:

  • Ask about try-on policies and fees upfront when booking appointments.
  • Comparison shop – visit salons with no try-on fees.
  • Negotiate to apply the trying fee to your purchase.
  • Only bring 1-2 guests to avoid extra guest charges.
  • Consider consignment shops which often have lower or no fees.
  • Look for trunk shows which may waive fees for special orders.
  • Time appointments near closing to pressure consultants to waive fees.
  • Opt to buy sample or off-the-rack dresses which have no custom fees.

Being an informed and savvy shopper can help you find a dream dress without the ugly surprise fees. Focus your search on salons with transparent pricing and reasonable policies.

Strategies for Getting Discounts on Wedding Dress Appointments

Brides hoping to save on their dream dress have several options when it comes to scoring discounts on wedding dress appointments and purchases:

  • Ask about special deals for off-peak hours like weekdays or first appointments.
  • Inquire about current sales, promotions, or trunk shows for potential savings.
  • Join the store’s email list for notifications about upcoming sales events.
  • Ask if you can get a discount for paying in cash rather than financing.
  • See if you qualify for any corporate or military discounts.
  • Negotiate with the consultant for a discount, especially if alterations are needed.
  • Consider bridesmaid dresses which are typically less expensive.
  • Look for sample or discontinued dresses which are deeply discounted.

With some strategic planning and negotiation, brides can find beautiful dresses at reduced prices. Focus your search during sale periods, off-peak hours, and on discounted merchandise.

Questions to Ask About Appointment Policies When Booking

When scheduling your wedding dress appointments, be sure to ask about the boutique’s policies to avoid surprises. Here are some important questions to get answered upfront:

  • Is there a fee just to try on dresses? What is included in that cost?
  • Do I need to put down a deposit or prepay for my appointment? Is it refundable?
  • How long will my appointment be? Can I extend it if needed?
  • How many dresses can I try on? Are there any limits?
  • Can I take photos or videos during my appointment?
  • Are outside refreshments allowed or do you need to purchase from the boutique?
  • What are your cancellation and date change policies?
  • Will there be a stylist to assist me during the entire appointment?

Knowing the boutique’s policies and costs ahead of time allows you to set proper expectations. You can then relax and focus on finding your dream dress during the appointment!

Hidden Fees to Watch Out For at Wedding Dress Appointments

When booking a wedding dress appointment, there are a few sneaky fees to watch out for beyond the appointment cost itself:

  • Accessory trial fees – Some boutiques charge extra if you want to try on veils, jewelry, or other accessories during your appointment.
  • Overtime fees – Appointments are usually 1 hour. Going over may incur an additional cost per hour.
  • No show fees – If you need to cancel or reschedule, make sure you understand the boutique’s policies to avoid non-refundable fees.
  • Fee for extra guests – There is sometimes a per person fee for each guest you bring along to the appointment.
  • Fee for photos or videos – Many boutiques now charge a fee if you want to take pictures or videos during your appointment.

The best way to avoid being surprised is to ask upfront about any extra costs associated with wedding dress try-ons. Make sure you understand what is included in the appointment fee so you can budget accordingly and enjoy the dress shopping experience.

Negotiating With Bridal Salons on Costs and Deposits

When booking your wedding dress appointment, don’t be afraid to negotiate on pricing and deposits. Here are some tips:

  • Ask if the salon offers any special packages or discounts on purchases made within a certain timeframe.
  • Inquire if the deposit and/or rush fees are flexible or negotiable.
  • See if you can get a discount for booking on an off-peak day/time or for being a new customer.
  • Ask what forms of payment they accept and if there’s any difference in deposit amount depending on payment type.
  • Request a partial refund of the deposit if you end up purchasing your dress from that boutique.
  • If alterations are required, ask if the in-house seamstress offers any deals for brides who bought their dress there.

Remember that this is a major purchase decision, so don’t feel embarrassed to speak up! Many salons are willing to work with you to earn your business.

Ethical Ways to Try on Dresses Without Paying Fees

Trying on wedding dresses should be an exciting experience, not one that breaks the bank. Here are some ethical tips for avoiding fees while still being able to try on gowns:

  • Look for salons that don’t require appointments or charge no fees – many smaller boutiques offer this.
  • Only make appointments at places you’re seriously considering buying from to avoid wasting their time.
  • Be upfront about your budget before trying anything on so they don’t suggest out-of-reach dresses.
  • Consider attending a bridal consignment or sample sale if you want to try different styles at reduced prices.
  • Borrow or rent a dress just for photos if you plan to wear something less expensive for the actual event.
  • Stick to places with refundable deposits in case you change your mind.

The key is being transparent about your intentions so bridal salons understand and can best accommodate your situation. This will lead to an overall better experience for both of you!

Advice for Budget Brides on Affording Wedding Dress Shopping

Finding your dream wedding dress doesn’t have to drain your bank account. Here are some tips for budget-conscious brides:

  • Look for sample sales at bridal shops – you can find brand new gowns at steep discounts.
  • Check consignment shops and websites like StillWhite for pre-owned dresses in great condition.
  • Consider a short wedding dress – they’re usually less expensive than floor-length gowns.
  • Have your dress custom-made – work with an Etsy designer to get exactly what you want at a fraction of the cost.
  • Repurpose a formal gown you already own by making it bridal with accessories.
  • Rent your dress through services like Rent the Runway to save majorly.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box – you can have a beautiful wedding dress without overspending. Focus on what makes you feel like the best version of yourself!

The Bottom Line: Is it Worth Paying for Wedding Dress Appointments?

With wedding dresses ranging anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, is it really necessary to pay just to try them on? Here’s the bottom line:

Paying a small fee for an appointment makes sense for a few key reasons. Bridal salons provide a personalized service – you get the boutique all to yourself, along with support from a knowledgeable consultant. These appointments allow you to fully experience each gown you try on. Salons must also invest time and money into maintaining a well-stocked selection of sample dresses in various sizes. So the fee helps cover those costs.

That said, every bride’s budget and priorities differ. If the fee is too steep for you, look for salons that offer flexibility, like discounts on the dress purchase. Some may waive the fee altogether if you book on an off-peak day and time. There are affordable options out there!

At the end of the day, only you can decide if paying for wedding dress try-ons is worth it. Listen to your budget and your heart to make the best choice for your wedding journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you just go and try wedding dresses on?

Yes, most bridal shops allow you to browse and try on wedding dresses without an appointment. However, making an appointment guarantees you dedicated time with a bridal consultant and ensures the dresses you want to try on are available.

Do you have to book to try on wedding dresses?

Booking an appointment is not required but is highly recommended, especially for weekend appointments. Appointments ensure you receive one-on-one service from a bridal consultant and that your desired dresses are ready in your size. Most shops appreciate appointments.

Do you have to pay for a wedding dress right away?

No, you do not have to pay for your dress when you try it on or make your selection. Most bridal shops only require a deposit to hold the dress. You can pay the remaining balance closer to your wedding date.

How many wedding dresses can I try on?

There is no limit to how many dresses you can try on during your appointment. Bridal consultants encourage you to try on as many styles as you’d like to find the perfect dress for your wedding day.


Trying on wedding dresses is an exciting part of wedding planning. At most bridal shops, you can browse and try on gowns without an appointment or obligation to purchase. While not required, booking an appointment provides dedicated time with a consultant and ensures the availability of dresses you want to see. When you find your dream dress, you only need to put down a deposit, not pay the full amount right away. With no limit on the number of dresses you can try on, you’re sure to find the perfect one for your big day! The key is not to feel pressured – try on as many gowns as you’d like until you find the one.

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