If you’re in the midst of wedding planning, then you know what a whirlwind it can be. Finding the perfect catering company, designing beautiful bouquets for you and your bridesmaids, nabbing the venue of your dreams — these things take time and energy, and often involve quite a bit of stress. But one of the fun parts of planning your dream day is searching for that dream dress. If you want to look totally unique on your wedding day, you should know about trunk shows.

Hayley Paige wedding dress trunk show
Photo by Bitsy Bridal featuring gowns from Hayley Paige

Trunk shows are special events hosted by bridal boutiques or department stores in which they invite a designer to come and show off her or his new line. There are many perks to buying at a trunk show as opposed to off the rack, and also some things you should know before you head to a trunk show. Here are a few of our top trunk show tips.

sheer modern wedding dress with ball skirt and patterns
Photo via Hayley Paige

off-the-shoulder wedding dress trunk show
Photo by Ivory Bridal Atelier featuring a gown from Rita Vinieris

It’s Not a Sale — Exactly
The term “trunk show” might make you think of a flea market, but nothing could be farther from the truth. A trunk show is simply a showcase of a specific designer’s new dresses. It’s an opportunity for you to get a glimpse at upcoming trends and for the designer to receive some feedback on their new line. So a trunk show doesn’t always promise a deal, but designers often offer discounts — given that you buy on the spot. Keep this in mind when you try on a dress.

intricate wedding dress trunk show
Photo via Charisse Kenion

You Could Snag a Rare Dress
Since this is the first time a bridal designer debuts a new line to the public, a trunk show is a perfect spot to find a dress that no one else has. When you buy a dress off the rack, you always run the risk that a bride you know will end up wearing the same design. A trunk show helps to decrease the odds of doubling up (unless you bring a fellow bride along!). So if you want to ensure that you look unique on your big day, a trunk show is a great place to start.

Since the designer is actually on-hand at a trunk show, you also have unprecedented access to the mind behind the dress you choose. You can ask her questions directly and figure out if your vision for alterations is something that’s actually doable. Even if you can’t find a dress at the show that you love, the designer may be able to point you in the direction of another piece in their line that’s perfect for you or help you figure out if a dress off the rack would work better.

intricate wedding dress trunk show
Photo via Charisse Kenion

Try on Other Designers
Just because you come to a trunk show for a certain designer doesn’t mean you’re obligated to purchase your wedding dress from them. Although you’ll probably have the most options from the designer who’s in charge of the display, the entire bridal boutique is still at your disposal. You’ll most likely need an appointment to attend a trunk show and to try on other dresses, which entitles you to check out as many pieces as you like — including some not involved in the show.

Hayley Paige ruffled wedding dress with fresh flowers
Photo by Storybox Cinema with a gown from Hayley Paige

Most Are Early in the Year
In order to sync up with the debut of new bridal lines, designers need plenty of time to tweak their dresses. This means that the majority of bridal trunk shows happen between January and March. Depending on when your wedding day is, you should start searching for shows accordingly. Give yourself at least a year for fittings, alterations and other possible time-consuming parts of the dress-buying process so that you don’t feel any stress about your look.

designer wedding dress trunk show display
Photo via Lazaro Bridal

Check Out Designer Sites First
If you’ve never been to a bridal trunk show before, here’s a pro tip: don’t go in blind. There’s no point in heading to a trunk show if you aren’t a fan of the designer’s work. So check out dresses online and try to find a designer whose work you love. And then search for a trunk show nearby that specifically features their work. You might even want to pick out a few dresses from their current lines that you really love and ask the designer if she has anything similar in the new line.

hand appliqué wedding dress
Photo by Emma Cleary Photography featuring gown from Gemy Maalouf

Hayley Paige wedding dress trunk show
Photo by White Magnolia Boutique featuring gowns from Kate McDonald Bridal

Finding your dream wedding dress should be a fun and exciting part of the planning process! If you’re feeling overwhelmed by dress shopping, take a break from blindly browsing bridal boutiques and see if there are any trunk shows coming to your town that feature designers you like. This one-stop shop could land you with the dress of your dreams, and even if it doesn’t, you’ll at least end up with a better idea of what you’re looking for in a wedding gown.

sparkly wedding dress with ball skirt
Photo by JLM Couture featuring a gown from Lazaro Bridal

preppy wedding dresses with jenny yoo bridal designer
From this Jenny Yoo 2018 bridal collection release

About Kacey Bradley: she’s the lifestyle and travel blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Along with writing for her blog, she has written for sites like U.S. News, SUCCESS, Tripping.com and more!

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