Wedding dress shopping can be a bit overwhelming. Not only are there so many choices (so many gorgeous dresses!) but the pressure is on to find a dress you love, look and feel fabulous in, and comes in (ideally!) under budget. Add a sample sale or trunk show into the mix, and we’re officially bewildered. But fear not, we’re here to help!

What is a Bridal Trunk Show?

A trunk show is a special event in a bridal boutique where they invite a designer to showcase their collection. Sometimes it’s a one-day event, but for particularly popular collections, it could last for multiple days. Often the designers themselves, or stylists from the fashion house will be on hand to help you find the right dress.

Trunk shows are a particularly good opportunity to check out a visiting designer whose full collections aren’t stocked in your city.

8 Expert Tips for Shopping at Sample Sales and Trunk Shows

So, now you know what bridal trunk shows are, how do you get the most out of shopping at one? Here’s where bridal beauty expert LaTonya of Elite Secrets Bridal steps in.

Located in Baltimore's esteemed Mount Vernon fashion boutique district, Elite Secrets Bridal opened its doors bringing to Baltimore’s bridal scene an experience that cannot be found in any other Baltimore bridal boutique. The pedigree of founder LaTonya Turnage, bridal beauty expert, has been fundamental to our philosophy to combine expertise and excellent service with style and grace. Leaving pretense to the side, we focus on bringing the best designer and emerging bridal gowns from all over the world to Baltimore Brides!

1. What Lies Beneath

Feel your best underneath your wedding dress. The appropriate undergarments will not only help you feel your best; they will help your dress look the best. Opt for nude-colored underwear and a great strapless bra.

2. Bring a Companion

Take a trusted friend—someone you trust that will give you sound advice. Honest encouragement and constructive feedback can be extremely helpful and great company can up the factor for your bridal dress appointment.

Leave the whole entourage though. Too many conflicting opinions can leave you confused and stressed.

3. Mind Your Budget

Know your budget! Bridal trunk shows often offer a discretionary discount (usually 10%) off gowns ordered over that weekend.

It’s a great way to spend a little less in the event you find your dream wedding dress.

4. Do Your Homework

Research the designer first – for a trunk show the boutique will primarily present the featured designer only.

Make sure you are interested in their styles and silhouettes to get the most from your experience.

5. Necklines, Shape, and Silhouettes Oh My

There are so many variations to a wedding dress. Have an idea of what neckline, shape and silhouette you like best. Research the different styles, so you’re familiar will the lingo, too.

You will soon find you have narrowed down your style and what is flattering for your figure.

6. How High?

Bear in mind the height of your heels you plan to wear on your wedding day when you begin your dress shopping.

Keep in mind that hemlines cannot be lengthened, only shortened, so it’s a good idea to take the maximum heel height with you.

7. Ask the Expert

At a trunk show, if you are lucky the designer or stylist may be there in person, take full advantage of expert availability and ask for styling advice.

With their experience and knowledge, you are likely to find that they know what suits you—sometimes better than you! Check out Elite Secrets Bridal’s upcoming trunk shows here.

8. Consider Your Timing

Know your time frame. Some designer dresses need up to eight months to be completed and altered.

Learn beforehand, how long the designer needs for your dress and let your stylist know if you’re in a time crunch.