Trunk Show. Sample Sale. What's the difference?
Trunk Show - a trunk show takes place at a bridal salon. A designer will bring her entire collection - gowns carried at the store as well as gowns that are not - and meet with brides in order to sell her new gowns. By meeting with a designer the bride will be able to find out what options she has regarding altering the dress - make it strapless, change the colored beading, etc... Most trunk shows will offer a 10% discount on the price of a gown if it is purchased on the dates of the show. Bridal salons will know trunk show dates weeks, and sometimes months in advance, so if there's a designer whose dresses you love, make an appointment as early as possible.
Sample Sale - a sample sale is where a designer or bridal salon sells their sample dresses at a discounted price. Sample dresses are the dresses that brides view and try on in the salon. They are traditionally a sample size - 8 or 10. These dresses have not been worn by a bride at her wedding, but they have been tried on at the salon. They will be dirty and probably need alterations. Cleaning and tailoring is not included in the price of a sample sale dress, so take that into consideration when you buy a dress at a sample sale - alterations and cleaning can add a few hundred dollars to the price.
So, which is better to shop at?
Wedding Tip - Never start your bridal gown search at a sample sale. You need to have time to try different styles on to see what will fit you best. Consultants at a sample sale will not hold a dress for you. It's take it or leave it. And if you leave it, there's no guarantee it will be there when you get back.
So once you've visited a few stores and know what you like and want, check out a few sales and maybe you'll find the dress of your dreams at a fraction of the retail cost.