The new wedding dress collections will be arriving in salons between now and Septembers so you'll start seeing ads for sample sales -- where salons sell old merchandise -- and trunk shows, featuring the new collections.
Here's the difference between the two events:
Sample Sale. A sample sale is where a designer or bridal salon sells their sample and overstock dresses at a discounted price. Sample dresses are the dresses that brides view and try on in salons. 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 many times, so they will likely need a good dry-cleaning in addition to any alterations necessary. Cleaning and tailoring are not included in the price of the garment, 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.
Trunk Show. A trunk show takes place at a bridal salon. A designer (or her representative) will bring her entire collection -- gowns carried at the store as well as gowns that are not -- and meet with brides one-on-one. By meeting with a designer, a bride can learn more about what options she has regarding altering the dress: making it strapless, changing the colored beading, etc. Most trunk shows will offer a 10 percent discount on the price of a gown if it is purchased during 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.