What is a Sample Sale? | Affordable Wedding Dresses for Budget Brides

What is a Sample Sale? | Affordable Wedding Dresses for Budget Brides

What is a Sample Sale? | Affordable Wedding Dresses for Budget Brides. Mobile Image

Mar 11, 2024

Are you a bride on a budget? Are you on the hunt for an affordable wedding dress?  Are you getting married in a short time line and need an off the rack dress? Or, maybe you’ve already said yes to the dress but are looking for a second gown for your elopement or intimate wedding! If you answered yes to any of these questions, then a Charlotte's sample sale is for YOU!


This blog post will break down what a sample sale is, why you should shop at one, and a few handy tips on shopping at a sample sale!


So, What is a Sample Sale?

A sample sale is a sale event where bridal stores typically do a clear out of some of the gowns in their inventory by selling their sample gowns off the rack.  During a sample sale, stores will have their wedding dresses marked down at much lower prices which means big savings for the shopper (perfect for any brides planning their wedding on a budget!)


Bridal stores will often host sample sales for these 2 reasons:

  • To make room for new wedding gowns when a designer releases their new collections
  • When wedding dresses have been discontinued by a designer and are no longer available for special order

Gowns available for purchase in a sample sale are typically ones that were previously used as store samples for brides to try-on before they special ordered their gown. Because of this, you can expect some gowns have light love such as makeup marks, marks on the train, loose beading, etc. All of these things can be fixed with a dry cleaner or in general alterations and are taken into consideration during the pricing of the samples!



Yes, absolutely! Purchasing a sample sale wedding dress off the rack is perfect for our Southern Oregon brides who are looking for their wedding dress on a budget or who have found it difficult to find a gown in their preferred price range. For example, wedding gowns at Charlotte’s range between $1,400-$4,000 but during a sample sale, we have price our dresses as low as $399!


Purchasing a sample sale wedding dress is also a great sustainable option.  If you are looking for ways to be more eco-conscious during your wedding planning, purchasing a sample gown means one less gown in production and can ensure a great second life for the garment.


Dresses purchased during a sample sale are sold off the rack, which means you'll take home your dress the same day you say yes!  This makes for a great option for brides who are planning a wedding on a shorter timeline since there is no wait time required for a new order's production. 



Before you come to a sample sale, it's helpful to have an idea of your bridal size.   Wedding dresses are often organized by size during sample sale events, so knowing roughly what size you fit into will help you get right to shopping when your time arrives!  Keep in mind that bridal sizing is different than regular street clothing and can often be 1-2 sizes larger than what you are used to.  So, if you typically wear a street size 6, you'll want to start your gown search in bridal size 10.


All wedding dresses require some alterations, so keep this in mind when shopping a sample sale.  When it comes to looking at different sizes gowns, note that a seamstress can often take in a wedding gown up to 2 sizes (so if you are a bridal size 10, you could fit into a gown that was a bridal size 12 or 14 before alterations!) It is easier for a seamstress to take in a gown than to let a gown out, so if you don't find something you love in your size, consider looking one or two sizes larger!


Bring a friend!  Shopping during a wedding dress sample sale is a bit more casual then a standard gown shopping appointment.  Bridal stylists will be available to help answer questions, but you'll want to have an extra set of hands available to help you carry dresses and try on styles.  Space is often limited during these events and it can be a bit more chaotic than a traditional appointment experience, so consider keeping your guest count to a 1-2 guests.  You can always plan a gown reveal experience and bring your full entourage at another time.


Have an open mind!  Sample sale dress shopping is a great way to find a dress for a great price and the best way to do that is to have an open mind when it comes to styles you're looking for.