Best bridal sample sales
Your wedding gown, accessories and shoes need not cost the price of a down payment on a house; instead, hit these stores, salons and showrooms to score big deals.
Fri Jun 10 2011
Photograph: Robb Cohen
The only time this discount bridal mecca does not require appointments is during its triannual blowouts. Take the "first-come, first-served" invitation seriously, since ladies line up as early as 6am to fight over already reduced dresses dropped an extra 25 percent. Entry numbers are given out around 11am (at which point you are asked to come back and line up again at 2:30pm) before the doors officially open at 3pm. After this daylong production, you'll be happy to score designer-gown floor samples from Monique Lhuillier, Reem Acra, Amsale, Pnina Tornai and more, starting at $899. 110 W 20th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves (646-633-4300, kleinfeldbridal.com). Upcoming sales: Aug 9, Nov 29.
2. Filene's Basement
The markdown megastore's biannual Running of the Brides event certainly lives up to its name, so be ready to fight for your discounted dream gown. Ladies queue up hours before the doors open at 8am—sometimes even in special matching homemade group tees—to rifle through more than 2,000 dresses sourced from designers and bridal salons, available in sizes two to 26 and dropped from prices as high as $9,000 to as low as $249. This bargain bonanza (everything is up to 95 percent off!) usually takes place every February and June. 40 E 14th St between Broadway and University Pl (212-358-0169) * 2222 Broadway between 79th and 80th Sts (212-873-8000) * filenesbasement.com. Upcoming sales: Feb, June 2012.
3. Nicole Miller
Fans of designer Nicole Miller's covetable womenswear won't want to skip the brand's first-ever bridal bazaar, at her Soho boutique this week. The runway-ready gowns will be up to 60 percent off, including silk-and-satin V-neck dresses for $495 (once $990), ribbon-trimmed gowns for $495 (formerly $990) and embroidered strapless styles for $795 (usually $1,990). 77 Greene St between Broome and Spring Sts (212-219-1825, nicolemiller.com). Upcoming sale: Thu 16--Sun 19 11am--6pm. By appointment only.
4. Mark Ingram Bridal Atelier
It doesn't matter when your big day is because you can score mega deals at this well-edited emporium practically any season: Sales are held three to five times a year. Expect about a dozen top designers to be represented, including Luisa Beccaria, Angel Sanchez, Carolina Herrera, Monique Lhuillier and Charles Chang-Lima, offered at up to 80 percent off. 110 E 55th St between Park and Lexington Aves, eighth floor (212-319-6778, bridalatelier.com). Upcoming sales: Aug 23, Oct 5. By appointment only.
Every season, New York brand Saja unveils its next collection by offering the gowns at a 10 percent discount (the next one is in October). Celebrate your engagement and hopefully find a dress while sipping sparkly cocktails and trying on nontraditional frocks. The label is best known for its bohemian and trendy styles. 250 Elizabeth St between E Houston and Prince Sts (212-226-7570, sajawedding.com). Upcoming sale: Oct 15, Oct 16 10am--7pm. By appointment only.
6. Birnbaum & Bullock
Don't be surprised if you see designers Robert Bullock and Steven Birnbaum working at their namesake wedding salon's blowouts, where pieces will be marked up to 50 percent off. The next event will showcase the latest line of bridesmaid dresses, mother-of-the-bride attire, jewelry and headpieces. Brides have three collections to choose from (all up to 50 percent off): The least expensive Robert Bullock bridal line (your measurements are taken and a gown is ordered in your size; $1,400--$2,500), the Steven Birnbaum group (you choose a dress and then the designer creates it for you; $1,700--$2,800) and the priciest Birnbaum & Bullock couture line (a custom-made, high-quality gown that is literally built on your body; $3,000--$10,000). 151 W 25th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves, suite 2A (212-242-2914, birnbaumandbullock.com). Upcoming sales: Oct, Jan 2012. By appointment only.
7. The Bridal Garden
Four times a year, this nonprofit resale bridal boutique offers its already discounted sample gowns and accessories at up to 75 percent off. Discover dresses from Ulla-Maija, Junko Yoshioka, Judd Waddell and Birnbaum & Bullock, as well as veils and headpieces by Homa Bridal and Michelle Roth. Not only will you be attaining your big-day outfit, but 100 percent of the sales from your purchase will be donated to the Brooklyn Charter School (brooklyncharter.org) in Bedford-Stuyvesant. 54 W 21st St between Fifth and Sixth Aves, suite 907 (212-252-0661, bridalgarden.org). Upcoming sale: July 1--15 Mon, Wed, Fri noon--8pm; Thu 3pm--8pm, Sat, Sun 11am--7pm. By appointment only.
8. The Sample Room NY
This discount wedding shop offers—you guessed it—nothing but sample gowns. Brand-name designer goods are always up to 85 percent off, including dresses from Jenny Packham, Elie Saab, Badgley Mischka, Manuel Mota, Valentino, Pronovias and Rosa Clara. While you can normally only get in with an appointment, there are special open-house dates when those rules change and the shop often increases its stock. Mention TONY to receive $50 toward any gown purchased from June 30 through July 2. 40 W 17th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves, suite 2B (212-929-8868, thesampleroomny.com). Upcoming sales: June 30--July 2; Aug 5, 6; Sept 23, 24. Daily 10:30am--6pm.
9. Designer Loft
Brand-new sample gowns (still in the bags!) from Jenny Packham, Adele Wechsler and Pronovias—to name a few—will be up to 60 percent off (priced at $600--$2,500). Bridesmaid dresses and gowns for mama will also be discounted up to 60 percent, and veils will be halved. Additional services include dry cleaning ($100--$250 per dress) and alterations (from $400). 226 W 37th St between Seventh and Eighth Aves, second floor (212-944-9013, designerloftnyc.com). Upcoming sale: July 4--18 Mon--Sat 10am--6pm, Sun 11am--6pm. By appointment only.
10. Something Bleu
Check out the sister label to comfy-haute-heels brand Butter Shoes for dressy evening footwear. The styles run the gamut from silk wedges with bows to feather-adorned stilettos and classic sling-backs—all up to 60 percent off. 307 Seventh Ave between 27th and 28th Sts, suite 2307 (212-366-1822, somethingbleushoes.com). Upcoming sale: Nov Mon--Fri 10am--7pm, Sat 11am--6pm.
11. The Wedding Closet
While we can't divulge the brands that will be offered at this shopfest next week (and again in October), we can tell you that all dresses will be just $299 (a whopping 80 to 90 percent off retail prices!). There will be an assortment of styles including mermaid, ball gowns, A-line dresses and sheaths. Plus, you can work with a consultant to help you pick out your perfect party look. 80 Fifth Ave at 14th St, 17th floor (212-627-8838, theweddingcloset.net). Upcoming sale: June 24 10am--8pm.
12. Kelima K
Every season, this NYC label offers its elegant vintage-inspired, fashion-forward dresses for up to 70 percent off. You can nab trumpet, mermaid, A-line and sheath styles while enjoying complimentary tea and fruit candy. 611 Broadway at Houston St, third floor (212-334-6546, kelima.com). Upcoming sales: July 12--16 noon--6pm, Nov, Jan 2012, Apr 2012. By appointment only.
13. Bridal Styles Boutique
This outer-Brooklyn treasure is packed with bridal accessories, headpieces, veils and jewelry from names like Maria Elena Headpieces, Thomas Knoell, Christina Garcia and Stephanie Browne, all up to 60 percent off. Put the finishing touches on your look with pieces such as Thomas Knoell sterling-silver flower hair sticks marked $140 (normally $350) and Christina Garcia sterling-silver-and-pearl combs tagged $300 (retail $900). 905 Ave U between E 9th St and Coney Island Ave, Gravesend, Brooklyn (718-339-3222, bridalstylesboutique.com). Upcoming sales: June 26 10am--6pm, Nov.
14. Vanessa Noel
An array of white satin shoes that can also be dyed any hue to outfit the entire wedding party will be offered at a 25 percent discount. Expect pumps, sling-back heels, sandals bedazzled with Swarovski crystals, fancy flats and more. Brides will adore sandal stilettos with ankle straps, whittled from $800 to $600; while moms will favor classy pointy-toe heels with bows, trimmed from $660 to $495. Bridesmaids can nab T-strap stilettos, marked down from $650 to $488. 158 E 64th St between Lexington and Third Aves (212-906-0055, vanessanoel.com). Upcoming sale: Mon 20--June 30 Mon--Fri 10am--6pm, Sat noon--6pm.