Bouquet: ASK THE EXPERTS: Problem Solved!

Sage advice from the pros to solve all of your wedding day conundrums

I’m seriously considering saving some money by buying a previously worn wedding gown. But are they really as good as new? What should I look for when inspecting a dress?

EXPERT: Sabrina Sigler, owner of Sabrina Ann Once Worn and Never Worn Bridal in Ardmore
Yes, once-worn gowns really are a deal, says Sigler. (You’ll usually pay between 40 and 60 percent off the original price.) “A wedding dress is worn for a short time — so they’re not trashed,” she says, and a good dealer or boutique owner doesn’t accept anything that can’t be easily fixed. “Just be sure to look at the dress in a natural light, and keep an eye out for fabric snags,” she says. And of course, remember: “These gowns have been altered, so their size doesn’t mean the same thing as with new dresses. You’ve got to try it on to know if it works for you.”

I was going to ask one of my good friends to be a bridesmaid. But she just lost her job, and now I feel like being asked might feel like a burden to her, what with the dress, the shower and everything. I don’t want to stress her out even more. What should I do?

EXPERT: Beka Rendell, a wedding planner with Philadelphia’s Innove Events
Figure it out together. She’s your friend — just talk to her about it, says Rendell: “Tell her that you’d love to have her be a part of your Big Day, but you totally understand if she can’t afford it.” And if it’s the difference between whether or not she can swing it, “If you’re able to help her out with some of the expenses of being your bridesmaid, then do it,” says Rendell. “You’ll be happy you did.” However, if you both decide that being a member of the wedding party is too much for her right now, there are other ways to get her involved, she says. “You could have her doing a reading or pass out programs at the ceremony.”

I really love this one photographer’s work — but not any of his packages; they don’t really work for me. Is it worth talking to him anyway?

EXPERT: Cliff Mautner, a Philadelphia and South Jersey-based photographer.
“I always say: ‘If you don’t ask, you don’t get,’” says Mautner. Most photographers will work with you to deliver what you need. It’s not unusual for a client to want something specific, and it benefits everyone to customize, he says. “The photographer should be figuring out your needs when you’re talking with him — and if he’s good, he’ll want to fulfill them. A photographer’s customer service needs to be as good as or better than the quality of his images.”