Do Bridal Salons Judge Your Wedding-Dress Budget by the Size of Your Engagement Ring?

Do Bridal Salons Judge Your Wedding-Dress Budget by the Size of Your Engagement Ring?


Somebody recently showed me something in another bridal magazine, in a piece about finding your wedding dress, that gave me pause. It said: “Pssst … Don’t wear your ring to the salon. Whether it’s big or small, the staff may make assumptions about your budget based on its size.”

When I first read it, it just made me raise my eyebrows, like, Whaa? … But the more I thought about it, I decided it really sounded like a bunch of poppycock. First, I thought, you are not in a very nice bridal salon, if that’s happening. And the second thing I thought is that it hardly even makes sense. I know that wedding costs are split up a thousand different ways these days—many of them far removed from the way aspects of the wedding have always traditionally been covered—but still, I feel like it’s somewhat rare that the groom, specifically, is footing the bill for the bride’s wedding gown, and, well, the engagement ring? It comes from the groom.

So I decided I definitely disagreed with that little piece of advice, but to get a few other opinions on the subject, we reached out to a few of our bridal-salon friends in the Philly area to see what they thought. Pattie Lamantia, for one, who owns the Wedding Shoppe in Wayne—and who has been in the bridal-salon world for decades, having managed the iconic Suky in Ardmore—says she’s never heard of that. “Being in the business for so long, I’ve learned not to judge anyone, whether it be on their everyday clothes, or anything else,” she says. “Brides have always surprised me.” Plus she says, a bride should never feel like she has to take off her engagement ring through the whole planning process! “It’s such a great feeling to receive compliments on it.”

Another bridal vet who doesn’t feel such an assumption is a risk bling-wearing brides take when gown shopping is Jill Leach, manager of Elizabeth Johns in Ardmore, and former manager of Priscilla of Boston, who points out that some brides are involved in picking out their engagement ring, and simply prefer a smaller one. “It’s like when we hear that a bride is having her wedding at the Ritz, but is only going to spend $2,000 on her gown,” she says. “We don’t judge, because we know that everyone is different, and maybe the dress and something else just isn’t as important to her as the food or a certain band, and she prefers to drop more money on one thing than the other.”

So, I’m glad to hear that this doesn’t seem to be a thing in the lovely, upstanding bridal salons we’re lucky to have around here, but I do imagine it’s something that does happen with a rogue, presumptuous consultant from time to time in some places. Have any of you had an experience like this—or known someone who has—where you thought a vendor was making assumptions about your wedding budget based on the rock on your left hand? Do tell. Because now we’re curious.

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