The AltBrides Sample Sale Demands Decisiveness and Nerves of Steel

 Photo via AltBrides

Photo via AltBrides

Bridalwear sample sales are depicted in movies as tulle-tinged free-for-alls, but they can be more civilized than Hollywood cares to admit. For the bride on a budget, a sample sale could mean scoring your dream dress without blowing your budget. If you know what you want, it's actually pretty great—especially when it's the Alt. Brides sample sale.

Alt. Brides (709 Hyde Street) is opening its doors June 16-17 for a mega sample sale that you don't want to miss. They're offering 40-90 percent off some of the shop's most popular styles, and they say most of their samples in excellent condition. The sale runs from 11 am—6 pm both days, and everything is first come, first served. There's only one dressing room in the store, so shoppers are limited to 30 minutes of fitting room time. That means you'll have to dress and make decisions hella quickly. And, because the space is tiny (300 sq. ft.), you can expect to queue for your turn to shop.

Based on past sample sale coverage, I would suggest arriving about 5-6 hours early for this one. (Bring a pop-up chair, a book, a backup battery and cable for your phone, coffee, pocket warmers, and a friend to make the weight more tolerable. The store is in the Tenderloin.) Staffers warn that this sale isn’t for first-time shoppers; if you haven’t been dress shopping before, it’s best to schedule a private appointment first to get an idea of what you want. 

This is a chance to find "the dress" at one of the San Francisco's best bridal boutiques without exhausting your budget. Flesh out that Pinterest board and nail down your sizes now, and you could be twirling in your wedding look before summer even starts.