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Buying a Costco Wedding Dress

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If you can buy Prada handbags and Cartier watches at Costco, why not your wedding dress? The warehouse store giant recently teamed with with bridal couture designer Kirstie Kelly for a special line of dresses, and Costcos throughout the country have held special trunk shows and events to build some momentum for the new offerings. Naturally, we had to check it out.

On Saturday, we trekked up to the Costco in Van Nuys for the last So. Cal event -- appointments were tight, and it's cash and carry only. However, where else can you buy a Kirstie Kelly wedding dress for starting at $600?

The dresses come in six Kelly "signature" styles, in sizes from 2-24. We tried on two styles, the "modified mermaid" in ruched satin (priced at about $700) and the lace A-line with cathedral train (about $1,000). Both were quite stunning, the fit was pretty good, and what a bargain. Of course, there were add-ons: full service alterations for an additional $450; optional beaded capsleeves for the strapless styles for an additional $160. But considering that similar gowns of these styles at the Kelly salon would run at least $2,000, you're still coming out way ahead.

However, at these prices, you do sacrifice some of the salon-buying experience. There's no fancy, individual dressing room, fresh-cut flowers in the sitting area and no champagne for you and your entourage to sip as you giggle and try on dresses. Instead, you get one attentive salesperson, a narrow community dressing room with little mirrors, and the appointments are limited to 30 minutes.

If you're brave enough to venture out of the dressing room to look at yourself in the 3-way mirror, you're more than welcome, even encouraged, but be warned that you will also probably be in full view of Costco shoppers, gawking at TVs and cameras, carrying 25-pound pans of microwave lasagne and 50-pound bags of Fresh Step kitty litter. Romantic. The pop-up wedding tent is rather small with only a few folding chairs for your accompanying wedding party if you so choose to bring them. We don't recommend coming with more than a couple people -- after all, this isn't exactly Kleinfeld's. But the salespeople are very friendly and helpful and we didn't feel pressured to buy anything. When we hesitated over my choice styles, the saleslady offered to take our photo in the dresses sowe could mull over the choices overnight. One saleslady even suggested buying both dresses and returning the one that didn't work out. Wow - Costco extends its return policy to wedding dresses! What other bridal boutique lets you do that?

So maybe Costco is on to something. If that's not enough, for those one-stop brides, you can also order your flowers and wedding rings at Costco, too. The Costco website for full details and the remaining locations and appointments. (story and photos by Ruth Estrada)
· Kirstie Kelly Signature Bridal [Costco]
· All We Did It for Science content [Racked LA]