The TK Maxx wedding dress discussion – does quality = £££?

The last couple of days I’ve been seeing some interesting posts popping up on Twitter. Wedding suppliers and brides alike have been getting hot under the collar about a rather unlikely topic – the new TK Maxx Wedding Boutique.

Now I’ll put myself straight out there – I’m not a fan of the majority of the dresses. And personally, I find shopping in places like TK Maxx a bit stressful – trying to find a size that isn’t extremely large or extremely small, for one.

But I’ve noticed an interesting reaction among quite a few people – lots of people seem to have taken this as a personal affront on the independent suppliers in our lovely wedding industry. A sign that brides prefer to save their cash than to go for good quality, good service, the right way to do it.

Arguably the highest quality dress of all time – but how does history judge it? 

I’d love to hear what you all think, but I’ll jump right in and kick-start the discussion. Personally, I find this view disappointing on two counts:

It smacks of judgement. The mere existence of this TK Maxx Wedding Boutique doesn’t say anything about the times, about what brides do or don’t want. It’s a free market. What if a bride walks into TK Maxx and happens to see her personal dream dress? Does it matter, then, whether society deems that to be a quality dress if she’s happy in it? Does it matter if she didn’t try on dozens of dresses in a wedding boutique? Does it matter that she took it to a till? Who cares how she got her dream dress, if she loves it, that’s all that matters.

I’ve been to bridal boutiques, sample sales and so forth where dresses are sold at a couple of hundred quid – that’s one option. TK Maxx is another. Are the experiences so different? They’re still the last of the dresses that weren’t sold, still lessened quality as they have been tried on by so many people, still arguably and potentially a less personal service.

It assumes that everyone has the money to spend in a bridal boutique. It’s OK to just want to skip to the marriage part without doing the expensive wedding thing.

What we’re saying when we talk about brides saving money over having ‘quality’ suppliers is that there’s only one way to do the wedding thing – the expensive way. Weddings are all about choice – would I personally choose to shop for my dress at TK Maxx? Probably not – but I was after something different – I wanted the experience of dress shoppingI had a budget and was willing to pay for it.  Not everybody wants or needs that.

The brides that shop in independent boutiques aren’t the brides that will also be looking in TK Maxx – they’re after a different experience, their wants and needs are different and while the dresses might not be to your taste, or the way in which they’re sold, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t exist as a choice for brides who don’t want to do their wedding the industry way.

So I’ve put my two cents out there. I’m interested to see what you all think though. I’m bowing out of the discussion for now (not sure there’s much I can add) but happy to answer any questions. Please do leave your polite and PG-rated thoughts and feedback below. Are discount shops like TK Maxx a legitimate threat to industry suppliers? Is there anything wrong with choosing cost effectiveness over a boutique experience? 

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