The English Department - Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need an appointment?
You’re welcome to browse the shop without an appointment on weekdays, but we do require appointments for busy Saturdays. We book all appointments by phone up to a month in advance. Our space is limited and is best explored by small parties--you and a friend or two. If you need special assistance and/or are traveling with a large group, please do call ahead. Our knowledgeable English Dept. employees can walk you through our collections and answer questions. We’re happy to take notes for you on any dresses or details you’d like to remember.
Do you make all the dresses?
Not all, but some. The majority of our dresses are made to order by designer-owned, independent companies. We strive to represent designers who make their products in the USA from high quality silks and other natural materials. Boutique owner Elizabeth Dye also shows her own collection here, which is made locally. In addition, we stock a revolving selection of unique, handmade veils and accessories.
How long does it take to order a dress?
Each designer has her own production schedule, but the typical time frame is 12-14 weeks. Budget a month or so for alterations—our dresses are made to standard sizes, not to measure, so some tailoring is to be expected. Most of our designers can honor a rush order for a fee; just ask us for more info if you’re on a deadline.
Can I buy a dress off the rack?
We are primarily a special order boutique, which means that most of what we carry are floor sample gowns in sample sizes (typically size 6 to 12). Typically, a bride tries on a sample and then places an order for the gown in her own size. In cases where the sample fits perfectly or there's not sufficient time to order, we do sell our sample gowns off the rack.
Do you carry complete collections by each designer?
If only we could! Our designers have large collections that evolve from season to season, and each dress is available in many different lengths, fabrics and colors. We make our sample selections from each designer according to the styles, fabrics and colors we believe best represent the collection--we definitely have our favorites! If you’d like to know if we have a particular style available to try on, just ask. Our typical sample size range is 6 – 12.
I’m a bride looking for a unique wedding dress for less than $1500. Should I come to The English Dept.?
Absolutely. We specialize in modern alternatives to the traditional bridal gown—lovely, reasonably priced wedding dresses made from high-quality silks and natural fiber fabrics. Many of our dresses are under $1500.
Tips for Visiting
- Saturdays are busiest—you’ll have the most time and leisure to explore the collections if you’re able to visit on a weekday.
- Trust us, it’s best to try on dresses with just one or two advisors (especially on the first round). You’re welcome to come back with additional friends or family on a future occasion, but please no groups larger than four; we have limited seating and it can quickly feel crowded! If you have a large bridal party and would like to have everyone in at once, just let us know and we’ll make special arrangements.
- Travel light: many of our dresses are made from delicate silks, which can be damaged by makeup and jewelry.
- Our shop is not appropriate for babies or small children; we’re unable to accommodate strollers and worry that heavy mirrors, scissors and pins are in easy reach.
- Please no food or drink. We recommend champagne at Grüner or Clyde Common after your visit.
- In many cases, you may be sharing our shop with another bride and her party. This makes for a fun atmosphere, but if you'd like to have the shop to yourself, please call us and we'll do our best to accommodate.
- We love brides who are on time for appointments! If you find you are running more than 10 minutes late (or early!) please call to let us know--we want to make sure you (and the brides before and after you) has a great experience and an adequate amount of time.
Thank you—we look forward to seeing you!