Hopefully this article will help you weigh the pros and cons of buying a wedding dress online and give you another option to think about!
“Should I buy a wedding dress online and save some money?” That was the million dollar question.
Well for me, it was actually the $2,450 question. Why? It’s how much I saved when I took the plunge and bought my wedding dress online. It sounds amazing, but it surely came with its ups and downs. It might be helpful to tell you how I came to ask myself this question in the first place. Let’s start from the beginning.
I was like many women, hopping from bridal shop to bridal shop with my sisters and mom in tow. Before the hunt with the whole crew though (as it was the early stages), I wanted to go to a shop just for fun. I didn’t think I would actually find anything, so I just took one of my sisters along with me to check it out. Well as it turns out, I found something I really liked…of course! Anyways, I wanted to show my other sister and mom before even thinking about buying it. Plus, it was only the first shop I visited!
After a couple months of procrastinating, I dragged my sisters and mom to do my official wedding dress shopping, leaving the first shop I visited for last. I tried on many beautiful dresses, but not one that matched the feeling I had when I put on that very first dress in that very first shop. So back to the first shop we went, and depressingly, the dress that I couldn’t stop thinking about had its sample sold.
“Miss I’m very sorry, we don’t normally sell our dress samples, but this girl begged and begged to purchase this one and we obliged. Unfortunately, we are shipping in newer styles of dresses and we won’t be ordering that dress again…”
Wait, is she telling me that I won’t be able to try MY dress on? The one that was my GO-TO if I didn’t find anything else in other stores?? This isn’t happening to me! Although they offered to order it for me, I couldn’t bring myself to say OK. It had been a few months since I tried on the dress, and I honestly couldn’t even remember how it looked exactly! I just remember having that feeling – the feeling every bride describes as ‘I knew it was the one when I put it on’. My dilemma was whether I could trust in that feeling alone without trying the dress on again! They didn’t even have pictures of it online or in a catalogue! So I left the store, full of regret…’Why didn’t you just go there earlier? Serves you right for procrastinating Joanie!’…Was I seriously beating myself up over a wedding dress? Yes, I was.
The shop employees had suggested that I try another branch, so I called another store and no luck. So I went home, surprisingly driven and motivated, and frantically started searching the product number of the dress they gave me. C’mon google! You’ve never let me down before! And what do you know, the image of my dress pops up. Click. Click. Click. After reviewing that this image was indeed the dress I wanted, my jaw drops. The dress is selling for $300! Well actually, it’s on promotion for $288. No way! I’m joyous until I realize that the dress isn’t being sold from the shop I visited earlier, but rather from a website from a company unknown to me. Is this a discovery or a scam? I had butterflies…I didn’t know if it was the excitement of saving money, or the nerves that I was going to be cheated out of money! Onto my new task…an investigation!
LEGIT OR SCAM
It has definitely gotten a lot better lately, but every time I buy something online, I’m skeptical/worried/nervous, etc. etc… there’s something about providing my credit card details online that makes my brain shoot warning signals to my body! Sometimes I just doubt that everything is actually ‘secure’. Bigger and popular sites like Amazon are fine, it’s just those companies I’ve never heard of that I question. I thought the best thing to do was to search for reviews of the site I stumbled upon. I couldn’t find anything conclusive which made me think it was too much of a risk to buy from this site. ‘But the dress is $288!’ I whine to myself…
After doing some more research, I found a blog that was devoted to buying wedding dresses online. It was great because it was a forum where people were asking the questions I was thinking and many were sharing their own experiences. It was exactly what I needed! Loads of people were posting, which made me eliminate the idea that it could be a scam (I question everything!) AND they were providing websites that they were using! Yes, jackpot!
So the same wedding dress site kept coming up along with very good reviews, so I decided to check it out: www.inweddingdress.com
I think I stayed up until 4:30am that night looking at all the dresses they offered. They replicate other dresses, even designer ones, that you can find online. The great thing about them too is that they can customize dresses for you. For an additional $10, you can change the neckline, for example. You can also add a longer train, add a bustle, add extra beading, etc. One other bonus is that they let you provide them with your measurements and custom size your dress for you at no extra charge! A lot of bonuses here! The trade-off of course is the quality of the materials. Girls, you’re not going to get chantilly lace or silk chiffon for $300! The style however is extremely close!
I found two dresses that I loved, both having elements that I wanted to pull together to make one dress. Luckily with their customizable options, I would have the opportunity to do this. Although the stars were aligning in my online shopping world, I still felt like I needed to weigh up the options and possibly visit another bridal shop to confirm confirm!
MY DREAM WEDDING DRESS
My best friend who is getting married 2 months after me was in town to do some wedding dress shopping. We went to Becker’s Bridal on the Danforth and we both fell in love. Every dress I tried on felt and looked AMAZING! My dream wedding dress was certainly there. I was absolutely blown away by two of them and could picture myself walking down the aisle in both. Honestly, if those dresses came within my original budget, I probably would’ve folded and forgotten about the whole online thing. I am THAT girl – the one that has dreamed about their wedding day since…forever! I’m also practical, fortunately for Henry, and the money thing just kept buzzing in my ear! The buzzing just kept on repeating, ‘you can’t justify this for ONE day, you just can’t!’ The fact that my ceremony starts at 5pm as well, makes it even more ridiculous…I won’t even be in the dress for 12 hours! Anyways, the dresses I loved were $2500 and $2800 respectively. Both part of the Barbara Allin collection…if you have the budget ladies and are willing to spend – check her out! My bestie ended up getting her dress there and a twinge of me seriously was contemplating forking out the dough…’you can’t justify it, you can’t justify it, you just can’t…’
I went home that night and looked at the website again. I reviewed the pictures of my dresses about 20 times and played ping pong in my head about what to do. It was there and then that I decided I had to make a decision. It was crunch time – nearly 6 months before my wedding!
I asked as many questions as I could through the live chat option on their website, took the appropriate measurements, submitted my request, hovered over the BUY button for about 30 minutes, paid for the dress, and (the most excruciating part of all), WAITED. The amount of times I questioned my decision was crazy…was I seriously buying a dress I never tried on? How do I know if it’s going to turn out ok? What if I hate the material? What if the measurements aren’t correct? Should I have just forked out the cash for my Barbara Aillin dress? It really all came down to this…it’s $350!!!!!! I can spend the other $2450 on something else!!!! And then my questions were laid to rest and I could feel better about it all again.
SEEING THE DRESS FOR THE FIRST TIME
I received the dress in the mail in a relatively small package considering it was a wedding dress! It was folded nicely and wasn’t wrinkly (but my dress is lace, so this will most definitely be different for other materials!). I did know right away that it wasn’t the lace I was envisioning, but again, I was ok with that because my expectations were in the right place. I was eager to try it on because dresses always look different on the hanger than on the body. Ok, it was the moment of truth….I tried it on and I was happy. I wasn’t the way I felt when I tried on the Barbara Allin dress, but I was happy. I knew that with some alterations (luckily my mom is a seamstress!), it would look the way I wanted it to – the material I could deal with. Again, I just told myself that I’ll be wearing the dress for less than 12 hours! I just wanted to make sure the silhouette was how I wanted it to look, and it was. I could certainly tell that a lot of effort was put in for the stitching and how they put it all together. The dress had boning as well which was a nice touch. In the end, I was happy with the decision I made, and I don’t regret it. If I could do it all over again, I would save the money, and buy the dress online. But of course, that’s just me!
So I know this is all just one big tease – you want to see the picture of the dress! Does it look like the one I wanted online? Well, unfortunately you are all going to have to wait til AFTER my wedding. There’s no way I can post pics and have Henry see the dress before the wedding! I promise though, once the wedding is over I will post pics and you can see if I made the right choice or not…please just humour me and tell me I did LOL!
- you will save money, a lot of money! Keep in mind that there are duty charges upon arrival of your package, but it’s minimal. With tax/shipping/duty/two custom alterations, my dress came to only $350 in total.
- you can provide measurements for custom sizing
- they can customize your dress for a very fair price
- they are quick (like I mentioned, I got mine in a month after ordering)
- they have a live chat option where someone can answer all your questions on the spot
- you may just get your dream dress for less!
- material may not be the best quality
- you can’t try it on before you buy it (and fall in love with it before the purchase!)
- alterations are probably a must (but isn’t that the case even when you’re shopping at a bridal store too?)
I can now say that inweddingdress.com is a legitimate company and you WILL receive your dress in the mail if you purchase one online! My main advice is going into it all with the right expectations. If you do that, you won’t be disappointed! Also, if you know a good seamstress for alterations, that’s another weight that can be lifted off your shoulders when buying a dress online. You gotta remember that you most likely would’ve had to pay for alterations if you bought a dress from a bridal shop as well, so this should also be reflected in your decision. I have to be honest, there was stress involved throughout this experience, but it was worth it for me. I understand brides have enough stress to deal with, so if you would rather just do it the traditional way, the more power to you! I thought my experience might give you brides another option to think about – especially those on a budget!
I know this post was very long, but I wanted to share EVERYTHING with you because I know firsthand how helpful it can be to hear what someone else went through in a similar situation. If you have any questions, post your comments below and I’ll try my best to answer them!
Until the next post,