Shopping for a wedding dress is exciting, but it can also be stressful. You have to spend hours and hours in different salons, trying on gown after gown, only to be disappointed or to wish one was just slightly different. While alterations can sometimes be made, it would be ideal to buy the perfect dress right off the rack. But it’s better than shopping for a wedding dress online, right?
We all know someone or have had a first-hand experience purchasing clothing online, only to receive something that looked totally different, totally bad, and didn’t even fit like it was supposed to. Because of that, it’s hard to trust online shopping—even trusted brands will sometimes send you something that looks nothing like you thought what you were purchasing. All that in mind, the last thing you would want to buy online is something as important and as big of a deal as your wedding dress. Even now, as websites have begun to get better about how they advertise their products and offering free returns, many shy away from shopping for their wedding dress online.
The truth is, though, that it’s doable and worth it. Buying your wedding dress online can save you hundreds of dollars, help you find the perfect gown without spending hours in stores, and help you get a dress that needs little to no alterations at all. Despite the standing stigma of buying clothing online, it is becoming a good option.
Here are some tips to help you find your wedding dress online and ensure it’s exactly what you want before you buy it:
Before you start shopping for wedding dresses online, you may need to stop by a salon to try on a few dresses and get a feel for the style. It’s important to know what you like, what you feel confident in, and what looks best on you. Since you can’t try online dresses on until they arrive, you need to know beforehand; otherwise, you could end up with what you thought was your dream dress making you look like a fluffy marshmallow.
Shop Sites That Show Real Customers’ Photos
Amazon has started featuring real customers’ photos in the item reviews. While you probably wouldn’t want to shop Amazon for your wedding dress, other sites do it. Azazie, for example, has an entire section that features photos from real customers’ weddings so that brides-to-be can get an idea of what the dress looks like in real life.
Get a Swatch of the Fabric
If possible, try to get a swatch of the fabric. One of the biggest issues with buying a wedding dress online is ordering what you think is in the photo only to get something that’s made similarly, but because it has a different fabric than the photo showed, it looks different on you. If you aren’t able to get a swatch of fabric, double check the description to see what kind of fabric is used, then contact the seller to confirm that’s what the dress is made of.
Give Yourself More Than Enough Time
Although shipments have gotten a lot faster than they used to be, you shouldn’t rely on the courier services to get your wedding dress to you on time. Ideally, you should order your dress early enough to give yourself enough time to receive it, try it on, send it back if there is an issue, and receive it back again, (if you don’t choose to get a refund and go a different direction). This may mean making a purchase weeks, if not months, in advance, but it will be well worth it.
Check Your Actual Measurements
Many brides hope to lose weight and inches before their weddings and will order a dress a size or two smaller, but because of time constraints and all that has to be done, not all brides can meet their weight goal. It’s much better and safer to get your current, actual measurements and compare them to the size chart on the site where you’re purchasing your dress. This will ensure you can fit into the dress on the big day, but if need be, it can always be taken in. If you’re ever in doubt, always order a size up since it’s easier to take a dress in than to try to let it out without extra fabric.
Plan on Alterations
Although your dress will, ideally, be perfectly fitted when it arrives, it’s important to be prepared and plan on and leave some extra room in your budget for alterations. Even if you get the dress and only need to bring up the hem, so you don’t trip while walking down the aisle, you’ll be glad you set the money aside and planned on having it altered, so there were no surprises or disappointments.
Although it can be risky to purchase clothing online, it’s a lot less risky than it used to be. And, by following these tips, you can find and purchase your perfect wedding dress over the Internet, saving yourself time, money, and energy. Would you buy your wedding dress online?