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How to Buy Your Wedding Dress Online (And Why You Should)

Bride in her wedding dress sitting on a park

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You’ve done your share of scouring through the racks of wedding boutiques and designer shops, but somehow the selection either falls short of your expectations or sits too high for your budget to reach. These days, the demand for more economical wedding dress options is continuously increasing, which many online shops are eager to meet.

The idea that you’ll find one of the most important dresses you’ll wear in your lifetime on a computer screen could have seemed like a farfetched idea before. However, in this digital age, it’s not so uncommon anymore. In fact, you’ll find many brides attesting to the practicality of this option. So is buying a wedding dress online the right way to go for you?

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Why Buy Your Wedding Dress Online?

Online shopping for clothes has become highly popular… so why not for your wedding dress too? Here are 4 reasons to consider buying your wedding dress online:

Bride shopping online her dress

1- It’s convenient

When Amazon and Ebay launched their online shopping sites, the world of retail changed forever. The marketing concept was easy – buy online and you save a great deal of time, effort, and resources from selection and payment to delivery.

Wedding dress shopping is not exactly a task brides take lightly. There are many opinions to be considered, ideas to be realized, and let’s admit it, a girl has got to have her options! Online shopping can spare you hours of walking or driving to dress shops, wading through crowds, and taking in a lot of information at the same time. You get to select from thousands of options right at your fingertips, pay from the comfort of your own home, and receive it right on your doorstep.

2- Worldwide scope

In line with the first point, shopping online means there are infinite options available to you. Most online shops will offer shipping worldwide, so your selection is broadened outside the stores that are physically accessible. If you’ve always admired the youthful whimsy of Korean Wedding fashion, or perhaps want to incorporate something from your or your groom’s traditional roots e.g. Indian saris, Japanese kimonos, and Scottish kilts to name a few, these are all within your reach.

3- There’s something for every budget

The range of dresses online is extensive and what’s even better is you can easily filter the selection according to your budget. This way, you’ll avoid the familiar heartache of putting back a dress after seeing the price tag.

4- No pressure

Have you bought something in the store simply because you felt guilty for taking up so much of the salesperson’s time? Have you ever been talked into buying an extra pair of shoes or the same dress in another color because of the complements you’ve gotten while trying them on? The pressure is even greater with wedding-related products, as the idea that you’re buying for a once-in-a-lifetime event is a good reason to push you to splurge. Shopping online helps eliminate some of the added pressure on this already tricky decision. You have the luxury of adding a dress you like to your cart or wishlist and sleeping on it first instead of making an impulse buy and coming home with buyer’s remorse.

How to Buy Wedding Dress Online

Bride holding flowers in her wedding dress she purchased online

If you’ve decided to give online wedding dress shopping a go, here are some tips to make your shopping experience a pleasant one.

1- Pick a Reputable Shop

Go through the websites that catch your eye and pick one which is responsive and has recent activity. Check if the site has posted recent pictures of their collection, is active on their published contact information, and ideally has some presence on other platforms other than their website – social media, blogs, magazines, or reseller outlets. This will give you added confidence in your purchase.

2- Check the Reviews and Pictures

Once you have an eye on a reputable online shop, check their customer reviews and recent posts. Most shops will post different collections which will help you narrow down the selection according to style. They will post close-up shots of the dress and indicate information on material and make of the dress.

Reviews are highly important to qualify the online shop as a legitimate seller. It’s a plus if they allow their customers to post pictures of the dresses they’ve purchased so you’ll see how the dresses look on real, relatable women. You’ll get a better idea about the fit and overall quality of the garment before you purchase it for yourself. Watch out for any constructive feedback as well as they may raise red flags about the shop or quality of their products.

3- Get Accurate Measurements

Some sites will have a set sizing chart (Small, Medium, Large, and so on) but some will ask for your actual measurements. In this case, get your measurements taken by a seamstress instead of doing it yourself, unless you’re confident and have a clear idea what you’re doing. This can make or break how your dress turns out.

4- Read the Fine Print

Check the product description to get more information about the dress. The type of material, origin, personalization options (design/ color), and care instructions speaks volumes about the overall quality and wearability of the dress. It’s imperative to read the return/exchange policy as well. You must be able to return/exchange the wedding dress you purchased in case it doesn’t meet your expectations, and this way you can feel secured about your purchase. Check for return fees, shipping charges and any other conditions of purchase for your peace of mind.

5- Utilize Customer Support for Clarification

Most online stores will make it a point to have a strong customer support team to give clients the confidence to choose them over more readily tangible options. Use this to your advantage. Get more information, ask for more photos if needed, and let them know about any concerns you may have about your purchase. You might be surprised at how flexible the store will be regarding your requests.

Know the Consequences of Buying Your Wedding Dress Online

Bride trying on her wedding dress

Anyone who’s had regular online shopping experience will notice that the system is not foolproof. There are many factors that come into play when buying online and the online shop may not necessarily have the sole liability for any hiccups with your purchase. Your wedding dress is definitely an important investment and a hasty decision can come at a hefty price. Here are some possible pitfalls you have to watch out for:

1- What You See May Not Always be What You Get

Photos online can be misleading. The easiest thing to overlook in buying a wedding dress online is the workmanship of the dress. It could look flawless when worn, especially when photographed from the right angles, but a closer look might reveal poor tailoring, beading, or use of low-quality materials. If you’ve followed the tips we mentioned above though, you’ll have a better chance of avoiding this.

2- Need for Alterations

Dress sizing can be rather precarious coming from an online shop, as even the international sizes have varying interpretations. If you’re ever in a bind between sizes, choose a size up to ensure that you have room for alteration. This also means you’ll have to factor in the cost of alterations in your budget.

3- It Could Be a Waiting Game

The beauty of having a worldwide scope in terms of selection can come at a disadvantage in terms of how long delivery takes. Check the expected delivery dates and ensure that it is well within the window for alterations prior to your big day.

Additionally, shops will likely engage the services of couriers to ship your orders. There is a possibility that the third-party service provider can run into logistical problems that are beyond the shop’s control. For your oh so precious package, be ready to take shipping cost into consideration and choose a reputable courier service to prevent a runaway dress situation.

Where to Start Looking

For such a big purchase, it’s a good idea to know what you want before you start looking. Once you’ve got a mental picture of what you want for your wedding dress, start looking to get an idea of what exactly you’re after.

Etsy is an excellent place to start searching, as there’s something for everyone in terms of price and style. Note that each bridal store has its own policies, reviews and styles so take each shop on Etsy on a case by case basis.

The technology for finding the perfect wedding dress is constantly evolving to cater to the needs of busier and more practical brides like you. Enjoy the journey and you might just find a deal you can’t resist!