How to Purchase a Wedding Dress Online: The Complete Guide

Sep 6, 2020 | how to | 0 comments

how to purchase a wedding dress online

Choosing the right wedding dress is probably one of the most important decisions a bride makes for her wedding.  Traditionally, wedding dresses were purchased at brick-and-mortar boutique stores.  However, times have changed. People buy everything online nowadays. Even in the wedding dress industry, more and more brides are purchasing their dresses online that were long dominated by brick-and-mortar boutiques.  

The Internet conveniently brings to the bride a wide selection of wedding dresses in fashion styles and prices like a diligent genie with a great, design sense than an army of brick-and-mortar stores ever could.  However, it’s still a big step to comfortably and reliably buy a wedding dress online.

In this post, I am going to walk you through exactly how to purchase a wedding dress online by following these simple strategies so that you are satisfied.

What are the benefits of buying a wedding dress online?

You are already an expert at purchasing clothes online.  Since you already do it, why not a wedding dress?  

There are several good reasons for this: one, you can get a good deal at a reasonable price.

Second, you can get your ideal wedding dress delivered to your mailbox instead of having to drive and search through countless shops that are stocked with designer dresses that most folks simply can’t possibly afford.  

Third, seeing product pictures and reading the descriptions can often be more helpful than visiting a boutique where you are shell shocked by the whole experience, not to mention the pressure-filled sales tactics time crunch.  

Fourth, if you do not live in a metropolitan area, then the chance of having a wedding boutique nearby could be slim.  The disadvantage of living in a remote location is that there are only limited styles available because most major wedding dress brick-and-mortar boutiques exist in major metropolitan areas.  

Finally, during the pandemic, you fight to minimize the amount of social interaction by not going to the crowded area for today’s shopping centers and clothing stores.  Wedding dress boutiques also fall into this category.

Strategies for Buying Wedding Dresses Online

#1 and #2 are related.  So please do not move on to #2 if you are not satisfied with #1. In fact, the majority of brides who are dissatisfied with their online purchases resulted from skimming over #1.  

A disclaimer is needed here.  Now, obviously the first thing u need to do when shopping online for your ideal wedding dress is to research and find THE DRESS that catches your eye.   Does the dress that you picked out meet your fashion style that you are aiming for?  Is it in your price range?  Can you see yourself getting married in it?  After this initial research, you should move on to step #1.  

1. Find out about the shop that is selling the dress you are interested in.

Most likely, you’ve already searched online for a wedding dress that you are pleased with.  The first question you should ask yourself is: is the store that is selling it a reputable store?  

The Internet is full of fakes: fake news, fake reviews, fake people. The best way to find out whether the store is genuine or not it’s to contact them and see what kind of response you get. Do they have a good handle on wedding dresses? Are they updated with the latest wedding news?  Is their customer service friendly and helpful?

Just because a store is attached to a brand name doesn’t mean you will get a good deal (which is your ultimate goal, after all).  In fact, you are looking for a very particular look (something you’ve been thinking about for a while now, I’ll wager). 

Be an online sleuth and check if the shop’s website has contact information listed such as a phone number and email address so that you can contact them and ask questions.  If such information is not listed, you shouldn’t shop from their online website. 

It is a MUST to contact the store to find out more about this company.  If they are legit, then their customer service will be more than happy to help you with any questions you might have and put your mind at ease so that you can forge ahead and find out more about the dress in question.  As a bonus, you will have made a contact in the store!  Ask for clarification.  Good communication will ensure no nasty surprises when your order arrives.  There are no awkward or stupid questions when this is probably your first time buying a wedding dress online.  If their customer support does not answer all of your questions and put your mind at ease, then do not give them your business.  

Make sure that the online shop you purchase from offers returns.  You should not haphazardly just order dresses to see which one is most to your liking; this is morally wrong because wedding dresses are handmade after your dress is ordered.  However, the shop must deliver what it advertised so that you are happy with your decision.  Otherwise, you should have an option to return a product that is different from the one advertised.  

2. Gather all necessary information about the dress in question

Now, you are ready to go full-on into dress research.  After you’ve thoroughly read the description and scrutinized the images on the product page, you need to make a list of questions that were not answered in the webpage.  

Did the description detail the materials used to construct the dress?  Remember: you really need to consider what kinds of materials were used to construct this wedding dress.  Were comfortable fabrics used?  The best wedding gown can still ruin your day if it’s uncomfortable to wear.  Traditionally made dresses use rigid materials that will not provide any give, meaning it will not stretch.  Your best option is stretchy lace.  After all, the wedding will be many hours long and you do need to dance in your dress, right?

Another choice you must make is the level of comfort you have regarding just how see-through your wedding dress is.  If you are uncomfortable with a wedding dress that is too translucent, then get a dress that is ‘fully-lined’, meaning the dress is constructed with a separate layer of fabric on the inside; This effectively prevents it from being seen through. If it’s only ‘partially lined’ (usually the skirt has a lining), that could mean the gown is sheer, or at least in some areas, so send an inquiry for more information.  Also, keywords in the description like ‘bust support’ or ‘built-in bra’ will let you know that the wedding dress in question will provide you the necessary coverage.  

Regarding the color of the wedding dress, most are offered in ‘white’ or ‘ivory’ (which is usually the same as ‘off-white’).  Most people would agree that there is not much difference between these two colors when it comes to wedding dresses.  However, an ivory-colored wedding dress will give off more of a softer look while a white-colored one will make the bride appear crisper.  

3.   Measuring for a dress correctly

For this step, get a trusted friend or a family member to help.  Remember: two sets of eyes are better than one.  

For floor length measurement, be sure to measure with the shoes or a similar one you are going to wear on your big day.  Measure with nude, seamless undergarments that you are going to wear underneath your gown to get accurate measurements.

Look carefully on the size chart: what is it asking for you to measure? 

Wedding dress size charts usually only have the 4 requirements: bust, waist, hip, and hollow to floor (length).
  • Make sure that you are looking at the U.S. size and not the European size.  
  • Check to make sure that you are using the metric(cm) or the English system(inches) for measurements.
  • Check which body part the size chart requires for you to measure.
    • Usually, they are the bust, hips, waist, floor-length for wedding dresses.

I wish I could say that there’s some kind of a laser measuring system that scans your entire body and relays that data to a computerized dressmaking machine controlled by an AI.  Sorry to burst your bubble, ladies, but such technology doesn’t exist yet.  But not to worry; follow these steps for a trouble-free way.

Be extra vigilant to measure correctly.

Two types of tape measures but with very different purposes. Go with the left.

Use a tape measure to make sure you measure correctly, not carpenter’s but a dress maker’s.  

When using a tape measure, don’t use too tightly; Be honest with yourself.  

Remember the saying: measure twice cut once.  This is a wise saying.  Just like cutting a piece of lumber, you can’t go back if you measure incorrectly and order your dress.  Think of the logistics (it would be a nightmare!).  Ordering a dress takes time as well as receiving it.  If in doubt, then contact the store to get clarification.  I am sure they are more than happy to help you out and answer all of your questions.  Do not be afraid to ‘bother’ them.  From their perspective, it is better to get a happy customer with the correctly sized dress than a return any day!

When in doubt, order a size up

Follow directions indicated in the size chart!  For example, if you find that your waist is correct(according to the size chart), but your bust requires a larger size, then you should order a size larger.  Then, you can pay a visit to a seamstress to take in the waist so that it is a correct fit.  Do not be alarmed by this (seemingly) extra step; This is exactly what happens when you purchase your wedding dress through a brick-and-mortar boutique.  

A talented seamstress can alter a large dress to make it fit your body.  However, the opposite is not true; She’s not a miracle worker who can fix a dress that is too small!  Also, if you find that you fall between two different sizes, then it is safer to go with the larger size.  This way, the seamstress can alter the wedding dress to fit you.  

4.  Have a good seamstress ready to alter a wedding dress

Wedding dresses are made to order; this means that they are not mass-produced.  More than likely, your dress will be just right.  However, some times, even though they are made to order to your specifications,  it will require some alteration.  This is true even if you buy your dress from a brick-and-mortar boutique.  

This is where a seamstress becomes essential.  A good seamstress can alter the wedding dress you purchased online so that it fits you as desired.  

Check to make sure that the seamstress you narrowed down is reputable.  Also, if you live in a rural area and a seamstress is not readily available, if you have a friend or a relative who is a talented seamstress, you can depend on this person to help you out.

How to identify a good seamstress

Make sure that they are experienced.  Here are some questions you should ask:

  • Do you have experience hemming dresses?
  • How about strap shortening?
  • Can you add bust support to a dress?
  • Can you take in the waist of a dress for a better fit?
  • Does the seamstress have experience with altering wedding dresses?

Most of the time, your dress will come perfectly for your size, according to your specification. However, if you require a slight modification, then your best option is to schedule a visit to a nearby seamstress.  Most dry cleaners have seamstresses on-site who can alter your wedding dress for a minimal fee.  Yes, a professional seamstress is a superior choice.  However, they are not easy to come by and also charge a hefty fee.  Do not look down on dry cleaner seamstresses!   Many have extensive experiences, especially with wedding dresses.

5.   Plan ahead

Has anything ever turned out good by waiting until the last minute? Then, why would you want to risk it with your wedding dress?  Even the most talented seamstress will take over a month to create your wedding dress. And  really, do you want them to hurry with it?  Do not wait until the last minute!   

Another advantage of ordering your wedding dress well in advance is that you can use the dress as a diving point as you will of the other designs you must consider in order to style your wedding such as the following: bridesmaid’s dresses, mother of the bride’s dress, flowers, centerpieces, etc. 

However, here’s a word of caution.  The first dress that you see on your computer may be screaming at you to “Buy! Buy! Buy!”.  But, I urge you to subdue your desire and sleep on it.  The next morning, you may be glad that you didn’t go through with it.  On the other hand, if you still feel the same way about the dress that you picked out last night, then, by all means, pull the trigger!

Finally, it is paramount that you select your travel date when considering the shipping date instead of your wedding date; you must have your wedding dress in your possession well in advance if you are headed for a vacation wedding.  

Conclusion

It is a good idea to have a fitting immediately after receiving the dress that you purchased online.  Make sure that it fits well and meets all of your expectations.  If (God forbid) there is an issue, you should have ample time to contact the online shop and solve the issue.  

Finally, it would be prudent to try fitting just before you the wedding day to make sure that everything is fine.  Of course, you should do all you can to keep the weight/figure that you are aiming for your wedding day.  That, however, is a subject of another blog post.   

At the end of the day, you need peace of mind that you got a good deal.  By following the guidelines and strategies described above, I hope that you find the wedding dress of your dreams in the smoothest way possible.  

Please check out keepyourweddingdress.com for a wide variety of wedding dress styles and prices. You can contact us at support@keepyourweddingdress.com if you have any questions.

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