Your wedding dress should make you look and feel beautiful on one of the biggest days of your life. But not everybody has the time to traipse around shop after shop trying on a myriad of dresses with your mum and bridesmaids. If, like me, you hate trying on clothes in shops, buying your dress online could be for you. You have a million things going on in your brain from seating arrangements and whether you should sit Uncle Fred with your Mum’s friends.
Shopping for the dress is not an easy thing as most need an assistant to zip you up and arrange you into the dress. The actual thought of all these women and a stranger helping me into a dress was certainly adding to my stress levels.
When I finally told everyone I was buying a dress online my stress levels dropped and I felt vaguely normal. There are some pitfalls to buying clothes online which I will discuss later on. My Mum even thought about buying her dress online (she is about as enthusiastic as me when it comes to trying clothes on). And there are some great mother of the bride dresses out there!
You will want to acquaint yourself with the different fabrics used to make wedding dresses so you know what the descriptions mean online. Go to a large dress store and ask about fabrics and are they lightweight or scratchy. Look at different laces and see what you prefer. Some fabrics drape softly while others will stay in stiff folds. Deciding on the material you would like is the first step.
This is not the best fun especially if you have been trying to lose some inches for the big day. The three measurements you need are bust, hips and waist. You need to be able to breathe and sit down on your big day and be comfortable in your dress for several hours.
Some of the bigger online stores will also give you the models measurements so you can see better how your size fits into a particular dress.
One other thing to check is that bridal dress size may not match your normal clothes size. Sites will list their dresses as wedding dress size or street size. As most stores will have their own sizing make sure you read up on how they size their dresses.
Even if you have found a dress in the perfect size it may need a bit of final tweaking to fit perfectly. Find a good seamstress and she will make any alterations to your dress. If you are shorter than the model it can be taken up or a waist can be cinched in for a smoother look.
Read the description
Make absolutely sure that you know what you are buying. Read the description and compare it to the pictures of the dress. Some stores will use technical terms that you may not have heard of before, or list a lace that you haven’t heard of. By reading the description you should find out the type of fabric, lace style, dress style, any beading or embroidery on the dress and how it does up.
Store policies and postage
Always make sure you are able to return your dress if it is not what you wanted or what you thought you were buying. No good finding out that your dress is the wrong size and you cannot return it.
Also check postage costs. That perfect dress may cost as much to post as to buy. So you have made no savings at all by buying online.
Choose a reputable store
Above all else make sure the online store you choose has a good reputation. Read the comments section and see if other people have recommended the store. Most horror stories come from shonky stores with cheap copies and poor quality fabrics. Some store front shops will have an online shopping section so if you have heard of a great store overseas, check if you can shop online.
When you find your perfect dress be prepared to purchase it there and then. You may be one of several brides to be looking at the same dress. If you find it-buy it. There are stores that allow you to set up notifications for a dress style when it becomes available. This can be important if you are after a second hand dress or a particular style. So start shopping early as you may need to wait before your ideal dress comes along.
There are horror stories about everything we do in life from having babies to buying clothes online. This is why you need to buy from a reputable seller, preferably in your own country and not just any seller on eBay and similar sites.
Some sellers will show you a wedding dress and then sell you a copy of that dress that looks nothing like the original. This is less likely to happen if you choose a reputable seller. You do need to go shopping for a new dress a few days before your big day. That adds even more stress than having to go trying on dresses with your girlfriends.
Your elegant chiffon gown turns out be made of polyester and sags in all the wrong places. This happened to a cousin of mine who cried for days and then realised her wedding was only 2 weeks away and she still needed a dress!
Second hand dresses
This can be a cheaper option than buying a brand new dress and there are some beautiful vintage gowns for sale. Never throw away the idea of a second hand dress. Remember it was only worn once, usually, unless it has been sold a few times. Just be careful about vintage fabrics- some can be very fragile and rip at the slightest touch, particularly old laces.
A surprise for everyone
You have bought your perfect dress from a reputable seller and it fits in all the right places. Not only will the groom be surprised and delighted to see you walk down the aisle, so will everyone else, unless you have shown it to them.
For a great online shopping experience follow these simple rules and you will look stunning on your big day and not have had to deal with the added stress of spending days wandering around dress shops being pushed and pulled into dresses by strangers.
By the way, Mum bought her dress online too!