Whether you’re not much of a shopper, or you’re looking to stick to a tighter budget, buying your wedding dress online can mean having your dream gown delivered right to your front door. But it can be nerve-wracking buying a dress online as you haven’t seen it in real life, not to mention that many custom made dresses can often be non-refundable.
Nonetheless, if you are planning on making the most of the internet for your big day, you really can reap the rewards! So to help you out we’ve put together a comprehensive guide for buying your dream wedding dress online, to make sure you’re not disappointed.
Decide on your budget
As with every aspect of wedding planning, you’ll need to set aside some budget for your dress. This is often the reason many choose to shop online as they can save money. When deciding on your budget you’ll need to take into consideration the cost of the dress, postage and possible alterations. Having a good idea of your budget will give you a better idea of the types of dress you can afford and realistically where you can shop.
Know which styles suit your shape
It’s all well and good seeing the dress in a picture, on a model, but you won’t know what it looks like on you until the dress arrives. That’s why it’s important that you have a good idea of what styles of wedding dress will best suit you and your shape, so you can choose something that’s going to be flattering.
Of course, you can always have the dress altered slightly, but some styles of the dress just aren’t flattering depending on your body type. For example, if you’ve got a very curvy figure (think hourglass, pear or apple) a tight column dress might not be the best look for you. So do some research and get a feel for what dress styles are out there, so you can choose the perfect dress to suit you.
Choose sites with good reputations
There are some very well-known wedding sites, but also high street retailers that sell beautiful and reasonably priced wedding gowns. If you’ve heard good things about a store that can be very reassuring, but you can also look at blogs or in bridal magazines for advice on some of the top retailers. Those with a good reputation will likely produce a high-quality dress and be more flexible on their returns policies if you’re not happy with what you receive.
Read the reviews
If you find a dress that you like the look of, but you’ve not heard of the site before or you’re unsure whether it’s a reputable retailer, it’s a good idea to search for reviews. If they don’t have any of their own reviews on the site, a quick Google search should be able to pull up some results. Give these a careful read over to see if any concerns or red flags have been raised. If the reviews are largely negative it may be a good idea to avoid this site, even if you love the dress!
Consider if it’s too good to be true
As a general rule, if something seems too good to be true, that’s usually because it is. So if you find a dress from a retailer you’re unsure of and you’re unable to find too many reviews, consider if the price seems too low. If the picture looks great and the materials are supposed to be good quality, but they’re charging a very small amount, it could be a sign that the dress isn’t going to be of a good standard (if it turns up at all) and it’s therefore, best to avoid.
Buy your dress in plenty of time
You need to give yourself plenty of time to have the dress altered or even send it back if it’s not the right style for you. Therefore you need to give yourself plenty of time to do this. The last thing you need in the run up to your wedding is to be left without a dress, struggling to find a tailor that can fit you in or battling with the retailer because you haven’t left enough time to return it. So give yourself a sensible window with which to find the right dress.
Don’t rush this decision
Despite saying that you need to give yourself plenty of time, this doesn’t mean you should rush the decision. This is your big day and you want everything to be perfect! So take your time when browsing online and consider all the options available to you (and there will be hundreds). You could even bookmark any websites you like or start a Pinterest board to save any dresses you are considering. Then you can do a comparison search of your chosen gowns until you make your final and well thought out decision.
Ask for the opinions of others
You’d probably take someone wedding dress shopping with you, right? Whether that’s your best friend, your mum or your sister. And you can still consider this when shopping online. Get your important friends or family around and show them what you’re looking at. They’ll be able to give their honest opinion and offer their advice on what will suit you best. This can really help if you’re struggling to make this important decision alone.
If in doubt, go bigger
If you’re unsure of the sizing for your dress, especially because these change with every retailer, it’s always a wise idea to go bigger. It is much easier to take the material away than it is to add it! So get a bigger size and if it’s a little lose you can find yourself a tailor to take it in.
Read through the T&Cs
Before you order anything make sure you read the terms and conditions set out by the retailer. Most importantly, take note of their returns policy. Often if the dress is being tailor-made to your measurements, they won’t accept a return, but some may also only offer small windows in which you can send the dress back. So check the T&Cs before you buy anything.
Written by Sarah McCann of MyBaggage.com they help wedding guests send their luggage ahead so they can relax and enjoy the big day.