Your wedding day is fast approaching! After booking the ceremony and reception hall, it’s time to think about THE wedding dress. It’s one of the most difficult purchases you’ll make, but also the most fun. You could scour the shops to find ‘the one’ or buy a wedding dress online. Which option, however, can you place your trust in when buying a dress for such an important day? And most importantly, should we be suspicious of online wedding dress stores? Let’s analyze the pros and cons together.
Careful planning from the get-go
The perfect wedding doesn’t happen overnight (become well acquainted with these lists and schedule well)! For your dress, as well as all the other wedding bits and pieces, we strongly advise you to think and do a lot of research before making any decisions.
Even before you go shopping or surf the net, think a little about what your own expectations are for your wedding dress. We’re lucky enough to be surrounded by tons of info today, in the form of magazines, ads, tv shows, and websites. It’s easier than ever to take a look at all the potential silhouettes, fabrics, and embellishments for the dress of your dreams.
The right questions are the hard ones
Ask yourself these essential questions to help you make your choice:
- What type of silhouette do you prefer? There are quite a few to choose from – we’ve got this
short summary for you.
- What wedding theme are you going with? Will it be a fairy-tale scene where you’ll be the princess of the ball? Or will it be a rustic feast where you’ll be more comfortable in a simple bohemian, sheath style dress?
- And what about your surroundings? Will you be outdoors and in the heart of the countryside? Will you need long sleeves or a small jacket, for example?
- Do you want a train?
- What about bridal adornments like beading, diamonds, colors and sequins?
Expectation vs. reality
Very often, we discover that the silhouettes and styles of their dreams don’t suit our brides once they try on a few styles. You might have always fantasized of a princess dress, but when you try it on, you may feel swamped by the material. Or you may have dreamed of a mermaid dress, but the realized it comes with less freedom to move.
That’s why we advise you to bear the following in mind:
- Your wedding’s ambiance
- How much you’ll want to dance
- The theme and the location
- How you want to feel in the dress.
Keep an open mind and try on different styles. You might surprise yourself. Maybe your vision will change!
Is buying your wedding dress in a bridal store always the right choice?
Of course, you’ll have to go to a boutique if you want to try on different wedding dress styles. Or maybe not – do you have any friends who’d be willing to let you try on their old wedding dresses? It’s a fun way to see how each style works on your body.
That said: boutiques have some clear advantages over buying a wedding dress online:
- The party /festive atmosphere
A bridal boutique is a haven of joy where you’re greeted with champagne glasses and treated like a princess. At least that’s how the tv shows portray it!
At the very least, it’s a place where you can browse all different types of dress styles and spend a fun afternoon (or more!).
- The chance to try on lots of different styles
Boutiques will always stock the traditional styles and silhouettes, so you’ll have a lot of dresses at your fingertips to help with your choice. Some have more modern styles so they’ll have a wider choice.
- Surrounded by those closest to you
You can visit a shop with another person or as a group of five – with your mother, even your future mother-in-law, sister, girlfriends, etc. It’s an opportunity to bond and experience a wonderful moment of joy looking at dresses together and all the emotions that go with it.
… But that’s not the case for everyone.
Unfortunately, a boutique isn’t always the idyllic place you imagine when making an appointment. Some sales assistants in these shops have no training in selling wedding dresses and aren’t very well versed in the nuances of silhouettes, laces and materials. It’s also worth remembering that some are snooty places where brides aren’t made to feel at all welcome! And that’s not forgetting the ones where you’ll spend weeks trying to make an appointment to no avail.
When all is said and done, there are cases where you really can’t find the right dress for your body. Perhaps you’re tall and hence the dresses are too short. You could be more voluptuous and hence the styles offered could be too tight. Or you might be petite, and the adjustments you’ll need will cost almost as much as the dress itself. That was the case with our founder Dafra for her wedding.
So what’s the alternative?
Unfortunately, bridal stores are not always as magical.
Buying a wedding dress online - a big ripoff?
Let’s say you just don’t have time to go to an actual shop. You might not be able to go in person. That could be due to your schedule, or confinement measures. You could be on a tight budget or you may have found yourself in one of the above scenarios where the shop doesn’t meet your expectations.
At that point, buying online may appear like a good idea. You’ll have the choice and you can flick through the dresses at your leisure. No pushy sales assistants, no confusing rules. And, the cherry on top of the cake: often, prices seem much cheaper too. Bingo!
Be careful though!
It’s important to pay attention to these following points when buying a wedding dress online so you can avoid it turning into an absolute disaster:
- Are all the charges and costs made clear?
You’ve chosen your dress and placed your order. But when you go to the checkout page, you’re faced with the nasty surprise of shipping fees that double the price of your purchase. This is sadly often the case with online wedding dress stores as you don’t know exactly where your package is coming from.
You may also have to pay customs duty fees when your package arrives, depending on the material and the cost of your wedding dress. This can quite easily add a fair bit to the cost, so you should take this into account.
- How long will delivery take?
It’s not always clear just when your wedding dress bought online will arrive. Brides sometimes buy a dress online at the last minute. Unfortunately, often, dresses don’t arrive or are lost in the post and there’s no real Plan B. As a result, we advise you to start shopping 5-6 months before the big day.
- It can be impossible to customize your dress
In a shop, you can add on your own little details even if they cost more. Indeed, the dress you order will usually be exactly like the one you try on, save perhaps for color. Small changes are possible and are charged as extras. However, buying your wedding dress online means that you won’t be able to customize it that much, especially if you have chosen a less expensive site with a fixed range of styles. Not the best option if you are looking for your own special dress.
- The ethical dilemma
When buying a dress online, you’ve no idea what the dressmaker’s working conditions are or which businesses you could be supporting when you place an order.
Unfortunately, there are still a lot of scams you need to be aware of. We all have heard horror stories of “what I ordered” vs. “what I got”, wedding dress edition. Cheaper sites frequently use photos copied from well-respected designers. They may hence not show their actual products. Or then again, a dress might look lovely in the pictures but in the end, the poor quality materials or craftsmanship may ruin the overall look of your dream dress.
Finding the right balance - custom wedding dresses online.
At JoSaBi, we understand all the pitfalls involved when buying wedding dresses online or when shopping in stores with rigid styles and sample sizes. Dafra indeed went through it all for her own wedding.
From these unpleasant experiences birthed an idea:
Can you create your dream dress and alter it in a way that best suits you? For example, by adding just the right amount of beading to match your wedding theme, or by creating a 2 or 3 piece dress that can be transformed between the ceremony and the reception?
Where can you buy your wedding dress online in total confidence and be able to follow the process from the beginning to the end? How to make changes throughout the process? And, last but not least, how to have the final say when it comes to the finished product?
Creating JoSaBi Mariées was the answer to all of the above questions. We wanted to find the merge the ease of shopping online with complete peace of mind. Our mission has always been to focus on the bride, and to tick the following boxes: (we recommend these to anyone planning on buying their wedding dress online, with us or anywhere else)
- A personalized experience from the start
Our brides come to us with their ideas from the very beginning of our working relationship. A good boutique will show you various dress styles. To that, we add fabric samples that let you get a feel for the materials used. We also work with you on sketches that evolve until you are happy with the project. Demand a unique experience wherever you go, so you can really have the dress of your dreams.
- Step-by-step support from beginning to end
Once you’ve decided on the design, we provide you with photos and videos so you can follow every step. No nasty surprises! Whichever dress designer you end up going with, we recommend you make sure that they will keep you informed on the progress of your wedding dress.
- Transparency and trust
Whatever your choice, make sure you know exactly what is included in your quote. Make sure there are no surprises at the checkout, or on delivery day. For example, JoSaBi always offers free shipping. Also make sure you always understand your invoice to avoid unexpected expenses.
- Customizing your wedding dress
If you are creating a tailor-made wedding dress online, make sure your designer is ready to discuss your wildest ambitions. They should do their very best to come up with a design that brings your ideas to life. Whether it’s beading and sequins, detachable sleeves, or colors like sky blue, you deserve to have what you want.
Finally, having an open dialogue is essential to ensure every detail is addressed.
The JoSaBi process was designed to put you at ease and help you create the wedding dress of your dreams.
So there you go – a treasure trove of information about the pros and cons of ordering your dress online or in-store!
Boutiques give you the opportunity to touch and experiment with materials and silhouettes. However, people are turning away from them more and more, either for practical reasons or because they’re looking for more unique dresses. On the other hand, buying a wedding dress online is not risk-free. That’s why you really need to investigate sites thoroughly, make sure you can trust them.
Finding the right balance is not easy but we would like to think we are solving that issue at JoSaBi!
See you soon for more advice and tips!