Advice for buying a wedding dress online
July 26, 2012 10:07 PM   Subscribe

Did you buy a wedding dress online? Do you have any shop recommendations or advice to make this as painless as possible for me?

Apparently, I can't wear silk pajamas for my wedding this December, so I think I need to start looking for a dress. I had the dumbest couple hours ever at David's Bridal and I hate most wedding dresses anyway, so I want to try getting my dress online, for the larger selection and the way more tolerable shopping experience.

I'd love to know if anyone here has any experience buying a wedding dress online? Any advice or shop recommendations, whether it's a handmade dressmaker from Etsy or one of the made-in-China knockoff companies or some wedding dress wholesaler?

I've tried looking at a lot of regular wedding forums for reviews, but most of the super positive reviews seem pretty scammy. (Identical posts on multiple sites, or posted by someone who never posted anything again, etc), so I don't trust them. I trust you, Metafilter!
posted by logic vs love to Shopping (21 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
five years ago, my wife had a great experience with J Crew - online and then over the phone.
posted by misterdarren at 10:29 PM on July 26, 2012

I did the J Crew thing too. It was nice because I could order things to my specifications and if I didn't like how they fit I could take them back at my local J Crew store. Also, there are a few dresses that aren't entirely bedecked with frippery. Since I hate frippery, that was a plus.
posted by town of cats at 11:40 PM on July 26, 2012

Have a backup plan you can live with and enough time to carry it out. Also, look out for quality control issues. I ordered a dress this summer from a site where I'd had luck before, but they had supply line problems with my first choice and my second choice arrived stained. It doesn't matter how good the customer service or return policies are if you don't end up with a wearable dress.
posted by VelveteenBabbitt at 11:50 PM on July 26, 2012

What's your budget? My dress (nice, plain 50s style) is from these guys and they were awesome to work with and they can fit both the under-$1000 budget and the higher budgets depending on the type of fabric you get. The dresses are all handmade to your measurements; if you're ordering online I think you just get a local seamstress or tailor to take the measurements they need. I did my browsing in their store in NY, but I've since moved to another country and all they want me to do is have updated measurements taken a few months before my wedding to see if they need to change anything. Really, it was fun to work with them and it was hugely different than my experience in the more typical bridal stores. ::shudder::
posted by olinerd at 12:18 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

I just bought a (not very traditional) wedding dress from ModCloth. They offer free returns, and most of their products have very thorough customer reviews, which I found extremely helpful. A few other places I considered were J. Crew, Ruche, ShopBop, and Saja.
posted by neushoorn at 1:09 AM on July 27, 2012

Light in the Box is a Chinese company that legitimately sells wedding dresses around the world. While the quality may not be on par with some of the higher-end designer dress shops, they do have some really nice dresses for a very nice price. Just be prepared to pay a duty-fee when your dress arrives at your door since they do ship from China.
posted by nikkorizz at 5:13 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

I ordered my dress from LilyWedding for about $300 and it arrived within two weeks in 2009.

They have a lot of styles available and the dress is custom-made to your measurements, which meant that when I botched one, I needed to make some alterations, but that was my fault not theirs and they did catch one of my mis-measurements.
posted by bookdragoness at 6:02 AM on July 27, 2012

I wanted a Mexican Wedding Dress for my wedding and tried to find one on-line and had no luck. My friend dragged me into the Alfred Angelo outlet in Deerfield Beach, FL and I got my dress for $150.

Wedding dress sizes are a bit smaller than regular sizes and nearly all dresses will need to be altered.

If I had it to do over again, I'd have taken a picture to a seamstress in Hialeah and had her make me exactly what I wanted.

My recommendation would be to order your dress a bit larger than you think you'll need so that there's room to alter. Also, be prepared to pay about $200 for alterations. Don't get me started on the dry cleaning.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:29 AM on July 27, 2012

Get measured by a professional -- not your Aunt Sally (unless she is, you know, a professional).

I went to a better lingerie shop and bought a bra I intended to wear for the wedding. This in itself is a little tricky, since you don't know what will be perfect with your dress in the end, but for the most part strapless is strapless. Anyway, they measured me and gave me bust, waist and hip measurements, which were essential as I looked online. A professional costumer could also do it.

This was so successful that when I ordered my dress -- a bridesmaid's dress from Wtoo by Watters and Watters, which ran me less than $300 and looked AMAZING -- I only needed a hem. Not bad for someone who normally has a very difficult time accommodating her, um, huge tracts of land.) Side note: there are tons of gorgeous bridesmaid dresses out there that are available in various shades of white (or red, as I chose) and would be glorious as bridal gowns, either as is or with a little easy embellishment.

When in doubt, ALWAYS go for the option that gives you more fabric to start with. If your dress is too big, you can get it altered down. If it's even a hair too small, it'll take some creativity to figure out how to find extra fabric or hidden places to let out a seam.

Good luck!
posted by Madamina at 7:02 AM on July 27, 2012

Just to be a data point, I got my dress (silk!) on Ebay for <$200. And it happened to fit me just fine - just needed to pay a tailor to shorten it because I am not tall.
posted by The Biggest Dreamer at 7:06 AM on July 27, 2012

My wife bought hers from, and was extremely satisfied with it. I also got a number of good suggestions in this thread.
posted by bessel functions seem unnecessarily complicated at 7:18 AM on July 27, 2012

I bought my dress from Nordstrom online and then brought it into the store to have it fitted. I was very pleased with everything from the price of the dress ($200) to the price of the alterations ($75) and the turn-around time, which was about a week.
posted by soelo at 7:19 AM on July 27, 2012

Well, it looks like the site my wife used is now a link farm. It still worked out perfectly, though, so you can definitely find a dress you'll like somewhere out there!
posted by bessel functions seem unnecessarily complicated at 7:36 AM on July 27, 2012

I took my own measurements and sent them off to one of those Hong Kong dress maker places I found on Ebay after selecting a non-traditional dress from their listings. It fit perfectly and was under $200.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:43 AM on July 27, 2012

I like the wedding dresses at Vivien of Holloway, if you can go off the peg. If you're an hourglass I'd highly recommend their frocks. The polka-dot ones are really popular as bridesmaid's dresses. The only thing is that they're cut to vintage sizes - I have to go two sizes up as I'm busty.
posted by mippy at 9:24 AM on July 27, 2012

Like soelo, I got my wedding dress from the Nordstrom website. I found one I liked, sifted through the reviews, and got it. We took it to a local seamstress, and everything went perfectly. My dress was a bit more expensive than others in this thread, but the seamstress was very affordable, and more than made up for it.
posted by Coatlicue at 1:25 PM on July 27, 2012

After reading this old AskMefi thread and browsing this forum thread recommended by Cat Face I ordered my wedding dress from

There was a promotion (-50%) on the dress I liked, so I figured I'd risk it as I had plenty of time to find another dress if it didn't work out.
I paid $125/€100 for the dress (custom sized and with a free shipping promotion) and $40/€30 import duties. (I didn't order a matching petticoat, thinking it would be a waste of money if the dress was awful.)

The expected shipping date was 4-5 weeks, but it already arrived after 2-3 weeks and was beautiful! The quality of the work was much, much better than I had expected and even the inside lining (with boning) was done to perfection.

I'm still immensly happy I took the risk (and got tons of compliments on our wedding day!). I'm not comfortable with posting a picture online, but if you PM me, I'd be happy to send you a picture of my dress so you can see for yourself.
posted by lioness at 2:50 PM on July 27, 2012

But you can absolutely wear silk pajamas! Just rock them Vicar of Dibley-style! :)
posted by lioness at 3:00 PM on July 27, 2012

Short version: I bought a wedding dress online and while ultimately it was not the dress I wore when I got married, it was a fine experience.

Longer version: Somehow I found the website I had gotten the idea in my head that I wanted a dress that was satin on top and lace on the bottom. They had a dress that matched that description for $159. So I bought a dress.

The one thing that was tricky was that they wouldn't ship it to me for some reason unless the billing address on my credit card matched the shipping address and I was living in a crappy apartment and worried that it would get stolen off my porch. I emailed the contact and somehow we dealt with this. I gave them money and got a dress that was as described.

I didn't wear it because I put it on and thought, meh. That wasn't good enough for me. I actually love dressing up and shopping for a wedding dress was one of the most fun parts of wedding planning for me. It doesn't sound like that's your deal.

That said, part of the reason I put it on and felt meh was because it didn't fit right. I was concerned that paying to alter this dress might actually cost more than the price of the dress which seemed silly to me but that's how wedding stuff is. I wanted to get rid of the train, it needed to be hemmed and the bodice part would have needed to be taken in to fit me. Hems generally aren't a big deal but hemming a lace wedding dress is not easy and taking in a bodice would have also been difficult. So I thought it might be better to just start over.
posted by kat518 at 6:09 PM on July 27, 2012

I bought 2 wedding dresses online - one from Light In The Box , and one from Landy Bridal . They were both fine, BUT the Landy Bridal experience was a thousand times better. Landy also have an ebay shop under the shop name asapbay.

With mine, I had gone hunting to many different bridal stores and then decided I didn't want to pay over $700 or up to $3000 for a dress. I tried on styles I liked and made my choice about style (mermaid), material, length, train, sleeve style, etc.

I went on the Landy site and emailed them asking if they could modify one of their existing designs, and a customer rep emailed me back almost immediately. I sent my measurements, and they made it within 5 weeks and DHL-ed it to me. It was a perfect fit, so perfect I was flabbergasted. The material was as good as those in the stores I had tried on for literally 10x the price. My girlfriend also subsequently ordered her wedding dress from Landy (with a photo she sent) and they replicated it, it also fit her perfectly.

I'm also getting my bridesmaids dresses from Landy this week, so clearly, I'm a bit advocate for the experience I had with them. My dress was pretty affordable - $399 including shipping.

Good luck!
posted by shazzam! at 12:27 AM on July 28, 2012

I had several wedding dresses... all bought online. My ceremony dress was ordered from Gothic Bridal Wedding dress in the UK. The site seems to require a sign-in now. Their gowns were gorgeous but the sample of the burgundy color did not match the final color of my dress. I measured my body myself (not recommended) and didn't need to alter a thing. But I asked for lace-up and it came zip up, so I paid another few bucks to get the back lace-up. But because my wedding was Vistorian gothic (dark but elegant) I wanted to wear deep burgundy. So I ordered a coupla dresses from Amazon, one for the "preception", the 45 minutes to an hour that we greeted the guests, sipped cava, and enjoyed butlered hors d'oeuvres; and one for the reception, after the ceremony and for the dinner/dancing bit. One of the dresses had to be hemmed and taken in a touch around the boobs.

I did experiment with a few chinese knock-off designer dresses. Ugh.

The indie bride kvetch forums were absolutely crazed over Wai Ching's dresses, which are lovely.

If you order online, leave yourself time to arrange a back-up, or make adjustments. Price-wise, it was the best bet. My three dresses cost less than $1,500 and were fun to change into and fun to wear.
posted by Jezebella at 8:15 PM on July 29, 2012

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