Today, pretty much anything can be bought online–so why not a wedding dress? Once upon time, brides were told not to buy their gowns online, but with designers like Reem Acra and Marchesa making their creations available for purchase on the Web and fabulous selections and deals from Loehmanns.com, we say go for it. It’ll allow you to avoid nagging salespeople, take all the time you want to peruse options, and search for any size or style or size you can imagine… and maybe even cash in on a great deal like . Along with the ease comes some risk, however. So before you take the plunge, here are the five most important things to keep in mind when shopping online for a wedding dress online.
1. Be honest about your body type. Are you apple-shaped? Pear? Hourglass? Whatever the case, knowing your body type will help you figure out what dress will look best on you. You may not be able to try on the dress in person, but if a model with your body type looks good in it, you can predict that you will, too.
In addition to your body type, it’s also important to know your exact measurements–bust, hip, waist and skirt length. When you measure your bust, wear a bra similar to the one you’ll have on at your wedding. To calculate length, put on your wedding shoes–or something with a similar heel height–and measure from your natural waist down to the floor. It’s always good to err on the size of bigger when you order because it’s often easier to have a dress taken in rather than let out.
2. Do your research. Even though you’re ordering online, it’s still not a bad idea to visit an actual store where you can try on dresses. This will help you see what styles flatter you in terms of cut, fabric, color and detailing. Be sure to note the terms that describe your favorite dresses–do you like guipure lace or chantilly? Tulle or organza? Once you know the basics of what you’re looking for, you’ll be better equipped to shop the Web.
3. Read product descriptions. So you know exactly what you’re getting. If there’s a term you don’t know, google it. If something looks off in a photo, ask questions by calling customer service or corresponding with the seller. Many sites will provide fabric swatches, which is definitely something to take advantage of. If something is missing or unclear in a dress description, don’t hesistate to ask for clarification.
4. Make sure it’s legit. The obvious difference between shopping online and shopping in person is that you can’t actually see the retailers and touch the dress before you buy it. There are a few key thing to look for when you’re trying to verify the authenticity of a site, particularly in the ‘About Us’ section. Search for a customer service number, and if you find one, call it. If you don’t get a real person on the other end of the line (or if no number exists), cross the store off your list. Email addresses should come from a unique domain – not, for example, [email protected] Odd grammar is another sign of a scam site.
Unfortunately deals that seem too good to be true probably are. You simply won’t find a dress that’s normally priced at $10,000 for $1,000–and putting that money down is a sure way to either get a poor quality dress, or simply lose your money entirely. Super-fast delivery on every dress is another sign the site isn’t to be trusted. Even ready-to-wear dresses are generally made to order, which can take months. At a legitimate store, delivery time will vary depending on the dress, size and time of year.
5. Read the fine print. That includes the shipping, return and cancellation policies. Many stores don’t allow returns, and those that do generally charge a restocking fee of around 5%. Make sure the dress will be sent by a reputable shipping service and get the tracking numbers and an estimation of how long it will take to reach you. Only purchase your dress with a secure payment option. Finally, get written proof of everything you’re promised. This will keep you covered if anything goes awry in the process.
Ready to find your dream dress? Head over to Loehmanns.com to shop the Loehmann’s Grab The Gown bridal sale now, or click through the slideshow to get some ideas of what’s on sale. Hurry because this amazing sale ends Thursday June 20th!