Shopping for that special dress online can be fun, easy, and convenient, but it can also be daunting for the unexperienced shopper. With so much to consider, it’s hard to know if it’s a feasible option for you and your wedding. Thankfully, Rebecca Lau Marsh is here to save the day. As a wedding expert and the founder of White Runway, Rebecca has all the best tips to help fool-proof your online purchase. Read on for her best bridal shopping advice.
1. Social stalk the company
Just like you would check out a potential date before the first meet-up, do a quick social search on the company and visit their social media channels. Often websites can be very corporate and commercial but social media channels allow you to see another side of the business and will give you plenty of real images to browse. If their social feed is full of real customers then you know you’re in for a good buy. If you cannot find a social media account or if the images on their social account are the same as the website, I would not have as much confidence in the purchase.
Check their website for contact details and send an inquiry. If they get back to you in a timely manner and assist you with your inquiry, you’re off to a good start. Always check delivery times and the return policy. Some bridal companies do not allow returns so it’s important to read the fine print and know what your options are.
2. Deciphering sizes and colors
Sizing is probably the most difficult thing when shopping online. Read the descriptions and look out for sizing tips that might be available. Size charts should always be available online but make sure you know how to measure yourself when comparing with the size chart. At White Runway, we have a video showing how to measure yourself as most people don’t measure themselves up correctly (it can be tricky!). If you’re really stuck, just go for your usual dress size or get in touch with the customer service team and seek advice on sizing. If they have a flexible returns policy, buy two sizes so you can return the incorrect one.
Deciphering colors can be difficult as all computer screens have a different resolution. If possible, request a fabric swatch or view the dress color on a few devices so you get an idea of what it really looks like. If you’re shopping on Instagram, be aware that colors can look different when filters have been applied and photos taken at different times of the day will look completely different!
3. Be prepared to make some adjustments
Not all dresses will fit like a glove especially when it comes to bridal and evening gowns. Gowns are generally longer in length and most of the time the majority of people will require length adjustments to ensure a perfect fit. Have the expectation that you may require minor adjustments and when you try on your dress, make sure you have the right shoes. Research a reputable and affordable tailor in your area or contact the company for recommendations. White Runway generally has a list of tailors/ alterations specialists in each state that are used to altering evening gowns which is very different to altering tops and trousers.
4. Bridal parties should purchase together
I know it can be hard to gather your 15 besties and get them to place their order at once but this is extremely important when shopping for bridesmaid dresses. Placing your bridal party orders together on the same day means you will get the dresses made from the same dye lot. It’s important to note that your order is for a bridal party so that the company can ensure the dresses are cut from the same batch and will have a similar delivery time. In the past, some bridesmaids have purchased 3-4 months apart and this can mean receiving dresses from different batches and dye lots plus the chance that the dress may be discontinued!
5. Shopping for a possibly pregnant bride/ bridesmaid
Let’s face it, most of us are getting married older and/or at least one of our besties is trying to start a family. If this is the case with you or your bridesmaid, it’s better to play safe than sorry. The general rule of thumb is to jump up two dress sizes for pregnant women. This ensures the dress will fit and can always be taken in closer to the big day as the bump grows. It’s always better to take a dress in than let a dress out (usually impossible!).