Budget Weddings Forum

Buying a wedding dress online

Any tips?  I plan on trying some on in a store and seeing what fits in general and then purchasing it online, but I want to make sure the site is legit.  I've been stalking a couple of sites and I'll see a dress on one site for 1000 and then on another site for 300.  How do you tell if a site is legit?
«1

Re: Buying a wedding dress online

  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited April 2015
    If a site tells you you can buy a $1000 dress for $300, it is NOT legitimate.

    The only online site I can recommend is David's Bridal.  They have great clearance prices, but check the return policy.  Some dresses cannot be returned.

    There are several discount ordering services for gowns.  These are not really online sites.  You telephone them during their business hours to ask their price or to place an order.  All sales are FINAL, like most bridal shops.

    http://www.pearlsplace.com
    http://www.rkbridal.com
    http://www.netbride.com

    The above sites are reputable, and all have brick and mortar stores in the USA.  They only sell authentic gowns, not cheap knockoffs.  Average discount is between 20% to 40%.  There is no discount on Maggie Sottero gowns.

    NEVER order a gown directly from China!  NEVER!  You have no way of knowing what quality you will receive.  The photos on most websites are not their own.  They steal the photos from the original designer.  There are many articles written about these knock-off sites.  Read the sticky at the top of the Attire and Accessories board!


    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    KimberlyR1002mklamjenna8984
  • I do not recommend buying a dress online, unless you are 100% sure it will fit you and that's exactly what you wanted. It's better to be safe than sorry!
  • blabla89blabla89 Atlanta member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its Name Dropper
    The rule of thumb is if it looks too good to be true, it is.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker



  • I ordered my dress from online and it was perfect and yes it came from overseas...gasp... but just do you research, read reviews, get second opinions from people you know and trust, most importantly check the refund/return policies, just in case. Ordering a dress from anywhere even in store can turn out badly if someone is not doing there job correctly. 
    KimberlyR1002MesmrEwe
  • dcaviston said:

    I ordered my dress from online and it was perfect and yes it came from overseas...gasp... but just do you research, read reviews, get second opinions from people you know and trust, most importantly check the refund/return policies, just in case. Ordering a dress from anywhere even in store can turn out badly if someone is not doing there job correctly. 

    For every success story like yours, we see 50 tearful brides who are horrified by what they receive.  I'm glad you were the lucky one who didn't get burned, but your experience is not typical of ladies who order their dresses from Chinese knock-off sites..
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    levioosaDreamergirl8812Knottie91379610
  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    dcaviston said:

    I ordered my dress from online and it was perfect and yes it came from overseas...gasp... but just do you research, read reviews, get second opinions from people you know and trust, most importantly check the refund/return policies, just in case. Ordering a dress from anywhere even in store can turn out badly if someone is not doing there job correctly. 

    I would absolutely not recommend this route.  If it sounds too good to be true, it is.  



    image
  • JJ's House and Light in the box are two online dress places I've ordered from with good luck.  The main things to make the experience the best... 1) Be honest with your sizing numbers.  Look at the finished size before deciding what to do.  IMO, spend the extra $$ and have them make it to your measurements.  Yes, you'll likely still need some minor alterations (have this person lined up now - most bridal shops won't do alterations on dresses not purchased there), but they're minor usually if you are honest in the first place about your measurements not your "I wish" measurements.  2) Remember to budget in something for having your local dry cleaner steam/press the dress for you (go in and ask how much this service is and turnaround time) - this is money well spent over trying to DIY this part.  3) Know what looks great on your body before you order.  4) Your dream dress is your dream dress regardless of where you find it.  5) Remember the veil! 

    Unless you're buying off the rack a dress, I've had more luck ordering online than I have with bridal shops ever having anything in my size (let alone leaving the label in a gown to know the designer/style)... 

    I ordered DD's First Communion and our 10th Anniversary formal gown online.  The main challenge I had was the pressing on DD's dress.  We only ordered online because we couldn't find anything in a store, bridal or otherwise, that was both modest and floor length.  With mine, plus-size gown shopping sucks,  I'd have to order blind whether I was at a bridal store, so why spend the added markup for something that is going to still require another $$$ in alterations instead of spending an additional $50 to start to have something fitted properly in the first place..  Trust your instincts and go ahead and look at the reviews posted since many of the sites like I used both have picture reviews for the "what was ordered vs. what I got" factor...

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited April 2015
    LightintheBox is a notorious Chinese knock off site.  We have seen terrible reviews.  Don't do it.  Ditto JJ's House.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • CMGragain said:

    LightintheBox is a notorious Chinese knock off site.  We have seen terrible reviews.  Don't do it.  Ditto JJ's House.



    Who's we??

    I've ordered from both and had great experiences...  The tiaras and combs I've gotten were of the same quality I've gotten from places like school events companies but instead of paying $200, I spent $30 or less...  Dresses, well, both the ones I purchased couldn't be found similar in any store, so knock off or not, the quality, especially on mine, was IMO better than I've gotten from the big box bridal store...  The only part that sucked was waiting for a slow boat from Shanghai to get here with the items I ordered..

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
    dcaviston
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited April 2015
    If you read posts on the Knot, you will see this.  I am a long time Knottie.

    I am glad you had a good experience, but it is not typical, especially for something as important as a wedding dress. There is a huge difference between ordering a rhinestone tiara for a school pageant and a once-in-a-lifetime wedding gown!   Have you ever tried returning anything?  It is almost impossible.  Many brides have been stuck with unwearable dresses, and come crying on The Knot.

    I order inexpensive things from China occasionally.  Results have been mixed, but the items are cheap, so I don't stress about it.  I would never recommend that a bride should order an illegal knock-off for her wedding dress, sight unseen.  At the bridal shops, you get to see and try on the authentic dresses.  You know what you will get before you order.  Most of the reputable shops will refuse to order a dress unless you have tried it on in person somewhere.  This includes the discount order services I mentioned in an earlier post.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • CMGragain said:

     Most of the reputable shops will refuse to order a dress unless you have tried it on in person somewhere.  This includes the discount order services I mentioned in an earlier post.



    Outside of Kleinfeld's and David's, no bridal shops carry plus size outside of one or two styles (nothing like walking in with the intent to buy off the rack and you're met at the door with "oh, our largest dress is size 14"), so most plus-size brides are truly ordering "sight unseen" for what they think will look good on them and over on the Plus boards - many a bride has come on because once they get the dress, it doesn't fit properly and they're on the line for hundreds of dollars in alterations on top of the likely thousand(s) they've already spent, so the same problem happens with bridal salons too.  The risk is just a little different price point (spend $300 on a dress that the salon would easily charge $750+ and risk needing to order a second dress if the first doesn't fit properly, or order from the bridal salon having paid the markup and the $$$ alterations bill since bridal salons are impossible to have a return as well or start over again...)  There's benefits and drawbacks to both but to say one is superior over the other, it all comes down to where the price-point is and the risk an individual is willing to take.  As for tiaras, a First Communion isn't a kiddie pageant, it's a once in a lifetime event.  The tiara we purchased for my daughter was the same quality/weight as the one I had purchased for my wedding many moons ago at a bridal salon, but easily 1/5 the price. 

    Bridal salons aren't the end-all be all when it comes to purchasing formalwear.  My experience has been horrid at all but one.  I've yet to find one that allows returns.  Most require a verbal witnessed by at least two associates as you electronically sign with ID that "All sales final" even if you've never tried on the dress when ordering it.  It's an agree to disagree, but my experiences with bridal salons is why I ended up online for ordering formals and so far the ones I've had have been positive. 

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
    KimberlyR1002
  • Try Loehmanns online they have some cute wedding dresses from $300-$500 here are some pics I got off-line. 1 thing they don't do returns on wedding dresses so my suggestion is to get sized & buy 1 size bigger & then get it altered or go to a bridal boutique who carrys the same designer & try on some of the dresses to get ur right size then order
  • David's Bridal is very friendly for plus size women.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • MesmrEwe said:

    CMGragain said:

     Most of the reputable shops will refuse to order a dress unless you have tried it on in person somewhere.  This includes the discount order services I mentioned in an earlier post.



    Outside of Kleinfeld's and David's, no bridal shops carry plus size outside of one or two styles (nothing like walking in with the intent to buy off the rack and you're met at the door with "oh, our largest dress is size 14"), so most plus-size brides are truly ordering "sight unseen" for what they think will look good on them and over on the Plus boards - many a bride has come on because once they get the dress, it doesn't fit properly and they're on the line for hundreds of dollars in alterations on top of the likely thousand(s) they've already spent, so the same problem happens with bridal salons too.  The risk is just a little different price point (spend $300 on a dress that the salon would easily charge $750+ and risk needing to order a second dress if the first doesn't fit properly, or order from the bridal salon having paid the markup and the $$$ alterations bill since bridal salons are impossible to have a return as well or start over again...)  There's benefits and drawbacks to both but to say one is superior over the other, it all comes down to where the price-point is and the risk an individual is willing to take.  As for tiaras, a First Communion isn't a kiddie pageant, it's a once in a lifetime event.  The tiara we purchased for my daughter was the same quality/weight as the one I had purchased for my wedding many moons ago at a bridal salon, but easily 1/5 the price. 

    Bridal salons aren't the end-all be all when it comes to purchasing formalwear.  My experience has been horrid at all but one.  I've yet to find one that allows returns.  Most require a verbal witnessed by at least two associates as you electronically sign with ID that "All sales final" even if you've never tried on the dress when ordering it.  It's an agree to disagree, but my experiences with bridal salons is why I ended up online for ordering formals and so far the ones I've had have been positive. 

    This is my exact problem.  I'm not saying I want to support child labor, I just don't want to buy an overpriced dress with no option to return it, and then have it look awful because I wasn't able to try it on.  I've looked at David's Bridal but nothing jumped out at me.  I'm just frustrated with the whole dress-buying process.  

    @brooklynscott what makes Loehmanns different from other discount websites?
  • MesmrEwe said:

     Most of the reputable shops will refuse to order a dress unless you have tried it on in person somewhere.  This includes the discount order services I mentioned in an earlier post.



    Outside of Kleinfeld's and David's, no bridal shops carry plus size outside of one or two styles (nothing like walking in with the intent to buy off the rack and you're met at the door with "oh, our largest dress is size 14"), so most plus-size brides are truly ordering "sight unseen" for what they think will look good on them and over on the Plus boards - many a bride has come on because once they get the dress, it doesn't fit properly and they're on the line for hundreds of dollars in alterations on top of the likely thousand(s) they've already spent, so the same problem happens with bridal salons too.  The risk is just a little different price point (spend $300 on a dress that the salon would easily charge $750+ and risk needing to order a second dress if the first doesn't fit properly, or order from the bridal salon having paid the markup and the $$$ alterations bill since bridal salons are impossible to have a return as well or start over again...)  There's benefits and drawbacks to both but to say one is superior over the other, it all comes down to where the price-point is and the risk an individual is willing to take.  As for tiaras, a First Communion isn't a kiddie pageant, it's a once in a lifetime event.  The tiara we purchased for my daughter was the same quality/weight as the one I had purchased for my wedding many moons ago at a bridal salon, but easily 1/5 the price. 

    Bridal salons aren't the end-all be all when it comes to purchasing formalwear.  My experience has been horrid at all but one.  I've yet to find one that allows returns.  Most require a verbal witnessed by at least two associates as you electronically sign with ID that "All sales final" even if you've never tried on the dress when ordering it.  It's an agree to disagree, but my experiences with bridal salons is why I ended up online for ordering formals and so far the ones I've had have been positive. 

    The reason it is more than half price is (as I said before) it is made in sweatshop conditions. Often with slave labour, child labour or dangerous working conditions.

    So I'm glad you found a cheaper dress, but you are supporting terrible, terrible ethical practices and human trafficking. 

    I find it very ironic that you would buy a tiara for your daughter's first communion that was most likely made by another child who isn't allowed to go to school. But well done you for saving that $20- you just proved that selling your principles and Christian charity are cheap. 


    This was kinda uncalled for.  You made your point the first time.
  • MesmrEwe said:

     Most of the reputable shops will refuse to order a dress unless you have tried it on in person somewhere.  This includes the discount order services I mentioned in an earlier post.



    Outside of Kleinfeld's and David's, no bridal shops carry plus size outside of one or two styles (nothing like walking in with the intent to buy off the rack and you're met at the door with "oh, our largest dress is size 14"), so most plus-size brides are truly ordering "sight unseen" for what they think will look good on them and over on the Plus boards - many a bride has come on because once they get the dress, it doesn't fit properly and they're on the line for hundreds of dollars in alterations on top of the likely thousand(s) they've already spent, so the same problem happens with bridal salons too.  The risk is just a little different price point (spend $300 on a dress that the salon would easily charge $750+ and risk needing to order a second dress if the first doesn't fit properly, or order from the bridal salon having paid the markup and the $$$ alterations bill since bridal salons are impossible to have a return as well or start over again...)  There's benefits and drawbacks to both but to say one is superior over the other, it all comes down to where the price-point is and the risk an individual is willing to take.  As for tiaras, a First Communion isn't a kiddie pageant, it's a once in a lifetime event.  The tiara we purchased for my daughter was the same quality/weight as the one I had purchased for my wedding many moons ago at a bridal salon, but easily 1/5 the price. 

    Bridal salons aren't the end-all be all when it comes to purchasing formalwear.  My experience has been horrid at all but one.  I've yet to find one that allows returns.  Most require a verbal witnessed by at least two associates as you electronically sign with ID that "All sales final" even if you've never tried on the dress when ordering it.  It's an agree to disagree, but my experiences with bridal salons is why I ended up online for ordering formals and so far the ones I've had have been positive. 

    The reason it is more than half price is (as I said before) it is made in sweatshop conditions. Often with slave labour, child labour or dangerous working conditions.

    So I'm glad you found a cheaper dress, but you are supporting terrible, terrible ethical practices and human trafficking. 

    I find it very ironic that you would buy a tiara for your daughter's first communion that was most likely made by another child who isn't allowed to go to school. But well done you for saving that $20- you just proved that selling your principles and Christian charity are cheap. 
    This was kinda uncalled for.  You made your point the first time.
    If you think that the overseas sites allow easy returns, you need to read more reviews. There are so many restrictions and loopholes on their returns that it's laughable.

    Lisa's remark isn't uncalled for. It's truth. If you're okay with middle school kids being forced to work from 8am to 11pm, having their wages withheld, and not allowed to call their moms or go home, and breathing toxic dyes and inhaling textile fibers, hey, go for it. Why do other people's children matter? 

    Not to mention, there is absolutely no legal recourse when you get screwed over and get shitty products. Here are a couple of JJs dresses, posted by screwed over customers:


    imageimage



    It wasn't uncalled for because she's wrong, it was uncalled for because she was catty.  She already stated her views on Chinese knockoff sites, there was no need to reiterate and question the ethics of someone who has purchased stuff from China.  Also, since you seem to need a refresher, I specifically asked for advice in avoiding Chinese knockoff sites.  Thanks for the super-helpful beating of the dead horse, though!
  • BrynneF said:

    I am new here but chiming into say that it might be less risky if you find a dress you love at a bridal store and then search for it used online.  I did that with my first marriage (found a $700 dress for $100 and only needed to have it dry cleaned and some minor alterations) and I'm going that route again.  I've been looking a lot on preownedweddingdresses.com and found a dozen that I might want, I just need to go try on similar ones at Bridal shops to see if I like the way they look.  I found my dream dress on craigslist for $450 but the lady selling it hasn't responded to my email so I'm losing hope with that one...lol.

    Buying used scares me a bit, unless I could inspect the dress before I bought it.  Craigslist might not be a bad idea, I'll check that out too!  I'm less concerned with cheap, and more concerned with variety though.
  • @kimberlyR1002- No refresher needed. No need to get snotty. Other posters are advocating it in the thread, as a good money saving idea. 
    My reply and examples are obviously intended for the person(s) saying what a great idea, and the subject in general. 
    Don't tell people how to post, please. That's not how it works. 
    ashley8918
  • @kimberlyR1002- No refresher needed. No need to get snotty. Other posters are advocating it in the thread, as a good money saving idea. 

    My reply and examples are obviously intended for the person(s) saying what a great idea, and the subject in general. 
    Don't tell people how to post, please. That's not how it works. 
    They're actually not obviously intended for other people, you quoted me and used direct language.  If you had intended to inform MesmrEwe of the horrors of Chinese sweatshops, you should have quoted her.  Excuse my snottiness, I made a thread asking advice in avoiding knockoff sites, and everyone tells me how terrible knockoff sites are.  Although if we want to talk snotty.... "If you're okay with middle school kids being forced to work from 8am to 11pm, having their wages withheld, and not allowed to call their moms or go home, and breathing toxic dyes and inhaling textile fibers, hey, go for it. Why do other people's children matter?" 
  • @KimberlyR1002, you asked for a list of legitimate websites.  I gave you three that are licensed and USA based.  Have you tried calling them?  Or are you set on a Chinese website that offers dress deals that are too good to be true?
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    southernbelle0915charcoalandblush
  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK member
    Eighth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Anyone who is proud of the savings they get from knockoff sweatshops, knowing everything we do about labour conditions,  deserves to be called out. That isn't catty or snotty, and more importantly, they aren't my "views" or my "opinion". This is factual:  "If you're okay with middle school kids being forced to work from 8am to 11pm, having their wages withheld, and not allowed to call their moms or go home, and breathing toxic dyes and inhaling textile fibers, hey, go for it. Why do other people's children matter?" 

    People have given you many great options of where to shop. Also check out preownedweddingdresses.com I know you say you are hesitant to buy used, but at least you will get the actual dress from the designer, plus the money is held in escrow so if there is a dispute you can resolve it. Also, you can see where the dresses are located, so you may be able to go try it on/ pick it up. My advice, only deal with companies/ websites that are actually based in the country you live in so you are covered by consumer protection laws.   
    southernbelle0915ashley8918
  • CMGragain said:

    @KimberlyR1002, you asked for a list of legitimate websites.  I gave you three that are licensed and USA based.  Have you tried calling them?  Or are you set on a Chinese website that offers dress deals that are too good to be true?

    I haven't called them yet, but I've checked out the sites you gave me and I read your sticky in the Attire and Accessories forum.  I'm not really sure where you got the idea that I was set on a knockoff dress when I was asking about how to avoid them?  But I'll look into the options that have been vetted, thanks.
  • Anyone who is proud of the savings they get from knockoff sweatshops, knowing everything we do about labour conditions,  deserves to be called out. That isn't catty or snotty, and more importantly, they aren't my "views" or my "opinion". This is factual:  "If you're okay with middle school kids being forced to work from 8am to 11pm, having their wages withheld, and not allowed to call their moms or go home, and breathing toxic dyes and inhaling textile fibers, hey, go for it. Why do other people's children matter?" 


    People have given you many great options of where to shop. Also check out preownedweddingdresses.com I know you say you are hesitant to buy used, but at least you will get the actual dress from the designer, plus the money is held in escrow so if there is a dispute you can resolve it. Also, you can see where the dresses are located, so you may be able to go try it on/ pick it up. My advice, only deal with companies/ websites that are actually based in the country you live in so you are covered by consumer protection laws.   
    Factual or not, it's judgy and rude.  There's a difference between offering facts, and telling her she sold her Christian charity and implying she's morally bankrupt for buying something from China.  It's possible to be educational without being rude. And unless 100% of everything you buy is made in the US or another first world country, it was probably made by slave labor or under bad conditions.  Even then, you have to buy local produce because migrant workers are treated terribly too.  I shop at Wal-Mart and Target.  My shirt is made in Indonesia, where their minimum wage is roughly 3.50 an hour.  Did I sell my Christian charity too?

    MesmrEwe
  • @kimberlyR1002- No refresher needed. No need to get snotty. Other posters are advocating it in the thread, as a good money saving idea. 

    My reply and examples are obviously intended for the person(s) saying what a great idea, and the subject in general. 
    Don't tell people how to post, please. That's not how it works. 
    They're actually not obviously intended for other people, you quoted me and used direct language.  If you had intended to inform MesmrEwe of the horrors of Chinese sweatshops, you should have quoted her.  Excuse my snottiness, I made a thread asking advice in avoiding knockoff sites, and everyone tells me how terrible knockoff sites are.  Although if we want to talk snotty.... "If you're okay with middle school kids being forced to work from 8am to 11pm, having their wages withheld, and not allowed to call their moms or go home, and breathing toxic dyes and inhaling textile fibers, hey, go for it. Why do other people's children matter?" 
    Yes, I know what I said. You're not the only person quoted in that thread. Mesmer whoever is in it as well. The fact that you were the last person to reply on it was an oversight on my part. Big effing deal. 
    It doesn't take a genius to figure out that it addresses the people saying "yay, knock off sites," and not the person saying, " I want to avoid them." It's just not that difficult. 
    ashley8918chibiyui
  • Cookie PusherCookie Pusher Looking over your shoulder member
    Eighth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I found a shop by me that sells pre-owned wedding gowns. It's just like shopping at any other store, just everything is pre-owned. Sure, the selection is limited to what they have on hand, but you can actually try the dresses on before committing to anything. Have you tried Googling "pre-owned wedding gown" and your location?
    ~*~*~*~*~

    ashley8918
  • brooklynscottbrooklynscott member
    10 Comments First Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited April 2015
    @KimberlyR1002

    Wow who would of thought looking for cheaper dress online would turn political


    I am so sorry that a moment that should be special to you have turned into a Ping pong match.

    I thought this site was for suggestions and sharing of ideas not a place where Brides are bullied.

    Ok 1st suggestion to you is always to research the company. I have known about Loehmanns for more than20 years now. 1st whenI lived in NY I use to go to the store and buy high-end clothes and shoes for lower prices. I now live in GA and they closed there stores here last year and now opened a online store.

    Just like when I shop online at Nordstrom if I see a dress online that's not in the store I usually go to the store and try on the same designer but maybe a different dress to check the cut and size then I order the size online.

    Now I would suggest the same for Loehmanns go to a bridal boutique that carries these designers and try on any bridal dress by this designer to check the cut then order

    2nd Suggestion- follow your instincts don't buy anything a dress, a shoes, etc if your instincts is telling you not too.

    3rd Suggestion- cheaper is not always better.
    Last year I brought my daughters prom dress from DHGate and I knew it was coming from China. I knew the dress wouldn't be prefect. When we got it my daughter was sooo disappointed she even cried. But I saw the vision and I had a great seamstress who transformed the dress below in the pictures. Now some people has had great experiences from ordering from DHGate but I will never order from them again.

    4th Suggestion read the reviews

    I wish you the best of luck in finding the dress you like & I hope you have a beautiful wedding.
    KimberlyR1002
This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards