A girl can do just about anything online these days, from banking and socialising to getting her weekly grocery shop done. That also includes shopping for everything and anything new for her wardrobe online, an act that many of us have mastered, from knowing the best sites to the quickest delivery times. While many of us now have years of experience in online shopping under our belts, very few actually consider shopping online for the wedding dress. We admit that the traditional process of bridal boutique shopping is a highly enjoyable time, and has almost situated itself as a rite of passage for most of the bridal party. There’s that feeling of being pampered by these heavenly relaxing boutiques with drinks and nibbles, the excuse to drag the entire bridal party along and get everyone to bond and mix, a chance to try on as many wedding dresses as your arms can lift (which will almost always include that really ugly frilly one, just for kicks). A lot of brides-to-be will feel that searching online for the wedding dress can bring about a sense of detachment and an anticlimactic relief if you do find the dress you love. You will have no one to share the experience with, no one to give you their years of advice from working in the industry, no applause and cooing each time you step out of a changing room. While moving the wedding dress search to an online space and away from the stores can deny a bride these things, it too has its benefits.
Firstly, it’s always good to have a look online even before you decide to visit a store to see which designer or style you like the most. It’s almost a given that each bride will approach her wedding dress search armed with multiple styles, trends and designer based research. Brides will most likely trawl through every designer and catwalk in the bridal world over the past ten years. A lot of that research helps when you can see which dresses are being shown by the sellers directly to the customer, and which styles seem to be selling out fastest. After taking part in a very rigorous and thorough search of the net, it’s very tempting to forgo the process of the boutique sites and get the dress straight from the source. Wedding dress shopping online is the biggest way to cut out the middleman and save yourself the time, money and hassle. That is perhaps the biggest attraction for most. While a lot of brides will want to cherish the time and experience of a boutique visit, others will want that easier process of spending alone time on a search for the gown that will look best to you. This shopping method is the perfect option for those brides who want to choose their dress privately and discreetly.
Another compelling reason for any bride to go wedding dress shopping online is the fact that there are so many more styles, designers and stores online than in your local boutique. Many increasingly popular bridal lines are restricted solely to their online store. They don’t ship or have not been stocked in any boutiques or any specific country, therefore going online is the only way to get these dresses. While you may have the determination to find the perfect dress online, you will naturally come up against some negativity and worry. The two biggest worries a bride will have in the process of online wedding dress shopping is 'will it fit?' and 'will it be here on time?'. These are more often than not, unfounded and unnecessary worries if the process is carried out correctly. All you have to do is simply ensure that your measurements are up to date and create a basis of contact with the store. Always ensure that the online site is reputable before your order any dress from them. Most trusted wedding sites will have a very professional approach to the process, often including free fabric swatches sent out to brides who request them and online advisors and representatives to help you with any questions or concerns. Most stores, just like a boutique, will need at least 20 weeks in advance if they are the creators of their own lines in order to construct the dress appropriately to your measurements. You should then arrange for enough time after you have received the dress, usually six to eight weeks, in order to then carry out the appropriate fittings afterwards.
Also, the time frame after the dress is due to arrive will also give you a grace period if for any reason you may need to return the dress. Always enquire beforehand as to what the stores return policy is, and make sure there will be a system in place if the worst-case scenario does pan out and you end up not liking or receiving a damaged dress. On the other end of the spectrum, these few weeks are also needed in case you love the dress, and maybe even lost a bit of weight like most brides aim to do before a wedding and need the measurements fitted. It’s always a good idea to consult and book with a trusted well-known bridal tailor in these cases, who can alter and fit your dress perfectly to your body shape.
When it comes to style, don’t stick to just the big names and the mainstream suppliers. While these are reputable sites and will most likely boast the latest trends from each season, you’re online for a reason. Branch out to other suppliers and websites that you wouldn’t have the luxury of encountering if you were to trawl through the stores at home. Some of our particular favourites here are the Australian websites, in particular, the carefree bohemian dresses by Grace Loves Lace. If you’re looking for something slightly less freeing and slightly more traditional, then you can search the American powerhouses and ever-loved well-stocked, J. Crew. For something more distinctly European, you can stay a little closer to home for the perfect wedding dress and even try your hand at searching through a few of the favourite high street suppliers, like Net-A-Porter or Monsoon, who are known to stock stylish, on-trend wedding dresses. The possibility of suppliers are endless – from the biggest designer websites, to offshore independent sellers, to mainstream household names that would never before have been thought of as a bridal destination. Whichever reason brings to the vast world of online bridal shopping, if you make sure to stick to these general guidelines and always trust your instinct, it should be a thoroughly enjoyable process. Just imagine the pleasant surprise on everyone’s faces when the entire wedding party see the dress for the first time – including the bridesmaids.