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So you just got engaged and you want to know is it safe to buy a wedding dress online? Modern weddings can be very expensive so planning is very important and a central part of the planning is setting your budget.
Most brides consider their wedding dress as the single most important item on the budget. They want the dress to be perfect but perfection can come at a price. Not all brides can afford Marchesa, Pronovias, Jenny Packham or Vera Wang but maybe there are ways to get that "dream dress" without the big price tag! In recent years more and more brides have been buying their wedding gowns online. But is it safe to buy make such an important purchase on the internet?
Basically, if your heart is set on one of the big brand name designers, you can search for the genuine original used dress or if you're not looking for that ten thousand dollar dress, you can go to one of the online bridal stores. More about that later.
If you want a genuine original, then it may be possible to find it on one of the pre-owned dress websites. These are original dresses but have been, as the name suggests, pre owned and worn. While most have been owned just once, it is possible the dress has had a number of previous owners. Points to consider:
Check for original receipts
Check the condition of the dress as it has been already worn at least once
Be prepared to pay for alterations and cleaning
Only pay by a secure payment method - don't pay by cheque, wire transfer or Western Union.
This is a real minefield as there are so many pitfalls just waiting to take your money. Proceed with caution. Monroe Bridal is an online bridal store so this blog aims to give some points to consider when choosing to buy online.
Can you contact the online store by phone or email? Communication is vital!
Do they speak English?
Are they based outside the USA, Canada or Europe? Location is vital to resolve any problems.
What legal rights do you have? Consumer Law is strong in Europe and the USA so you are protected.
Is your payment secure? Never send money by Western Union, Wire Transfer or Check. Only buy from websites that have secure payment systems and keep track of all transactions.
Does the store use original images stolen from the designers? For example, there are many hundreds of sites in China who use images stolen from Pronovias, Mori Lee, Maggie Sottero etc. and offer "rip-off" versions of these dresses for as little as $250 which is simply not possible.
Did they make the dresses they show on the website? If not, then walk away because you will be buying "blind".
If they use stolen images and make fakes, then the fabric quality and workmanship will most likely be very poor.
What is the quality of the fabric? Some fabric can be uncomfortable, look cheap and even be dangerous.
Is the website an actual online store or is it a "portal" selling many different products (many sell electronics, household etc. in addition to many fashiion items)
Is the website secure with SSL? Your data should be protected at all times.
Many websites pretend to be in the USA or Canada or the UK but are they really located there?
Don't believe on site reviews as every review can be edited or deleted by the website owners. Many write their own reviews. Don't believe what you read!
In summary, we believe it is possible to find a beautiful high quality wedding dress online but caution is strongly advised. While there are thousands of websites selling wedding dresses, many sell everything from fashion to electronics, gardening tools, car parts, household goods etc. so they can hardly be considered to be bridal "experts". A genuine online bridal store is a specialist and qualified to assist you making your choice with solid practical advice and a custom bridal gown service.
We emphasise how important it is to be able to speak with the vendor, be able to contact them easily to answer any questions you have and this applies whether you are buying used or new. It's your big day so if you do your research and find a good vendor then you could have that dress of your dreams without breaking your budget!
Buying a wedding dress online is NOT for everybody. What might surprise you is our advice to a bride considering buying her wedding dress.
Do your research and have a clear idea of what you want.
Brides shopping in a high street store are nervous and excited.
Brides shopping in an online store are also nervous and excited.
If you feel too nervous about buying online, you might be better to buy in a store.
NB: The picture above is one our customers wearing a dress and veil custom made by Laila Monroe Bridal. Click on the image to see other dresses made for our customers and photographed at our factory before shipping to our customers. We are here to provide an unbeatable service to our customers so we don't believe in "pressure" selling. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.