What are the risks of buying a wedding dress online? What do I look out for? Why are online dresses so cheap? An objective response by an Australian Fashion Designer.
You’ve just got engaged – how exciting!! Next step… how to create your dream wedding. Which aspects of your wedding do you focus your hard earned dollars on?
Online dresses are cheap, and you buy lots of other things on line, so, why not your wedding dress? How hard can it be? And how can online dresses be so cheap, when local designers are so expensive??? Let’s have a closer look at what is what…
Online dresses from Asia are invariably around the $400 price point. The photographs are often taken from other designer’s websites, so are not always of the actual dress. One online company even wrote to my sister “If you want dress in picture do not buy from us”.
They say that they are made to measure, although only tend to match to your waist, hip and body length.
Very tempting though, and entirely a possibility. So, what should you do?
Firstly, book well in advance. They often take 6-8 weeks to make it and then 4-6 weeks to get to Australia. Then you’ll need time to get it altered to fit once it arrives (and allow another $300 or so depending on what alternations you need). You’ll also need to get it pressed (or at least iron it yourself, as this can make a HUGE difference). Also, be aware the fabrics used are often inexpensive, so may be somewhat scratchy (it is likely to still look good in your photos though).
Ordering well in advance will also give you the opportunity to find another option if the gown (once it arrives) is not for you.
So, Option 1: Online
- understand it may not be like the photograph,
- allow extra funds to get it altered to fit,
- get it pressed once it arrives,
- be prepared it may be a bit scratchy against your skin,
- accept that you may have blown your money if you don’t like it,
- and make sure you’ve got time to find another alternative.
If you don’t want to take that risk, what are the alternatives??…
Option 2: Local store
There are shops in Australia who buy a whole lot of sample gowns from overseas, and then pop them into their shop. You can make a time and try them on. If you love one, they will order it for you, and then once it arrives in Australia, the shop staff will alter the gown to fit you. The advantages are that you get to try different styles on (and can see if they’re scratchy), and they alter the dress. These gowns are usually start around $1,400. The downside is that you are limited by the dresses they have in store, and you can rarely change lace, colour, or shape.
Option 3: Dressmaker
If you have some fabric that you love (make sure that the quality is good), and a design idea, you could take both to a dressmaker friend/aunt/cousin or professional who could sew it up for you. Dressmakers may need to rely on a pattern (that you could also purchase), or they may have enough experience to create a pattern too. You are only limited by their ability to create your dream and the fabric’s available in retail stores. If you have complete faith in their ability, go for it! Make sure they are going to have time (allow around 100 hours to create a gown) and agree on a price before they start.
Option 4: Yourself
If you can sew, and have a yearning to create your own gown, there are some sewing design classes out there who will help you to create the gown of your dreams. Just check the previous work created through the teacher who will be instructing. Some are amazing sewers, but may not know the intricacies of creating a gown. Again, get started well in advance as it is time consuming, and, if it is just not working out, you can find someone who can make it for you. Also, don’t buy inferior fabrics – as with cooking, if you start will poor quality ingredients, you will get poor quality results.
Option 5: Local designers
There are local designers who have a range of gowns for you to try on. These are then made (in Australia) to fit you. Some designers will vary some aspects of the design to your desires. Such as a change of colour (ivory, champagne, cream, oyster, blush). And will also often allow you to use the lace from one sample on another style of dress so you get some choice. These gowns are often from $3,000 and upwards. All you need to do is make appointments with your favourites, and pop along and try some gowns on. Make sure you know exactly what you are getting before they get started.
Still can’t find the gown of your dreams? Now what??
Option 6: Local couture designer
There are some local couture designers too. These are all made in Australia in house to fit you and your style. You have ultimate say as the gown is made from scratch for you. You can select shape of skirt, neckline, fabric, colour, lace, style, shape everything! Prices start from around the $4,000 mark. You are only limited by the designer and/or your imagination. If you decide on this route, make sure you are supplied with a sketch and fabric swatches of your chosen design. Oh, and while your at it, see if you can get them to use silk as the lining (it feels fantastic against your skin and is really only about $50 extra). Most offer a free design consultation, so you can find out if it’s what you are after before having to commit.
Now that you’re armed with some back ground information, consider your options and check out reviews to see if previous clients were happy and good luck!!
If you’ve any questions, we’ll do our best to help… just ask!
ps This outstanding photography is from the Garage Studio. x