Considering Buying a Gown in Cyberspace? Stay Grounded with These Expert Tips

Any way you slice it, buying a wedding gown online is risky.  Not only can you not try the gown on, but you can’t see the actual textures of the lace or run the fabric through your fingers.  You simply can’t get a sense of how the gown will move or drape across your body.  Precise color is difficult to determine, and that magical feeling of finally slipping into that exact right gown is no longer part of the equation in dress hunting.  Despite these drawbacks, increasing numbers of brides around the globe are making cyberspace one hot place for purchasing wedding gowns.

An online buying experience can seem much less stressful than planning a trip to a bridal salon, retinue in tow.  Pushy sales people trying to sell you whichever gown will give them the best commission are neatly eliminated, and there are thousands more gown options in online shops than you could ever find at a local bridal salon.  Additionally, all of these gowns are literally at your fingertips, rather than haphazardly draped over the door of your fitting room.  There’s no shimmying into too-tight silhouettes or holding large gowns in place with clips to get the proper idea of style.

Your wedding gown is going to be one of the most important garments that you ever purchase.  We know you’re excited, and we want to make this process as painless and successful as possible for you.  Take note of our tips for buying your wedding gown online, and feel confident as you make this most precious purchase.

Figure out your wedding style.  Clearly envision what type of wedding you would like to have before even thinking about buying your wedding gown. Your wedding style will determine what kind of gown you should buy, and will really help you hone in quickly on a style that will be most suitable. For example, if you are having a beach wedding, you’ll want a short dress, or one with less fabric than a normal wedding gown.  A wedding in a cathedral-like church would call for a more formal gown with a magnificent train.

Try dresses on in person. You cannot avoid bridal salons altogether!  Go to a bridal salon or a boutique to try on dresses prior to hitting up online shops.  The only way to reveal which styles work best on your frame will be to go through the process- no shortcuts. Take notes on designers, styles, colors, embellishments and fabrics that you like (and that look good on you) and then search for these styles online.

Know your body type.  Understanding your body type will help you eliminate styles and fabrics that don’t work with your shape.  Don’t idealize and try to put yourself into a category that doesn’t fit- be honest with yourself and embrace your inherent beauty.  The best way to be sure to look stunning on the big day is to work with what you have, and make flattering, style-savvy choices with your body type in mind.

Take measurements.  Each online store has its own size chart with a different set of measurements, so you really need to take measurements of your bust, hips and waist in order to determine your specific size on each site.  Wear the same bra (or one that is similar) that you plan to wear on your wedding day and stand as naturally as possible while you are measuring yourself.  As a rule of thumb, you should order the dress a size up and then alter the dress to fit you perfectly.

If you have already selected wedding shoes, you can measure and calculate how long you want your wedding gown to be. This is most accurately measured from your natural waist straight down to the floor.

Review shipping, return and cancellation policies.  Be sure to look into the retailer’s policies before making a purchase. Some online shops don’t allow returns, and some have restocking fees. Look at a site’s policy page, or email them to find out all the important policies before committing to buying your gown.

Don’t hesitate to reach out with questions about shipping, fit, style advice and any other guidance that you may need. If you can’t find contact information, consider it a red flag.

Find a superb tailor.  It’s more than likely that you will have to alter and tweak your gown in order for it to fit perfectly on your wedding day. You’ll need to find an experienced and reputable tailor who is capable of completing this task, and has a great track record.  Ask friends for referrals, or even ask local bridal salons for suggestions.  You definitely need someone who is experienced- this is not a task to entrust to an amateur!