Top Tips for Shopping for Your Wedding Dress Online

If you’ve dreamed of the day you get to say yes to the dress, you’ve probably imagined booking an appointment at a bridal salon and browsing gorgeous gowns with your mother and friends, champagne in hand. But it’s not the only way! In fact, there are lots of advantages to shopping for your wedding dress online. (Especially in the time of Coronavirus!) Virtual wedding dress shopping is super convenient, and can even save you money. It also gives you access to a wider selection of designers, including those cool indie brands you may have fallen in love with on social media. Even if you’re buying your main wedding dress from a boutique, you may want to harness the net to find another item in your bridal trousseau, such as your reception dress or an elopement or minimony gown.

Of course, shopping for your wedding dress online can be a little nerve-wracking. But there are lots of ways to make the process easier and more reliable. Before you begin browsing the pages of BHLDN, Net-a-Porter, or Etsy, check out these top tips for finding the perfect gown – without leaving home!

Know your measurements and body shape. If you’re shopping for your wedding dress online, it’s vital that you have accurate measurements. The three crucial numbers you need are bust, waist, and hip. Use a tape measure, get someone to help you, and follow a tutorial to make sure you do it properly. If you’re still left deciding between two sizes, choose the one that fits your largest measurement. It’s much easier to make adjustments down rather than up. It’s also a good idea to have a sense of your body shape and type, and what might suit you best. Think about the parts of your body you’d like to highlight. If in doubt, opt for a dress with a fitted bodice and loose, A-line skirt. This shape is flattering on most bodies.

Read product descriptions carefully. Don’t be tempted to just skim the product descriptions. They’re full of valuable information! They will give you a clear sense of the dress construction, the fabrics used, how the dress fits, whether it is lined, and whether it offers the support you need in the bust area. Before you start shopping for your wedding dress online, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with bridal fabrics, so you know how each will fold and fit. Some designers offer fabric swatches so you can check the quality and color before buying.

Understand the store’s policies. It’s important to check the small print before you get out that credit card! Know the return policy back to front, and check shipping costs carefully too.

Read reviews and check social media. It’s important to buy from a reputable site or seller. Search for recent reviews from happy (and unhappy!) customers and pay attention to any red flags. It’s also a good idea to search social media tags for pictures of real brides wearing the same dress.

Be aware of the additional costs. When shopping for your wedding dress online, be sure to include shipping, taxes, and additional tailoring and alterations in your budget.

Buy your dress well in advance. Although the timeline when buying a wedding dress online can be shorter, don’t assume you can buy last minute. Shipping can take a long time (especially at the moment). The designer may face fabric supply delays or be particularly busy at certain times of year. You may also need extra time for alterations once the dress is delivered – count on that! Give yourself as much time to play with as possible.

Ask questions. Whoever you’re buying your dress from, be sure to engage! Some store pages have live chat while others will have an email address you can contact. Never think you’re asking silly questions. If you have a concern, raise it! Good communication with the seller is the best way to ensure you get the dress you want.

Are you considering shopping for your wedding dress online? Even if you still want that in-store experience, pre-shopping online will save you time and stress when you finally step foot in the salon(s)! And if you find “the one” online and plan to try it on in person, ask ahead of time if that style is in stock to see. Not all salons will carry all designs from the designer.


Image by Amy and Stuart Photography