Top Tips for Buying Your Wedding Dress Off the Rack

Top Tips for Buying Your Wedding Dress Off the Rack

Buying a designer wedding dress usually means a wait of at minimum twelve weeks from the time you order (sometimes six to nine months!). With the craziness of 2020, you may find yourself with an abbreviated wedding planning timeline. That’s when buying your wedding dress off the rack can be a super-smart option. It’s convenient, streamlined, and sometimes budget-friendly (at the least, you won’t have to pay rush fees). Plus there’s something special about being able to take your dress home with you the same day you buy it. But, while off-the-rack wedding dresses have their benefits, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. Whether you’re opting for a sample gown from a bridal salon or searching for your dream dress online, here are my top tips for buying your wedding dress off the rack.

Inspect samples carefully. Dress samples at a bridal salon have been tried on by previous brides and may show some wear and tear. So it’s important to be meticulous when inspecting them for marks or damage. Make sure you really look before you buy! Check for stains under the armpits, loose threads on the hem or side seam, lipstick and foundation marks, or damage left by hangers. Look at the beading, appliqué, and crystals, as well as any buttons, hooks, and zips to make sure they are secure. Check that delicate fabrics like lace and chiffon are free from holes and snags. But, if you find a flaw, keep an open mind. Some can be easily cleaned or repaired, while others will be a deal-breaker.

Buy a dress that’s (at least somewhat) true to size. If you’re looking at samples, be sure to buy one that fits you as closely as possible. Or, at least, one that is within two sizes of a perfect fit. While bigger dresses can be taken in and smaller dresses may have some room for alteration, too much of a difference can affect the integrity of the design. It can also significantly escalate alteration costs. If you’re purchasing your dress online, it’s important to know your measurements – hips, waist, and bust – and check the sizing information on the website.

Allow time and budget for alterations. Even when you buy a dress at the right size, it’s normal to need some basic alterations. For example, hemming the gown for your shoes, taking in the waistline or bodice, or adding in cups on the bust. Be sure to allow time for this and plan for alterations in your wedding budget. If you’re looking for substantial alterations or if your dress includes intricate detailing, it may be worth consulting a seamstress first. That way you’ll have a realistic idea of your options, as well as the time and budget needed.

Be ready to act fast, but choose carefully! When buying your wedding dress off the rack, you may need to make a quick decision. This is because stores typically only include one sample in each size. However, be aware that it may be final sale, especially if you’re buying in a sample sale, so you do need to be absolutely sure before you purchase. And once you’ve taken the plunge, don’t look back! Store the dress at a friend or relative’s house if possible, to stop you from peeking at the dress too often and second-guessing your pick.

Are you considering buying your wedding dress off the rack?