Online wedding dress shopping: tips to consider before selecting “order”
by Karly Anderson

Let’s face it – times they are a changin’ and long gone are the days of making a big trip to the local mall to partake in some retail therapy. I venture to say that a majority of us – myself included – much prefer to shop online from the comfort of our own home. What’s not to love? Coupons land in our inboxes daily, there is a larger selection of items to choose from, and it’s convenient and hassle-free.

With that in mind, why should shopping for a wedding dress be any different?

It’s true that not all brides dream of going to a boutique to shop for their wedding gown or cry tears of happiness when they find “the one,” all the while surrounded by their closest family and friends. Some brides are simply overwhelmed by the whole concept of trying on multiple dresses in front of an audience and would rather take their time and surf the Web to explore the endless online wedding dress shopping options available.

And, guess what? That’s okay! Besides eliminating the nervousness of being in the spotlight for a few hours, buying a wedding dress online can be a huge budget-saver for some brides.

However, seeing as we live in the Pinterest-age, all brides-to-be (and maybe even women who are yet to be engaged) are guilty of stalking wedding boards to find the dream dress, and when they do, they are more likely to hit “Order” without thinking through all the pros and cons of ordering a wedding dress online.

Be sure to consider the following while shopping online for your wedding dress and before making the big purchase.

1. Know your body type

By the time you decide to start looking at dresses, you probably already have a good idea as to what styles and silhouettes you like and dislike, as well as what would be the most flattering on your body type. This is key while you shop online so you can filter search results to only show you the styles that you are looking for.

2. Do go try dresses on, and get measured by a professional

I know you are trying to avoid going into a store to find a wedding gown, but this is still an important step. It doesn’t have to be a major outing – simply invite a close family member or one of your bridesmaids to accompany you for a fun few hours of shopping. This will further reinforce your idea as to what looks good on you, as well as what fabrics will flatter your body type. Not to mention you can seek the help of professionals, including having them get your exact measurements – another important step in ordering a dress online.


3. Read dress descriptions carefully and critically

What fabric(s) is the dress? What is the length? Is it lined? Can the color be changed, or can I add customized features? These are all important questions to ask and seek answers for while considering purchasing a wedding gown online. All details and options should be clearly outlined in the description for the dress; if they aren’t, seek out customer service.

4. Review shipping, cancellation and return policies

Well, this one would seem pretty obvious, right? Check and re-check the company’s return policies on wedding gowns. Some sales may be final, some may put a time limit on how long you have to return the dress from the purchase date – regardless of the policy, make sure you know it and are comfortable with it no matter what the outcome with the dress you choose to purchase.


5. Be wary of website scams

If you take nothing else away from this post, this is the most important thing to remember! Not all wedding dress websites that you come across in your online search will be reputable. There are several websites out there that will show you a picture of that beautiful dream dress marked down to cheaper than you ever realized it could be; however, what you typically get on the receiving end is a counterfeit dress with low-quality fabric and design. This is where reading the descriptions carefully, checking and re-checking the return policy, and staying in contact with the website's customer service team is critical. If any of these pieces seem out of place or shady, it probably is. Trust your gut - if it's too good to be true, it usually is!

Are any of our brides-to-be considering purchasing a wedding dress online, or have you already? We’d love for you to share your experience in the comments section!


Karly Anderson is a born and raised Midwest girl currently residing outside Milwaukee, Wis. Her blog, Miss in the Midwest, chronicles her take on beauty, life and style in the Heartland. Catch up with Karly on InstagramFacebook and Twitter