Style / Trends

7 Things to Know Before Buying a Wedding Dress Online

Oscar de la Renta Bridal Spring 2015

Image: Imaxtree

Congratulations, you’re getting married! And as much as you’d love to fly to New York or Los Angeles to try on the wedding dress of your dreams, you don’t really have the time or money to make it happen, so you think, why not hit the web in search of the one? If you can find a husband online, surely you can find a dress, right? To help you meet your perfect match, we asked a few experts to reveal their insider secrets for shopping for a wedding gown online.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

When purchasing something as important (and pricey!) as a wedding dress off the Internet, you really want to make sure you do your due diligence. Florida-based wedding planner Aviva Samuels of Kiss the Planner strongly suggests that brides find out what the return policy is first and whether they’ll get a full refund or store credit only if the dress isn’t quite up to par in person. “You should also ask if the sizes are true to fit or if their gowns run big or small,” she says. “Inquire about shipping, too, when the dress will arrive and if that gives you enough time for alterations.”

Do Know What Looks Good on You

To avoid the disappointment and hassle of returns, Ilana Stern, CEO of Weddington Way, recommends getting a sense of what dress styles and necklines you look and feel amazing in prior to purchasing. “Think about your favorite dresses in your closet and determine what it is that you love about them (e.g., are they strapless, fitted, cap-sleeved, etc.).” Then take that knowledge to the web, so you can focus your search on a style that will truly flatter your figure.

Don’t Buy from an Unauthorized Retailer

There are a ton of sketchy websites out there that claim to carry dresses from your favorite designers at prices that simply sound too good to be true because, well, they are! Only look on websites that are authorized retailers of the designer brands in which you are interested, advises Stern. “This information can often be found in the ‘about us’ section or the ‘frequently asked questions’ section. You can also check out the designer’s website for a list of authorized retailers.”

Do Order Fabric Swatches

“Many online dress retailers offer you the chance to order swatches of fabric for the dress that you are interested in, which will give you a better sense of color, texture and feel,” points out Stern. “Once you’ve made your decision, these are also great to keep around to search for accessories.”

Don’t Pay with Cash or Money Order

Always use your credit card, urges bridal expert and Editorial Director of You & Me TV Anne Chertoff. This way, in case you get burned, you won’t be out a few hundred, or worse, a few thousand, bucks. “Find out from your credit card company what their policy is in the event you’re sent a dress that’s different from what you ordered,” she says. “Some cards will get you your money back.”

Do Read Site Reviews

Buying from a website that is brand new to you? Then you’ll definitely want to do your homework first. “Ask around for references, either from friends or via bridal chat rooms/forums, to learn what other people are saying about a particular website before clicking the buy button,” warns Chertoff.

Don’t Forget to Take Your Measurements

To ensure the absolute best fit possible, take your measurements and use the designer size charts to select the right size for you, suggests Stern. “Remember: It’s typically a lot easier to take a dress in than it is to let one out, so if you’re between two sizes, go with the larger one.”