Buy the Perfect Dress
- Many modern brides have discovered that they can purchase a beautiful dress online and save time and money over shopping in stores. There are some precautions to buying a dress online however. Make sure that the website you intend to purchase from is reputable, or if you are intending to purchase from a private seller, make sure they have an excellent rating on auction sites, etc. and that you can pay using a secured server, or through trusted internet money exchange systems such as Paypal. Check the return policy of the seller. What if the dress arrives and it is not as described or not to your specifications? Will the seller accept returns, and if they do whose responsibility is it to pay for the return? Finally, make sure you know your correct sizing and measurements before you purchase.
Finding a Reputable Seller
Your best bet here is to stick to well known name brand storefronts that also happen to have an internet site. While you can find a very inexpensive deal online from a private seller, there is a higher risk involved because these are often “as is” sales and you can lose money by purchasing a dress that cannot be altered once you receive it. Also, there are unfortunately, many scams out there, and recovering your money if you purchased a dress from someone who had no intention of sending you anything, can be difficult and time consuming, and add to wedding planning stress tremendously. If you do intend to purchase from a private seller, consider purchasing from a parent site that also provides fraud protection from anything that they allow sellers to list on their site.
Shipping and Returns
Before you purchase your dress, make sure you have a clear understanding of the shipping and return policy of the seller. Often, a storefront return policy will be the same as if you had purchased the dress and had it altered at the store. This means you probably will not be able to get all of your money back if you change your mind about the dress, but sometimes the store will offer to buy it back from you at a reduced price in the hopes that they can re-sell it “as is” for a profit. Private sellers usually don’t have a return policy in place as sales are often final when complete. Shipping is usually paid by the purchaser, unless a promotion is going on. If you ordered a dress and the alterations are not to your specifications, often you can return this at the store’s expense to have it fixed, but sometimes stores will have you sign a waiver because you did not come into the store to get properly fitted by their staff, therefore they waive all responsibility on sizing and fitting your dress should there be a mistake.
Sizing and Fitting Your Dress
Measuring yourself for your wedding dress may seem like a daunting task at first, but it can be done. Follow these tips and measuring guidelines and you should be able to order a beautiful dress from any storefront. First, make sure the undergarments you are wearing for the measurements will be the same undergarments you plan to wear under your dress. Dresses are very fitted, expect them to fit as snugly as swimwear or sporting undergarments. Secondly, it is necessary that someone else actually hold the tape and read off the measurements for you. Because many measurements require finding lengths to the floor, you will get a much more accurate measurement if you get someone else to hold the tape for you. Here are the measurements a dress shop will need to properly fit your dress for purchase:
- Bust: Measure the fullest part of your bust while you are standing upright with your heels together.
- Waist: Place your hands above your hips to find your natural waistline and stand in a comfortable position (the tape should cross over your navel.) You may also leave some extra room by putting your thumb inside the tape.
- Hips: Stand in a natural pose with your heels together. Where you measure depends on the style of dress you are ordering. Fora sheath dress, measure across the fullest part of your bottom. If you are measuring for an a-line dress, measure across the fullest part of your hips (a little higher than the fullest part of your bottom.) Just like measuring your waist, do not pull the tape tight and you may leave a thumb inside the tape for extra room.
- Dress length: If you are 5’9” or taller with the heels you plan to wear with the gown, most designers recommend that you order an extra length dress. An extra length dress is typically 5” longer than the standard length dress. You might be charged extra for this, and charges will vary depending on dress material.
- Hollow -to-hem: This measurement is specific to wedding gowns, because of the variance in fullness of skirts, etc. The hollow-to-hem measurement is taken from the depression at the base of the neck just above the collarbone to the hem. When taking this measurement, you will need to account for the fullness of an A-line or full-skirt gown by moving the tape forward away from the body, at the hem. The tape should be pulled out according to the fullness of the skirt. You will need to take the measurement with the exact heel height you will be wearing. Standard hollow-to-hem typically is 58 inches although it varies between designs.
Hopefully this guideline helps you decide how to order the perfect dress for your special day.