For many brides, selecting the perfect dress is the most important part of their wedding. As we’ve seen recently, things can sometimes go wrong. Unexpected expenses, delayed dresses, and surprise policies can leave brides stressing about their dress more than any other detail leading up to that special day.
Here’s advice for smooth shopping:
Shop Early: Wedding experts recommend ordering your dress between six and nine months ahead of the big day. This ensures there’s enough time for delivery and alterations.
Have a Clear Budget: Be up front about your budget, so your salesperson shows you dresses in your price range. You don’t want to fall in love with a dress… only to find that’s way over your budget.
Factor in Alterations: Dress alterations can be costly, so talk to your salon about their policy in advance. Some offer alterations for a flat fee or cap expenses at a certain amount.
Don’t Pay 100% Upfront: Most salons ask for a deposit of about 50% of the dress price. You should not be pressured into paying the entire cost up front.
Check the Cancellation Policy: Ask your salon about the cancellation policy for your specific order. Each contract is different, and custom orders may have a strict cancellation policy.
Be Clear About Your Schedule: Brides have complained to BBB that their dresses arrived too late for alterations. Be sure to remind the shop of your schedule in advance and ask for typical delivery times.
Take Your Dress Home: After your alterations are finished, promptly pick up your dress. You can’t control what happens at the store – it might even go out of business – so the safest place for your dress is at your home.
Some online sellers offer gowns that look like designer dresses for a fraction of the price. Brides order these dresses expecting a low-cost replica, but BBB hears way too often from brides who received an ill-fitting gown constructed from poor quality materials. If you’ve decided to buy a dress online, keep the following tips in mind:
Beware of Counterfeit Gowns: Authorized retailers are the only stores allowed to sell a designer’s gown. Anyone else claiming to carry them is likely selling counterfeits. In fact, many wedding dress designers do not sell their gowns online at all.
Be Realistic About Deals: As much as a budget-conscious bride may want to find a $5,000 dress for $350, it’s probably not going to happen. Many designers don’t allow their dresses to be discounted below a certain margin.
Double Check Delivery Promises: It’s vital that your dress arrives in time, so be sure the seller clearly states its typical delivery times.
Understand the Return Policy: Review the guarantee, return, and refund policies before purchasing. Know if there is a way to return your dress if you are not happy with it. Make sure there’s a way to contact the company in case of problems. An absence of contact information on a website is a big red flag when shopping online.
Be Wary of Overseas Sellers: Purchasing a dress from an international seller may seem like a good deal. However, U.S. laws and consumer protections will be difficult, if not impossible, to enforce.
Congratulations on your special day and remember to check with BBB for all of your consumer needs!
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