Singaporebrides | Weddings 101

August 2013

My Wedding Experience: Buying a Wedding Gown Online or Offline?

Weddings can be a costly affair and while every bride dreams of saying “I do” in the best wedding gown money can buy, not everyone has the budget to fulfill that dream. In order to keep to their budget, couples are looking to cut corners where they can without sacrificing on the overall aesthetics and quality of their big day. Since a good portion of the wedding budget is used to pay for a wedding gown, brides are looking at cheaper alternatives, such as buying a wedding gown online, to secure one for their big day.

It isn’t difficult to understand the attraction and popularity of online shopping. I myself enjoy online shopping very much; in fact, almost everything I own are bought over the Internet, from clothes to skincare products. But when it comes to wedding gowns, I’m not sure if that’s a wise idea or investment. Are wedding gowns really cheaper online? Will the cheap price affect the quality of these gowns? Is the quality of these gowns comparable to or better than the ones our local bridal boutiques carry? Most importantly, is it worth undertaking the risks involved in online shopping, such as unreliable sellers and lost parcels?

In order to satisfy these burning questions of mine, I was given an opportunity to step into the shoes of a bride and experience the same wedding experience other brides went through during their search for the perfect wedding gown by looking for one on and offline. I didn’t take long to settle back into my routine of online shopping, except this time I was shopping for wedding gowns. I ended up ordering two gowns from two separate websites popular with brides all over the world because I couldn’t decide if I liked the corseted duchess satin ballgown or the sexy V-neck tulle A-line gown better.

That’s what I loved about online shopping – buying without having the need to leave my home or take time off work. But the not-so-lovely part about it was the waiting time. Despite opting for a faster shipping time of 7-14 working days, I only received the gowns a month after I ordered them. They were folded and compressed into A3-sized DHL plastic bags and when unpacked, the satin gown had deep-set creases on the skirt and the feather appliques on the A-line gown were flat and misshapen. Nonetheless, I was excited to try them on at once. Ten minutes and two gowns later, that excitement was nowhere to be found.

Although both gowns were in the size I had asked for, I wasn’t impressed with either, especially the A-line tulle gown. That was a bad investment from head to toe. The V-shaped neckline I thought was sexy simply looked vulgar as no amount of Hollywood tape was able to make the sides of the neckline adhere to my skin due to the hard unrelenting tulle. It was also uncomfortably coarse to the touch and I couldn’t help but develop goosebumps as I put it on. As if that weren’t bad enough, the already sparsely embellished gown started to shed feathers as I moved around. As for the other gown, while it had no devastating flaw, was not as figure contouring at the waistline as I would have liked it to be and lackluster despite the beaded embellishments and scalloped hem on the skirt. Now, if these were the gowns meant for my actual wedding, I would get myself another one pronto.

Since I failed to find my perfect wedding gown online, I decided to bring my search to our local bridal boutiques and visited two different bridal boutiques for one-on-one consultations with the resident designer. He attended to my queries and listened patiently as I described what I wanted my wedding gown to look like. Then came my favourite part of the appointment – I could pick any gown from the boutique’s racks to try on! Unfortunately, not every gown I picked flattered me. The designer was quick to reassure and point out that because I was already biased against my body flaws, I was more likely to focus on them rather than the parts that looked good.

We took to the racks again and this time, he picked out gowns he felt would flatter my body shape and I was very impressed with most of his picks. The gowns he picked out for me were tight at the waistline to create the slimmer silhouette I had wanted and flared out into a ballgown and A-line silhouette that I adored. Together with the designer, I worked out which parts of the gowns I liked best and which silhouette, neckline and material flattered me best. This knowledge will then help him design a wedding gown that’s made just for me in just the way I want it to look. I left my appointments without making a commitment and despite the generous information and advice they’d shared with me, the designers did not pressure me into making a decision on the spot. On the contrary, I felt no urgency to come to a decision immediately and was reassured that should I decide to engage their services, I could always return to the boutiques and my consultation would pick off exactly where we left off.

So, to answer the questions I had at the beginning, while weddings gowns are cheaper online, the experience and expertise I was given during my appointment at a bridal boutique is well worth any extra in cost. Besides, if your online purchase turns out as unbearable as mine, you might end up spending more on alterations or buying a brand new gown and paying more to rush your order – which means there was no cost savings involved. For as important a day as my wedding day, I would rather not deal with such uncertainties and risks, and trust a bridal boutique to find the perfect wedding gown for my big day. And so should you.