- The wedding dress industry is in chaos over the coronavirus outbreak as bridal manufacturing factories are at a halt as workers are home bound to curb the spread of the deadly disease.
- Bridal stores worldwide are being impacted by the factory closures with delays in getting wedding dresses previously ordered – sending brides into panic mode.
- The entire supply chain is being affected by the spread of the virus – meaning fabric producers such as chiffons, satins, laces are not being shipped out to the manufacturing factories.
For most brides, shopping around for their wedding dress was probably a lengthy process, time consuming and most likely stressful at some point in the journey. Now, imagine that you’ve finally found the dress of your dreams, paid a deposit on it and waiting excitedly for the call from your bridal store to let you know of it’s arrival. So the call happens and it’s not all sunshine news as you would expect. Instead, you’re told that the likelihood of your wedding dress arriving…will not.
Your mind will probably be racing with questions and what will happen to your special day when you’re a bride with no wedding dress!
An article published by the ABC News, a Melbourne bride to be – Marina D’Arcy is due to get married in August this year but recently told by the bridal boutique she ordered her dress from via an Instagram message that the store would no longer be accepting “rush orders” for bridal gowns due to the coronavirus having a sweeping impact of manufacturing facilities in China where the wedding gowns are made.
The bridal and wedding dress industry is in panic mode as the deadly outbreak is affecting the entire supply chain of wedding gowns – from the manufacturing of the gowns right down to the origin of fabrics – being in China. Bridal store owners are working with panic stricken brides to combat the possibility of the bride not getting her dress at all by the time she needs it for her wedding. The likelihood is very real.
Chinese Factories Closure Affecting Wedding Dress Production
Amongst other commodities, China is a leading producer of wedding dresses. According to the American Bridal and Prom Industry Association, 80% of the world’s western styles wedding gowns are produced in China.
With the population in China encompassing more than 760 million people, more than half of the country’s population have been in some sort of home lockdown which has resulted in factories being shut down across the country. This means no wedding dresses are being produced and many bridal stores around the world cannot order in any new gowns for customers.
It has been reported that for some bridal store’s made to order dresses, the delivery time has doubled to 6 months from the typical 3 months.
Although some factories are gradually commencing operation again, it is at a snail’s pace - still not full speed manufacturing as usual due to the backlog of orders. Ships are departing the Chinese ports with only 10% filled and many shipments cancelled as reported by the Wall Street Journal.
What this means is that for some brides, they may just be lucky enough to receive their wedding dress in time if their wedding is perhaps later in the year - giving the factories some time to play catch up.
On the other side of the equation, for brides whose wedding is only a few short months away – all might not be as optimistic.
Bridal stores are functioning under high ambiguity with updates on when the manufacturers will resume operation, their production schedules and lead times.
So what does this mean for brides having weddings before the year’s end?
Brides would need to consider alternative stores that can accommodate rush orders or are manufactured in countries not heavily affected by the outbreak of the COVID-19 disease.
ABC New’s article further goes on to state that Ms D’Arcy had assumed that resident businesses made the dresses locally. Truth be told, many designer bridal gowns that are in the affordable range are made by factories across China as this keeps costs down for both the brand as well as the customer. Almost every bridal store will carry brands from designers that offer ranges that cater to more price conscious brides and that isn’t expected to be possible if it’s from bridal brands from the United States or European countries. Brands imported from these countries often come with expensive price tags.
For brides that have their wedding dates locked in, consider making contingency options to tackle the worst case scenario that you are not able to get your wedding dress in on time or if bridal stores are not accepting orders of the dress you are after in the time frame that you require it.
What’s more, it’s not just wedding gowns, there’s also the supply of bridesmaid dresses that would ultimately be impacted as well. Many of these bridal gown factories are also manufacturers of bridesmaid dresses, formal dresses and prom dresses.
What If You Can’t Avoid Rush Orders? Backup Plan Options For Brides?
For most bridal stores, the general lead time required to order a wedding dress in for you is between 8-12 months with some stores being a bit more flexible and ask that you place your order 6-8 months and also allow 2 months for alterations.
This is a long lead time for your wedding dress and you’re probably not likely to be able to get your dress in time if your wedding falls under the 8 month time frame. This means that you fall into the category of “rush orders” which are for orders of wedding dresses under 6 months – generally 4-6 months from the time you place the order to the time the dress is expected to arrive into store. Rush orders typically come with a “rush fee” that is an additional cost on top of your wedding dress. Each bridal store charges at their discretion however the average rush fee is anywhere between 20-30% of the cost of the wedding dress.
This puts many brides in a pickle and stress sets in because some bridal stores won’t accept the orders due to the time frame as their designers set a minimum order date and the additional cost on top of the wedding dress which would impact the more budget conscious brides.
So what are the options if you just cannot avoid the rush order?
1. Find a local bridal store that specializes in and accepts custom made wedding dress orders
Many of the larger bridal store retailers are great if you are after designers or a specific designer and looking for a wide variety of different styles however they normally require 8-12 months order time. Of course, these bridal stores will be out of the question if you require your wedding dress much sooner so you can try smaller bridal stores that carry their own brand and/or bridal boutiques that accept bespoke wedding dresses or custom made wedding gowns. Of course depending on how intricate the detailing of your wedding dress is, the time frame to get your gown finished will vary.
At Envious Bridal, our standard lead time from the time you order your wedding dress to the time you receive it for your first fitting is 3 months! Many brides are often pleasantly surprised at our fast production and delivery time. We’re told that many bridal shops would barely consider a request for orders under 4 months and if so, the rush fee is very significant sum on top of the wedding dress.
So how can we make it happen that your wedding dress is made and delivered within such a short time? Because we aren’t bound to a specific designer’s minimum order time which means we have the flexibility to rotate our orders and assign the appropriate dressmaker to make your wedding dress – AND without the hefty rush fee charges.
What’s more, we can also offer even more rush times for your wedding dress to be made under 2 months…or even 1 month. If you’re reading this and wondering how you could be in such a situation where you’d require a wedding gown so urgently, you’d be surprised at the drama and emergency situations which brides encounter and seek desperate assistance.
To give you a few examples;
- The bride falls pregnant unexpectedly and her wedding plans are all moved forward which means she is on the search for a wedding dress that will fit her and her growing bump ASAP.
- The bride and her finance cancel their original wedding plans and decide to elope – which means she wants a beautiful wedding dress without the long wait time for it to arrive.
- The bride’s wedding dress which she had ordered online did not turn out as expected – absolute disaster to be precise.
- The bride changed her mind and she is need of a new one.
- The bride has drastically gained weight and/or lost weight where the alteration cost sums to almost half the price of the dress or due to the heavy alterations require, the dress has lost the original design’s look which has made the bride very unhappy.
At Envious Bridal, we can help brides in such a situation with our custom made wedding dress service. We can help you design a dress, make a dress to a design that you like or make custom design changes to our own collection of wedding gowns to suit you perfectly. Just because you’re facing a situation crisis, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on having a second dream wedding dress – or so we think so. We’re here to help as much as we can so get in touch with us.
2. Buy an off the rack wedding dress
A few selected bridal stores will offer some of their bridal gowns off the rack but generally would not unless they are running a sample sale which is not held all the time but during a specific promotion period. Search around and do your research on the bridal stores that do offer gowns off the rack and call ahead to see if they stock your size.
Envious Bridal offer all our bridal dresses in our bridal collection to be purchased off the rack which is perfect if you’ve tried on a gown that you love and want/need to take the dress home immediately. Alternatively, if you love the dress but the dress is not available in your size, we can process a rush order to have the same dress made for you in your desired size…all within a short turnaround time!
3. Buy a pre-loved wedding dress
You can find pre-loved wedding gown retailers or stores online via Facebook pages or Facebook wedding dress groups or forums. There are an abundance of past brides that are willing and happy to sell their wedding dress.
4. Buy you wedding dress online
Although many brides will shy away from wanting to buy their wedding dress online due to the fact that you can’t see the actual dress or try it on causes a great deal of hesitation – totally understandable. That said, some brides take the leap of faith. Perhaps not the highest or most preferred option but it’s on the table for consideration.
The Current Bridal Manufacturing & Delivery Delay Wrap Up
The coronavirus is killing bridal dreams across the world. It’s causing panic everywhere for all those involved in the wedding dress business. Bridal shops everywhere – spanning around the world are not taking on orders for brides requiring wedding dresses less than 12 years due to the uncertainty surrounding when the wedding gown factories will and can resume its normal production again.
Optimism is low that even when the factories are operating again it will be able to deliver as previously scheduled, meaning delays with current orders and even longer lead times for new wedding dress orders.
With daily reports of the increase rate of spread, there is no indication that the covid 19 disease will subside anytime soon; this imposes a looming obstacle for bridal stores as the availability of wedding dresses will be very limited and brides will be left with very little option as they shop around.
If you’re recently engaged, there are widespread industry recommendations to order your wedding dress as soon as you can – even if your wedding isn’t until 2021. The delay gaps is predicted to only get bigger and longer so the best thing you can do to ensure you get your order in early.
Amid this global wedding dress crisis, here at Envious Bridal we are confident we can still help brides get in their perfect wedding dress without the long (and now delayed) production lead time and shipping interruptions.As a bride you don’t need any further undue stress, so get in touch with us now so we can help you take the subsequent steps to finding your dream gown – or get your perfect wedding dress custom made.