From planning, booking in appointments, production lead times and beyond, read on so you can avoid any unnecessary stress.
WEDDING DRESS SHOPPING
In a time of global uncertainty, understand that there most likely will be delays and changes to the standard times and processes. This makes it even harder to determine an ideal window of time for wedding dress shopping because you don’t want it too early or too late.
You don’t want to go early. If you do, you may fall in love with a dress you perhaps aren’t ready to buy because it’s out of your budget – if you haven’t already set a budget.
You may not have done a lot of research so you need to be clear on what your allocated budget is, the dress style you like and you may just completely change your mind after seeing and trying on a range of other gowns. So if you order way too early, it can be a bit risky with these causes.
Also, if you plan on losing a significant amount of weight from the time when you order your wedding dress to your actual day this poses another issue where in addition to spending money towards alterations (wherein they make it fit properly); one will also have compromised their gown's silhouette and structure due such major modifications. Adversely, leaving it too close will pose it’s own set of problems.
Most wedding gowns are ordered in so it takes some time to arrive into store which makes it hard for brides to navigate this window.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO ORDER IN A WEDDING DRESS?
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, it was suggested that you start researching twelve months prior, plan and book in bridal appointments approximately ten months out from your wedding date with the goal of placing your dress order six to eight months before.
The dress would arrive; you'd have your first fitting and start considering necessary alterations. Depending on where and who does the work it could take anywhere from a few weeks up to two months.
Lead times certainly have changed since the COVID-19 pandemic.
With lockdowns, extended lockdowns and restrictions it has made operations almost impossible at prior capacity levels. It takes eight to fourteen months before dresses come in which means brides need jump on planning and shopping if they want a dress that fits them perfectly because there is no guarantee there won't be any future lockdowns.
WHY DOES IT TAKE SO LONG FOR A WEDDING DRESS TO COME IN?
Many brides are surprised to learn that it takes months for a wedding dress to arrive into store – even under normal circumstances.
The process of creating a wedding dress is complex and time-consuming.
First, the pattern for the dress must be created from scratch which requires many months to do so. Then comes applying any embellishments such as sequins or beads before sewing on appliques like lace trimming around hems and necklines.
Furthermore, there are quite a few orders that each designer must fill. A bride may have ordered their dress before you or need it earlier than you do. There is so much planning and coordination at play in this process of creating the dresses. This includes sourcing all the raw materials for your wedding gown from different parts of the world, manufacturing them on time to meet your order deadline with quality workmanship - think zippers, beads, fabrics etc.
The pandemic is affecting the store from receiving its shipment from international shipping. Now with COVID-19 pandemic, freight and cargo availabilities are much more limited and operating at reduced capacities which thereby require further time to store.
Dresses may get caught up in custom clearance when it's making its way to you. COVID-19 is impacting normal operations, adding additional time onto the timeline of receiving your dress.
HOW IS COVID-19 AFFECTING WEDDING DRESS ORDERING TIMES?
The COVID-19 epidemic has had an unexpected effect on the wedding dress industry. Firstly, in countries where lockdowns have been imposed to contain the virus spread, many manufacturing facilities have had adhere to mandatory shut down.
Production schedules are falling behind on existing orders due to the disruption in operations. This makes it difficult for to deliver to the standard order times, and has caused new orders to be pushed further out.
WHAT SHOULD I DO TO ENSURE I GET MY WEDDING DRESS IN ON TIME?
Start early with thinking about your wedding dress.
Let’s say you’re recently engaged and there’s 14 months out from your intended wedding date, it would be ideal to give yourself a few months to think about the style of dress you like, what you see yourself in, determine the budget for your dress and the bridal stores you would like to visit.
You may think; you don’t know what styles suit you or what kind of dress is suitable without seeing it on you first but the main thing is to think about it and just have a few ideas in mind. This isn’t set in stone but it gives you a good basis to start your search and wedding dress planning and shopping.
As your wedding dress is one of the most elements of your wedding, it’s important to think about how much you are willing to spend and what you can afford to spend on this special dress.
In fact, this is one of our top pieces of advice about shopping for your wedding dress. Make it a priority to establish your budget early on in the planning process. Read more here about why it is important to do so here.
Though we usually don't recommend purchasing a dress too early, with the changes COVID-19 has caused in terms of sourcing and manufacturing it is now more important than ever to start shopping sooner rather than later.
If you’re a bride with an upcoming wedding within 6-9 months, albeit some obstacles you are still available options to get your perfect dress. We can help you on an individual basis so don’t stress too much at this point.
WHAT DO I DO IF MY DRESS IS DELAYED DUE TO COVID-19?
What if the dress you ordered never arrives? It can be incredibly stressful to receive an email from a store saying that your wedding dress will not arrive on time or at all.
That said, be mindful that the bridal store has most likely done everything they could prior to contacting you. This means there's been plenty of discussion with suppliers and negotiating potential solutions as it pertains how best for this problem to resolve itself so minimal delay is experienced overall.
Nobody anticipates these unexpected delays relating to COVID-19 but unfortunately, it’s becoming a part of our lives. In cases where there's not much that can be done due an external factor beyond what the store itself truly controls.
You may think;
“I paid a significant deposit on my dress so I don’t have money to go buy another dress that I like”,
“This is not fair on me, the store needs to compensate me for the fact that my dress will not be coming in on time.”
Most stores won’t provide a refund due to the fact the order has been placed which they will have passed on the payment to the designer to get your dress ordered and made. Legally, they have not breached any obligations to deliver your dress and they are still upholding their sale commitments however these external disruptions is an issue that will likely be handled differently from store to store.
It’s a stressful and unfortunate situation and you have more than likely secured a booking in with all the wedding vendors so you still need a wedding dress for your big day.
A few options in tackling this situation;
- Discuss with the store what the available options are – i.e partial refund or credit. However, please be mindful they are not obligated to do so by law.
- Depending on how delayed your dress is to the wedding date, you can wait it out a few more weeks to see if your dress will come in that time frame.
- Ask the store if they are able to credit your deposit with your ordered dress for another dress that is available in store – kind of like an exchange of dress.
- Buy another dress off the rack at the same or another bridal store.
- Explore an alternative and different wedding dress online.
- Buy a pre-loved wedding dress that resembles the dress you have ordered.
WHAT IF I THOUGHT I HAD ENOUGH TIME TO ORDER MY DRESS BUT NOW I ONLY HAVE A FEW MONTHS LEFT UNTIL MY WEDDING?
Most bridal consultants will ask for your wedding date when you book in an appointment with them.
This is so that there's adequate time between the order and delivery of dresses, which can take up to six months on average. Each designer has their own specific lead times; therefore it's important that each store make sure they have enough space available for both orders at a convenient time-frame as well as suit what designers are looking out after most: quality workmanship!
If you’re a bride in the situation of being in the last few months out to your wedding date, there are a few things that you can consider.
The first thing you should do when looking for your dream dress is request the store if they offer a rush service. A time-sensitive order means it gets prioritized and jumps past all other people's orders. The store will accept your request if the designer allows for rush orders.
Rush orders will incur additional charges as your order is made a priority, which means the designer has to stop production of other dresses. As such, rush fee can vary anywhere between 10% and 30% in additional to the regular price of the gown.
This may sound like a lot, but it’s a decision for you to weigh up if it’s worth it to get the dress you love – at a slightly higher price than you had originally planned or go for another dress that is perhaps not one that you love as much.
You can consider your other available options in getting a wedding gown- including buying one from the rack. Perhaps there is an identical sample of style you like on display or maybe another option suits better. There may be other dresses in store that are similar but not exactly like what you has in mind – but it may just work, try the dresses out and who know, you may just find another style or dress you fall in love with.
A sample dress should be close to your correct size. For obvious reasons, a too small or oversized garment looks awful and won't make the most of your figure in any way possible so make sure that you get an accurate idea with how many alterations may need made before buying this item as well.
Bear in mind that if you do buy a sample dress, it should be close to your correct size. For obvious reasons, a dress too small isn’t an option because it simply doesn’t fit.
If you have found a dress you like and it fits quite big, ensure where possible to buy only two sizes bigger than your size or measurements to be workable. A dress that is a couple of sizes too big for you will create more work with alterations, and the result can be an unflattering look. It may be very difficult to alter the dress so that it resembles what the original dress’s design or silhouette is due to the major modification alteration work.
WHAT IF I POSTPONE MY WEDDING?
If you’re a bride that has decided to or have to postpone your wedding date, you may have a lot of questions about what’s going to happen with your dress.
Can the bridal shop deliver your wedding dress at a later date?
What if you don’t fit your wedding dress by the time you have set a new wedding date?
What if you change your mind about your dress?
Each bridal boutique has their own policies as to what they will do with your dress once it is ready for collection at their store.
Some are quite happy to hold onto your dress for a few more months until your new date. Some may charge you a holding and storage fee to hold your dress after your collection date has passed. Some stores may require you to collect your dress as per the agreed delivery date.
STILL GOT QUESTIONS OR STILL NEED HELP?
Before you get too overwhelmed in trying to sort out the situation and feel you’re absolutely stuck, reach out to us and let us go through with you what your individual case is and how we can help.