Woes of the Web
a bride 's tell-all
Oh, the thrill of online shopping. People’s thriftiness or tight budgets allow them to get lured in by the ultra-slashed prices on popular websites. But when it comes to shopping for a wedding gown online, Christina Tompkins learned the risks the hard way when her wedding dress dreams turned into nightmares. The Right One: My fiancé and I were engaged in September 2011, and we set a date for September 2 of the following year. I thought this would give me plenty of time to make wedding plans. I soon began to search for a wedding dress. After looking through a few magazines, I fell in love with an Allure Couture dress that a bridal store close by actually carried. A little later, I was shopping online and I came across some other dresses that I’d seen in magazines at a fraction of the original cost. This made me curious to see if my dream dress was also available online at a discounted price.
The Wrong Dress
The Wrong One: Eventually, I found an online vendor who offered my dress—same exact picture from magazines, totally different price. At $235, my fiancé insisted that we take the chance and order it. So I submitted my order, but after a few weeks and no dress, I started to worry. I quickly assured myself and considered it a normal timeframe for a dress coming all the way from China. Soon after, I came home to find a very small, thin package on my doorstep. Inside, I found a dress nothing like the one I had fallen in love with weeks earlier. It was obvious that the dress was cheaply made. I immediately went to the bridal store where my dream dress was held and compared the two dresses. The elaborate, beaded bodice I admired on the original dress was replaced by one with gaudy, silver sequins. The original bottom was an intricate embroidery of hand-made flowers, while my online dress had white flowers actually safety-pinned onto the train! I was so shocked and heartbroken, but luckily I gave myself enough time for mishaps. I was going to try and make it a DIY project; in fact, I tried to sew on sequins myself! In the end, I contacted the company in China and asked for my money back which was eventually, and luckily, refunded to me. I recently found another dress by Maggie Sottero that I purchased—in the store this time!—without having to deal with hefty price tags or risky transactions! Her Advice: If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Beware of bidding websites that present your dream dress with the same photos but have a distinctly different price. You get what you pay for—cheap price, cheap dress. Something as important as your wedding gown should be purchased in-store; you are able to have a concrete visual of what you are spending your money on. Go with the dress you give your heart to (even if your more frugal fiancé tries to convince you otherwise!). Do not spoil it by trying to find a better deal because, more than likely, you won’t find one worthy of your purchase. Be wary of dresses made in a foreign country like China. Being so far away from the manufacturer is never a good thing, and you probably won’t get the detail you are hoping for. Not all online wedding purchases are off-limits, though. I actually purchased my wedding shoes and several bridal party favors online with no hassle. For a bride whose dress is low on her wedding totem pole, she might not have to take as many precautions. However, all brides should do their homework before making such a costly purchase.
THe Right Dress