While meeting with a client recently, I heard a story about a co-worker who ordered her gown online - and the disastrous results. Let this be a cautionary tale ...
The bride had her heart set on a gorgeous gown and while perusing the Internet, came across a website that carried the design down to the last detail - and for only a couple hundred dollars. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it was.
When the gown arrived, it didn't fit, despite sending measurements. The bride took her gown to a tailor in the hopes of having the dress fixed. But because of shoddy construction and lack of seam allowance, there was no way the gown could be altered.
After several attempts to contact this company (based in China) and finally breaking through the language barrier, the bride was told to keep the dress, resend her measurements and they would make another gown. She did receive another gown - but again, it didn't fit and the workmanship was of poor quality.
The story does have a somewhat happy ending. Our bride was able to get a dress - though not the one she originally envisioned wearing. And she went through a tremendous amount of stress, lost money - and has two worthless gowns she can't even unload on EBay.
The moral of the story: The bridal gown industry is awash in counterfeit gowns these days. It's so easy for these fashion pirates to hover that mouse over an image on a legitimate manufacturer's website and select "save image as".
If a dress you see in a bridal salon sells for $1200 and you find it on a website for $200, you can bet it's a knockoff. In order to sell a manufacturer's current line, the salon must abide by a "floor price" set by the designer. Check out this page on Facebook compiled with experiences on counterfeit gowns. And read replicagowns.blogspot.com for more helpful consumer info. If you see a style in a bridal magazine, go to that manufacturer's website and click on the store locator button. These salons are authorized to sell the real deal.
It's okay to buy a lot of things online, but think twice about that wedding dress. A "brick & mortar" is your best bet for gown shopping. If your budget is tight, check out our Bridal Shop News for sample sales. Your bridal salon consultant can work with you to find a gown that fulfills your dreams, flatters your figure and keeps your budget on track. And unlike shopping online, you'll experience a level of customer care that only comes from trying on gowns in a full-service salon.