THE BLOG
02/21/2013 11:53 am ET | Updated Apr 23, 2013

What to Consider Before Buying Your Wedding Gown Online

By: Rosanna Casper, Bridal Guide guest blogger and co-founder of Idojour.com

The online wedding gown purchase — many will think it a risky decision. You can't try it on, you can't feel the fabric, and you can't see how it moves. Despite this, more and more brides are finding the idea appealing and are turning to the Internet in increasing numbers to buy their wedding dresses. Perhaps there's not enough variety in your local salon. Maybe you don't want to deal with pushy salespeople. Or perhaps the deals are simply better online. With such an important purchase, here are some things to keep in mind when opting to order your wedding dress online.

wedding dresses
Left: Tony Hamawy Cecile Wedding Dress; Right: Winifred Bean Daisy Gown

1. Know your body type

We all have different body shapes, so you should always begin by knowing how your bust, waist, and hips are in proportion with each other. That way, you can easily eliminate silhouettes, necklines, and waistlines that don't flatter your figure, no matter how pretty they look on the model.

Related: Find the Best Wedding Dress for Your Body Type

2. Go try dresses on

Head over to the bridal salon or any department store and try on some gowns. Get a feel for what fabrics, styles, colors, and embellishments flatter your body type, height and skin tone. You'll find out if you are not meant to wear a lace dress.

Related: 10 Mistakes Brides Make When Dress Shopping

3. Review the fit guide and take your measurements

Each site and each designer uses a different set of measurements, so grab a measuring tape and write down your bust, hip, and waist measurements, which you will use to identify your right size. Remember to wear a bra similar to what you will be wearing on your big day and stand naturally, with your heels together and arms by your side. If you purchase a made-to-order gown (either in a salon or online), you will still be ordering according to the designer's standard sizing policy, which is why, as a rule of thumb, you should order a size up and then alter the dress to fit you perfectly.

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4. Understand your fabrics

Certain fabrics are stretchy, allowing you to order your dress according to your bust size. Some are unforgiving and show off every curve. Others are stiffer and make a swishing sound as you walk. Do make sure you understand what type of fabric you'll be working with — it's not enough to rely on the photo. If you're ordering a dress from Idojour, we'll happily send you a swatch (or two or three) of fabric so you can see the color, quality, and feel material up close.

5. Read the descriptions carefully

There are a lot of inexpensive gowns and knockoffs out there that may look great in the photos online, but when you receive the dress, you'll be disappointed by the lack of quality. Satin gowns, for example, are lightweight and have a lovely sheen, but if they are not lined or cut properly, the fabric will wrinkle easily and stick to the body. Poorly-cut dresses will crinkle and snag at inconvenient places. Be sure you have a clear understanding of what fabrics are being used, how the dress is lined, and where the gown is made.

6. Inquire about the length of the gown

If you have your measuring tape handy, as well as your wedding day shoes, you can easily calculate how long you want your dress to be (from your natural waist to the floor). Most gowns will allow extra length so that they can be hemmed to your exact measurements. However, you should always double-check, especially if you are taller than 5'9".

7. Take advantage of customization options

Want an ivory dress instead of pure white? A longer train? Straps? Need a plus-size dress? These options are often available to you when you choose a made-to-order dress online. Keep in mind, however, that you might be charged for some of the extras. If you are purchasing a ready-to-wear gown online, your options are much more limited.

Related: 10 Creative Ways to Customize Your Gown

8. Review the shipping, cancellation and return policy

Some dresses ship immediately. Others will take several months to ship. Some sites will allow you to return the dress if you're not satisfied with how it fits. Many sites will charge a restocking fee, which is a common practice. And others, especially those offering made to order gowns, will not accept returns. Make sure you know what their policy when it comes to canceling your dress order and/or returning it.

9. Call up customer service

A reputable site will make themselves accessible, helpful, and responsive. Don't hesitate to reach out with any and all questions on fit, style advice, personal information security, options and general guidance. If you can't find contact information, consider it a red flag.

10. Find a tailor you trust

Chances are, you'll need to make some tweaks to your gown to make sure it fits you like a glove on your big day. It's important that someone experienced, reputable and capable takes on that task.

Best of luck in your quest to find that perfect gown — whether it be at a salon, a department store, or around the interwebs. And if you are searching for something a bit more modern, unique and exquisitely made, do visit Idojour's online bridal boutique, where we have lots of gorgeous gowns, accessories, jewelry, and plenty of bridal inspiration. We offer free shipping, free fabric swatches, and $100 to spend in our jewelry and accessories store with gown purchase. And we're always available to answer any questions you might have, any time.

More from Bridal Guide:

Browse Thousands of Designer Wedding Dresses

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