Oct 01, 2019
When it comes to buying bridesmaids dresses, it can definitely feel as if the options are endless. Thanks to the internet, inspiration photos, and often links to where to find the dresses in them, are just a click away. With all of that choice, it can be tempting to do all of your shopping online and cut out the middleman of a retailer entirely. As convenient as that choice can seem, there are often as many cons involved as there are pros, and some issues can arise that can be avoided when shopping in person. We’ve compiled a list, based on the experiences of bridesmaids we’ve worked with over the years, of some reasons that shopping for bridesmaids dresses in person can yield the best results.
So often, the deciding factor when it comes to picking a dress for bridesmaids is the colour. Brides can spend hours searching for the perfect shade of blue or blush or green to fit their wedding colour palette, narrowing down options until they find the one that matches their vision. In store, there are physical swatches, and often full dresses, available in the different colours each designer offers, which takes most of the guesswork out of that choice. Computer and phone screens will all show colour differently depending on format and screen brightness, so you never truly know what you’re getting until the dress shows up. The last thing a bridesmaid party wants is for their “perfect blush” dresses to arrive and be bubblegum pink!
A picture is worth a thousand words, but trying a dress on is worth a thousand pictures! As stunning as a dress can look on a website, it can be difficult to tell how that cut and fabric will translate in person. Especially if you’re not somebody who wears formal wear or dresses often, it can be difficult to tell what silhouette or style you feel most comfortable in until you’ve tried some on! As well, depending on the website you’re looking at, it can be difficult to know how accurate that picture displayed is to the fit of the actual dress. Clever use of clips, photoshop, and camera angles can make pretty much anything look flattering in a photo, but that doesn’t always translate to real life. By trying things on in person, you’re able to see how a dress fits specific to your body type, and how that translates to the overall look and comfort of the dress.
The most common questions we get from bridesmaids during appointments are pertaining to fit and sizing, both when it comes to finding a dress that will be easy to alter for their personal body type, and picking a size once the perfect dress has been chosen. Without some kind of prior experience with measurements and sizing charts, the information brands put on their websites to help with sizing can seem overwhelming. Given that bridesmaids dresses are formal wear, and therefore constructed differently from most other types of garments, and with a different size chart in mind, picking a size off of a list can seem daunting. By coming into a store and speaking with a trained consultant, bridesmaids are able to have sizing information broken down for them, and can ask any questions they may have about how to pick a size, or what the alterations process might look like depending on the size they choose. An informed choice is a lot easier to make when you have somebody providing you that information face to face, and it means far less surprises when the dress arrives!
The running theme of this blog post seems to be that you can only trust a photo so much, but we wouldn’t keep repeating it if it wasn’t true! A photo might be able to give you an approximation of colour and fit, but it can be very difficult to tell the finer details of a dress from styled pictures alone. The weight and texture of fabric, the type of fabric used for the lining, and the finishing and findings on a dress (i.e. hems, zippers, buttons and hook-and-eye closures) can be difficult to discern on a website, when pictures are often taken from far away, and not every angle is included. There is also the possibility of the photo used on the website not being of the actual dress up for sale. We’ve had bridesmaids make appointments with us in a panic, looking for replacement dresses when the ones they’ve ordered online have arrived looking nothing like the photos online. There’s nothing like the peace of mind that comes from being able to hold a dress in your hand and inspect every angle before committing to purchasing it!
It can be easy to lose track of time when planning a wedding; between all of the appointments, tours, and meetings (all on top of your regular life), it’s a wonder how anything gets done! That’s why it is so important to give you and your bridesmaids enough time to find, order, and alter the perfect dress. To ensure peace of mind, you want to consider ordering your dresses approximately six months before the wedding. The dates vary depending on the designer, but most dresses take anywhere between three to four months to be made, shipped, and inspected before they are ready for the next step. When getting your alterations done with us, we recommend anywhere between four to six weeks to ensure that your dress is altered to perfection. Our suggested six month timeline also includes a few weeks of wiggle-room for last minute alterations, shipping delays, and any other unexpected twists that are exclusive to the world of wedding madness. If you do find yourself in a pinch for time, there are always rush shipping as well as rush alteration options available for an extra cost, as well as our extensive selection of new and gently worn off-the-rack dresses. However, your options may be limited when you are forced to consider rush or off-the-rack, so be sure to make time nice and early in your planning to snag your dream bridesmaids dresses.
Perhaps the most common reason we see bridesmaids come to order from us in store after looking online is the assurance that if any issues are to arise at any point in the process of getting the dress, they have us to handle those concerns for them. While the price of a dress may be lower on a website than in a store, that pricetag comes with the understanding that you are on your own if any issues arise with your order. If a dress shows up not as ordered, or damaged, or late, or even worse, doesn’t show up at all, you are left to be your own advocate when it comes to addressing the issue with the manufacturer. Ordering from a physical store means that you have someone in your corner if anything needs to be addressed with a designer or manufacturer. When dresses arrive to our store, they are inspected and checked against the order information we keep on file, to make sure that the dress has arrived as expected, and only once that process is finished do we contact the bridesmaid to let them know their dress is ready to be tried on. Additionally, we encourage all of our bridesmaids to try their dresses on in store with a consultant once they have arrived, to double check that everything is as it should be, and to answer any questions that may come up. Any concerns that need to be relayed to a designer go through our professional channels, and are dealt with through a system we have with all the brands we have relationships with, in order to ensure that every inquiry is met with the same level of professionalism and accountability.
Being a bridesmaid already comes with a great number of responsibilities, and as wonderful as the experience can be, we know it can cause a fair amount of stress. Our goal as a store is to eliminate as much of that stress as possible, through information and assistance. Any part of the process we can help with, be it picking the perfect colour, suggesting styles that may work for the needs of each bridesmaid, or breaking down sizing information so it’s easier to make an informed decision, can make the process a little easier. As tempting as the online selection and pricing can seem, the thing we keep hearing from our bridesmaids is how little stress is involved in the process when they can rely on the expertise of a trained staff, and the assurance that they are a valued client to us, and not just an online order confirmation number.
Photo of our JB bridesmaids and flower girl in teal chiffon Sorella Vita dresses and peacock Bari Jay flower girl dress in unique styles to suit each lovely lady! Photography by Lori Waltenbury (https://www.loriwaltenbury.com/)
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1610A Bloor Street West, Lower Level, Toronto, Ontario M6P 1A7