I had determined pretty quickly that the traditional bridal shopping experience wasn’t for me. Visiting local boutiques to see dresses that would need to be ordered nine months ahead and that were only available to try on in a sample size? It seemed so old-fashioned, and not in a charming way.
I’ve always loved to buy my clothes online – the choice, the discovery, the delivery to my door. So why would the most expensive fashion purchase I’ll probably ever make need to be any different?
So after ordering and trying on several dresses, I ended up buying my wedding dress from Net-A-Porter.com.
It was an Alexander McQueen evening gown, that just happened to be white and look ‘bridal’. It was the sort of dress that would never have been presented to me, nor have been in my budget, had I stuck with the traditional dress shopping route. It is the single best thing I’ve ever worn.
How to buy a wedding dress online: the ultimate guide
If you want to find something a little different, want to control your budget, or just don’t fancy paying a hefty deposit on a dress that you can’t try on properly for months, then this is the alternative bridal style guide for you.
Here are my top tips for successfully buying wedding dresses online…
Which online brands do the best wedding dresses?
Shopping for wedding dresses online offers seemingly endless choice, which is a great thing but also means you need to put in the time scrolling in order to come up with an edit of great outfits to try on.
The latter has Jenny Packham, Valentino, Roland Mouret and Halston, typically with at least 40 percent off, with prices from just £128.
Read more on wedding dressing:
- The best designer wedding dress dupes to save you thousands on your bridal gown
- How to do your own wedding makeup to save money
- The most stylish wedding guest looks from our favourite celebrities
Where can I find wedding dresses online under £500?
Scope everything out, and remember to think outside the bridal box. Searching for key phrases such as ‘white gown’ or ‘white jumpsuit’ on a favourite retailer might bring up some unexpected options that you fall in love with.
How do I make sure I find the right size and fit?
The trying on stage is everything. Before I ordered any online dresses, I still visited one bridal boutique in person just to try on a whole range of silhouettes, helping me to narrow down my search. It meant I actually ordered far fewer gowns, wasting less time doing tedious returns.
I would also advise, as you would before ordering anything online, to check the retailer’s return policy. Some have different rules about ordering and returning bridal dresses – some offer ‘try now pay later’ schemes, others shorten their return times.
Be smart and avoid spending tonnes on delivery fees too by ordering multiple dresses from the same retailer to try.
How long will it take for my wedding dress to arrive?
The beauty of shopping online, of course, is that you can typically order something online today to arrive tomorrow.
Most retailers will offer those typical online fashion delivery times (3-5 working days) but make sure you check in advance as some places again have different conditions for bridal orders.
You may also want to get alterations done (more on that in a second) meaning you would need to factor in a few extra weeks.
Do I have to pay in full for my wedding dress online?
The other great thing about shopping for wedding dresses online is that you can immediately see what dresses are in your budget, and use filters accordingly.
Some sites offer payment plans and pay within 30 day options – also a helpful option to consider if your wedmin spreadsheet needs you to.
Can I still get my wedding dress altered?
Always read the measurements and sizing advice before buying, to give you a better idea of how the dress will fit when it arrives.
My biggest piece of advice though (whichever website you buy your wedding dress from) is to get it tailored.
The one thing that a traditional bridal service offers, that buying wedding dresses online does not, is that perfect fit. Getting your dress tweaked will make a huge difference to the overall look, and make something off the rack look as though it was custom made for you.
Assess what needs altering – it might only be a hem, or you might want something more major like bodice adjustments, sleeves added etc – then research local, experienced dressmakers. Factor these costs and timings into your budget before you buy.
How can I recreate the bridal shopping experience at home?
The one thing most people ask me when they hear that I bought my wedding dress online is if I missed out on ‘the moment’.
That tear-jerking realisation when you’ve found ‘The One’ and the now-weary crowd that has come to all of your bridal appointments gets to experience your eureka moment with you.
You can still have one, of course. I invited my bridesmaids round for lunch, and came downstairs afterwards wearing my gown. There were tears… and they weren’t tears of relief after being dragged around 14 different shops, either.
6 of the best wedding dresses online to buy now
Buying a wedding dress online doesn’t need to cost thousands of pounds, and there really are silhouettes to suit everyone.
If you’re looking for a dress that’s modern and pretty, this one-shoulder embroidered Whistles style would be perfect, especially for a summer wedding.
Jenny Packham at The Outnet
This Jenny Packham bridal gown makes a romantic statement, with its draped cape shape and crystal-adorned neckline.
Halfpenny London at Net-A-Porter
Timeless and incredibly elegant, this strapless satin gown from Halfpenny London definitely has the wow factor, with its fitted bodice, full skirt and high-low hemline.
16 Arlington at Flannels
Setting hearts aflutter with its ostrich feather trim, this stunning 16 Arlington midi length dress is a sophisticated and stylish choice for a modern bride.
Needle & Thread
If you’re looking for a distinctly feminine and classic silhouette, this Ghost dress could be your answer, with a v-neck, flutter sleeves, and pretty button detailing on the front.