Every bride dreams of the moment she’ll step onto that pedestal at the bridal salon, tears in her eyes, as she tells her friends and family this is the dress. Unfortunately, with everything going on, that’s not a possibility right now—at least not in person. On the bright side, at least we don’t have to go hunting through racks and deal with bridal entourages who feel a little too comfortable speaking their minds, but in all seriousness, it sucks not having the wedding experience you’d been planning out since you were little. But just because you can’t step foot into the bridal boutique you’ve been stalking since before you got engaged, doesn’t mean you’re going to have to get married in your pajamas. (Unless you want to, in which case, respect.) In light of lockdowns and social distancing orders, many bridal companies are now offering virtual bridal appointments. Here’s everything you need to know about ordering a dress during the pandemic.
Speak To A Stylist
At the very least, now you have extra time to scour Pinterest and bridal sites to really pinpoint your preferred style and silhouette. Tara Healy, Co-Founder of LA-based bridal brand Tara Lauren, says brides-to-be should “take advantage of all of the extra downtime at home to sit with a bridal stylist, chat about your personal style and gather ideas on what you’re liking.” She adds, “Even if you’re not 100% comfortable with making your purchase remotely, it will give you a much clearer idea of what you’re leaning towards so that when you’re ready for that in person appointment you have your top picks ready to go and a clear plan.” So don’t worry about your screen time usage increasing 150%, since it’s all in the name of research.
Set Up A Virtual Appointment
If your wedding is coming up later in the year or next year, you can still purchase a dress even though bridal boutiques in your state may not be open, as many shops are offering virtual consultations. Bridal retailer Brideside launched virtual styling appointments for bridal parties, allowing clients to video chat with a stylist to look at swatches, see gowns, go over mood boards, and discuss fit.
At Lovely Bride, a bridal shop open in 18 cities around the country, virtual appointments kick off with a mood board, and although trying on dresses in-person isn’t possible right now, founder Lanie List says, “if a bride is on a tight timeline, we can ship her the #1 pick on her wishlist. That way she can make the decision without the stress of long gown lead-times.” It may not be the picture-perfect moment you had envisioned, but companies are devising ways to find you your dress and retain as much of the in-person experience as possible.
Know Your Options
The biggest overarching theme here is that brands and vendors completely understand that nothing is business as usual anymore, and are adjusting their policies to account for all the chaos. For example, Birdy Grey, a direct-to-customer bridesmaid dress brand, has extended their return policy until the end of May for their brides. They’re also offering free color swatches delivered straight to your door to help choose color palettes. Brideside will also send color swatches to all clients who book a virtual styling appointment at least five days in advance. Lee says that, “Unlike most bridal brands that are made-to-order, we hold inventory, so our dresses are in-stock and ready to ship,” adding, “Thankfully, we haven’t experienced any COVID19-related disruption to our shipping lead times, so all of our bridesmaid dresses deliver in 10 days (or less!) worldwide.”
Try On At Home
This should come as a surprise to no one, but many bridal brands and stores are now offering try-at-home options. Grace and Ivory, an online ecommerce bridal brand, launched a try-at-home program “so brides have another option when shopping for their wedding dresses,” says Founder and Creative Director Tina Wong Zysk. For $25, you just pick your style and size range and the gown comes with clips, measuring tape, a try-at-home guide, and a prepaid return shipping label when you’re ready to send it back. If you love the dress and decide to purchase it, Zysk says, “we follow up for measurements and custom options and your dress will be crafted and delivered in just 3 to 4 months.” Keep this timeline in mind when ordering your gown. She advises “that you order 5-6 months before your wedding so we can ensure you have the dress 6-8 weeks before your big day.”
If You Already Ordered A Dress Before COVID-19
If your dress is delayed due to COVID-19 and you’re worried it won’t get to you in time for your big day, don’t worry. Bridal companies are going above and beyond to accommodate brides who are in need of wedding attire in the next few months. The first thing you need to do is review the shop’s policies, as many are likely to have systems in place for these types of situations. If not, due to the crisis, bridal companies are more likely to work with each client on a case-by-case basis. If you have a wedding planner, definitely reach out as they are more likely to have the resources and contacts to help you in this scenario.
Jeannette Tavares, Principal and lead wedding planner of premier event planning company EVOKE Design and Creative, says planners are going above and beyond for their brides, working with their industry contacts and “accessing floor samples, rushed alterations, borrowed gowns and more.” If your dress will not be coming in time for your wedding day due to issues caused by COVID-19, Tavares proposes, “Reach out to family and friends that have their wedding dresses in boxes and ask them to pull them out just for you!” It might be even more special that way. She adds, “Once you receive them, set up virtual try-on sessions with everyone (a fun way to include everyone that has come to help you).” If borrowing a dress isn’t something you want for your special day, or none seem to fit, Jeannette recommends getting family and friends together to help you create your own dress. If you have the time during quarantine, how special would that be? Tavares suggests “find someone who can sew and create your own beautiful gown. There is something pretty special about a ‘something borrowed’ wedding dress.”
If there is no way your dream dress will come to you in time, take the time you need to mourn. While this isn’t ideal and we know you were beyond excited for that dress, there are alternatives you can look into. One option is BHLDN, an online and in-store wedding shop by Anthropologie. For brides in a time crunch and who need their dress ASAP, or their dress is delayed and will not come in time, BHLDN offers an entire collection of last-minute wedding dresses that are ready to be shipped. Each dress offers a detailed style guide as well as an option to speak with a stylist to help find your perfect size. In addition, the site offers a style guide video explaining exactly how to measure yourself for their dresses. All you need is a measuring tape. The dresses are guaranteed to ship to you within 24 hours and they do offer an express overnight option. You can wipe the sweat off your forehead now. Phew.
Above all, Shelley Brown, Senior Fashion & Beauty editor at The Knot, says, “The most important thing to remember during these unprecedented times is that communication is key. If you’re just beginning the shopping process, contact your local bridal salon to see what options they have available. Local bridal salons are doing everything in their power to continue supporting brides during this time, from hosting virtual consultations to sending dress samples for at-home try ons. If you’ve already ordered your dress, check in with your salon regarding arrival date and inquire about options for alterations during this time.” You’re not going to be left hanging, so just reach out and ask.
If you’re a bride-to-be, then it may be wise to actually use your Black Friday for good this year to save for your big day. Instead of mindlessly spending money under the guise of getting some amazing deal on like, a TV or whatever, you could actually save some of your wedding funds by being more strategic with your Black Friday shopping. Just like everything else in America, there are Black Friday deals on bridal dresses, bridesmaid dresses, and basically everything else bridal. And, the best part is, you don’t even have to leave your house if you don’t want to, because all of these deals are available online. So, lucky for you, you won’t have to tell your grandkids tales of how you had to swing elbows at your local David’s Bridal to get your dream wedding dress. Here are the Black Friday bridal deals to take advantage of this year.
Jenny by Jenny Yoo Providence Gown,
BHLDN is known for their stunning gowns and unbelievable wedding pieces. However, some of their prices can also tend to be on the unbelievable side too (and not in that same good way). This year for Black Friday, BHLDN will be offering an additional 30% off sale (excluding final sale) plus free shipping on all orders. They have tons of beautiful bridal accessories, so even if you’re not necessarily gunning for that sale wedding dress, there’s still plenty of reason to shop their Black Friday Sale.
Noel and Jean by Katie May Oh Baby Plunging Lace Trumpet Gown, $1,235
Everyone’s universal favorite retailer, Nordstrom, is a hot spot for Black Friday deals. And now with their extensive wedding shop there’s even more reason to check them out for Black Friday. Nordstrom is already showing tons of price slashes on select styles across their site, so I assume they’ll offer some of those discounts within their wedding shop this year too. Nordstrom’s online wedding shop is super easy to browse, and offers curated assortments of everything from wedding dresses for you to wedding dresses for your mom. No, but like actually…they have a “Mother-of-the-Bride Dresses” tab.
Metallic Baguette Foldover Crossbody Clutch, $39.95
As previously mentioned, you definitely don’t need to go out and throw ‘bows to take advantage of these Black Friday deals. Starting at 6pm on the Wednesday night prior to Thanksgiving, David’s Bridal will be offering 20% off everything online, and they have some amazing dresses and accessories. And, given how low the prices already are, you’re sure to get a steal.
8-Bottle Private Reserve Wine Cellar, $159.99
Great news, people! Zola has a whole week of promotions to help you save money for your big day. Starting on Thanksgiving, Zola is doing 20% off on gifts, 40% off on paper, and 50% off on holiday cards. So if you need any of the aforementioned things, then you know where to go, and the best part is you don’t even have to worry about being on your computer at the crack of dawn to get these deals. After having started on Thanksgiving, these deals will carry on through 12/10.
Save the Date Address Stamp, $45 before discount
This site is currently doing 30% off everything and they have some really cute (and very Instagrammable) stuff worth checking out for your big day. Everything they do utilizes a stunning calligraphy design, so you definitely don’t have to worry about it being some cheap weird discounted online stuff that comes in looking like sh*t. This stuff is actually legit, and at 30% off, seems like a no-brainer.
My Wedding Favors
Personalized Stemless Wine Glasses, from $1.99/glass
My Wedding Favors is currently offering 20% off their site. They have tons of cute kitschy bridal things, whether for wedding party favors or for asking someone to be your bridesmaid or groomsman. So, whether for your own wedding, bridal shower, or even if you’re just a guest attending a wedding who needs a meaningful personal gift, My Wedding Favors is the place to go.
If you’ve read all of our bachelorette guides and still don’t want to plan a bachelorette party, the BACH Party App can help you organize all your plans with your phone. You can make and share a group itinerary,
harass the other bridesmaids for payment chat with the other attendees, track and split expenses, and book experiences like GLAMSQUAD, goat yoga, and hangover IVs directly in the app. Starting Wednesday, November 27, save big on your bachelorette party if you’re doing it in Nashville, Las Vegas, Miami, New Orleans, Austin, or Charleston, because BACH is offering 25% off experiences/activities through December 4. 25% off a beach party in Miami? Don’t mind if I fake an elaborate proposal just to get these deals.
Kenny Flowers The Piña Party Sarong
“Bride Tribe” tanks are so 2015. If you need matching attire for your bachelorette, get matching sarongs from Kenny Flowers instead. They also do kimonos, cover-ups, and matching one-pieces in a variety of cute patterns that are made in Bali. And the best part is, unlike those tanks your friend made you buy, you’ll actually wear these again… and I don’t just mean to the gym or to bed. Even better? Just for Betches fans, use code BETCHESBRIDES for 30% off bach party orders.
If you’re a bride-to-be, you probably want to save as much money as possible. So take advantage of Black Friday to get some bridal deals, and use the money you saved for stocking the open bar. Because, at the end of the day, no one will remember the hand-beaded vintage details of your dress, but they will remember if the open bar had the premium stuff…or if you cheaped out with house vodka.
Images: @charissek/Unsplash; BHLDN; Nordstrom; David’s Bridal; Zolas; Expressionery; My Wedding Favors
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