Rhode Island Wedding Guide
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From Dreams to Nightmares: Why Buying a Wedding Dress Online Can Be a Bad Idea

It’s the most magical day of your life, your wedding day! But in the hustle and bustle of planning it, one can often be so surprised by how much everything is going to cost. Hmmm, you might wonder, what if I buy my wedding dress online? Perhaps I could save a few hundred dollars. But what we found is you can often end up spending even more money by buying a dress online, never mind the heartache you’ll endure if the dress turns out to be counterfeit, which is sadly, often the case.

We turned to the owner of Party Dress Express, Donna Holland, New England’s #1 retailer for Wedding gowns and special occasion to explain to us why it’s important to buy your wedding gown from a full service bridal shop. Donna explained to us, “I completely understand a Bride wants to get the best price on her wedding dress. The problem is, there are very unscrupulous people on the internet using a ‘bait and switch’ scam when it comes to wedding dresses. They steal a picture of a designer dress from a designer’s website and promise to sell you that dress for several hundred dollars less. What Bride could resist? The problem comes when the dress arrives and it is an obvious knock-off. The material is not the same, the fit is not the same and the design is not even close to the picture the Bride was ‘teased’ with. To add insult to injury, because the dress was shipped from out of the country, the Bride is also responsible for very high shipping fees to even receive the dress.”


Holland continued, “Planning a wedding is so stressful but to now add to that stress, your wedding gown has arrived and looks nothing like the one you thought you were buying. This is so devastating to a Bride. She obviously can’t wear the gown she was sent and it is near impossible to obtain any kind of refund if the dress comes from overseas, which is always almost the case, they do not have to follow US sales regulations.”

Holland told us she can’t believe the horror stories she hears from Brides who have tried to buy cheaper “replicas” or other knock-off dresses online.  “The dresses are usually coming from a Chinese manufacturer. You would think the biggest complaint is the terrible quality of the dress once it does arrive - we had one Bride tell us when she tried hers on, the strap just popped off. But another complaint - the dress does not arrive at all or, it arrives after the wedding!”

But the reason to buy your wedding gown from a full service bridal shop doesn’t stop there. “Our Brides get constant communication from us. Maybe the Bride is having a special photo shoot weeks before her wedding and needs the dress ready by then. We’ll take care of that. Or a Bride wanted pictures of her in her dress before it had been finished being altered because she was having a special cake topper made. We work with the Bride to coordinate all her needs. We want to make her life easy and make her happy.”

The biggest reason, though, to go to a full service retailer for your wedding gown is a store like Party Dress Express works hard to make sure every Bride has a knowledgeable sales consultant helping you find the right bridal gown that is perfect for a Bride’s venue, personality and body type.

Holland says, “Sadly, another scenario we see over and over again is when a Bride comes to the store, crying tears of frustration,  because she wasted time going to a one day only wedding gown event only to find clearance dresses, portable fitting rooms, no service or selection.  Because of the frenzy all around her, she  felt pressure to buy a gown, that, while seemed like a good deal at the time, is not even close to her dream dress.”

So how can a Bride have the best of both worlds, her dream wedding gown and a good price? Holland says first, always buy from an authorized dealer. Then check with the store to see if they will match the price of other authorized dealers. “At Party Dress Express, you are always going to find the best price. However, if you find a wedding gown less expensive at an authorized dealer, we will match that price.” Another incentive Party Dress Express provides: they offer “Bridal Rewards.” A Bride earns a $50 gift certificate just for buying her dress at Party Dress Express. If she adds on a rehearsal or reception dress, she’ll be gifted an additional $25 gift certificate. “We often run coupons, too, which can provide additional savings for family members, say a Mother of the Bride or Groom, who might buy their dress with us.”

So remember, buyer beware! It’s one of the most important days of your life. So protect yourself from being a victim of online fraud and shop at an authorized dealer of your favorite wedding gown designer. As Donna Holland points out: there are still many ways to save on your wedding dress!


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