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Challenge #1: Arrival Times
“My designer can’t finish my dress on time! I was supposed to have my dress by now, but it won’t be ready until juuuust before the wedding (which is way too close for comfort).”
Solution: Those nagging iCloud notifications have the right idea: Back it up. Backup dresses will take the extra stress away, knowing you won’t get hitched in your skivvies. You can find a really inexpensive (but still beautiful!) alternative to have on hand just in case. Take a look at ASOS , Lulu’s, BHLDN sale, and Etsy for some gorgeous budget backups. A couple things to keep in mind: on Etsy, only order dresses shipping from the states, and no matter which retailer you order from, make sure you confirm shipping times!
One creative backup option that’s a winner on literally every body is separates. A flowy tulle skirt, for example, can easily be cut to whatever length you need – no sewing machine or skills required. Then pair it with a fun, lacy crop top or bodysuit (which you can find at any of the above online shops) and BAM, just like that you’ve got yourself a completely customized, one-of-a-kind ensemble with zero tailoring needed!
Challenge #2: Online Shopping
Solution: One of our all time favorite wedding dress shops, BHLDN, has temporarily closed their brick-and-mortar boutiques, BUT they’re offering full refunds for 60 days on online orders to make up for it. So why not order a dress or two (or even three! *gasp*), knowing you can return anything you don’t absolutely love. Fine print: the return policy doesn’t apply to final sale (anything with .99 cents), but that still doesn’t exclude much. Read their return policy related to dresses and covid-19.
As a rule of thumb, anything loose and flowy generally has a more forgiving fit and still looks beautiful without tailoring, plus the occasional safety-pin can be hidden better in drapey fabrics. Structured styles like Mermaid and Trumpet dresses or tight fabrics are riskier without trying it on since they’re designed to fit closer to your unique figure, so any pulling or bagginess is harder to fix in a pinch.
Lots of boutiques and dress shops are offering virtual appointment, great return policies, and big sales. Keep tabs on all the great things!
Also, right now BHLDN is notorious for having amazing sales on dresses and accessories, so be sure to check out their sale page. That’s big time. But wait, there’s more! They’re also doing virtual appointments so you can meet with a dress expert, order a dress, and still send it back if it’s not The One!
Challenge #3: Getting it Tailored
“I have my dream dress (yay!), but it doesn’t fit quite right (booo!). How can I get alterations if all the tailors are closed?”
Solution: Reach out to local tailors to see if they’d offer a virtual alteration session. If you’re both willing to get creative and go digital, you can work together on a video call to take measurements and pin fabric. Afterwards, arrange a time to throw on your mask and gloves to drop off your dress, the tailor can do a few alterations, then you pick it up, try it on, have another video call session – lather, rinse, repeat until your dress is good to go. Many tailors would be thrilled to find a suitable (pun completely intended) solution to work with you during this downtime to keep their business up and running!
Challenge #4: A little of everything
“I AM QUEEN OF ALL THE CHALLENGES! GAH!”
Solution: Don’t panic! One solution we’ve found that tackles a few of these hiccups head-on is taking the pre-owned route. You can find expensive, designer dresses there for a fraction of the price, and often you can find one that was never even worn! By filtering the results, you can even find dresses in the $100-300 range. Plus, you know the dresses are already finished and ready to ship, and you can usually chat with the bride to get a better idea of how it fits and feels on an actual person.
Speaking of actual, real-life people, skimming the pre-loved dress sites for photos of real brides in all sorts of styles can be a really helpful reference for how certain dresses might look on you. Take a look at Nearly Newlywed, Still White, and Tradesy, and maybe even find yourself a doppelganger!
Honorable Mention: No challenges, just excited for dress shopping!
Solution: If you do have a little longer before the big day but still want to get ahead of the game, you can take some of this free time to narrow down exactly what you’re looking for – and take advantage of some of the sales! To help you on the hunt, check out our guide on how to find the perfect elopement dress. We walk you through the fabrics and styles that will make you the best-dressed AND best-prepared adventure bride around (for when “durable” is on your dress dealbreakers)!