You’d be hard pushed to find someone who hasn’t relied on online shopping during lockdown so it’s no surprise the e-commerce industry is booming and more than half of UK consumers are now shopping online. With the UK online spend forecast to grow 29.6% by 2024,1 we decided to look at what this means for the high street bridal boutiques and whether you’ll be buying wedding dresses online in two years.
While there are lots of high street retailers focusing their efforts on e-commerce and some even selling wedding dresses online, when it comes to buying a wedding dress, it’s a risky move and not one we advise. Buying a wedding dress isn’t like buying a jumper or coat. It’s much more personal and something you need to get right to ensure you're confident and look picture-perfect in years to come.
5 benefits of not buying wedding dresses online
Visiting a bridal boutique is like stepping into a whole new world of shopping with lots of benefits. Here are five reasons why we love them and wouldn’t buy a wedding dress any other way.
- The experience and making memories
Let’s face it, you are only going to go wedding dress shopping once. A wedding isn’t just about marrying the love of your life, it's about the journey, the planning, the build-up, and the excitement. It's also an excuse for you get together with your bridal squad. When you go wedding dress shopping, it's an opportunity to gather with your mum, nan and bridesmaids and enjoy coffee and cake - or a glass of fizz. Some of our wonderful boutiques now offer afternoon tea appointments and one even has it’s own cocktail bar! If you buy your wedding dress online, you're missing out on this chance to make memories and hold up the coveted sign saying 'I said yes to the dress'.
- The perfect fit
The main reason we advise brides to go in store is the expertise of the bridal consultants. They have years of experience helping brides to find the right dress in the right size. They know exactly how to measure you to get the perfect fit and they’ll be able to advise you which dresses can be altered - and which have give to be let out. They can also help you in and out of dresses and show your bridesmaids how to do your dress up at the back to ensure everything sits in the right place on the day. Bridal consultants will also be able to offer advise on their seamstress services to ensure you get the perfect fit, regardless of your shape or size. The biggest benefit of all is getting to try on all the beautiful gowns and having fun!
- Expert advice
If you have no idea what style of dress you're looking for then bridal consultants are a bride to be’s best friend. Not only do they know what silhouettes will suit your shape just by looking at you, they can advise on a range of things such as the latest trends, best fabrics suited to your venue, dress delivery lead times and how to tie up your train for dancing. Online you might fall in love with a certain gown but you'll have no idea if it's easy to alter. In store you can discuss what's possible. They can also advise on accessories to help get the perfect look. Think underwear, bust cups, petticoats, hoops, straps, overskirts, sleeves, jackets, veils and capes.
- Bespoke service
Unlike online purchases, where you receive exactly what’s on the website, buying a wedding dress from a bridal boutique is a bespoke experience. While you are in store, you can ask any questions and request extra embellishments like appliques and beading - or less if you’d prefer a style with little detail. You'll also be able to book follow up appointments, final fittings and seamstress visits at times to suit you.
- Shop Local
After the coronavirus pandemic, it's so important to shop locally and keep the high street alive. When shopping locally you are putting money back into the local economy and giving local people jobs. Local boutiques may also be able to offer you ‘getting ready’ services on your weddiung day - handy if you want your dress steamed or corset tied up professionally. They can also store your dress until the big day so it's away from peeking eyes. Local bridal consultants will also know your wedding venue and can advise on styles to suit it accordingly.
We hope this blog has informed you about the perks of bridal boutiques over buying wedding dresses online but, if you’d like to know more, you can discover your local Ronald Joyce wedding dress stockist on our online store locator. You can also read our real bride stories and how their bridal consultants helped them.
Have fun finding the one!
Written by Lucinda Bell