The element of time is crucial when wedding planning. Everything must be ready months before the wedding starting with the bridal gown down to the littlest detail bridal shops. Brides are burdened with all the shopping details for her own outfit, bridesmaid dresses, wedding invitations, cakes, and wedding favours. With this list, brides had to hop from one shop to another, haggle here and there, and often end up more confused and tired.
The internet changed all this hectic shopping with several online bridal shops popping on the virtual scene. These shops had the smart idea to copy the one-stop-shop strategy to get more sales and to give tired brides the convenience of shopping without taking long commutes and pounding the length of super malls in search of the perfect wedding gown and wedding cake.
The best online bridal shop carries all wedding trappings — wedding gown, wedding invitations, wedding cakes, bridesmaid dresses, and dresses for the mothers of the soon-to-wed couple. As an added bonus, the shop will give discounts for your purchases if you shop for all your wedding paraphernalia there. For shopping online, you enjoy discounts and convenience and get all the wonderful things you need for your wedding. It is an unfortunate fact of life that sometimes businesses will go out of business. When it is your favorite coffee shop or newsstand, it is a disappointment. When the shop that closes is the bridal shop from which you ordered your wedding gown, it can be a crisis.
If you are using a wedding planner, she can be a particularly good resource, because she is likely to have all of the latest gossip about which stores may be teetering on the edge of solvency. A big red flag is a store that has to pay for all of its’ deliveries c. o. d., because it indicates that they have a track record of not paying their vendors (the exception is with new accounts; many gown designers will not offer terms until they have worked with a store for up to a year). The concern is that the store may not have the cash on hand to receive your order when it arrives.
The way that things are usually done at a bridal store is that you leave them a deposit to order your gown (normally 40-60%), and then pay the balance when the gown arrives from the designer. This is done for the shop’s protection, to ensure that brides are serious about their order, and so that the store will have at least covered their cost if a dress is not picked up for some reason.
There are a few ways that a bride can protect herself when she is ordering a dress. First of all, get a contract in writing, and be sure that it lists your down payment. Many credit cards offer some sort of consumer protections, as well, so if yours does, use that for your deposit instead of writing a check. This way, in the unlikely event that the store does go out of business, you will have a better chance of recovering your deposit.
When bridal shops do close, it can be very difficult to track down the owners. If your gown has already been received at the shop, you are in a better position than if it is still on order. At least all you have to do is find someone to let you in so that you can pick up your dress. Many bridal shops will allow brides to leave their accessories at the store with their gown as a convenience; normally this is just fine. If you have anything irreplaceable, such as a piece of bridal jewelry that was handcrafted just for you, then it is safer to keep it in your possession (some stores will prefer that you only leave things like shoes and veils anyway, keeping your handcrafted bridal jewelry at your home). A designer will rarely ship directly to a client, but they might be willing to send your gown to another nearby bridal shop. The only problem is that you if you were not able to recover your original deposit, you may very well still end up having to pay the full price for the dress to the second shop. If you are buying a very expensive designer gown, it might be a good idea to have wedding insurance, to ensure that you would be able to get your money back.