In our modern age of internet shopping, pretty much anything can be ordered online and shipped anywhere in the world — including a wedding dress. Now more than ever, people are making the choice to order a wedding dress online, in particular on a little site you may have heard of — Etsy.
For years, people relied on sites like eBay for their ecommerce needs, but over the last decade, Etsy has emerged as the place where most Offbeat Bride readers do their online shopping. Etsy allows buyers to purchase unique, handmade, or vintage items through its safe online marketplace. Fashion designers from around the world can put their products for sale in their Etsy shops, giving you a wider variety of gowns to choose from — everything from rock ‘n' roll wedding dresses to gorgeous plus-size gowns.
Understandably, many are still skeptical about purchasing a wedding dress online, so here are a few tips and tricks on how to successfully get your own Etsy wedding dress.
1. Research your seller
This goes without saying, but do some research! Anyone in the world can create an Etsy shop and you want to make sure that you are going to a reputable seller who will provide a quality product. The easiest way to research your seller is by going into their comments section and doing some digging. Who best to hear from than real customers who have gone through the game themselves?
If that isn't enough, Etsy allows you to see how long the shop has been in business for, where they are based out of, and even how many sales they've made so far. Not to mention it is very easy to get in contact with a seller before you buy through Etsy, so you can be sure that this is the right shop for you. You want to purchase your dress from a seller who wants to provide you with a dress to be proud of — not just take your money and run. Unfortunately, there are lots of shady sellers, but they can be avoided with some careful research.
Etsy now offers the option to sort search results by “Top customer reviews” — use that function!
2. Know when it's too good to be true
Sorry to say, but the $99 gown may look like a dream but it could very well be smoke and mirrors. These “good deals” are all over Etsy and it is very important to know who you are buying from and be sure that you're not being scammed. Many times retailers overseas will post what looks like a dress fit for a princess but when it comes to your door, it's another story entirely.
Again, this is where the reviews of other buys come in handy. No bride would wish the disappointment of not getting what they paid for on another bride, so the reviews are a great way to know which shops to steer clear of. Even though a $200 dress may look like a steal compared to the $2,000 dress, it is important to understand that paying more for a quality gown from a reputable seller is far better than wasting your time and money on a cheap dress.
3. Support small businesses
The purpose of Etsy is to connect small business owners with buyers and while many scam companies may be out there, there are tons of small-scale designers who live to make your vision into a reality. It takes some searching but there are a few ways to tell what's the real deal.
They say a picture's worth a thousand words and in terms of buying a wedding dress online, it's true! Often times scam artists will try to fool you with wedding gowns that have been stolen from other designers, but the small business owners aren't trying to pull the wool (or in this case, organza) over your eyes with a retouched image.
Look for shops that show you the gowns for what they really are — look for multiple camera angles, and photos that don't look like they came out of a catalog.
These dresses may be more expensive than some of the others that you see on the site, but what is great about Etsy is that you have the chance to explore thousands of unique designs — stuff like steampunk wedding dresses, vintage wedding dresses, plus size wedding dresses, rockabilly wedding dresses, geeky wedding dresses, and UG SO MUCH MORE!
4. Talk openly about timing and expectations
Working with small businesses on Etsy can be challenging because especially with something as complex as a wedding dress, these things can take time. Make sure you're clear with a seller about your expectations and their timeline for your dress.
Did you get your dress at Etsy? What lessons did you learn? What should other Etsy shoppers watch out for?