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Everything You Need to Know About Buying a Wedding Dress Online

Here are the main things to bear in mind when you hunt for an online store that sells your dream wedding dress.

Today, there are many more ways to buy a wedding dress than by making an appointment with a wedding dress boutique. It’s not surprising, given you can buy everything else online, that there are now many excellent online stores for buying a wedding dress too. No matter what style you want – poofy or sleek, short or long – and whether you want a wedding dress that is brand-new, vintage, or pre-owned, you can find it online. Here are the main things to bear in mind when you hunt for an online store that sells your dream wedding dress.


Your budget is going to be one of your main guiding factors when buying a wedding dress. If you’re willing to pay full price for a designer wedding dress, buying online opens the door to many beautiful wedding dresses that have the advantage of being available immediately. Net-a-Porter and Nordstrom both offer designer dresses that begin at under $2,000 but can go all the way up to over $10,000 for designers like Oscar de la Renta or Stella McCartney.

For brides who are looking for a dress on a tighter budget, shopping online presents a wide range of affordable yet gorgeous wedding dresses. You can take your pick from a range of brand-new wedding dresses for under $500 from Reformation or ASOS, where dresses start at just $100. Brands like J. Crew and Anthropologie’s wedding line BHLDN sell their dresses online for under $3,000, so keeping your budget down to a few thousand dollars doesn’t need to restrict your choices.


One of the great things about shopping online is that you can browse through every style of wedding dress imaginable without the exhaustion of traveling from one store to the next. It’s highly recommended to do some research in brick and mortar stores first, so that you know whether cap sleeves or sleeveless styles suit you best, or if you want A-line or sheath, for example. Once you have an idea of the style of wedding dress you’re after, the internet is your oyster-satin gown.

Boho brides are well served by the vintage-inspired, art deco and boho gowns sold by BHLDN, or by the slightly more expensive and eccentric style of Stone Fox Bride, where you’ll find bell sleeves and dip-dye maxi dresses aplenty. If you’re looking for classic wedding silhouettes you cannot do better than J. Crew for elegant A-lines and sheaths, or Nordstrom for frothy, dreamy, traditionally romantic dresses. Fashionable brides who want the latest trends can find those too, at Net-a-Porter which stocks just about every designer from Self Portrait to Stella McCartney.

If you want to express a different kind of style, Reformation specializes in environmentally friendly fashion made from recyclable and sometimes surprising materials. You can get a classic cap-sleeved gown or floaty maxi dress with an environmental certification to show off your eco-conscious styling.

Buying Pre-Worn

As well as showcasing brand new designer dresses on sites like Nordstrom and Net-a-Porter, the internet is also your biggest wardrobe of second hand and vintage wedding dresses. Buying a second-hand dress is a great way to score a huge discount on your gown. One advantage of buying a second-hand dress is that you can use the money you save to have the dress altered so that it fits you perfectly. offers a huge selection of over 20,000 used wedding dresses which are all at least 50% off. Not every wedding dress that’s being resold has actually been worn before – some dresses are sold on the site because the bride found another one that she liked better, or because the wedding was called off.

On the downside though, everyone has heard horror stories about brides who were ripped off when the vintage, hand-made lace gown they were expecting turned out to be a cheap, mass-produced item from China. While you could try your luck on sites like Craigslist or eBay, you’re much more likely to find the pre-worn dress of your dreams on a site that’s dedicated solely to reselling wedding dresses. Because of this, Nearly Newlywed has a lengthy application process for wedding dress sellers to ascertain that they’re not selling a counterfeit item, so you can feel reassured that you’ll get what you pay for. In a similar way, Tradesy offers a money-back guarantee if any wedding item is not genuine, so you can buy without fear of being scammed.


One advantage of buying a pre-worn dress like one of the 20,000 available on is that you have a higher chance of finding one in your size if you need a plus size or one designed for taller or petite brides. Someone else will have spent the time pounding the pavements to find a dress that matches your more rare body type and you can benefit from their energy. You’re also able to spend the money you’ve saved on altering the dress to fit you. While all too many designer bridal dresses only run to size 12, Stone Fox Bride’s gowns are available in sizes 0 all the way through to 24.

Personal Guidance

The only downside to shopping online is that sometimes you really need an expert personal opinion. Stone Fox Bride manages to combine the convenience of internet shopping with the custom support of a bridal boutique by offering Skype video consultations to guide your wedding dress choices. You can also get telephone support from a BHLDN wedding consultant if you can’t make it to its brick and mortar bridal boutique. Nordstrom’s wrap-around free of charge wedding stylist service is available both