How to Shop for a Wedding Dress During COVID-19

How to Shop for a Wedding Dress during COVID-19

As the world continues in quarantine, the wedding industry is coming together to do what they do best: offer creative solutions to unexpected circumstances. And of course, that includes wedding dress shopping during COVID-19. We connected with some of our favorite boutiques, designers, and brands to find out what they’re doing to help brides find The Dress. What we LOVED to find out is how each caring team understands that shopping for a wedding dress is as much about the experience as it is getting the dress into your hands. You’ll discover the creative ways they’re making the experience special and unique and we just adore them for going above and beyond to give brides that meaningful moment.

Wedding Dress Shopping During COVID-19

One thing that hasn’t changed is lead times for dresses. The standard timeframe to shop is 4-6 months before the wedding date plus another 1-2 months for delivery and alterations. An important thing to keep in mind!

Many boutiques on this list are California-based but with the digital appointments, you can work with their stylists from the comfort of your own home…no matter where you live! However, if you had your heart set on a certain boutique in your area, be sure to check and see what sort of shopping options they’re offering. Let’s support these local businesses and the amazing teams who will do anything to make your wedding dress shopping experience just as magical as ever!

Dreamers & Lovers – California

Dreamers & Lovers

From Yanique Barnes, Designer + Co-Founder of Dreamers & Lovers:

“For brides needing a last-minute bohemian wedding dress, Dreamers & Lovers can make it happen. We are sending standard sized dresses out within a week of purchasing.

To alleviate the bride’s concern of how a dress will fit, they can get up to three dresses sent out to try at home, before purchasing. After trying they can purchase the dress with confidence.”

Grace Loves Lace – Multiple Locations

Grace Loves Lace Dallas Showroom

The Grace Loves Lace team is introducing virtual appointments. Dedicated to helping brides during these trying times, they have decided to turn to the digital space to help brides find ‘The One’.

The one-on-one virtual appointments will be conducted via a live video call, where the Grace
Loves Lace stylist will talk the bride through the luxurious range, whilst giving styling
suggestions and professional advice, like how to take your measurements at home and what
undergarments to wear with any particular dress.

From Megan Ziems, Founder and Creative Director of Grace Loves Lace:

“We have introduced 24/7 online team chat to women all around the world on Skype, live chat,
email and phone. It’s a one-on-one experience to be able to ask as many questions as you need
and ask for help. We put a lot of time into training our team and they are incredibly passionate
about what they do. They can help put together a complete look for the day without you having
to stress over it.”

Lovely Bride — Multiple Locations

lovely bride shop

From Lanie List, Founder of Lovely Bride:

“Wedding dress shopping is an intimate experience, one that we are being told to avoid at the moment.  But with so many brides getting married this fall, we wanted to give them an alternative option while keeping them safe, so we have temporarily converted our bridal appointments to ‘Virtual Bridal Appointments.’

We kick the appointment off with a thorough video chat and mood board, then discuss as many details as a bride would want to know. While we stop short of trying on, if a bride is on a tight timeline, we can ship her the #1 pick on her wishlist. That way she can make the decision without the stress of long gown lead-times, then come back into our shop later to celebrate with us and her crew.

We are offering ’Celebration Appointments’ this summer so our brides who buy virtually can recreate the experience we love to give at Lovely Bride.

Also, to our HEALTH HEROES, we want to say a huge THANK YOU to you as you continue to fight for us on the frontlines of COVID-19. As a small token of our gratitude ALL doctors, nurses and medical workers will receive 20% off Lovely Bride Exclusives (@loversxsociety@louvienne, and @dearheartbride) through the end of 2020! To redeem, inquire with your local shop when you book an appointment. Offer effective for gowns ordered after 4/1/2020. Medical ID and proof of service required.”

a&bé Bridal Shop – Multiple Locations

a&bé // babes on a mission

From Bethany and the “a&babes” of a&bé Bridal Shop:

“While our physical shops are closed, our team of a&babes are working remotely and are in constant communication with our designers and our brides to continue to make wedding dress dreams come true. As a company, we are complying with all local and national CDC guidelines, and are taking a proactive approach in an effort to keep everyone, including our brides, safe and healthy.

We are all in this together when it comes to learning how to adapt to new social distancing and isolation protocols, but we also know that every brides’ circumstances and needs are completely unique.  We encourage every bride to reach out to their local a&be shop so that they can be connected with an expert stylist who can help them navigate their unique situation.  We are here to listen, provide advice, and to help you develop and navigate the best course of action for your big day. We would love nothing more than to get to know you and walk with you through a virtual styling appointment all the way to saying yes to your dress and popping the champagne (whether that be over the phone, or in-person down the road when we finally get to meet you and give you a huge long overdue hug!).

Just like our in-person appointments, we know that wedding dress shopping isn’t one-size-fits-all, so give us a call or shoot us an email and we will walk you through all options that are available to you and that will meet your specific needs. Whether your wedding is in one month, one year, a small elopement or a grand event, we’ve got your back, babe. Love isn’t canceled. And that’s the whole damn point.”

Tara Lauren — Designer

Tara Lauren Spring 2019 Collection

Tips from Tara Healy of Tara Lauren:

“If you have already taken a few bridal appointments and have a clear vision of what you want, order earlier rather than later. There are definitely delays along the whole chain so you want to think about getting ahead of them. Many bridal boutiques are now providing virtual appointment sessions so take advantage of all of the extra downtime at home to sit with a bridal stylist, chat about your personal style and gather ideas on what you’re liking. These ladies are super knowledgeable about their store inventory and can provide indispensable suggestions and advice.

Even if you’re not 100% comfortable with making your purchase remotely, it will give you a much clearer idea of what you’re leaning towards so that when you’re ready for that in-person appointment you have your top picks ready to go and a clear plan.

And with all of the social distancing taking place, it can be a little disheartening to not have your close family members and friends by your side as you shop for your wedding gown. Think about inviting your loved ones out for your pick up appointment instead. Or, setting aside time for an accessories appointment later so they can still feel a part of that special process.”

David’s Bridal — Online + Multiple Locations

How BEAUTIFUL is this Illusion Sleeve Plunging Ball Gown Wedding Dress?!

David’s Bridal is going the distance to help brides in need of a dress FAST. They’re giving 30% off a wedding dress if you text HELLO to 38201 and select Help Placing Order to get started with Zoey, the David’s Bridal virtual stylist. All shipping and returns are free, plus, they’re guaranteeing delivery before your event. If you haven’t had a look at David’s Bridal’s current inventory, trust us when you say that you MUST!

The Dress Theory — Nashville, Seattle, San Diego

The Dress Theory

Beautiful photos above by Brogen Jessup!

Here are the latest happenings at The Dress Theory:

Complimentary Virtual Appointments:

  • Take advantage of the opportunity to get to know exactly what you’re looking for, become an expert on anything that has to do with wedding dresses, and meet your stylist all before you shop in person!
  • You will also receive a private Pinterest Board of wedding dresses curated just for you and what you’re looking for. Once we are able to open back up, we will schedule an in-person appointment for you to try on all of your favorite gowns!
  • How: Email one of our 3 shops to schedule your virtual appointment: [email protected], [email protected], or [email protected].
  • What to expect: One of our lovely stylists will give you a call and we will want to hear everything about you and your wedding — any plans you already have, things you love/hate, how you want to feel in your dress, how you met your fiance, etc. We want to hear it all! We will also have a lot of questions for you to help narrow down your general style. Plus, we can help explain what the ordering process will look like. We have been keeping in close contact with all of our designers to help our brides navigate through this challenging time, so feel free to ask us anything. We also understand that this is out of your control and if you come shopping with less than 6 months before your wedding, we will understand and do everything in our power to make rushes happen once we all reopen whenever possible. Know that you’re not alone and that we are all rooting for you and will do whatever we can to make it work for you. Our hope is to still make this an easy and fun part of the wedding planning process.
The Dress Theory
Photos above by Brogen Jessup

Celebrate being a bride while still supporting a small business:

  • We are a small female-owned and operated business. With all of our home cities under strict Shelter in Place restrictions, we’ve had temporarily close our boutiques. In the meantime we’ve created an online Dress Theory Merch Shop! It’s filled with cozy sweaters, tees, Rue De Seine Denim Jackets, totes, and much more. The best part — 100% of proceeds go to our incredible stylist until our brick and mortar boutiques reopen.

If you’re in a rush, shop previously worn gowns:

  • Our sister brand, LVD, is stocked with previously worn designer wedding dresses and samples in great condition that are available to buy right off the rack. (We have a merch site, too!) All of our inventory is online and available to ship out now!

BHLDN — Online + Multiple Locations

BHLDN Spring 2020 Collection

We love this Willowby by Watters Heartleaf Gown!

Need a dress fast and worried about delays? BHLDN has an entire page of last-minute wedding dresses that are in stock and ready to ship! Each dress has detailed fit information and you can chat with a stylist to help you get the right size. Gowns ship within 24 hours and express and overnight shipments are available (and surprisingly affordable). For more information about BHLDN’s responses to COVID-19 and what that means for your shipment, here’s a list of FAQs.

Styled by TC — Brea, CA

From Ali Boulger of Styled by TC:

“If you’ve had an appointment with us before and you think you found the one at TC, let’s do this! Email us and we can get your order going. We can set up a tentative date to do ALL the fun things like bringing in your gals, popping some champagne and taking pics in the dress!

The same goes for bridesmaids and accessories. Once we are back open we anticipate being very busy, so get on the schedule now if you’re looking to make an appointment! We always have an ongoing sample sale of bridal gowns that are not only 50% off but also ready to take home the date of purchase!

We are prepared to do anything during this time to take some stress away from our brides. FaceTime, phone call, email — you name it!”

Love & Lace Bridal Salon — OC + LA

We love this photo of the Love & Lace Bridal Salon team by Emily Saenz!

From Ramona Southard, Co-Owner of Love & Lace Bridal Salon:

“Although it is a different way to shop, most bridal salons have gotten creative and are still very equipped and excited to help you find your gown during this time! Be open to doing virtual styling appointments and reach out to your local/favorite salon to see if they are doing those!

During this time, more so than ever, be flexible and willing to find your gown in a new way, but think about what a cool story you will have! So settle in, grab your phone/iPad, connect virtually with a bridal salon, and be prepared to say YES!”

Lace & Liberty – San Francisco + Online

Lace and Liberty Bridal Salon

Lace & Liberty offer 3 ways to work with brides at home. 

Option 1 
All designs from the Lace & Liberty collection are available for Home Try-On. Order any individual dress or separates using the “Order Try-On At Home” button. $30/Item

Option 2 
Less certain about the style you’re are looking for or have questions? Schedule a call with the Lace & Liberty design team first. A curated Try-On Box including dresses and separates, as well as fabric swatches and more will be sent to you. $45/Box

Option 3 
Know exactly what you want? Schedule a call directly with Lace & Liberty designers. They will work with you to bring your dress vision to life via a personalized sketch!

Mon Amie Inc. — Costa Mesa, CA

From Laurel Mungo, CEO of Mon Amie Inc.:

“Any bride that has shopped, tried on gowns, and has found ‘the one’ should be ordering it now! At this point, the virus has not affected delivery times, but I feel that could change when we are past this stage. Backlog could affect future orders, but there’s no need to worry at this time. Just keep walking forward so that you will be fully prepared and ready for your wedding day!

Right now, we’re booking brides for virtual appointments to order their gowns. What a crazy memory that will create! 90% of our inventory is listed on our website, so you can go shopping from home!”

Grace + Ivory — Try-At-Home Dresses

order wedding dress

From Tina Wong Zysk, Founder + Creative Director of Grace + Ivory:

Grace + Ivory is an online e-commerce bridal brand with roots in Washington, DC and Chicago, and we create beautiful, custom, made-to-measure wedding dresses for the modern bride. As a women-owned shop, we’ve partnered directly with our dressmaker, cutting out layers of distributors and retailers to offer gorgeous dresses without the mark-up (all of our customizable designs are under $2,000). We’re a social enterprise and as our mission is about women supporting women, a portion of every dress purchase goes to programs helping women and girls in need. We’re currently supporting Plan International’s The Girls’ Fund, which has programs around the world focusing on eliminating child marriage, keeping girls in school, girls’ health, and women empowerment.

Grace + Ivory’s try-at-home (TAH) program is something I envisioned since starting, so brides have another option when shopping for their wedding dresses. You can try our dresses on in your own home, delivered to your door. We suggest popping some champagne and Facetiming relatives… or don’t! It’s all up to you.

We’ve streamlined the TAH ordering process: 

    • You order the sample dress directly off our website, from each specific dress collection page, using the “Try on at home!” buttons.
    • After you click the “Try on at home!” button, you would select your size range, the three days you would have that specific dress, add to cart, and checkout online. 
    • After you’ve ordered, a dedicated bridal stylist will reach out via email to confirm, send tracking information once it ships, and be there for any questions.
    • Once you’ve tried our dresses, mail back the samples within 3 days using the prepaid shipping label. 
    • When you’re ready to move forward, order your wedding dress right off our website! The cost of your try-at-home is credited towards the purchase of your dress, so ensure that you receive a credit code. 

Our dress pricing is inclusive of dress customization and shipping costs. Once purchased, we follow-up for measurements and custom options and your dress will be crafted and delivered in just 3 to 4 months. We advise that you order 5-6 months before your wedding so we can ensure you have the dress 6-8 weeks before your big day. This is our Grace + Ivory try-at-home experience and we’re excited to have you part of it!

For more details about the TAH and FAQs, visit our website! Check out our video about it here.”

Kelly Faetanini – Multiple Locations

Ruby Gown by Kelly Faetanini

Kelly Faetanini launched a Try at Home Experience!

Step 1: Browse the collection of over 50 lastest styles and fan favorites to select your top picks to try on.

Step 2: Zoom in for a 30-minute consultation with a dedicated stylist to help you finalize your choice of 2-5 gowns plus accessories.

Step 3: Your 1-hour Try at Home virtual fitting session! Your consultant will guide you through each gown, aide with proper styling, and help with any customization questions to create the perfect fit.

Learn more about the Try at Home sessions and read all the FAQs here!

A Note About Bridesmaids Dresses

From Grace Lee, Founder & CEO of Birdy Grey:

“There’s no need to pause planning during COVID19, especially when it comes to your bridesmaid dresses. Keep the process moving by turning to digital-native brands (such as Birdy Grey) whose supply chains are optimized for couch-based wedding planning. Unlike most bridal brands that are made-to-order, we hold inventory, so our dresses are in-stock and ready to ship. Thankfully, we haven’t experienced any COVID19-related disruption to our shipping lead times, so all of our bridesmaid dresses deliver in 10 days (or less!) worldwide.

We’ve opened up our return policy until the end of May, in case plans change and customers need flexibility. We’re also making it super easy for brides to plan her color palette without leaving home by offering free swatches, delivered to her doorstep. (Just use the code “SWATCHTRIO” at checkout)

Since we’ll be in quarantine for a while, have some fun and host a virtual fitting party with all your bridesmaids. Make it festive by sending pretty digital invitations from Paperless Post, and have everyone pop some bubbly for the occasion. It’s a nice way to get the girls together for some bonding… while checking bridesmaid dresses off your list of wedding to-do’s.”

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Do you own/work for/know of other bridal boutiques offering wedding dress shopping during COVID-19 resources for brides? Please leave tips, websites, and locations in the comments!

We’ve got more resources about your wedding + Coronavirus right here.

Lovely Bride photo: You Look Lovely Photography // Tara Lauren photo: Jack Steel // The Dress Theory photos: Brogen Jessup // Grace + Ivory photo: Sarah Bradshaw Photography

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