Figuring out bridesmaid dress shopping can be challenging. With so many options out there, how do you even know where to begin?!
Some brides make it easy and get their bridesmaid dresses from the same store that they bought their wedding dress at. Others prefer the convenience of having everyone shop online.
Still, how do you choose between shopping online, at a local boutique, or from a large retailer? We have put together this comprehensive guide of the various benefits and drawbacks to shopping for bridesmaid dresses at each one. Obviously, because we are a local boutique, that is what we favor. However, we tried to make this blog post as non-biased as possible to give you all of the information that you need to make the decision for yourself!
Bridesmaid Dress Shopping: Online
There are a lot of reasons that you might want to shop for your bridesmaid dresses online. However, it’s important to understand all of the potential benefits and drawbacks to doing so!
Here are the benefits to shopping online for your bridesmaid dresses.
1. It’s convenient
Convenience is probably the number one benefit of shopping online… not just for bridesmaid dresses, but in general! Besides, who doesn’t love shopping from bed in their PJs? You also won’t have to worry about any pressure to buy or crowds.
While many people love the convenience of online shopping, you have to decide what matters more to you. Convenience or seeing a variety of dresses in-person before making your final decision?
2. You can comparison shop
Another benefit of bridesmaid dress shopping online is that you can easily comparison shop. If you try to comparison shop in-person, then you have to go back-and-forth to multiple different shops. That can be time-consuming and exhausting. When you shop online, you can easily compare styles and prices between various retailers at the click of a button!
3. Reviews are available
Finally, another benefit to shopping for bridesmaid dresses online is that, typically, you will be able to see reviews of others who have purchased the dress. This allows you to make a more informed decision on whether or not you want to buy it. Do the reviews say that the dress arrived better than they expected? Or do they say that they received a dress that looks nothing like the pictures (in a bad way)?
Here are some potential drawbacks to purchasing your bridesmaid dresses online.
1. Colors may look different in person
Sure, most online retailers have the option to order swatches from the website before you commit. But swatches don’t really tell you what the dress will look like on various skin tones and in different lighting.
Plus, the swatch that you receive may end up being slightly different than the dress you receive. Even worse, if your bridesmaids all order at different times, then their dresses may end up in different batches and be slightly different colors from each other. To help avoid this, try and make sure that all of your bridesmaids are ordering at the same time, or at least on the same day.
2. It can be hard to trust where you’re buying from
Yes, reviews are always helpful. However, there are definite scammers out there, and even retailers who fake reviews in order to make themselves look better. In order to avoid this:
- If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Go to the designer’s website and check to see if they are an authorized retailer.
- Avoid websites that have numerous spelling errors or no phone number to contact them at.
3. Sizing can be challenging to figure out
Finally, sizing can be very tricky to figure out when you’re ordering bridesmaid dresses online. Bridal sizing tends to go by European standards. So, it’s crucial that you go by your measurements, rather than ordering your typical dress size.
Even if you go off of your measurements, it can still be tricky. There isn’t an expert measuring you when you order online, so there could always be discrepancies.
Bridesmaid Dress Shopping: Local Boutique
There are a lot of reasons that you might want to shop for your bridesmaid dresses at a local bridal boutique. However, it’s important to understand all of the potential benefits and drawbacks to doing so!
Here are the benefits to shopping at a local bridal boutique for your bridesmaid dresses.
1. You get to work with a personal stylist
Shopping for your bridesmaid dresses at a local boutique typically means that you get to work with a personal stylist! They will be personally working with you and your bridal party to help you figure out colors, styles, and sizes. They will also personally measure each girl to ensure that the sizes you order are as close as possible to your actual measurements!
2. You can try on as many styles as you want
The downside to shopping online means that it isn’t easy to try on as many styles as you want. Sure, you can order samples to try on. But that requires money upfront. Plus, there is typically a limit to how many sample dresses you can order at one time. At a local boutique, you could technically try on every style that they have available right then and there if you wanted to.
3. You get a personalized experience
Along with getting to work with a personal bridal stylist, your entire experience while shopping at a local boutique, like K&B Bridals, will be completely personalized! No two appointments are exactly the same, because we tailor everything around YOU.
You get to have a personal bridal suite while you are shopping and trying on dresses. The great thing about this is that you don’t have to feel like the pressure and entire spotlight is on you, because you aren’t trying dresses on in front of everyone in the store!
Along with that, we also offer special treats from Flavor Cupcakery and drinks during your appointment. You get to bring the people that you most love and trust with you, and can even include additional guests through a Zoom or Facetime call.
Overall, our stylists really make it a point to make sure that you feel comfortable throughout the entire appointment. The focus is on finding the perfect dress for YOU!
These could be some potential drawbacks to shopping for bridesmaid dresses at a local boutique.
1. It can be difficult to coordinate everyone’s schedules
A potential drawback to shopping for your bridesmaids in-store is that it could be difficult to coordinate everyone’s schedules. However, keep in mind that you don’t have to have your entire bridal party come in at the same time! Plus, do you have a general guideline of what you want them to wear? Then you don’t even have to be at the appointment with them if you can’t make it!
2. They might not have what you’re looking for
Although local shops typically do their best to have a wide range of styles available to you, as well as the ability to order in just about any color, it’s next to impossible to be able to compete with online retailers on this. Online retailers don’t have a limit to what they’re able to carry.
3. It could be difficult for out-of-town bridal party members
Do you have an out-of-town bridal party member that can’t make it into town to try on dresses? That could definitely be a drawback to shopping with a local boutique. Although we would still be able to order them a dress, they won’t be able to try anything on in-person, which is one of the reasons that you’re probably choosing to shop with a local bridal boutique.
Bridesmaid Dress Shopping: Large Retailer
There are a lot of reasons that you might want to shop for your bridesmaid dresses at a well-known large retailer. However, it’s important to understand all of the potential benefits and drawbacks to doing so!
Here are some benefits to shopping for bridesmaid dresses with a large retailer.
1. You might know what to expect
If you choose to shop at a large retailer, then it’s highly likely that you know someone else who has shopped there. Whether it’s a family member or a close friend, then you’ve likely heard about others’ experiences at the store. This can help you make a decision as to whether or not you want to shop there!
2. It’s easy to pre-shop online
Many large retailers have their dress selection on their website. It can be easy to take a look online so that you can go into your appointment with some sort of an idea of what you want to try on during the appointment. This can potentially make the appointment be a lot shorter!
3. They are a great option if your bridal party is all across the country
Shopping at a large retailer for bridesmaid dresses is probably an ideal option if you prefer in-store shopping, but also have your bridal party at locations all across the country. Because most large retailers have locations in numerous cities and states, it can be easy for each one of your girls to just visit the location nearest to them! You can typically set up a portal so that their consultant knows what colors and styles you’re looking for them to get, and they will then be able to try on dresses and get their measurements in-person at their store.
P.S. — although this is typically a benefit to large retailers, we do offer a portal system here at K&B Bridals! We make it super easy to shop for your bridesmaids with members who are out-of-town, which is perfect if you want to shop local!
Here are some potential drawbacks to shopping for bridesmaid dresses with a large retailer.
1. You might not be able to find unique styles
Although large retailers may have a wide selection of dresses to choose from, it’s entirely possible that they won’t be unique. Because large retailers have locations all across the country, they tend to carry styles that appeal to a wide range of women.
2. Alterations might end up costing you more than you expected
Oftentimes, large retailers offer alterations on-site. Although you might have gotten your dress for an amazing deal, the alterations might end up costing you a pretty penny. Try to get an estimate of how much alterations will be, and then decide if you would rather get them done elsewhere.
3. Someone’s experience at one location may not be your experience at a different one
Finally, a drawback to bridesmaid dress shopping at a large retailer is the variance between customer experiences. Because there are numerous locations, one store might have more friendly employees than others. Or, someone could have gone to a store that is full of employees who have been there for 10+ years, while your location may be full of brand-new employees who are still learning how all of the processes work. Unless you’re getting reviews from people who visited the location nearest to you, then you just never know!
Hopefully this guide has helped you figure out which method of bridesmaid shopping will be best for you and your bridal party. If you are interested in shopping at a local boutique and are in the greater Baltimore area, check us out here at K&B Bridals! You can give us a call at (410) 838-1135.