I'm an online shopper. I prefer it to in-store shopping, actually. Clothes, beauty products, trash bags, plants, tools... anything I can buy online, I will. I've never really had a problem with it, either! Sure, sometimes the clothes I buy don't fit, but returning has always been a breeze.
Naturally, when it came time to buy a wedding dress... I turned first to the internet.
Call me naive, but I have a pretty "off-the-rack" body. I was embarrassed to strip down to my skivvies in front of my sisters, in-laws and mom. (That wedding bod is still a work-in-progress, guys!) And, since online shopping had been so good to me in the past, it seemed like the perfect solution.
I totally got scammed.
On Thanksgiving, with a little wine in my system and a belly full of mac n' cheese, I ordered a dress I had been stalking on Pinterest from a site called Amy's Bridal Shop. The site was... not the greatest. There was only a single picture of the dress (you can see it above), and it was very pixelated. But,"They're a small little boutique," I said to myself. "Probably don't have someone to build them a real site."
I checked out through Shopify. Four weeks passed. I sent a message to the email address that had sent my confirmation. A few days later, I received a reply. "Hi Annie, It will be there soon."
The dress arrived a few days before the holidays. I plopped it in my suitcase to bring to Ohio, and, over mimosas with my sisters and mom, we unpacked it.
Guys. It sucked. First and foremost, it was NOT the dress in the picture. There was a red permanent marker line down the side, about thirty layers of tulle and HOLY was it unflattering.
I scoured the website for a contact number. Nothing. I checked the links to their social channels, hoping to send a message through FB. Nope. All the icons, from Pinterest through Twitter and beyond, linked to nothing. I sent a nice note to the email address from before. Nothing. Weeks passed. I sent another, more angry one. Nothing. Another week passed. I sent a scathing email. Nothing.
Eventually, I had to contact Shopify, and they told me to report fraud to my bank. It's been three months. I still haven't gotten a refund and the not-dress is hanging in my room in Ohio as a huge poofy reminder of my mistake.
Guys, online shopping is great, and some people have had success with it even for their wedding dress, but I didn't.
So here's my advice: if you decide you want to buy your wedding dress online, read these tips first:
- Make sure the site is connected to a legitimate store.
- Find a clear contact number on the page. Call it to be sure it connects somewhere.
- If at all possible, try the dress on at a physical store before you purchase.
- Confirm that all the social media icons connect to a real social media account.
- Look for clear refund and return policies listed prominently on the site.
- Find positive reviews for the store and product before you hand over your credit card.
Planning a wedding brings a lot of emotions with it. It's easy to get swept up in it, and order a dress from a clearly scraped site. Don't make my mistake.