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Hunting for the gown that’s juuuust right can sometimes feel like hunting a T-Rex … or okay, maybe not, because the gown isn’t hunting you back. But it’s easy to feel a bit like maybe The Dress just doesn’t exist … because it’s extinct or whatever … especially after hunting for what seems like FOREVER. BAB reader Alexis wrote to us about her experience of this:
Please help! I’ve fallen in love with a dress I can never in a million years afford. I’ve searched EVERYWHERE for something similar but have failed to find anything worthy. I’m starting to think I might need to pay some non-designer name to “ReCreate” the dress. I’ve found MintBride but am always scared to order from places that make a dress based off pictures you send them. Any advice?! I’m looking for the long version of the Grace Loves Lace Hollie, where the lace under layer is floor length rather than knee. I hope you can help!
Hey Alexis, you’re right to be cautious about ordering a custom made gown sight-unseen. There are some reputable places that do just that (and some incredibly talented seamstresses), but here are my Bonus Pro Tips about ordering online:
- Do your homework. Look for reviews from as many different independent sources as you can find. The more reviews, the better, and of course the higher the review ratings, the more confident you can be with the decision. Scan review comments for statements about quality, color matching, value, satisfaction with the finished product, and turnaround time.
- Get swatches of the fabrics that will be used in your gown, if possible.
- Get your measurements taken by a professional seamstress in your area, and consider adding a buffer to those numbers — it’s much easier to take in the fabric later than it is to let it out. (Consult a professional seamstress about whether, where and how much to increase the numbers.) While you’re at it, schedule a fitting / alterations appointment locally, even if you don’t think you’ll need one. You can cancel the appointment if the gown fits perfectly, right out of the box.
- Check ALL the fine print (and FAQs) for things like guarantees, production and delivery times, payment methods, duty tariffs (which will add $$ to the cost of the gown), return policies, etc.
- Use a credit card. Most have protection in place for fraudulent charges and will go to bat for you if the seller turns out to be a fraud. (Check with your credit card company about their policies for covering fraudulent or disputed charges.)
- Order much further in advance than you think you’ll need to — and definitely further in advance than their policies state is necessary. Stuff happens, so building in a time buffer will reduce your stress levels if there are any unforeseen delays.
- Go with your gut. If you get a funny (and not in the ha-ha way) feeling about a retailer, DO NOT BUY from them!
I’m not familiar with the MintBride source you mentioned (or with MintBridal.com, if that’s the site you meant), so I’m sorry that I can’t offer any firsthand experience about it. Check out their reviews on WeddingWire, though, to see how you feel about them. And then check out the gowns below to see if any are close enough to the Hollie for ya!
Or try the Lazio tulle skirt overlay …
… over a gown like one of these:
So Alexis, what do you think? Do any of these gowns check all the boxes, or will you get your gown custom made? If you do happen to use a custom design service and love it, please let us know!
Got a gown that you just can’t get off your mind? We’re happy to help you get over it! Just tell us in the comments below! Please remember to include the budget you’re working with so we can find you the best alternative for you.