The Scary Reality of Online Designer Knockoffs

We all know weddings can get quite expensive, and many brides have been turning to the internet to find a deal on their dream wedding gown. In our store we have seen first hand a lot of cases where the dresses were ordered online, and the unsuspecting brides thought they were actually going to get the dress shown in the picture, but at a fraction of the price of the designer gown. When it arrives, it looks like the sad distant relative of the gown they were expecting, and they end up having to purchase another one, setting them back in their budget even further! But who can blame them, as these pictures show, the dresses often show up and are absolutely unwearable. Not only do they not look like the photo they purchased from, the fit is also not up to standards, with no waist curve and downright strange boob shapes. To further add insult to injury, the companies who make the gowns claim that the dresses are a “close copy” of the picture shown, and most often refuse a refund.

So if you are thinking of buying your wedding gown or prom dress online, have a look at these knockoffs first and see if it’s really worth it!

Casablanca Spring 2015

We are such huge fans of Casablanca Bridal here at Sew Stylish Wedding Works that I decided to feature their new collection. Spring 2015 from Casablanca is (as always!) a gorgeous array of gowns in every silhouette, all featuring their impeccable attention to detail. If you are looking for a lace gown, the incredibly luxurious laces they use are definitely my top pick! The beadwork featured on so many of their gowns is the best I have seen up close, with swarovski crystals and delicate embroidery. Check out their newest collection and see for yourself! And if you want to see them in person, from February 19th to 28th we will be having a Trunk Show and Sale with the entire collection in our store in Ingersoll.

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Online Shopping vs. Full Service Bridal Shopping

Many brides today are turning to the internet to search out deals for their weddings. As someone who has worked in the bridal industry for many years, I have seen this trend on the up rise for several years and am happy to say (at least with purchasing dresses online) it has plateaued and is even now on the decline. I understand of course brides wanting to save money by purchasing their gown or dresses for their bridesmaids, but we have seen many instances of it going terribly wrong and wanted to share our insight into the problems with purchasing wedding attire over the internet.

1. What you see is not always what you get Most websites that sell designer gowns at a discounted rate are able to do that because they are not actually selling the real designer gown. What they are doing is illegal, and many get shut down by lawsuits from designers, and then just start up under a new name. Now you may say “who cares if it’s the designer or a knock off? I just want to save!” Well it’s about a lot more than just the designer label. The picture you are looking at is actually stolen from the real designers site, and the dress you will receive is their best attempt at copying it. I have seen and altered many gowns from these sites, and I can promise you, their best is not nearly as good as the real deal. Poor fit, poor quality of construction and poor quality fabrics nearly every time. There’s a reason they are not making their version of the dress and photographing it, it’s just won’t look as good!

2. Lack of customer service We have had to help brides find last minute dresses for their bridesmaids because the ones they ordered never showed up, or came incorrectly and the online companies were not willing to do anything to help them. No bride wants to be frantically searching last minute because when her girls dresses arrived, instead of 4 dresses in the package she got 3 dresses and a stuffed owl (This actually happened!) When you order a dress from a full service bridal shop such as our store you can sleep easy knowing you have someone dedicated to making sure everything with your order is correct, and is willing and able to help you should anything go wrong. 

3. No access to alterations Although you put your measurements into these websites, you are not getting a custom made to measure gown, you will be sent the closest fit according to a size chart. The same is true from most designers you can purchase in our store, however here you have access to professional seamstresses who will make sure you go out the door with a dress that fits you perfectly. As a seamstress who does work on many bridal parties, I know that there is a lack of skilled seamstresses today, and a big stress for a lot of brides is finding someone they can trust with their gown.

4. There’s good reasons why prices in stores are higher than online I get asked a lot why a customer should be willing to pay more for a dress in our store than they can find it for online and I am happy to finally get a chance to speak to this issue.  When you shop online, the first and most obvious issue is you can’t try the dress on! In order for a bridal shop to have samples available for customers to try on they have to invest in hundreds of thousands of dollars in dresses they sometimes can’t even sell because they get tried on so much. They also of course have to provide you with a location to come try these on, which customers often take for granted.  You are also paying for a trained, knowledgeable salesperson to help you through the entire experience. Of course a website only store has a cheaper price, they don’t have to pay nearly as much overhead to exist! And people wonder why it’s aggravating when someone comes in and says “Oh I just want to try it on but I have ordered it online”, you are using our services, giving our samples more wear and tear and taking up our time only to give your money to a company that isn’t offering you any of that.

5. It often ends up not being cheaper in the end When you look at the price as you shop online there are a lot of factors to consider before you are at your end cost. Of course there is your shipping cost, which at our store is included in the price you see. There is also often more alterations to be done to a dress purchased online because you are just guessing at your size. When you purchase in a full service shop, you get to try on sizes to compare and have the help of an expert in getting the closest possible size. An incorrectly ordered size can end up costing a bridesmaid more than $100 to refit the entire dress, and for an unlucky bride who ends up with the wrong size, it can cost a whole lot more. In many cases we have dealt with the biggest increase in cost is actually purchasing another dress because they were so unhappy with how their online purchase turned out.

So before you purchase your gown from a discount website, consider these factors and also whether it’s worth it to spend a bit more to support a small local business that will give you a great experience throughout your wedding planning process!

Fabulous Bridal Headbands

For the last few years, brides have been gradually choosing tiaras less and less and alternative options have become more popular. The headband is a great choice for a bride who still wants some bling framing her face but maybe doesn’t want the full “princess” look. Here are a few of our favourite bands available in our shop!

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The Kitchener Wedding Ring Bridal Expo

Last weekend we kicked off the 2014 Bridal Show season with a bang at the fabulous Wedding Ring Bridal Expo at the Waterloo Inn. As long time fans and contributors to their magazine and website http://www.theweddingring.ca, we were very excited when they asked us if we’d like to have a booth at their Kitchener show. The best part about it? We were given the chance to bring gowns with us and have a huge sample sale!

show5So we brought 150 designer gown samples with us, priced them from $99 to $399,  and had a great weekend helping brides find amazing deals!

Upon arriving at the show we quickly realized why this show is so  well attended by brides looking for wedding ideas and inspiration. Vendors go all out, setting up incredible booths, whether they are showing off their custom designed invitations, floral arrangements or their unique decorating options.

Our favourite part of the show were the design inspiration palettes set up in the very centre. There were so many amazing table ideas, from the fun and bright teal and red combo, to a very modern graffiti inspired table setting, complete with spray paint and skull accents. We got to choose our favourite gown and bridesmaid to feature in this design area, and we went with two beautiful gowns from the Modern Vintage Collection.

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4 Ways to Keep the Peace in Your Bridal Party

One of the biggest stresses for a bride-to-be can be managing all of the bridesmaids, especially if you have a big wedding party! Of course they are meant to be there to help you and make it easier for YOU but sometimes it just doesn’t go as expected. Here are a few of our tips on maintaining harmony amongst your friends and avoiding a “Bridesmaids” style disaster.

1. Communication is key – So many disagreements could be avoided by communicating thoroughly to everyone in the party so no one feels left out of the loop. A great way is to start a group Facebook message or Whatsapp group so everyone is on the same page. This is especially important if you have some bridesmaids who live far away, or you just don’t see often in your daily life.

2. Make sure everyone knows their place – Too often we see rivalries between bridesmaids for the coveted Maid of Honour position. Make sure when you ask your bridesmaids to be in your party you make it clear to them what their role is. Our favourite way to do this is by giving them something like this: box

3. Let them know what they’re in for – It is a big commitment to be in someones wedding party and you should let your girls know exactly what they are signing up for. For instance if you expect them to pay for their own dresses and accessories give them an idea of how much to save up. Or if you are hoping for multiple showers for each side of the family, plus an engagement party, and a stag and doe, all of these things should be talked about early on so they don’t feel suddenly overloaded with your expectations.

4. Remember, you’re friends! – So many times we have witnessed the breakdown of a relationship between bride and bridesmaid throughout the wedding process. Often friendships can be saved by a bit of honestly and understanding. For instance if a bridesmaids circumstances change and she can no longer afford to be in the wedding party, being upfront about it will save a lot of frustration and last minute drop outs. The same goes for a delinquent bridesmaids that isn’t pulling her own weight, sitting her down and letting her know how that is affecting you and your wedding planning can save a lot of resentment later.

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