Why I Bought My Wedding Dress Online

This week, all three of our real bride bloggers shared their dress-shopping experiences! Here, why Tolu purchased her gown online.

I'm going to share a secret that will probably shock you: Unlike most brides, I bought my dress online. This is probably a big faux pas, but I am a believer in the ease and simplicity of the Internet. When I told this to a few friends of mine, they forced me (in the nicest way possible) to go to a bridal shop and try on dresses because, "it is an experience every bride should have." I did it, I enjoyed it, but I still kept the dress I bought on the internet! When shopping for your dress, it's important, as with all aspects of the wedding, to know what matters most to you and use that as a guide.

Here's the criteria I used when deciding which dresses should make the cut into my shopping cart:

Retailers: Before you start looking at specific gowns, you need to research online shopping vendors to make sure they're reputable. Find a website with great reviews and check to see whether other customers were happy with the service they received. They will be dressing you for the most important day of your life! Pay attention to their return policy: Read up on what you can and can't do to your dress once you have it and how long you have to return it in case you absolutely hate it. A word of caution: There are a lot of websites that offer dresses made overseas. This could be a cost savings but I do not recommend it. There is a very small chance that the dress you receive will actually be the one shown in the picture.

Affordability: I really couldn't process the thought of spending too much on a dress. After all, I'm only going to wear it once! Now if only I applied that budget mentality to every other aspect of the wedding. My dress cost less than $600, but my cake costs WAY more and I get embarrassed when people ask how much my shoes cost.

Location: I'm getting married in a garden in August, so it's important for me to wear a dress that is weather-appropriate and not overpowering. Consider your venue when shopping for your wedding gown-an ornate dress with tons of embellishments and a sizeable train might look stunning in a ballroom, but completely out of place in a beachfront ceremony. (Check out our wedding gown gallery for tons of great options for every type of reception under the sun.)

Silhouette: I've worn enough gowns to know that the trumpet, mermaid or fit and flare silhouette looks best on me. Even if you buy your wedding dress online, it's crucial to try on dresses in an actual store first so that you know which styles do and don't suit your body type.

Accessories: This may seem like more of an afterthought, but your dress will impact the type of jewelry and headpieces you can wear. My grandmother is bringing me handmade coral jewelry from Nigeria to wear with my dress, so I picked a simple dress that will complement my cultural accessories.

Want more real bride shopping experiences? Find out why Crista was holding out for happy tears and also the surprising truths Theresa learned (plus a photo from her fitting!)

Photo courtesy of Luciana Pampalone

More from Bridal Guide:

Browse Photos of Real Weddings
The Best Dress for Your Body Type
Wedding Etiquette Q&As
15 Wedding Details You Don't Need to Worry About
What Your Wedding Vendors Won't Tell You