How to Order a Wedding Dress from China

Is ordering “the dress” from China a smart idea?  There are so many horror stories floating around the internet, but yet there are so many success stories as well.  While the promise of an inexpensive dress is tempting, one must wonder if all of the worrying, guess work, and knocking on wood is worth it!  Allow me to share my experience with you, as well as the pros and cons of ordering directly from China.

I went into this adventure knowing exactly what I wanted in a wedding gown, but faced the fact that it probably wasn’t going to look exactly like the picture.  Give them a break; all the seamstress has is a picture on which to base the final product.  In most cases, the company won’t even have a pattern, so be sure to have detailed pictures of everything you want: bead work, lace, florets, etc.

Keep in mind that the vast majority of wedding dresses come from China anyway.  While the bridal shops buy their dresses from bigger companies with patterns, sellers on eBay run smaller companies with less workers but a lot of talent.  And always remember, just because you order from a bridal shop doesn’t mean their dresses will be perfect.  People are just human wherever you order from and mistakes can happen.

One of the first things I did was my homework.  There are many inexpensive dress makers advertised on eBay and other online sites, but that doesn’t mean they’re all real people.  I found several eBay sellers, looked at their feedback, and then checked the rest of the internet for reviews on their work.  If I couldn’t find their names elsewhere on the web, they weren’t verifiable and I dropped them like a bad habit!  I narrowed down my list quite a bit by finding what was spam, who just wanted a quick buck, and who the REAL people were.

Just for a well rounded viewpoint, go visit some sites that say how horrible “knock-off” dresses look.  99% of the time, the original was a $1,000 dress with ten layers and more detail than it takes to plan a wedding, while the cheap version cost $50 and consisted of two layers and little or no bead work.  There are several things we can learn from sites like these:

  • Most of these websites were created by people in the bridal industry who would rather you spend money in their bridal salon!  To be honest, I thought most of the cheaper dresses were gorgeous… they were just shown beside the designer gown in order to show how “bad” they looked.
  • eBay dresses do not equal designer dresses!  So get it all of your fantasies of ordering a Maggie Sottero for 95% off out of your head!  What you will get is a dress based on the designer gown, created from a picture.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Don’t expect a $1,000 dress for $50.  Use a little common sense: how could someone purchase at least ten yards of Duchess Satin, labor on it for weeks, send it half-way across the world, all for the price of an iPod shuffle, and you be completely wowed by it?  It won’t happen.  Either order a better quality dress or set your expectations way lower than the picture in the catalogue.

In case you’re completely terrified now, let me ease your nerves by sharing my story.  I found a dress online and fell in love with it.  My mom used some Photo Shop magic to make it look exactly how I wanted while I researched various China-based companies.  We decided on our candidate, emailed her the pictures (front and back of the dress), asked her if she could make it, she said yes, and we showered her with DETAILS.  Let me say it again: DETAILS!!  The neck must be this high, the train must be this long, the bead work must cover this much, put florets here, add lace there, and so on.  We used simple words (remember, English is their second language and it’s not the easiest thing to learn) and put each request on a separate line, like this:

The dress must be white.

I want the bead work to cover the bodice.

I would like florets on the skirt as shown in the picture.

Communication is the key to any relationship, and this is no exception.  Make sure your seller is communicative; ours responded to our emails within an hour, no matter when we sent them, and we started wondering when these people sleep!  If your seller seems stand-offish and awkwardly quiet, go find someone different.  Better safe than $100 in the hole over a faker who just wanted your money.

Next my mom looked up YouTube videos on how to measure someone for a wedding dress.  Do NOT attempt to measure yourself.  Take more measurements than the seller asks for and email them every single one.  My mom even sent an additional picture of the dress, but with all the measurements included next to their respective areas.  I’m pretty sure we completely overwhelmed these folks with details, but it’s better to do that than forget to mention an important feature and be disappointed when the dress arrives.

A tell-tale sign that we had found a gem of a seller was the realistic amount they asked us to pay.  When we insisted on having the magnificent bead work featured on the original dress, our seller warned us that it would be an extra $35.  I was overjoyed!!  Even though this brought our total to $195 (including shipping), this meant they were actually going to put all that hard work into the beading!  I took the extra charge as a big hint that this was going to be a high quality, gorgeous dress.

It only took a few weeks for it to arrive, as opposed to the six months you would wait for a dress from the bridal salon.  Considering all the hard work that went into making it, the shipping time was very reasonable.  Actually, it arrived a few days earlier than the shipment tracker predicted!

I am extremely satisfied with my dress.  The only thing that we need to change is the sleeve shape, which is a relatively minor alteration.  I would also prefer the waist to be dropped a bit more, but that is also an easy fix.  We will address these issues as well as “the fitting” next time I travel home.

I’m sure you all are chomping at the bit to know who this wonderful seller is.  My family and I are happy to introduce you to Yu Yang Wang and highly recommend them.  We are impressed with the workmanship and communication of this eBay seller and encourage all cost-conscious brides to seriously consider buying from them.

I know for a fact that there are other good sellers out there, but I want to make it easy for you and recommend the one that worked for me.  Just remember everything I just said about communication, pictures, and measurements.  You CAN have the wedding gown of your dreams!  Just do your homework, use common sense, and enjoy having money to spare for your wedding shoes!

Comments

  1. Ah! So thrilled in reading this post!! I have a few questions for you (if you have time!) Did you order your dress 100% custom from scratch? Or did you pick one of their dresses and specify changes that you wanted? Did you contact them through ebay? Do you happen to know if they do lace work? I’m brimming with questions! What I’d give to see the dress! It must be lovely. =)

    • Tim and Suzette says:

      Q: Did you order your dress 100% custom from scratch?
      A: It was completely custom made. The seller did not have my dress style in their listings, so we sent pictures (front and back) of the one we had in mind and asked them if they could do it. They said yes! Besides, all their dresses are technically custom made, because they are all made from pictures, not patterns.

      Q: Did you contact them through eBay?
      A: Yes; on each product listing you will find an option to contact the seller.

      Q: Do you happen to know if they do lace work?
      A: We made a special request for lace and bead work, and they did a wonderful job. Remember, all these people have to work with is a picture, so if it doesn’t show much lace work, you MUST include this in your order specifications. Our seller charged us extra for the bead work and lace, which put us completely at ease, because this meant a lot of work was going into it! The BEST thing you can do for a seamstress like this is overload them with details… that way, they’ll know they’re making your dress exactly as you want it.

      I wish you could see the dress too. =) July 14th can’t come soon enough, can it? I’ll get my mom to post pictures of the wedding for you. Then everyone will be able to see it! Thank you for those questions, and feel free to ask more.

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