Monday, April 1, 2013

The Art of Finding Bridesmaid Dresses

Well internet friends, we finally succeeded in finalizing the bridesmaid dresses!!

As with my wedding dress, which is a whole other story, I tried to find a dress that was either made in the U.S.A., handmade via Etsy, or really really cheap.  The first dress I found on Etsy and fell in love.  It is made in Chicago by Atelier Signature.  This mismatched bridesmaid dress looked perfect.
Image taken from Atelier Signature on Etsy
So, I got really excited.  These were handmade in the US and came with a pretty reasonable price of $100.  I envisioned all three of my ladies in the cute grey dresses with red, orange and yellow sashes to match the groomsmen in their red, orange and yellow ties.
My Awesome Paint Shop Skillz
But alas, my dreams were quickly dashed.  I emailed the seller and said I really really wanted her dresses for my bridesmaids and asked what the next step was.  After that, I decided to peruse the seller feedback.  This is when I found a slew of recent negative feedback, which I was confused by as all the other reviews were 100% positive.  The review made sense, saying that when you pay for the dress, you need to do the review within a certain amount of time, which is typically before your dress will be arriving.  So, people were making positive reviews at the beginning when the seller was attentive and then when it came down to getting the dress, they may have been disappointed but unable to leave another review or change their previous review.  Here is a snippet of the poor reviews I saw:

Now, as I write this, I find this positive review.  Not sure what to think of this.  Maybe we would have been ok ordering from her?

Not sure it would have been worth the risk.  If Marian was suffering from a terrible tragedy, shouldn't she have stopped receiving orders for the time being especially if she was unable to full-fill them?

My next step was looking through other Etsy sellers, but I couldn't find anything as cute or for a cheap enough price to make the risk of going through Etsy worth it considering the importance of being clothed for my wedding.  My maid of honor then found what I thought was the jackpot of dresses!  Under $100 and super cute looking, just what we wanted.

From left to right: Grey Simple Bateau Neck, Knee Length V-Neck Chiffon & Gray V-Neck Cap Sleeves.  At between $60 and $70 each, I was ecstatic.  But since I had been tricked before, I decided to do some quick googling on the websites these were selling from: Celeb 16 and DH Gate.

There are entire websites dedicated to hating on these retailers.  DH Gate Pissed Customer & Bridal Disaster Blog Post, for example.  The websites look like you are buying from a company, but really you are buying from a shop in China which makes replica dresses.  The part I diskliked the most was that they were using photos from other dress designers to market their dresses.  Those photos of dresses and models above, are not the real dresses that they personally make.  They make something that will look kind of like that dress.  There is inherent risk as to the quality of the dress and if/when it will arrive.  Celeb 16, the other site, had the same kind of reviews.

So after trying to pursue my dreams of a made in the USA wedding, or at least handmade in the USA wedding, I ended up doing what most all other brides do.  Go to a Bridal Shop, try on bridesmaid dresses, make sure bridesmaids like dress & order the dress.  Much less risky to deal with a reputable shop where you can talk to people in person, even if it is a bit pricier.  More money is better than no dress at all or a botched dress, right?

My mom, grandma and I's first stop: Sempliners in Bay City.  This was the same shop that grandma got her wedding dress from!

 I had great success at Sempliners.  All the dresses were really cute...but they were all over $200 :(

Our next stop was Unique Bridal.  I found a TON of dresses here that were absolutely perfect.  All cute , with straps/sleeves and knee length.  Then the lady informs me that none, I repeat none, of those dresses comes in a grey color.  What??  All of them?  I almost lost it then and there.  Perfect dresses, perfect prices, all other colors under the rainbow, but no grey.  Is the world against me?  haha  I got myself together and did find two dresses that were ~$160 and what we were looking for.

The one on the right was the one myself and my maid of honor liked the most, but were a bit sad that bra straps show a little bit where the neckline comes in and then circles around the neck.  We reasoned that the bridesmaids could pin their bra in there, wear a strapless, or wear clear straps.  It was literally less than 1/2 square inch of bra that would show.  No biggie.

So we went with it.  The Alfred Angelo Style 7053 in Charcoal.

Here's to hoping ordering from a bridal shop for bridesmaid dresses will be less stressful than ordering online from some unknown source!


  1. On a similar journey to that. Saw your blog after I googled atelier signature. I got my juliet cap veil from etsy and had a great experience but think we're going to do the bridal shop for bridesmaid dresses.

  2. Etsy can be awesome for some items. Good luck on your wedding planning journey! :)

  3. I really wish I had done more research before I ordered. Now my wedding is in 5 weeks and I can't get ANY response from AtelierSignature. Etsy is telling me it's too late to file a complaint, and that it will be too late with Paypal as well. We may be ordering dresses from Target so that the girls aren't out any extra money. I've had SO MANY amazing experiences with other Etsy sellers...

  4. Kara - so sorry to hear this! I was totally ready to order the dresses, so I am glad I read the Etsy comments. I think a big issue that can happen with some of these Etsy shops which sell something made to order, is that you must write a review X number of days after the purchase. So, all these purchasers are happy with the transaction just after it is made, then after they write the review, they lose communication with the seller and have no way to voice their dissatisfaction on Etsy. I wish you the best of luck in getting your dresses - or at least a refund! :(