Buying your wedding dress is an important moment in your life.

There are so many different styles out there, it can be difficult to choose ‘the one’.

With custom-made wedding dresses, buying online is not very different than buying from a physical store; you make a decision on the dress you want before seeing and trying on the finished dress.

Here are our top tips for making your purchase online.

Deciding on your dress style

Often brides have a vision of the dress they would like in their minds but when they try some dresses on, they change their mind because their body shape suits a different style.

Think about your shape and the style of dress that tends to suit your figure.

Unless you have a figure like a model, the dresses you see on websites are going to look a bit different on you.

It’s a good idea to visit a local bridal store and try a few dresses on to make sure you are on the right track with your choice of style.

Consider not only your shape, but also the time of year and style of wedding you’re having. A heavy fabric like bridal satin will be quite warm to wear which would not be ideal if you’re having a beach wedding in summer!

Check our guide to wedding dress styles, and dress and train lengths for more info on the different options out there.

Ordering your wedding dress

Ordering wedding dresses online should be easy.

Do some research online for photos of a wedding dress that closely match what you want so you can provide photos to your chosen supplier.

From there it’s easy to request a small adjustment to suit your taste.

We recommend spending the time to find a photo that is almost exactly the wedding dress you want to replicate because your risk of not getting what you want increases with more instructions you need to describe.

Most Australian businesses will accept a deposit at the time of your order, with the full amount due before delivery.

Overseas shops often require the full payment up front.

How far out from the wedding should I order?

Check what the usual production time is from your chosen supplier.

We suggest that you aim to have the dress delivered at least a couple of months prior to your wedding so that you have time to match shoes and jewelry.

If you’re on a crash diet you should leave it as late as possible to avoid having to do alterations.

We do not recommend guessing your measurements, always provide accurate measurements when you order.

To mitigate your risk, choose a dress with a lace-up back to provide you with more flexibility in your size. The lace-up allows for a few cm difference either side and will still look perfect.

Selecting a supplier

There are many options for custom-made wedding dresses when buying online.

Like most products, there is a huge range in quality, price and service. Consider the benefits of buying from overseas vs a local business.

While you may get a cheaper price from overseas they aren’t subject to Australian consumer protection laws and often do not provide any refunds or returns.

Any reputable business will have a refunds and returns policy clearly stated on their website.

Other things to look for are websites that display their own photos of dresses they have made so you can check the workmanship, websites that display their business credentials – if they are an Australian business they will have an ABN.

The final check we recommend is getting in touch and experiencing the level of service you are likely to get if you select that supplier. Is it easy to communicate with them?

Doing your measurements

The final part of the ordering process, and one that is very important to get right, is your measurements.

Measuring guides are provided on suppliers’ websites and it’s best to follow your supplier’s own guide to ensure you are providing the measurements they are used to working with.

You don’t need a professional tailor to help you because measurements are easy to take if you have a guide with good descriptions.

All you need is the help of a good friend, mum or obliging fiancé and a measuring tape. Make sure you are standing up nice and straight and don’t pull the measuring tape too tight.

Ensuring your measurements are right is your responsibility so please take the time to do your measurements properly and double check them. Most suppliers won’t refund if the measurements were wrong.