Thursday, February 11, 2010

My almost disastrous wedding gown purchase!

I found this site, Julius Bridal, online.  They're based in New York and make gowns in China (where almost all wedding gowns are made) and sell them online.  They are known for creating knockoffs of designer gowns or custom gowns for fractions of what you would normally pay.  I was so excited because I found a dress on their site I thought would be perfect for me for about $400!!!

This was what I originally planned on purchasing:

I loved the gown, but when I tried on a similar style in a bridal shop, I didn't like how it looked 'on me.'  It was more like a down comforter or quilt.  So that was out.  I then spent 2 months searching through 7 salons looking for a gown.  At the last place, I finally found the Maggie Sottero SaBelle gown and fell in love.  I posted about it last week here.

But at the $1400 price tag, I hadn't planned on spending that much for a gown.  I contacted Julius Bridal.and showed them the dress asking if they could make a knockoff of it for me.  They said they'd make it for $700 or $800.  More than what I originally planned on paying but way less than the Maggie cost from a salon.

My mom and sister flipped out on me telling me it was not worth it to chance having a gown copied like this.  Especially by an online store.  I started researching these type of sites.  You need to be really careful, because they advertise their gowns as though they are actually the designer's dress...but in reality, they are creating a copy of it...not selling you the designer's actual gown.  And they do it for anywhere from $250 to $800.  Sounds great, right?

I read lots of positive reviews about Julius Bridal and felt okay with asking them to make it.  Spoke with their representative and she told me that it turns out they had just recently made a copy of my exact gown for someone else.  So she e-mailed me pictures.

This was the SaBelle gown by Maggie Sottero:

And these were the pics they sent me of their 'copy' of this gown:

I mean, it's sort of obvious that they were copying the dress, but it was *NOT* the same dress as what the original was.  The back in particular is completely different!  I would have bawled had that gown shown up on my doorstep!!!  Thanks to Mom, she offered to compensate me the difference to buy the original SaBelle by Maggie Sottero so that I didn't have to spend more than I budgeted for a gown.  And I also negotiated a phenomenal price with the bridal salon so I bought it for even less than what the ticket price was!

My advice:  If you're thinking of buying online, don't!  At least not if you want an extravagant, detailed type of gown.  Interpretation is almost always lost in communication.  Have you ever checked out the site Cake Wrecks?  They should have one for gowns!


thehickbride said...

Funny, I almost did the same thing. I was not okay with spending $950 on my dress (which I did end up doing). I found a lot of sites, compared them, talked to people and thought about it a lot. In the end I decided it was too much of a chance to risk it and I'm glad I didn't!

Glad you went with what you wanted! I still love your dress, it's so beautiful.

Anonymous said...

You should check out They are a real brick and mortar store and sell the real name brand gowns, but if you purchase online, you can get the dress for MUCH cheaper because they don't have to provide customer service or free alterations. I know several people who have used it and been extremely happy. I would go to a salon and find the dress you want and know what size to get, and then order from They also beat competitors' prices by 5%. I was going to use it, but they don't carry the designer I chose. Good luck!

Bicoastal Bride said...

I think you made the right choice! I would never buy online for something as important as my wedding gown, even if I was going with a pretty simple style. I think you just never know what you’ll get, and it’s worth the extra money to ensure you get a good-quality product. I’m so glad you got your dream dress! :)

Patience said...

I think you made the best decision. You just can't take a chance like that on something so important.

SG said...

Looks like you dodged a bullet there!

I ordered my veil online and it's coming from overseas hopefully I'll like it but I figure a veil is easier to find than a whole new wedding dress if it doesn't turn out right.

Think Thin Thoughts said...

I agree... I was going to do the same thing through Milly's Bridal cause I heard great reviews. They sent me all of this info about the steps they would take the and quality control I'd have... but my friends convinced me that getting the real thing was the best way to go... so I did! :)

Chocolate Lover said...

I had no idea about such sites so never went down this path. Good to know though!

Anonymous said...

omg... I would have been on your same page... good thing your mom stepped in. somethings are just too good to be true. Too bad though huh? Glad you commented on my blog. cant wait to read yours!

Re wedding photos. You comment cracked me up because I was thinking of doing just that (slideshow) for whoever I picked. tell me if you get spit on!

MERgetsMRSed said...

I am not wild about knock offs, I'm glad you bought the original.

Mrs T said...

I don't think it is worth the risk unless it is ridiculous cheap - AKA under $200. My friend got her gown this way and although it did turn out to be quite nice it was NOTHING like the picture. Luckily she was fine with it. I would have freaked!

Salt said...

ACK!!! Not in any way similar! I went through such headaches having a dress ordered for my bridesmaid from out of the country. I would NEVER do something like that again!

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

Whew, thank goodness it worked out for you! Pearl's place and RK Bridal are great brick and mortar stores with amazing prices too.

I'd also encourage the preowned dress route. I got my Monique Lhuillier dress on ebay for 90% of the original price and LOVED it.
I endorse checking ebay or any of the wedding dress resale sites if you have time or really can't afford a dream dress.

buhdoop said...

I am so happy you didn't get that other dress!

I was thinking of getting a dress from "light in a box," but decided against it. Those prices are not expensive though, so it is almost worth checking it out for curiosity sake if you have that money to spend.

Gaynor said...

Ah, bet you are glad you never went with the copy from that site, not the same as the original at all!

I have heard of a few people who were really happy with copies that were made as they were quite similar but they said that the linings / boning etc inside was thin and not the same as the original gowns.

Kelley at My Island Wedding said...

GOOD FOR YOU!!! You got the dress you wanted.... just imagine what might have showed up on your doorstep!

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