For brides on a budget, there are a few ways you can save on your wedding gown while still getting a pretty awesome gown to wear or to keep.
Option A: Buy a gown from Taobao (S$40 - $400 will get you pretty awesome ones)
Option B: Buy a used gown off Carousell (S$80 - $1000 for designer gowns. Only use this method if you / your family isn't superstitious about used gowns, plus you can request to try it on at the seller's place before you purchase too).
Option C: Rent from a budget studio like TheWarehouseBridal
My absolutely gorgeous wedding gown with a shoulder veil and a long trailing train. Would you believe this came from Taobao?
Naturally, each option has its pros and cons. As I shared in my previous post, I purchased 2 white wedding gowns (1 for my pre-wedding photoshoot, and 1 for my actual day) and 2 evening gowns off Taobao. The white ones were fantastic, but all the evening gowns just weren't fitting / good enough to wear for my actual wedding banquet. As a result, I opted to rent from TheWarehouseBridal, where I could try on their gowns on the spot and was quoted the cheapest rental prices out of all the bridal studios and shops I visited.
Many of you have been asking me to share tips on how I secured my pretty awesome white wedding gown from Taobao, so here goes!
1. Find a reputable wedding seller.
Read the reviews and look out for those contributed by customers with real photos. These will be more credible, and you can be better assured of the quality. Look out for seller ratings and history of sales as well to give you an idea of who are the genuine ones vs. the scammy ones.
2. If you're not well-versed in Chinese, get a local agent to help you.
(Otherwise, use AliWangWang to converse with the seller directly if you're fluent in Chinese.)
A local Taobao agent can help you converse with the seller and make sure any custom changes or measurements are tailored exactly to your request. In addition, they'll be able to check the quality of your items at the China warehouse. If you wait until your item arrives, the exchange or refunds will hardly be worth it given the high shipping costs you'll have to pay for the return.
I used SGShop and EzBuy for different items, and preferred SGShop as they managed to get all my custom-made items done up perfectly. EzBuy's customer service was terrible (they delivered my gown a month later, which delayed my pre-wedding photoshoot!) and took too long to respond to my queries when I tried to find out why there was such a huge delay in shipping my items.
3. Go for custom-made gowns, or dresses with tie-backs instead of zips.
Some sellers can custom-make your gowns for you if you provide them with your exact measurements. That was why my AD white gown fit like a dream, whereas the two evening gowns were just downright disappointing.
However, not all sellers offer this option, so the alternative is to then look out for gowns with tie-backs. They're more likely to fit you as you can adjust the tightness of the straps for a better fit. On the other hand, zips aren't stretchable, so if the size doesn't fit you, there is little you can do about it, and alterations can only do so little.
See also: Is A Taobao Wedding Dress A Good Idea?
4. Avoid buying the cheapest gown you find.
There's a reason why some gowns on Taobao are dirt cheap - the quality leaves much to be desired. If you've decided to Taobao your gown, you'll most likely be saving money vs. if you rented from the average bridal studio in Singapore anyway. My suggestion is not to be stingy on the pennies when you're already saving hundreds of dollars.
May you find your dream gown (while saving a ton of money) on Taobao successfully like I found mine!
And if you're also interested, here are my Taobao wedding shoes which I got as well for under S$20 (and was fairly easy to walk in for the day!):
Image: BackAlley Creations
This story was first published in SG Budget Babe.