Friday, May 29, 2015

True Life: I Ordered my wedding dress from (GASP) CHINA for $200

Penelope Anne Photography

Every time I tell people I ordered my wedding dress from a website in China for $200 they either a) laugh out loud (usually followed by typical! of course you did!) or  b) look at me horrified. But I'm here to tell you: I ordered my wedding dress for $200 from China and I survived. Not only did I survive, but I loved my dress:

Penelope Anne Photography

I LOVED the detail at the bottom of the dress. I also loved my shoes (Nine West Flax for $13 on ebay, baby). 

Penelope Anne Photography
It also passed my wiggle dance test:

Penelope Anne Photography

So, here's the story:

1. We made a wedding priorities list: our non-negotiables if you will. The things we were willing to spend money on, and if something wasn't on that list then we said we are going to let it go. These are our non-negotiables:
  • All family and friends (i.e. bigger guest list)
  • Best party ever (aka music, lights, fun touches, open bar)
  • Enough food
  • Venue our out of town guests could easily access AND our in-town guests could easily get to and from (i.e. metro accessible, uber-able, hotels within walking distance - let's not talk about small town guests who have never parallel parked attempting to drive in DC)
Notice what's not on that list? Wedding dress. Because guess how many weddings I've been to where I'm like "Man that was so great and full of love and represented them and a great party because the bride had a pretty dress". Never. Guess how many wedding dresses I remember from the last 15 weddings I've been to? 3.  

2. Obsessively researched: Yall I COMBED THROUGH EVERY LAST BOARD on Weddingwire and weddingbee. I actually feel like I know some of the reviewers personally at this point (hey! I loved your dress - I saw you over on the weddingwire message boards too! Did you get the whole ring riszing situation worked out?). There were pretty mixed reviews on the boards which made me uneasy. But then I found and seeing actual women in the actual dresses made me feel great about the process. After (literally) weeks of research (I could write a book) here's what I learned:
  • I found the most positive reviews for
  • This dress was not going to be high quality material (totally fine. I'm wearing it once)
  • Exact colors look a little different on our American computer monitors - I ordered white even though I thought I wanted champagne (too risky)
  • Some details may look different on the actual dress (mine were mostly small details, things that looked a lot higher quality online and not so high quality in person)
3. Tried on dresses at a store (in America): I loaded up my bridal posse and hit 2 stores to actually try on the dresses. This was fun (hi champagne!) and it also confirmed the type of dress I wanted.

4.  Order THE dress: I ordered this one.

5. Panic: The online reviews said people got the dresses a week later and it's been 2 weeks and omg what if my dress doesn't come and I just gave my credit card info to Chinese sweatshop scam artists?

6. Facetimed a BFF: who made me laugh at how ridiculous the situation is and reminded me that there isn't much money to steal from my little bank account anyway. Have at it, suckas! (thanks Maggie!)

7. Rejoice when the tiny package arrives (so tiny!)

8. Found a GOOD tailor: I gave myself an inch or 2 of wiggle room in my dress (also read horrifying reviews about the dresses being smaller than the measurements, paying hundreds to get it let out, etc). I used Chris at Studio ProjectIssue8 and could not be happier. She took in the dress, altered the neckline, added a built-in bra, added cloth covered buttons (someone in China liked these tiny blingy buttons. Not my style). We ran into an issue with the lace which added a LOT of labor on her part (and my final check), but there is nothing a good tailor can't make look like it's not made in China.

9. TRASH THE THING! I had zero problem doing this:


  • You have to actually be chill about your wedding dress if you're ordering it from China, and have medium expectations. The negative reviews I read online complained about how low-quality the fabric was, the feel of the lace, and some even said they were mad because the dress isn't actually made by a legit wedding dress designer. I'm confused about what made them think they were getting a Pnina Say Yes to The Dress Designer brand for $150?
  • Do your research! Some of the stores out there are not legit in any way. If you can't find reviews online (outside of their own website's reviews page), just say no.
  • Be selective about who you tell about this. Everyone and their moms believes they have a PhD in weddings and knows what is best for you and your wedding and your dress. But they're not writing the check, nor are the wearing the dress. If I wasn't 100% confident about this, I would have easily been swayed to drop an extra 2Gs on a dress.
  • You HAVE to have a good tailor, and you HAVE to be willing to drop some money on alterations. 
  • My wedding turned me into a psychotic serial killeresque asshole in the final few weeks. I started having crazy thoughts like "everyone's going to be able to tell I ordered my dress from China! Oh no!" (looking back I see that it's because everything was spinning out of control and I was trying to grasp onto something I could control - like buying a new dress or something crazy). Have people around you who remind you what you cared about in the first place. And also people who cut you off from Pinterest wedding dress boards when you are second and third guessing yourself (thanks, Charisse!).
  • I loved my dress (obvi) after the tailor fixed it. You can see the dress in action in our wedding video here.

Check out our full honeymoon + trash the dress video below:

SO - would you ever order a bargain wedding dress? Do you know anyone who has?


  1. I absolutely love this! A great tailor is the name of the game sister. LOL! And that video is so awesome!

  2. Loved the video - it looked like you had a great time! Getting your dress from China I would have been a hot mess until it came just like you. Glad everything worked out - it was a beautiful dress!

  3. :) Love this. Good for you - I was so scared to order a dress online. But, yours looked amazing - and I know this post will help B2Bs in the future!

  4. I think that some people pay absolutely absurd amounts of money for their wedding dress!!! At the end of the day, you are only wearing it ONCE!!!! No one is going to come up to you and say "This dress looks cheap." On your WEDDING DAY!!! I got my dress from David's Bridal for $500 and only had to pay to have the bustle done. I had several people look at me like it came from the dollar store or something when I told them that. Whatever. I loved my dress and I dont care what people said because it was my day. I will say....I would have a hard time ordering it online just because I am so weird about the way things fit, but you knew you were going to have a tailor and that is awesome!!! I think your dress looks gorgeous in pictures and fits you great!

  5. I bargained shopped for my dress as well..didn't buy from China, but wasn't too worried about having the most expensive dress on the block. Got mine off the rack at David's Bridal during their $99 sale. My mom grabbed it while we waited for my consultant to pull dresses. I'd never seen anyone with that type of dress and it was SO comfortable. It was actually the first dress I tried on. :)

  6. i love that you trashed the dress! i had a friend back home who ordered her dress from china, but i don't know the specifics. your dress was gorgeous!

  7. Awesome! I never would have guessed your dress came from China, it looks beautiful. I got mine from a discount consignment shop that gives part of their proceeds to a cause. Got a great deal at $500, but it was a little less scary than ordering online! Also, now I kind of feel like I need a GoPro. So cool.

    1. That is so cool about the consignment shop! Definitely less scary than ordering online.

      You deeeffiniteelllyyy need a gopro! especially for all the cool winter sport stuff you guys do!

  8. I bought my wedding dress off eBay from a seller in China for $200. It was beautiful as well and so much cheaper than so many people pay! It was such a relief to have it arrive though and know I wasn't cheated! Your pictures are beautiful :)

    1. Ooh! Do you remember what the store was called?? Would love to share the information!

      And thank you (:

  9. Super awesome! I love your dress, would have never guessed - looks great.

  10. Ugh!!!!!! Now I need a GO PRO, a SELFIE STICK, and a HEAD STRAP!! Thanks a lot Lindsay!! Lol

  11. My best friend bought her dress at David's Bridal but it was one of the $199.00 dresses. It was so pretty and perfect on her. I think spending so much on a dress you are only going to wear once is silly. I think your dress was so pretty, good choice.

  12. Fantastic! It was beautiful!

    ~Ashley @ A Cute Angle

  13. Your dress was beautiful. Can't believe you ordered it for China and only spent $200. That is so fantastic.

  14. Seriously love your wedding video- definitely had me tearing up at work! Beautiful wedding, and couple :)
    I love the trashing the dress idea and would totally do it as well. Looks like fun!
    The only reason I wouldn't order from China is that I would be SO nervous that it wouldn't arrive in time. Otherwise, I'd be all over it, especially for that price!

  15. Its gorgeous girl!!! Heck I might have to save this post for if I ever get hitched. I love a good bargain!

  16. You look adorable in this wedding gown! This was an amazing wedding ceremony. The best part is that your wedding took place at my favorite venue. Well, all DC venues are very pretty but this one is quite close to my heart as I also got married over there.

  17. Enthusiastic words written in this blog helped me to enhance my skills as well as helped me to know how I can help myself on my own. I am really glad to come at this platform. Washington DC wedding videographer


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