What it's Like Buying a Wedding Dress Online
Updated: Apr 16
I made the decision to create my own wedding dress not because I have always had the desire to design clothes (that has never crossed my mind, actually) or had an extravagant design in mind, but one of the main reasons was because searching for a size 16 wedding dress is terrifying.
It wasn't as simple as finding a local boutique and scheduling an appointment. No, I had to find a boutique that carried styles I liked, then scour their website to find information on the sizes they carry, then when I couldn't find info online I had to call different stores and ask if they carried my size. Admidily yes, there are plenty of large chain bridal stores that carry my size but I wanted a true boutique experience - complete with champagne and an area designated just for me to try on dresses.
After creating the perfect dress, the look on my friends & family's faces when they saw me in my dress for the first time says it all. I am so glad I went through the process I did.
Photos: J.Hannah Photography
I once went dress shopping with one of my girlfriends in a large dress retailer. There, once you put on a dress in the fitting room you come out to a line of mirrors and about six pedestals side-by-side for your big reveal. Because of this setup, your look is shown to not only the friends and family you selected to share this moment with but also with six other brides and their plus ones as well.
Once my friend came out in the dress she loved, she said yes to the dress and the bride on the pedestal next to her said "that's the dress I want" to the saleswoman who proceeded to go grab the same dress for her.
Yes, her dress was perfect and she looked stunning, period. However, it wasn't the copycat that was upsetting, it was that experience that made me sad. It felt like such a special thing could just be copied in an instant. Now in the days of Pinterest and Instagram I know that is the reality, but when it's YOUR wedding you want every experience to feel special.
By some strange coincidence (i.e. targeted social media ads) I found the perfect solution for me - Anomalie.
When it came to building a custom dress my main concern was timing. In my mind, I imaged the customization process to take longer than going into a store and picking out a dress. I came to find that the customization process was about the same, maybe even a little shorter, than the traditional process! For reference, I started my dress conversations with Anomalie in late January 2019 for my September 2019 wedding.
Their process was simple; complete a style profile, create a lookbook, have a design consultation, approve your sketch, approve your fabrics, and send your dress off to production.
I changed my style profile a handful of times after one-on-one calls with the designers, mainly because I kept finding styles I liked more than the previous design I thought was "the one."
The phone calls were simple, no-pressure conversations where they would provide advice only when you asked, which I felt took a huge stressor off my back.
The Cost $$
When people hear that my dress was made just for me they think I dropped a pretty penny on the creation. The reality was, it cost almost the exact same as getting it in the mass production retail store. My dress cost $1,100.00 USD through Anomalie.
Consider, like any fitting process, I still had to get my dress altered for the perfect fit once it arrived. Those alterations were done at a local seamstress from a list Anomalie provided, for an additional cost.
I drew inspiration from a variety of dress styles. I loved flowy A-line silhouettes, polka dot lace, and bow and button detailing.
Here are a few inspiration pieces I adored and showed my designer:
And with that information and multiple conversations with the designers, we crafted my wedding gown.
The dress itself was a simple A-line structure with a satin bodice and a tulle lace skirt. I wasn't really attracted to a pure white dress, so they suggested a rose-colored tulle for the skirt and it was beautiful.
In addition to the dress, we decided to do an overlay piece to get that polka dot lace and bow detailing incorporated that I loved so much.
My anticipated wedding was in September, so a short-sleeve overlay was ideal, made of sheer fabric.
The Finished Product
When I presented my dress the day of my wedding to my wedding party and family their sentiments were "that dress is so you," - which is all I could ask for.
Photos: J.Hannah Photography
And just like that, I created and wore the wedding dress of my dreams.
Walking down the aisle soon? Sign-up for Anomalie here for a $100 credit!
Wedding bands: Worthington Jewelers
Makeup: Almaz Faces by Yodit