Buying Your Wedding Dress on Etsy

We all want to look beautiful on our wedding day. When we’re on a tight budget, some of us have difficulties with the thought of spending $1000 or more on a dress that we will wear once. We may be tempted to turn to other options. Maybe a tailor could copy a dress? Then you learn that this involves making a pattern and hours of labor, which ends up costing about as much as just buying a ready-made dress.

Well, for my wedding, I did something that some might call a little crazy….I ordered my dress on Etsy.

To rationalize this just a little bit, I had already found a dress on Pinterest that I loved, but I couldn’t find it for sale anywhere. If I wanted that dress, it was going to have to be made for me. On top of that, I found sellers on Etsy in China willing to make the dress for $300. I figured, for that cheap, if it wasn’t right then I could sell it and make a little of my money back without losing too much.

So, here’s the Pinterest picture that I found and sent to the dressmaker:

I sent her the picture and my measurements. She informed me that it would arrive in 6-8 weeks and to expect it to need some minor alterations before it would be ready to wear.

Well, a few weeks later, it arrived, taped up in a plastic delivery bag. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t that. Surely something as precious as my wedding dress would come in a box with tissue paper and bubble wrap. Wrong.

Once I breathed a sigh of relief that it hadn’t been damaged in shipping, to my surprise, the dress was actually pretty awesome, considering that a woman I had never met who lived half-way across the world made it from a picture. The quality of lace was better than any of the cheap stuff I had seen on dresses in the shops.

Of course, it did require some alterations. The hips were way too wide, so they had to be taken in. The torso was a bit long, which was easily fixed by taking up the shoulder seams. But the length was perfect. Just look at that train! It would have been an expensive nightmare to shorten an all-lace dress like this, which would almost certainly be necessary with a pre-sized dress.


All in all, this worked well for my wedding needs. It fit my budget and I haven’t felt horrible about storing it in my closet for the past few years. (In fact, I felt kind of guilty that some wonderful woman in China made the dress for $300, when it would have easily cost double or triple that in the States. Then I rationalized that if I had ordered a dress from a shop in the States, it still probably would have been made by a woman in China, making less than $300 for the same work… Oh, another topic for another day.)

If you’re considering ordering a dress on Etsy, proceed with caution. Here are some tips:

  1. Pick a dressmaker with a lot of reviews.
  2. Communicate with her in detail. The best sellers will message back and forth with you to get the right colors and overall look.
  3. Give yourself plenty of time, just in case it does require major alterations. The best way to prevent this is to have a professional tailor take your measurements; don’t just let some friend with a measuring tape handle this.
  4. Try on dresses in-store first, so you know what looks best on you.

Thanks for reading! If you’ve ordered your dress online or have other tips on how to save money on your wedding dress, let us know! Send us pictures. Contact us at