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One of the most memorable, special moments in your life is your wedding day. Deciding which of your friends and loved ones will surround you at the altar as part of your wedding party is an important part of the event, and coordinating your bridesmaid dresses can be a fun, yet challenging, experience.
You may want all of your attendants to wear the exact same dress with perfectly-matching color, or you may opt to give them the freedom to choose the style that fits their personalities - or you may be a bridesmaid yourself, and you're looking for the attire that will match what your bride-to-be friend or family member has asked you to find.
Originally established in 1939 as A&M Rosenthal, Dessy is a leading manufacturer of Bridesmaid Dresses. Dessy's reputation is easily evidenced by their presence in several major brick-and-mortar retail stores such as Nordstroms and other authorized sellers.
On Dessy's site, brides and bridesmaids can find more than 400 dresses in a variety of styles, under the following labels:
Shoppers should have no trouble finding exactly what they're looking for; the site's left-hand navigation allows users to quickly find Bridesmaid Dresses according to dress and sleeve length, color family, style, neckline, and fabric, and all results can be sorted according to price. Although it isn't possible to sort dresses by size, we were impressed by the fact that nearly every item we selected was available in sizes up to 30W, and almost every size was also available in a longer length for taller women. While Dessy designs are carried by several major retailers (such as Nordstrom), we found that the prices offered on Dessy's site were priced the same as those retailers and with greater in-stock availability.
One of the most unique features that Dessy offers stems from their relationship with Pantone, "the world's leading color authority". For brides who have a very specific color in mind for her bridesmaids, Dessy may be the only place she'll want to shop. From yearly color guides to "chiplettes" that can be given to wedding invitation printers, party favor creators, and more, Pantone and Dessy work together to make sure that colors are vibrant and coordinated with over 180 unique color options available.
Dessy does not offer a chart detailing their shipping costs; customers can place an item into their cart and get an estimate for both the shipping and tax. For example, on one Bridesmaid Dress priced at $220, we were given an estimate of $13.58 for delivery via UPS Ground.
All in-stock Bridesmaid dresses at Dessy are 100% returnable within 30 days of delivery, provided that they are in unworn, original condition and all tags are still affixed. It is important to note that many of the Bridesmaid Dresses featured on Dessy are custom, "special order" garments and are only returnable if they are defective or damaged in shipment. We appreciate that Dessy makes it simple to find in-stock, non-custom dresses with a single click on the "In-Stock Dresses" tab at the top of the site.
Across the board, Dessy is a reputable retailer with a long history of satisfied customers, as evidenced by an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Their affordable selection of designer dresses, customer-friendly return policy, and easy-to-use website earn Dessy our category winner for Bridesmaid Dresses.
BHLDN - typically pronounced as "Beholden" - is named for the Dutch word that means "to keep". As part of the Anthropologie brand, this retailer of Bridesmaid Dresses promotes its "passion for tradition with a twist" with options that include both long and short dresses and separates in classic and modern styles.
At first glance, BHLDN has a decent number of Bridesmaid Dresses from which to choose: more than 70 listed on their site. It's worth noting, however, that many of the dresses pictured separately are simply different color options of the same dress style, reducing the number of unique styles to less than 30. Sizing is also somewhat limited, with some dresses only going up to size 14, and others to 18.
On the other hand, BHLDN is a fantastic choice for bridesmaids on a budget. Unlike their wedding dresses, which are priced as high as nearly $4000, BHLDN keeps their Bridesmaid Dresses under $400. When we looked at other retailers, using the Iva Crepe Maxi by designer Jill Stuart as an example, we found BHLDN to be competitively priced within the market.
Shipping starts at $6.95 for orders up to $200 and is $10.95 for orders of $501 and up, in the event that several bridesmaids choose to order their dresses together to save on shipping costs. BHLDN does have an additional charge of $15 for all "gowns", but fortunately that applies only to wedding dresses.
We love that BHLDN's return policy is customer-friendly: Bridesmaid Dresses in original condition and packaging with all tags attached can be returned within 30 days, and every shipment includes a prepaid UPS label. Also, shoppers should be aware that dresses purchased online cannot be returned to a local BHLDN location.
BHLDN is genuinely committed to assisting brides in finding the perfect dresses for their wedding party. BHLDN has stylists who can help with selecting and sizing the right separates or dresses, to match the overall style and theme of the wedding; brides and bridesmaids alike can access these stylists via phone or email and are encouraged to do so before making a final purchase decision. Also, each Bridesmaid Dress comes with suggestions for jewelry, belts and other accessories to get the exact look pictured on the website. Some of the dresses also have customer reviews that give an idea as to how it fit "in real life", the body type of the wearer, and a star rating from 1-5.
Although BHLDN's selection is somewhat smaller than other retailers in our review, we appreciate their commitment to working with brides and their bridesmaids to find the right dress for the wedding, and their customer-friendly returns policy on their well-priced Bridesmaid Dresses.
For more than six decades, David's Bridal has been a part of the market for Bridesmaid Dresses, with retail locations throughout the US, Canada, and UK in addition to their online store.
David's Bridal has an easy-to-use website, allowing brides and bridesmaids to quickly find the color, style, and price range they're looking for. The navigation links on the left-hand side of the page let shoppers filter the 500 available Bridesmaid Dresses in a number of ways, such as sleeve length and color; on the day we reviewed the site, however, many of the side navigation options (such as brand, style, and availability) appeared to be disabled.
Shoppers can also use the favorites list for keeping track of not just dresses but also accessories and other bridal party essentials.
David's Bridal really stands out in their range of available sizes. While many retailers of Bridesmaid Dresses only sell sizes up to 18 (or even just to 14), David's is one of the only retailers in our review that can meet the needs of petites (women 5'4" and under), plus sizes up to 30W, and even moms-to-be.
Shipping is spendy at David's Bridal, compared with some other retailers: regardless of price, the first Bridesmaid Dress will cost $12.95, and any additional dresses in the same order ship for $8.95 each. On the other hand, David's Bridal has a return policy that is more generous than some, with returns of dresses in original condition accepted within 14 days of shipping. Customers should be aware that online dress purchases can only be returned by mail, not to a retail David's Bridal location.
Some customer reviews indicate that shoppers received dresses that were flawed or stained, and that the replacement process took more time than they expected. Overall, though, David's Bridal customers are satisfied with their online purchase of a Bridesmaid Dress. We give David's Bridal high marks, particularly because of their wide selection and competitive pricing.
J.Crew is retailer known for its NYC-designed, classic with a twist" apparel line that has expanded in recent years to include Wedding Gowns and Bridesmaid Dresses. True to their traditional classic styling and simple lines, J.Crew's Bridesmaid Dresses look like clothing that could easily be worn for other occasions, such as a cocktail party or a formal night on a cruise.
The majority of the Bridesmaid Dresses at J.Crew are available in regular and tall sizes 00 through 16, with a few styles in sizes 18 and 20 and petite sizes up to 12. Shoppers can see other customers' reviews below each dress, which indicate the overall fit from "runs small" to "runs large". J.Crew also provides an online size chart to help ladies get the best possible fit. J.Crew dress experts are easily reachable via phone or email, to answer any questions the bride or her bridesmaids have about sizing, colors, and more prior to making a purchase.
J.Crew continues to make shopping for a Bridesmaid Dress as worry-free as possible by offering a fantastic return policy: dresses in unused condition may be returned a full 60 days from the date of purchase, either via UPS for $5 (which J.Crew does deduct from the refund amount) or to one of their retail store locations. Shipping is fast: 3-6 business days, just like their regular apparel. We were amused and pleased by J.Crew's promise to even track down out-of-stock items at the last minute, because they "know people" who can get it done. J.Crew also offers free shipping on all orders of $150 or more, so bridesmaids may want to order their dresses at the same time when possible.
We were surprised that J.Crew's selection of Bridesmaid Dresses was larger than their options for Wedding Dresses - helping to keep them closer to competitive with other retailers of Bridesmaid Dresses in our review.
We like J.Crew's friendly approach to customer service, particularly in regards to their shipping and return policies. We're confident that if a bride finds her Bridesmaids' Dresses among their somewhat limited selection, the shopping experience is likely to be a positive one.
With 10 brick-and-mortar stores in the Chicagoland area and an online retail store, House of Brides has thousands of Bridesmaid Dresses, Wedding Gowns, Wedding Accessories and more. Their history is impressive, with nearly 90 years in the business.
One advantage that House of Brides offers is that the 2,000+ Bridesmaid Dresses they sell are all original designer dresses, unlike some of the stores in our review that only sell knock-off copies of those same designers. Another plus is that they have wedding experts on call during regular business hours, making it easy to ask questions about colors, sizing, and so on.
The House of Brides website is relatively basic: dresses can be sorted according to price, silhouette, neckline, fabric, sleeve style, hemline, and color. A unique feature that House of Brides offers is the ability to create a "Dressing Room" where brides can share their favorite styles with their wedding party, compare deals, and even upload music and videos. This feature is conveniently located next to the image of every Bridesmaid Dress, labeled "Create a Room!"
Free shipping is offered on all Bridesmaid Dress purchases totaling $299 or more. For all other purchases, a shipping estimate is available once an item is entered into the online shopping cart. For example, 2-day delivery via US Priority Mail on an in-stock dress priced at $135 was $11.95.
Unfortunately, House of Brides does not accept any returns on special order dresses - and, according to the website, the majority of their dresses are considered to be special order, effectively making it so that virtually no purchase will be accepted as a return. Compared with other retailers in our review, House of Brides' return policy is not customer-friendly for online purchases, especially since designer dresses are notoriously difficult to size accurately without trying them on first. Customers should be aware that House of Brides tends to have lower prices online than they offer in their retail stores; because those online prices are not honored in their brick-and-mortar locations, bridesmaids may want to try dresses on in person and then make the purchase online.
Despite an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, we found more than a few poor reviews with respect to House of Brides' customer service, both in-person and online. Several indicated that they felt that their order qualified as a "bait and switch", when a dress ordered was suddenly no longer in stock and the customer was asked to accept a different dress after already having been charged for the original order.
Although House of Brides has one of the largest, most affordable selections in our review, we can't ignore their total lack of a return policy and numerous customer complaints regarding the service they've received.
Top Wedding features over 500 Bridesmaid Dresses in a variety of styles, colors, and fabrics, all priced under $300. The website makes it easy to sort through all of the available dresses using the left-hand navigation to narrow down their options by several categories, including body shape, neckline, hemline, and season. Additionally, shoppers can search according to the dress designer, but given that Top Wedding doesn't carry well-recognized names like Oleg Cassini or Vera Wang, that may not be a helpful distinction.
Top Wedding's customer reviews are, at best, inconsistent. While some shoppers have indicated that the dress the received met their expectations, that their purchase was shipped in a timely fashion, and that customer service provided prompt attention, others were not as satisfied. A significant number of customers indicated that their orders were never delivered and that refunds were hard to come by, or that the Bridesmaid Dress they received was poor in quality compared to the images featured on the website. These negative reviews, along with an F rating with the Better Business Bureau, make us wonder if bridesmaids will get the dresses they order on time and if they will be high-quality garments.
Given that the site clearly explains that each dress requires tailoring time, it appears that Top Wedding is similar to other China-based retailers we reviewed: rather than carrying an inventory of dresses from well-known designers and brands, they make each dress as it is ordered, often a copy of a more recognized style without attributing it to its creator.
Top Wedding's return policy is unsatisfying: the return policy page explains that there are no returns or exchanges on Dresses, unless it is the wrong size or color from what was ordered. However, looking at Top Wedding's more detailed instructions for processing a return, the strict criteria to get a return accepted make it unlikely that most returns will actually be approved by the customer service department. Even though some reviews show satisfied customers, Top Wedding's low grade and lack of accreditation with the BBB, coupled with apparently less-than-reliable customer service and dress quality, lead us to give Top Wedding lower marks.
Eric Dress is a Hong Kong-based retailer of Bridesmaid Dresses in a variety of styles and all priced below $200. Unfortunately, the phrase "you get what you pay for" seems to be particularly applicable to the finished products delivered by Eric Dress.
Many customer have tried to return dresses that have differed significantly from the gorgeous dresses pictured on the website-grossly incorrect sizing, materials of far inferior quality, or a completely different cut from what was shown. And, although Eric Dress' returns page states that returns or exchanges are allowed within 30 days of delivery once the customer service department has been notified, a disappointingly-high number of customers have had their calls and emails go unanswered.
At the time of our review, Eric Dress offered free shipping on all items over $89. Typically, shipping costs depend on the item, and the site indicated that there are shipping discounts from 20-40% for dresses priced between $59 and up. On the other hand, some customers had shipping costs that were almost twice the price of the dress, once customs fees were added, and any returns will require the customer to pay that same cost once more.
Eric Dress, on the surface, looks like a wonderful place to get a beautiful Bridesmaid Dress at an amazing price. However, because of the serious issues with the dresses' quality and the difficulties in processing returns, we aren't able to give them a vote of confidence for those who want a satisfying experience with buying Bridesmaid Dresses online. We recommend shoppers look at a higher-rated company.
If you limit your search only to local bridal and formalwear stores, you're likely to come away aggravated and empty-handed. Bridesmaid dress selection may be extremely limited, and you'll find yourself at the mercy of the retailers with respect to pricing.
Fortunately, finding the right Bridesmaid dress becomes much easier when you shop for your dress online. In just a matter of minutes, you can easily search through thousands of options in a rainbow of colors and a wide variety of styles until you spot just the right dress.
Of course, not all online retailers selling bridesmaid dresses are the same. You will want to keep in mind several key points as you begin the hunt for your outfit:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Bridesmaid Dress stores available today. We hope this information helps you find that perfect bridesmaid dress for your wedding attendants, or for your friend's beautiful wedding!
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