Beware the Online Discount Wedding Dresses

Angry brides share knock-off nightmares after buying gowns that looked stunning online but are HIDEOUS in real life.

Given the high price tag of wedding dresses in boutiques and department stores, it’s no wonder brides-to-be are searching for cheaper alternatives online.

But the beautiful bridal gowns pictured on websites are often startling different to the specimens that arrive on their doorstep.

That’s according to the many aggrieved brides who have taken to social networks to share their wedding dress nightmares.

Did this get put in the wash with the green socks? A case of colour confusion when this dress arrived, right.


Left: What the bride expected. Right: What arrived on the doorstep. The lace sleeves are missing the lace

A quick Google search for ‘cheap wedding dresses’ brings up endless websites offering economical alternatives – some with their original designs and others promising to create copies of designer gowns.

But given the flurry of disappointed brides sharing their wedding dress nightmares, it seems that buying a dress online can be fraught with issues.

Many of the websites offer cheap copies of designer gowns, made in the Far East – but instead of using lace from Chantilly, what arrives is polyester from China.

Left, how the wedding dress looks in the adverts. Right, what one bride-to-be was delivered  Left, how the wedding dress looks in the adverts. Right, what one bride-to-be was delivered

Left, how the wedding dress looks in the adverts. Right, what one bride-to-be was delivered

Right: The designer dress the website promised to copy; Left: The horrific version that arrived. The flowers that trail elegantly under the bust in the original version have been clustered around the neckline

One bride wanted a fairy tale dress like Sarah Jessica Parker’s Sex And The City character Carrie Bradshaw (left), but was sent this limp version instead (right)

One bride-to-be, Grace Jennings-Edquist, started a blog on Australian website Mama Mia about her wedding dress fears after ordering her dress online and was inundated with horror stories from other brides. 

The writer admitted she first had a ‘flutter of anxiety’ after reading this review of the website she purchased her dress from.  

The reviewer wrote: ‘Ordered a wedding dress…the thing came in made of God knows what for the lining….weighed a tonne! Never have I put anything (except perhaps the dentist’s teeth apron for teeth xrays perhaps) that weighed so much. Trying to get it returned seems to take an act of congress!’

The trendy number with feather detailing the website said they would copy  The frightening dead bird the bride was sent

Left: The trendy number with feather detailing that the website said they would copy. Right: The frightening dead bird-look the bride was sent.

Left: The designer version with dramatic full skirt. Right: The sad version that arrived

This dusty pink number appeared subtle and classy (left) however in reality it was a shade of bubble gum pink with plastic crystals (right)

The writer then warned other brides-to-be: ‘That flutter of anxiety may then turn into a sweaty, stomach-turning realisation that you’ve made a huge freaking mistake when the reviews start to include words like “truly hideous dress”.

The images sent in from brides-to-be of what they were expecting versus what actually arrived are astounding.

Left: This Chinese website promised designer replicas. Right: The bride was sent a disappointing version

The structured bodice pictured in the image (left) came with ruching instead (right). When the bride contacted the site she was dismissed and told it was ‘very similar’

This multicoloured gown appeared to make a statement (left) but the version that was delivered barely made a whisper (right)

The online picture suggested an elegant, well-fitted gown (left) but when tried on it seemed more frumpy (right)

In some, the lush beading in the picture turns out to be cheap applique in real life. 

Or what looks like delicate peach edging in what has been advertised, arrives in a hideous shade of fuchsia.

In others, the entire shape of the dress is unrecognisable, ‘pure silk’ turns out to be cheap polyester, and lace just is not lace at all.

On Facebook group Knock Off Nightmares, others have shared their bridal gown disappointments with the images of the dresses they thought they were buying and the shocking reality of what arrived.

One writes: ‘I bought my wedding dress online, but I am very very disappointed. The dress is from a very bad quality of material. I want to return the product but they don’t want to give me the money back. In a few words: they are selling bad dresses, bad quality of material and they are cheating the people.’

In some images online the lush beading promised (left) turns out to be cheap applique in real life (right)

The dress arrived in a hideous shade of bright redThe burgundy dress they have promised to copy

What looks like burgundy (left)  arrives in a hideous shade of bright red (right)

This Edwardian dress appeared opulent with a full bodied shirt online (left), however in reality it was lackluster (right)

The model looked stunning in this Celtic style ensemble (left) the real life dress is seriously underwhelming in comparison

One bride, who ordered a dress with a fitted bodice received a specimen with heavy ruching instead. When she contacted the site she was dismissed an told it was ‘very similar’.

Another image is posted with the caption: ‘Another bride whose wedding gown is definitely NOT what she imagined! No delicate bead work & embroidery as shown in the original – just heavy embroidery with no bead work at all! Despite the company’s “100 per cent money back guarantee”, they refused to give her money back, as is usually the case!

One ruffly gown is pictured next to a sad imitation with the post: ‘This customer sent a picture of herself in the dress she wanted from an actual boutique. This is what the online “bargain” site sent her. Would you want to wear this?’ 

Perhaps the lesson is the with bride gowns, just like bride grooms, it’s best to try them on for size before committing. 

Spot the difference? The beautiful designer dress

The copy that arrived from an online retailer in a bright fuchsia

Spot the difference? The beautiful designer dress (left) and the copy that arrived in a bright fuchsia, right

The real designer version  Chantilly lace is often swapped for Chinese polyester
Chantilly lace is often swapped for Chinese polyester – this bride was disappointed with what she received
The bride was hoping to look like a golden goddess  The cheap version that arrived
The bride was hoping to look like a golden goddess (left) but ended up with a yellow fancy dress outfit (right) 


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