Tips for buying eBay wedding dresses or accessories made in China #Fashion Advice#Wedding 101#china#dress shopping#wedding veils Updated Jun 5 2017 (Posted Apr 2 2014) Guest post by misstorrie Having now bought not one, but TWO of my important wedding outfit pieces from China (specifically for my wedding day, not to mention a raft of other things), I have learned much about dealing specifically with Chinese eBay listings. Buying a wedding dress or accessories from China on eBay has several advantages… primarily, eBay sellers based in China are really cheap and generally of acceptable quality (but take hallmarks with a pinch of salt). If you like your items to be to be quality-assured and guaranteed to arrive within 7-10 working days, don't buy from China-based vendors. If you like to depend on places you buy things from, don't buy from China-based vendors. But if you like to take a small risk on the off-chance of BIG savings, I can heartily recommend trying Chinese eBay-ers. Things you need to know about buying an eBay wedding dresses or accessories 1. They are a LOT cheaper than American/British listings Initially I was suspicious. Our culture tells us that things are priced at specific points for a reason. I think you should make up your own mind about that. Personally I have found it a great way to save money shopping. 2. The quality is generally either the same, better, or poorer than US/UK items Remember when you gave your Barbie dolls a haircut, and suddenly realized they had "made in China" stamped on the back of their neck? Well, a lot of the time you are buying the same goods but directly from the wholesaler or manufacturer, so you are effectively cutting out the middle man. This means that sometimes you get the exact same product for less. Sometimes, it means the product is better, because the American/British shops wouldn't be able to make the same profit margin on a slightly higher cost unit. Sometimes, it means the product is worse, because your American/British middleman orders samples before deciding which items are worth selling on. 3. Sometimes things just don't turn up at all Other times, they take over a month to arrive. Other other times, they amaze you by turning up in a week. This entirely depends on the seller and their choice of postal carrier. When it's free postage, you can't really complain though. Often it's free postage on odd-sized items (I got free postage on SHOES last month); I haven't worked out how they afford this unless China Post has a special deal to improve foreign trade or something. Often they tick the "gift" column on customs decs. Sometimes they say "commercial sample" in which case you may or may not get hit by customs charges. To avoid customs charges on personal purchases, make sure you put multiple purchases through separately and ask for separate shipping (it will save you £££s and is completely legal in the UK if you're not a business). 4. There is absolutely NO POINT in returning items I have seen (I'm a feedback reader) many accounts of people trying to return broken/damaged items to China and return postage costs more than the original item. Save yourself the effort, and make a decision to write off the amount you're spending on your item, then if it arrives then great, if it doesn't… buy a proper item from an actual shop. 5. You can find items that you just can't get anywhere else I have an amazing Gothic Lolita dress that is made by a Chinese designer, it cost £30 plus about £11 postage. You can't get them anywhere else. 6. Jewelry will not have the proper hallmarks and you have no way of verifying what you're getting until it arrives, and you get it tested I love the cheap and unique costume jewelry (often called "gold filled") but wouldn't buy anything over £10 (unless it was really pretty), as anyone can buy an etching machine and stamp metal with "750" (18k) "585" (14k) or "375" (9k). Again I guess it's about letting go of the expectations we attach to value and putting a price on the appearance of an item. Now onto the actual mechanics to make your transactions as smooth as possible 1. Check feedback If it's less than 98%, they probably don't ship every item purchased. I don't personally deal with any sellers with less than 98% positive feedback. I also try and find item-specific feedback — who has bought the same item as me? Did it arrive? Were they happy with it? If so, I can offset this against negative feedback if it's not for my item (if that makes sense). 2. Be PATIENT Many Chinese sellers have loads of negatives that say things like "I waited two weeks and it didn't arrive." No shizzle, Sherlock. It takes time for overland post to get to you. Overland post means it has to go in a vehicle, until it reaches any sea, then it has to go on a boat. Then it goes in another vehicle. This takes anything from 15 to 30 days. 3. Raise a case within the 45 days via buyer protection if your item doesn't arrive You should be patient, but don't be a doormat. Waiting 30 days is reasonable, waiting 35 days is saintly patience, but waiting 45 days means you no longer have any rights to a refund via eBay. This is very important because as long as you raise your case in time eBay will always reverse the transaction, if your item didn't arrive, so you have only lost a bit of time and no money on your failed transaction. 4. Don't raise a case with a faulty item This is an eBay requirement on faulty goods — they have to be sent with a tracking number. Unless you happen to be going to China any time soon and can send your item by registered post, just save your time and just write off the original cash to experience. 5. Be aware of sizing conventions Chinese sizings often run small (especially compared to UK shoes) but sellers very often post measurements in centimetres for you to check against something in your home that fits you. Also they jump from US to UK dress sizes so I always scour the listing very carefully to check which they're using, after that time I bought something listed as an 8 and it was really a UK 12 because it was a US 8. That went to a charity shop; lesson learnt. On the other hand, if they're a Chinese designer/manufacturer and are making things for you themselves (rather than a wholesaler), they will sometimes do made-to-order custom stuff. Related Post The ethics of a cheap off-shore wedding dress I think that stealing a wedding dress design and having it made in China (in a place that is probably a sweatshop) is really unethical.... Read more To conclude, buying from China CAN save you loads of money. (My wedding veil cost £2.60 with free shipping. The cheapest one in a UK department store was £40 with £3.99 shipping and wasn't very nice. There were loads of veil options for under £5 from China.) But you need to be un-fussed about quality or perfect fit, and take steps to protect your purchases… but, above all, be a reasonable human being using common sense and you will generally be fine. Has anyone else tried shopping for eBay wedding dresses? What shps did you use? What was your experience? Guest post written by misstorrie I am a chemistry teacher who lives with four rabbits, one bloke, and a huge pile of unicorns (mostly pink and white, mostly from eBay, as I have this thing about adopting unwanted soft toys and pet rabbits). I am an archaeology (materials science) graduate and I have a huge interest in the occult. I am also really into jewellery making and one day dream of owning my own jewellery business. I'm also a massive geek and recently have been totally in love with the amount of anime offered by Netflix. http://tribe.offbeatbride.com/members/misstorrie PREVIOUS Throw this feminist, easy-gifting, bridal shower book party! NEXT Meaghan & Stuart's book-loving dual wedding in California and Scotland Show/Hide comments [ 83 ] I ordered a shrug from China. Custom measurements. It fits FABULOUS! Too bad it was a cheaply made lace that looked nothing like the image. I got what I paid for. It was $20 and free shipping. Unfortunately the lace was sooo different I can't wear it with my dress but again I wasn't expecting much. This post was pretty spot on. Reply What websites do your refer? Reply All good advice! Another tip: contact the seller and ask for a photo of the actual item they will be selling you. Often sellers will steal a promotional photo from a designers' website and then knock it off with different materials. Getting a photo of the item itself helps a little with quality control. Ordering a custom made dress? Ask to see detailwd photos of previous work they have done as well as of the actual fabric they will be using. This also gives you a pretty good idea of what customer service will be like. Reply Ethically, it's the bait and switch that bothers me most. I wish every bride understood that those images are stolen and not representative of actual materials or fit for your garment. I started my business by trying out Chinese factories. The quality was embarrassing. This is always a weird topic for me, because I'm a thrifty consumer, but also an artist-entrepreneur with huge personal investment at stake, taking pride in making an American product, employing Americans, and then I sell at mid-range and luxury price points. It took 7 years, but I figured out that was what was best for everyone involved. I had a customer ask the other day about ethically-sourced silk, so I asked my fabric rep. His answer was basically that Chinese manufacturing (less so with Korea, some of Central America, and Europe) is ethically abysmal. I'm considering only offering my luxury product in poly because I'm not sure I like supporting the silk trade. It's quite the rabbit hole. Reply One of my biggest frustrations with ordering items online is that it can be advertised as handmade and maybe even shipped form the US and yet in actuality, it is just a cheap mass-produced product from China. Etsy used to be a place where you could get actual handcrafted items. Yet now, every wedding-related item I search for on Etsy, hoping for something unique and handmade to "support artists" comes up with the same manufacture promotional pictures and investigating a little shows that while a shop may be in the US, the shipping is from China. >:-( Reply I agree about the shameful presence of resellers, but there is still legitimate hand made bridal on Etsy! I have a bridal accessory line, and while my supplies (when not using repurposed fabrics) often come from chain shops (and therefore China) my work is done in Olympia, WA. I'm not alone, there are still many devoted independent artists on Etsy. Reply I've bought some shoes, jewelry, & tons of beads & craft supplies from Chinese vendors on eBay. No problems other than the slow shipping. All these tips are spot-on — check the seller's feedback carefully & double, triple check the size chart & measurements. Also, compare listings — the same item is often sold by several different vendors in China, so compare their prices, shipping fee (is it free?), & feedback ratings. I've found the best quality in beads & craft supplies, jewelry is usually junky "fashion jewelry" like stuff you'd find at teeny-bopper mall stores, & the shoes vary wildly in quality from cheap to decent designer knock-offs. But the prices are uniformly low, better than brick-&-mortar store sales & the selection is far better than dollar stores. I tend to get stuff to use for single-use costumes, & I can easily see buying craft goods for DIY wedding decor & props too. Just make sure to plan ahead w/those long shipping times. Reply I had my wedding dress purchased off of http://dhgate.com People said I was crazy. But the seller took my measurements and made it to fit me perfect! (Which is a big deal as i'm a 36AA. They even gave me padding at the bust becuase of this, which was a total surprise!!!) It converts to a thigh-high reception dress that is too adorable! The detailing is gorgeous, and there isn't one single solitary flaw. Best 180 spend in the history of dress shopping EVER! I know that there are risks with going this route, but you guys! 1,000$ for a dress made in China anyways? Psh! Better believe the bridesmaids dresses are getting bought on dhgate too! Lol! Reply I want to buy my dress at dhgate too, what was the name of your seller?? Reply I've been looking on the site! Who exactly was the seller? Maybe I'll be pleased with the products too! Reply Hi. I am wanting to buy wedding gowns from china and sell this side (South Africa) May i know who you bought from so that I could order a sample from them. Im looking for good suppliers. Thank you so much Reply "Misdress" on etsy seems really good and reasonable.she is based in China but has "real pictures" and keeps in contact answers all your questions and takes custom orders too.if you get your measurements taken by a pro and send it in I think it works out well. i havent ordered yet but she has over a 1000 great reviews.overall seems good quality and well made.Good luck Reply Hi Alexandria, I just saw your post – I hope you have a lovely day, or have HAD a lovely day 🙂 I am getting married in 6 months. I had only just happened on DHGATE 10 mins before and to be honest it all seems too good to be true. But you seem to wholeheartedly recommend them? Do you have any more tips that might be useful in dealing with them? Reply What is the name of the seller you bought your dress of from? Reply I've gotten a number of clothes from Thailand through eBay over the years, though a number of those sellers have moved from eBay to places like Artfire/Zibbet/Etsy since I bought from them, and had really nice results. Yes, the shipping takes ages, and you have to check measurements carefully, but there as many small dressmaking operations as big factories, so you can get really unique clothes for ridiculously low prices. Reply I have sort of what you might call a buying-things-from-China-on-ebay problem. A couple of other things to note: 1. Owing to the tricky sizing, if anything on you is above-average-sized for an American, be prepared to have some trouble finding your size. (I don't even bother looking for shoes.) 2. Keep in mind that you're frequently buying a designer knockoff, and the person who designed the thing is not getting a cent from the purchase. I personally think this is kind of a moral gray area sometimes, since what's on the runway eventually does trickle down to retail shops, but if the dress I wanted to have recreated by Chinese tailors came out of a smaller, boutique design house, I'd absolutely think twice. Reply Lots of relevant discussion about the ethical complexities: The ethics of a cheap off-shore wedding dress Reply I ordered all three of my bridesmaids' dresses on ebay from a chinese seller. I ordered 6 months in advance, in case it took too long to ship or they needed alterations. It was one of the seamstresses that carefully detailed all the info she needed to make your CUSTOM dress. I paid around $40 each for custom made dresses with my girls' exact measurements. They arrived within three weeks, which was what ebay estimated. The only weird thing was that each dress was packed in a medium bubble mailer, so all three had to be steamed. Not a big deal compared to not paying for shipping and each fit perfectly! If you give yourself enough time and read the listing clearly, I highly recommend buying off ebay. Reply which site did you buy them from? A specific seller? Reply I know these purchases happen because of timeline and budget…..but a more thoughtful, nearly as budget friendly decision can and should be made! Find a seamstress in your town and offer some of the payment in trade instead! The working conditions and social conditions in China are awful. We can help our consumer driven society and the plight of our fellow world citizens by buying here in the US. Just a thought. Reply As a seamstress… Find us in town and offer us MONEY! 🙂 Most of us are independent business people and don't have time to work in trade, but we love creating custom items and working in budgets. Reply A local seamstress who is reasonable has been very hard to find. I am planning to meet with one in Philadelphia later this month but since I live in NC it is not the ideal situation but she is a friend of friend and made a beautiful wedding dress for my sweetie's cousin. I am however still seeking someone local at least for bridesmaid dresses. I can get tp PA often if needed but my girls can't. Reply I have very mixed feelings about this subject – the quality of many items coming out of china are quite poor and this relates to the cost of creating your item. They still endorse sweat shops in china hence the vastly lower prices, they also do not abide by any copyright laws so the think nothing of using both photo's and copying everything from clothing to sculptures. Now I understand everyone is after a good deal but do remember that certainly in the UK we cannot compete with the cost of producing many items that China are able to, the fact that they do not have to pay taxes whilst selling their items to the UK ensures that jobs in many areas of manufacturing remain vulnerable. Put yourself in the shoes of someone who has taken many hours, days, weeks or months and lovingly created something that to them is special or a company producing a new product – only to find that it appears on the market made in China for a cut price that you just cannot compete with – would you still feel as smug! I am not saying you should not purchase products from China but if you know they are copies then take a moment to feel who is really being screwed – one day it may be something you have created. Reply I do see where you're coming from but when you have a tight budget to work with you really do what you need to do. I dont think a bride shouldnt be able to have a dress she loves just because she doesnt have much money, you know? There's definitely two sides to the issue. Reply I can say this is a two sided issue… some people can easily afford a $1,000 dress, others can not. Also, In my situation, i want a dress with dark purple mixed in and I've been to 3 wedding shops but nobody has bridal dresses with any real color.. I found this gorgeous dress n eBay I absolutely love for $130, There is one store that custom makes dresses locally and said they can copy the dress but I have yet to discuss the price. I'll go by this week and talk to the owner to see what we can do. Reply do you remember the seller? I had some gowns purchased for my wedding from a seller that had over 150 raving feedback. Now suddenly in the past week they have gotten 11 negatives and now they are no longer answering my emails so I have a feeling they are defaulting 🙁 and I will have to find an alternative Reply I got my wedding dress from JJSHouse.com. I initially went dress shopping at a bridal shop to know what looked good on me and the style, then went looking online. I liked dresses in the mainstream shops, but didn't LOVE them like I should have. I found a dress that took all of the aspects about the dresses I liked and turned them into something I loved. Atleast by the pictures. I decided to take a chance and order it. My dress arrived and it is PERFECT. I am SO glad that I spent the extra 20 bucks on getting it made to my measurements. I don't have to pay for allterations, and the dress cost, with shipping, $250. I am one of those brides who couldn't imagine spending $500 or more on a dress I was only going to wear once. My dress is beautiful, high quality, and looks amazing. If anyone wants pictures of the dress, I can give them. The dress was exactly what was pictured, and I will be singing their praises to any and all future brides. It also arrived within 2 1/2 weeks of ordering it. Reply Akycat85, thanks for the information I would love to see how your dress looks if you are willing to share pictures. I am considering having bridesmaids dresses purchase there and just want to see the quality of the work. Reply My bridesmaids are still looking for their dresses. I hadn't even considered ordering from China, just scared. Could you share pics of your dress and the website? I sure would appreciate it. Thanks- Leslie Reply I would love to see a picture of it Reply Hey Alycat, I'd love to see a picture too! Can you send it to me? Thanks! Reply Please send your pics. I'd love to feel more comfortable ordering from there. Reply I would love to see the pictures of you and your dress. I am thinking of ordering one for my daughter but I was worried about the quality of the dress and material. please send pictures to my email address if you could thank you so much Reply I bought my bridesmaids dresses from Jasmine's Bridal Shop. I don't know that I can wholeheartedly recommend them, because by the time they arrived the wedding was only a little over a week away (you better believe I was flipping my shit at that point) and they really weren't any cheaper than David's or someplace by the time it was all said and done, but the quality was INCREDIBLE. They were as well constructed as my genuine Justin Alexander couture-line bridal gown, the lining was thick and everything was reinforced, and they were flawless. I had sent them pictures of prom/formal dresses from the 1950s, and they did a reasonably good job of replicating them the first time, and after I submitted changes they were nearly exact. Reply Buying from china is a great way to save money, and you can save more by shopping from china instead of ebay. Go to taobao.com and use a translator to search. Everything is in chinese and prices are in Yuan. You need to use a shopping service like taobaospree unless the shop offers international shipping. Make sure to check the shop ratings though, as taobao is kinda like amazon, it's a collection of webshops. A note on the gothic lolita, you can buy plenty of lolita clothes from places other than China. In fact you can buy directly from the designers in Japan if you want! http://www.babyssb.co.jp/ has instructions on how to do an international order through them https://www.metamorphose.gr.jp/ its set up for international shipping already http://www.angelicpretty.com/en/ AP has an english site Also there are plenty of Indie brands you can commission from across the world http://www.theblackribbon.com/ USA http://rouge-aerie.com/ AU If you want cheaper lolita, even Bodyline has an english site http://www.bodyline.co.jp/bodyline/top.html If you want a Japanese brand item, but don't want to order directly, there are a number of second-hand websites you can go to as well. http://lacemarket.net/ is like ebay, but only for lolita, https://www.facebook.com/groups/248638205150052/ Lolita sales in English is a FB group for selling secondhand items http://egl-comm-sales.livejournal.com/ EGL sales LJ is probably the oldest and most active lolita sales community That said, you CAN get alot of cheaper lolita from taobao like http://shop10274962.taobao.com/ Dear Celine is a great brand http://surfacespell.taobao.com/ Surfacespell is another great brand as well Just saying that there are PLENTY of other places to buy lolita other than ebay/china. Reply I have super conflicted feelings about this article. On the one hand, I'm a bargain hunter. I find perverse pleasure in getting a deal on anything from a wedding dress to a hamburger. And I have bought a number of things from Chinese and Indian eBay sellers (more belly dance stuff comes from India and Egypt but the same basic rules apply). And everything said here is true. Sometimes, it's a good deal and you're working directly through a wholesaler. Nothing is guaranteed but something cool may show up in your mailbox or not or it may be broken. But. Most of the people you're buying from in China are stealing ideas, photos and designs from people who are trying to make a living making stuff in the U.S. and other places. I've seen it with belly dance costumes and now with my husband's kiltmaking business. An eBay seller stole his photos and is selling knock offs using said photos. I know that anyone who buys one of those won't get an item anything like the ones he makes because he custom designs each kilt and tools the leather bits by hand in our kitchen (my countertops have the leather dye stains to prove it.) And here's the kicker: There's basically nothing he can do. We own the copyright on the photos but there's no one to report a violation to. EBay only cares if the photos were stolen from an other eBay listing. These photos were taken from his website. (We are also photographers so we're fairly well-versed on copyright etc.) But eBay is all about caveat emptor, right? He's trying to take it in stride but he just got an email from a customer asking if the eBay shop was his and why the kilts were so cheap on eBay and so expensive on the website when the photos (and in theory the products) were the same. So this is now affecting his reputation, which is a huge bummer. And frustrating for someone trying to build a business. Most of the stuff I bought from China wasn't worth the hassle, frankly, but I never spent that much so it wasn't a big deal. Other people have had better experiences. Now when I'm looking at some of these sites, I try to take note of the photos: Are they consistent? Do they vary wildly from professional to something taken with an iPhone with tons of different backgrounds? Are they cropped oddly (as if to remove a watermark)? If it seems sketchy or too good to be true, I'm leaving it alone. Reply So if he opens up an eBay "shop" ( i.e. lists some items ), could he put the same pictures up and then bust the impostor on eBay? Because then they would have copied another seller, right? I would be so pissed I would do this if only to thwart them. Reply I'm always intrigued by DHgate and other dress websites. The prices seem great and the products reasonable but mostly, it is for one reason – Sleeves. There are so many more options for dresses with sleeves than in retail stores today. Plus, they offer older styles. A dress from multiple seasons ago is not going to be sold in boutiques near me. I'll probably end up going to a seamstress anyway, as the dress of my dreams doesn't yet exist. Reply I'm trying to find a dress for my sister that is similar to Kate Middleton's wedding dress and prices were out of my budget for her. (Why am I buying my sister's dress? Long heartwarming story.) I was looking at Chinese tailors but the ethic quandary would bother my conscience so I was looking for a seamstress on Etsy. It seems that Israeli tailors do those gorgeous long sleeved gowns so I'm going to try one of them using the same guidelines from this site to keep from being ripped off. Reply I have seen a sewing pattern of a dress very similar to Kate Middleton and her sister's dress , if you could find a seamstress or someone who can sew well. I would help you but I do not know where you are located. I do all of my daughters cosplay costumes and do make dresses for weddings and special events. Let me know if I can help you make suggestions… Reply Very good advice. It's all about managing expectations. I've purchased a few items for my wedding from Chinese vendors on either Etsy or eBay with mixed, but not terrible results. I got my jewelry set recently and it was absolutely beautiful & shipped within a reasonable time. I got a pearl necklace, bracelet and earrings for $40 (they are natural pearls so they aren't perfectly spherical, but that's the look I was going for with myself and my bridesmaids). I also got a customized earring for my forward helix piercing that is gorgeous. However, I've had two experiences where the post office couldn't decipher the hand written address on the package. First time I was able to catch it (for the helix jewelry), but the second package got returned. The seller was very accommodating tho, and because she sent it with tracking she agreed to send a replacement right away. I'd suggest buying through Etsy if you can. Sending inquiries has been very helpful when I've had questions. Also, allow enough time in case there is a problem. You are expecting what is sometimes a tiny package to make it a LONG way, and international shipping can be unpredictable (it took FOREVER to get my sash from Canada because of customs, but again the Etsy seller offered to send a replacement, no hassle). And make sure the seller uses tracking!! That way you know where it is, and the seller knows you're not trying to pull a fast one if you ask for a replacement. I think I would still be hesitant to purchase something major, though. I can write off $15, but saying "Oh well, lesson learned" on a $200 dress is not for me. But I go to Vegas for the lights and booze, too, not gambling. Reply As a follow up, the seller of the bridesmaid jewelry set sent a replacement set via express mail, free of charge, and I ended up getting it within a few days after I informed her that my package had been sent back. I don't think it's fair to discount a seller just because he/she is located in China. Even when you buy products here, they were most likely made in China anyway. Any time you buy anything sight unseen — especially if it is dirt cheap — you take a risk, regardless of the location of the seller. Case in point: I bought my dress for my bridal shower from a seller in Nebraska, and not for cheap, and the fabric is thinner than I expected. You just have to be smart about anything you buy online. Look for value, not just cheap. Reply I would say having been to China and seen their conditions as part of an overseas language program…and more importantly hearing their stories…I would never buy from those stores. Ever. Maybe because a working small business artist I can't stand condoning the creative rip offs they perpetuate. The number of businesses I found who took advantage of the lack of customer care for international purchases didn't help. More than likely its because I've seen the REAL cost of these things. The people who make those items do so in deplorable conditions, for a pittance of a wage, which is then further deducted by their employers for the mandatory housing on site. The businesses rely on the international dollars to take advantage of exchange rates to make this class gap even worse. If you buy international, fantastic! But please, understand that if the deal you are getting is WAY below an equitable exchange rate for locally made products you are probably getting that deal for a very unpleasant reason. Come off the extra ten dollars to have it made or DIY. Yes I had to hunt for it, but I found my dress for the same price as a China made through a sample distributor an hour up the road…and I know it was ethically produced and not a rip off. Ditto for the veil. Ones in the bridal shops were $150. Obscene. My seamstress is doing it for $35 and $15 in materials. What I can't find under those circumstances I can find on resale for a fraction of the cost and bonus, it's better for the earth because we aren't making more! Weddings in general are out of control with their price points, and I understand that some things really do need to be disposable and a one-off type item for some, but lets not make the humans involved in their production a part of that mentality as well. Reply This has helped me a lot I want a colored dress but cannot afford the amount that a beautiful big colored dress from the states would cost me. But I am so leery about getting one from China that reproduces the quincearea dresses that I love. I still don't think I can bring myself to order such an important dress that I have never seen for so cheap and trust it to come out right. Even from etsy which every one tells me has better complaints department. Reply There are many tailors that do custom prom gowns (colored dresses at a lower price point than bridal), so I would encourage you to reach out to someone local. Be honest about your budget. Worst they can say is "no"! Reply Provided that the seller has good reviews, I wouldn't shy away from buying Chinese made dresses. Growing up, my mother did alterations for a bridal shop – she is truly an amazing seamstress! She always told me to look for quality made Chinese garments because they typically provide a lot of extra fabric for seam allowance. So, if you are worried about needing additional alterations after you receive your garment, you might have ample fabric to work with. Reply I think I must be one of the few brides who have had a bad experience buying off ebay/from china. I ordered a dress four months ago which arrived yesterday. It was nothing like the photo they had supplied. There were purple stains on it. When I put the dress on it was so big the straps fell off my arms and there were buttons missing. It's maid oout of that continuous curtain fabric and satin (the tacky stuff). I should have known better really! i paid $40 for the dress and $90 in postage… you get what you pay for I suppose… And I had a good laugh at myself in the mirror! And the added bonus is I now have a "dress" for my costume hens party!! 🙂 Reply what store? Reply I order a veil on ebay. It looked identical to the $$$ one they tried to sell me at David's Bridal. I got it for $1.25. The material isn't that great but hey, I'll wear it for 2 hours max! Reply I'm already married and all, but honestly, I try not to buy from China because I live in Taiwan, and they're currently trying to fuck up the country I've committed to living in (I feel more strongly than that but I don't know how to word it) with a "trade pact" that is really a stab at a future forcible annexation of Taiwan. Step 1: find some pro-China politicians in Taiwan, get them to promise they won't push unification if elected, then buy 'em out. Step 2: get those politicians to force an unpopular "free trade" pact through the legislature through undemocratic means (the result has been a student-occupied legislature and 500,000 person protest – no joke, and the Western media doesn't care or is reporting wrong facts) step 3: swamp and dominate our economy. Step 4: make us so economically intertwined/dependent on them that the Taiwanese can't possibly vote their own minds someday on a de jure independence referendum. Step 5: PROFIT!!!$! So while obviously I don't blame any individual Chinese person on this, except for a handful of Communist Party cadres, I refuse to support them at all, or at least as little as possible. Right now the thought of buying something from China – contributing to the economy of a country whose government I find abhorrent, and which actively threatens the country I call home – makes my gorge rise. Literally, that's not a metaphor, it makes me kind of nauseous. I hate them (the government) SO FUCKING MUCH. FUCK THOSE GUYS, seriously. Reply This is a tricky topic. IMO, if something is important enough to spend hours, sometimes years, thinking about, then it merits investment. I never dreamed about my wedding dress, so I can understand why someone like myself might have a problem investing in something I never cared about before getting engaged. If, however, owning or wearing some designer's dress had been a goal of mine for awhile, I don't think I'd mind investing $$ into that dream, because it only happens once. I'm not saying buying from China is inherently bad, but it is inherently problematic, as this article outlines, and the comments bring up some of the ethical/moral/political issues with buying from a country known for its human rights abuses. Not to get all Moral Orel on y'all. Just saying, I disagree, and I think there are better solutions–like shopping American and supporting your local dressmakers. Some of them might even offer payment plans or barter services, if you're skilled like that. AND, there are some online dress shops not focused on wedding dresses that make custom dresses and are based in the the States AND don't knock off other people's designs. There are lots of options, but the point is that (again, IMO) most of the time, you do get what you pay for. It's hard to be a bride with expensive taste and shallow pockets, but maybe it can be a good thing. Maybe it can tie in with the main theme of marriage, which I believe to be compromise. Reply I found the dress I want on aliexpress.com and it's from China, that specific dress and seller had about 200 reviews and only a handful weren't good. The bad reviews were all in regards to shipping time. The seller specifically says it takes about 3 weeks to get your dress. Reply I got two wedding dresses, the first from jjshouse for 125 free shipping it come as described the second Ali express for 34 dollars free shipping it also come as described beautiful. But I will say the one from jjs tots a tag I cant get off its sewn in and it is missing the little hooks at the top for the halter but easily fixed the second dress from Ali was perfect I love it but I just ordered shoes from Ali custom 46 dollars custom perfect love them but ordered a mother of bride dress from Ali 106 free shipping suppose to be 18 grey and 54 inches long wrong its mocha size14 maybe and way too long and seller will not respond to me so now I don't know if I should find a seamstress. To fix it or what so its a chance you take but I will continue to order from this site! Reply Poking around the sites listed in the article turned up my dream dress–under $200. I have already found a dress I really, really like and could wear again elsewhere, but now my head is full of the idea of getting that Big Wedding Dress. Back to square one, I guess… Reply I got totally taken for a ride when I bought a custom dress on from China (idobridal) on eBay. I ordered it July 27th of last year, it arrived about 40 days later, and it was a complete joke. The construction was solid, and the fabrics were about what you'd expect from lower end bridal gowns (even the ones in the shop), but it was absolutely nothing like the photographs. Obviously I know it's a knockoff, but the lace overlay was so tightly cut that it suffocated the a line shape of the fabric underneath it. I would have either had to cut into the overlay or remove it entirely. I also had ordered custom sleeves, and specifically, multiple times, requested NOT BELL SLEEVES. I sent 10 (10.) examples of the sleeves that I wanted, and they sent bell sleeves. It was awful. By the time I had an issue with the dress, it was it was too late to open a case with eBay or Paypal. The dress was sent back in September of '13, and I have still not received a refund for the $210 I spent. Obviously I'm not getting one. This is not to say that no one should buy from China. I'm sure plenty of people have good experiences, but I'm still pissed about mine. Don't trust reviews, either, because they are very often planted. That's something I knew when I bought my dress, but I still took a chance, and am sore that I did. I would still buy from overseas, but only from Etsy, and not from China. Best of luck to anyone trying this route, and stay away from idobridal! Reply I've been looking at getting a dress made from milanoo and all the custom dress reviews all are really good. I've ordered other things from the site and they are reliable, I was just wondering if anyone else has gotten a custom dress from there? Reply You may want to reconsider: http://egl.livejournal.com/14481128.html https://www.facebook.com/pages/Milanoo-is-a-Scam/139599899451151 Reply Holy cow, you have just saved my bacon! Thank you! Reply I would recommend my chinese wedding/prom dress seller from ebay in a heartbeat except she doesn't sell any more on there. I found the perfect dress. Blue! The only problem was a slight language problem which meant I had to ask the same question a couple of times. My dress was made to measure and I even got them to make the back with more zip and coverage than originally. I had to get it shortened slightly but only to stop the potential trip hazard. As I was having trouble finding a dress I liked this was ordered in plenty of time so if it disappeared or was terrible I had plenty of time to find another one. The quality is brilliant – every bit the same as over here. It did take a while to get here, but I was able to track it – eventually – remember China is a big place and it takes a while for things to get to the dock or airport to even leave the country. Give things around 4 weeks at least to get here. My dress cost about £80 plus a bit for the alterations here. Was cheaper than my hubby's Jacket, and everyone loved it. For me, it was worth it. Reply Great post! I'm getting married this May and I ordered my wedding dress from JenJen House, which is out of China. My mother's house was ordered by Izydress, another China manufacturer. Both dresses are beautiful and great quality. My dress came in too small, but I didn't custom make it or pay very close attention to the measurements. They would not take it back however they notified me that each dress has extra material so in fact you can let out up to 3 inches! What they did do was send me back $80.00 because I had to take it to a seamstress for it to be let out. I ordered my shoes from them with part of the money that was sent back but this time I ordered a half size larger and they are also beautiful! I never thought to go on ebay but I am very glad this post talks about it!! Reply Hi Val, Would you recommend Izydress for bridesmaids's dresses then? I'm set to wed in 6 months and am looking for good cheap seamstresses Reply I have bought a few things on ebay from china and yes it takes awhile for shipping to get here but the things I got are okay and looks the same as pictured. I bought a red wedding dress from another seller who got her dress from one of those Chinese sellers ( on ebay), she only tried it one because the tags is still on the dress and selling it because it did not look right on her. When I got it it looked good on me and did wear it for my park wedding and thinking of wearing it again for our 5th wedding anniversary renewal party ( as a surprise) although I had lost weight and will have to alter the dress to fit me right. So my suggestion is when you buy off of ebay check the sellers feedback and the shipping cost because alot of times the seller jack up the shipping cost to cover the loss of low sales. I don't do that ( I am a 10 year ebay seller myself in USA) when I sell things on there. Hope this helps those who are thinking and debating on buying from ebay. Reply My fiancee bought a pair of shoes for herself for our wedding from a Chinese online supplier. When the package arrived, they were completely different from the ones she had ordered. After an email tug-of-war with the supplier, who suggested she could "give them to one of her friends", she made a complaint through Paypal and got her money back. THEN the supplier contacted her about an exchange, but only if she paid the postage. We ignored them. Reply My fiance purchased an engagement ring through Amazon, and only found later that the seller was from China (don't buy from sunnyshopday). The ring came too late for him to use it in his proposal, and when it did finally arrive, it was way too small. He ordered a size 5 and it was more like a size 4, it barely fit on my pinky. I sent the return request through Amazon (it sends an email to the seller) and got an Amazon gift card as refund. We never got a response from the seller, and when I looked at their Amazon seller page, most reviews were good, but all the bad ones were related to items not arriving/taking a long time to arrive/crappy quality or inaccurate to the description. The ring is decent quality for the price, and very pretty, but it's a bummer that I can only have it as a decorative ring instead of my engagement ring 🙁 Reply I am currently sweating it out after ordering from BellasDress.com (China) a week ago… Found a dream dress and submitted my order with custom measurements. I can tell you that the original ordering process has already left a bad taste in my mouth, as I tried to place the order with both my debit card and then credit card, and had both locked down for fraud prevention (trying to buy from international merchant). Both times I tried to put the order through, they tried to charge each card three times. I eventually got everything straightened out, but it was a headache and had me freaked out for a good while. I am really crossing my fingers on this one, because I haven't seen any other dresses that I've really fallen in love with – but have seen similar ones (not quite what I wanted but some of the same design ideas) on big box retailers like Davids for $500 more! Worth a chance to try it this way! Reply Did you ever get your dress from Bella's? I just ordered mine and so far so good. Got a confirmation email that my payment went through but that was a week ago and so far no word. Just wondering if you got it and if the quality was good? Reply Has anyone ever heard of a site called Sofie House? I fell in love with a dress- but it seems too good to be true. I've seen a good and bad review but hard to find much info- if anyone has had any experience, I'd love to hear about it! Reply This is an interesting topic, low price sometimes doesn't means low quality. But high quality product mostly come with a little high price. Reply Has anyone had experience with either JJ's House or Light in the Box (which seem to be the same company)? I was going to have my wedding dress custom-made, but no longer have access to my designer :(. I'm on a really tight budget, and they have what seem to be some really gorgeous dresses on those sites, plus reviews where people have posted pictures of themselves wearing their dresses. I like the fact that the dresses are made to order based on the measurements you send them. I'm not going to find that awesome, ruffled purple dress at David's Bridal! Help? Anyone out there with personal experience with either of those sites? Thanks 🙂 Reply A few of my clients have brought from light in the box and the dresses have been amazing. Reply Hello. I buy my wedding dress from okdress.co.uk, but I am verry verry disapointed. The dress is from a verry bad quality of material, the model is not the same, I want to return the product but the don't want to ghive me the money back. In a few words: the are selling bad dresses, bad quality of material and they are cheating the people. DON'T BUY FROM THEM ENITHYNG. Reply One additional tip… when ordering from Chinese vendors on Ebay, be conscious of color – I've ordered accessories that were listed as "white" and they've showed up as off-white, cream, ecru, etc.. Each time it's happened I've contacted the seller and they've refunded my money without requesting a return, but each of those items was less than $10. Reply I bought my wedding dress from China and I love it! It's gorgeous. Here's a link to it: http://www.cheap-bridals.com/bill-levkoff-wedding-dress-21210-p-6470.html The only thing is, it is about 6 inches too short, so I'm having to have it altered, which adds to the price, but it is still much less than I would have paid at a bridal boutique. Reply I bought my wedding dress from China. List of trusted China shops can be found here: http://www.china-online-shops.com/blog/wedding-dress-from-china-tips-and-recommendations/ Reply This is a really tricky subject, but at the core of it:- 1. you are supporting the pirating industry. Stealing someone else's design. 2. you are supporting a corrupt and ethically dubious business and government practices. 3. you are supporting slave labor. Something that sells for a cheap maybe a deal for you, but what is the real cost? Reply Wow, that is SUCH a helpful post! Although I've never bought anything from ebay till date, you've covered some great points that anyway everyone should know if they're ordering anything from overseas that's at a big discount. Reply Nope. I'd never in a million years buy something like that from China or anywhere else that engages in that sort of treatment of workers. I would not be able to sleep at night. I'm sure most women who do buy from these places have no idea exactly how bad it is, but I have been there and I do. I know there's the argument that these workers need a job, but- honestly- the workers get so little of it, you're only padding the pockets of the big guys. I'd buy locally or purchase some fabric and learn to diy. Sewing a wedding gown really isn't that hard if you give yourself enough time. Reply I'm just going to chime in here with an economist's point of view — suppose that working conditions and wages for the makers of these dresses are as poor as you say. Presumably if the workers are working at those shops, then that's better than every other option they had (because if they had a better option, they would be working there instead!) Another way to put it is that all of their other options are worse. So, if you were to take away this job, then what would they be stuck with? Something even worse! If you are concerned about padding the pockets of the guys, consider this: the reason that the big guys are able to pay Chinese and Thai garment-makers so little is that these garment-makers' next best option is pretty bad. To make their lives better, you need to make their next best options better — meaning, you should pay them directly, which means you will be paying more than the big companies are paying them. When the big companies find that the best dressmakers are earning more by selling directly, they will have to offer better working conditions and higher wages to win the talented dressmakers back. Reply I ordered a dress and the dress arrived too small. I asked to return for a refund, they will not give the information for the return address. They keep telling me to take a picture of the problem to solve it. The problem is the dress is too small and I want a refund. I paid through pay pal. They were eager to talk with me to buy the dress, now they will not even talk to me. I am out $171.00 . I am stuck with a dress that I cannot wear. Plus I had to buy another dress. Reply Searching for the perfect dress isn't an easy task. It takes several hours at each shop over the course of a few weeks, months if you're not one of the lucky ones, to find the perfect dress. I found http://www.HouseOfBrides.com better in many ways, they have excellent design of high quality, they are quickest as compare to any other online store i visited yet. Reply I have ordered almost everything for my wedding off ebay, even my dress which I am anxiously awaiting! I was in need of peacock feathers so I went to ebay, from there I got hooked! I am an ebay addict now! I ordered my ring bearers outfit and flower girls dress and they are fab! I spent $40.00 for both, total! Can't pass it up!! Reply I have bad online shopping overseas experience from Ebay.Yes, everything is cheap when you buying but so sad when open the box and seen them.2012 summer i had attended to a friend's wedding i bought a formal long dress from ebay,useless for me because my hips.They said made with my size but just a standard size and fabric is so ugly.Later i bought a bag but the zipper is not working well.Cheap is bad. Last year,my sister bought a prom dress from a online shop with her classmate,price is not cheap but the dress is really very gorgeous,lace touched well and beaded work is delicate.I have contacted with the seller and will place my order for wedding dress and bridesmaids dresses around May when sister back from China study.I recommend this shop to someone who want to buy boutique dress not cheap one. Only Love Bridal Boutique(www.onlylovebridalboutique.com) Reply This is Ivy from China,we are producing customized wedding dresses for customers around the world. You can choose from our styles,or just send us the photos of the styles you want,we can produce 95% same as the orifinal.Cheap and good quality.Whatsapp:0086-13559060211 Reply Join the conversation Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Sign me up for your offbeat awesomeness newsletter! No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy. Biz owners & wedding bloggers Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. Our comments are not the place to pimp your website. If you want to promote your stuff on Offbeat Bride, join us as an advertiser instead.