Wedding dress delays due to supply chain disruptions: How to avoid it

Weddings rebound as pandemic-delayed celebrations gear up

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Brides who expect to get married in 2022 might need to move quickly when they find their dream dress. 

Wedding professionals have seen fabric shortages and supply chain disruptions in the last two years due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and during this time couples have faced stress-inducting shipping delays or deliveries that arrive too late. 

Virginia-based photographer Joshua King from ThePhotography.Pro told FOX Business he worked with a September 2021 bride who ordered her wedding dress eight months in advance, but she still ordered two backup dresses just in case.

"Brides are also ordering cheap quick dresses from Amazon in situations where their intended dress isn’t ready in time," King said. "A wedding we photographed on October 2, 2021, both the bride and the groom's dress and tux did not arrive until the day before they were to be married."

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Brides who expect to get married in 2022 might need to move quickly when they find their dream dress. (iStock)

Over in California, event planner and creative coordinator Cynthia Najares from For All Time Events has seen shortages and supply chain issues that have led brides to turn to social media for help.

"Within Facebook forums and groups, brides even resort to dresses that were unused and sold via brides-to-be or former brides at a fraction of the cost to get their hands on certain styles by designers within hours by meeting up locally," said Najares. "My brides are having a hard time getting alterations on time due to the high demand from 2020, 2021 and 2022 brides who are planning COVID-19 delayed weddings. [There are] not enough seamstresses."

She continued, "A bride in August told me her dress just made it in time by a day for her wedding. Cutting it very close is the theme for getting the wedding dress you want. She had been worried for weeks leading up to her day."

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Wedding professionals say brides should buy their gowns earlier to minimize their chance of being affected by shortages or supply chain disruptions. (iStock)

Nicole Miskelley, the owner of Marion Bridal – a bridal salon located in Marion, Illinois, said brides can potentially avoid a wedding dress nightmare if they put their orders in sooner rather than later.

"While the supply chain is re-regulating and wait times are going down, some of my brands are still predicting about a four to six month wait time for dresses, which is longer than it was pre-COVID," Miskelley told FOX. "The best advice I can give to brides is to shop early, don't wait until the last minute."

She added, "If you do wait or plan to have a quick wedding, you will need to find stores willing to sell off the rack and in your size and may need to settle on a dress that wasn't quite what you envisioned, as many of them off the rack dresses are even going fast due to the wait times and a growing popularity of short engagements."

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Michelle McFarland, the president of the National Bridal Retailers Association and owner of The Wedding Shoppe bridal salon in Berkley, Michigan, thinks brides should give themselves a larger lead time between eight and 12 months.

"Brides can purchase an in-stock gown and take it home the same day, as local bridal stores have many dress options to choose from off their showroom floor," she said. "Working with your local bridal salon is more reliable and will put the bride's mind at ease knowing she has an immediate contact with ties to the community helping her wedding dreams come true."

Michelle McFarland, the president of the National Bridal Retailers Association and owner of The Wedding Shoppe bridal salon in Berkley, Michigan, thinks brides should give themselves a lead time between eight and 12 months when ordering their wedding (iStock)

Larger bridal shop chains aren’t seeing as many disruptions with orders compared to indie boutiques and salons.

Heather McReynolds, the vice president and general merchandising manager of bridal and dresses at David’s Bridal told FOX the company’s "supply chain has had to become very nimble to overcome the supply chain challenges affecting the world today."

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"We are seeing brides continue to shift their plans due to changing requirements and concerns from COVID, and that can be challenging for them as they think about dress shopping," McReynolds explained. "That being said, at David's our vertical supply chain and the fact that we have over 250,000 dresses in stock in the U.S. and ready to ship have allowed us to accommodate many couples who are on tight timelines." 

"Our unique ability to flex production between multiple counties coupled with our growing freight forwarding network has allowed us to continue to deliver special orders to our customers for one of the most important days of their lives," she continued. "For special orders, lead times can vary between four and 26 weeks, so we suggest that brides start shopping earlier to give themselves additional leeway whenever possible."

Heather McReynolds, the vice president and general merchandising manager of bridal and dresses at David’s Bridal told FOX Business the company’s ‘supply chain has had to become very nimble to overcome the supply chain challenges affecting the world t (iStock)

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Ordering wedding dresses sooner than planned doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, according to Rachel Silver – the founder and CEO of Love Stories TV, a wedding video-sharing website that offers planning insight.

As bridal salon owners and dress designers urge shoppers to order gowns ASAP, it’s possible that a sense of urgency will change how brides make their purchases, Silver said.

"Because of COVID restrictions, and difficulties in hiring as a result of COVID, bridal salons are short-staffed and can serve fewer brides at a time. So, it's harder to get an appointment," Silver told FOX. "In some ways this is good – it forces shoppers to do more research ahead of time and break away from the trend we had been seeing over the past few years of brides going to 5 or 6+ bridal salons and trying on 20+ dresses – shoppers were getting overwhelmed with choice. Now brides are being more decisive."

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