Thursday, October 5, 2023

COVID-19 Wedding Gown Shopping

This article is part of our Planning a Wedding in a Pandemic: Covid-19 series.

We know it can be a scary time to undertake big projects now, what more with megaevents like your own wedding?! Yet, there are still many who have chosen not to abandon their big plans. As the outlook of the pandemic continues to evolve, couples and vendors alike have learnt to take it in their stride and modify their ways of doing around the circumstances. COVID-19 has changed how brides do wedding gown shopping.

For the uninitiated, let us give you a glimpse of what is in store for you. In this series, we shall break down what you can expect as you go about sourcing for your wedding vendors in a safe and (still) exciting manner.

We will share insights on what has remained the same since pre-COVID-19, what has changed and what to anticipate as we begin a new form of normalcy.

Let’s start with your wedding gown!

If you’ve always wanted a gown designed by a world-acclaimed designer, The Proposal is the place to go. It is the exclusive retailer for multiple renowned design labels with the likes of Galia Lahav, Jenny Packham, ELIE SAAB, Oscar de le Renta, Pronovias just to name a few.

Through them, we got an in-depth understanding of how it is like for COVID-19 wedding gown shopping now.

What Has Remained the Same?

Photo-taking is still not allowed, and every bride’s excitement in anticipation of their special day has remained the same.

The Proposal
Photo courtesy of The Proposal

There are general protocols that apply to most gown places and they have remained the same pre-COVID-19 and now. For instance, no photo-taking is allowed at most boutiques unless a deposit has been placed with them.

During the appointment, we take photos of the brides with the gowns they tried on. These photos will be shared with them after the session should they place a deposit and decide to secure a wedding gown with us eventually.

San, The Proposal

For brides with bridal party who can’t join the session physically can do so virtually through FaceTime or video calls.  This has always been the approach adopted by The Proposal especially for brides whose fiancés or parents are based overseas. The excitement of gown shopping can still be extended across borders.

At a time like this, it is heartening to hear that this joy and exhilaration that brides bring with them to a gown appointment has remained the same. Even with the challenge of planning their wedding during a pandemic, the excitement of finding the perfect dress is here to stay!

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What Are Boutiques Doing Now?

Standard safety measures strictly observed in addition to other precautions implemented by the boutique such as having only one bride per time slot and a cap on the number of accompanying guests.

The Proposal
Photo courtesy of The Proposal

In the face of the pandemic, you can expect the safety measures that are seen everywhere else to also be practised at The Proposal, these includes:

  • Having multiple scanning points for SafeEntry
  • Hand Sanitizers being made available at the boutique and ensuring visitors sanitize their hands before entering
  • Temperature taking upon entering

Besides these, The Proposal has also been one of the first to implement the following additional precaution at the start of the outbreak:

  • Staggering of appointments to make way for time in between to sanitize their fitting room and surfaces
  • Allowing only one appointment per time slot
  • Brides can only be accompanied by up to 2 guests during the appointment
  • Print outs of Travel Advisories from different countries  

With the above measures being put in place, what you’d expect is a more exclusive gown shopping experience – you are literally the only bride in the store at any one time! While you might feel disappointed that you can only bring two guests with you to the appointment, trust us when we say it will work out for the best. Wedding planning will be a breeze for more brides if they just rely on that one or two trusted friend or family members to provide their inputs!

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How Has the Designer Gown Industry Reacted to the Pandemic?

Smaller collections for FW 2021 with some offering dresses fit for smaller celebrations.

View some of the designers’ latest collection:

With countries going into lockdowns earlier this year, many designers were forced to stop production works. As a result, most designers have done away with a Spring/Summer 2021 Collection, devoting their time into the Fall/Winter 2021 Collection instead.

We’ve also observed a smaller number of dresses in each collection as compared to the past. Some designers, such as Carolina Herrera, have also paved the way to celebrate in an intimate way by introducing a Cocktail Capsule Collection that works perfectly for small weddings.

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Additional Things to Note When Gown Shopping During the Pandemic

Whether you’ve had a wedding date or not, if you’re purchasing a designer gown, best to buffer a bit more time for production and logistics. If you’re renting, there are plenty of options from several labels at The Proposal.

It can be a tricky time to confirm any big purchase during this time.

For Purchasing

For brides who are planning their wedding without a fixed wedding date in mind, and would like to purchase a gown, it is still possible to shortlist a desired dress first. And if you’re certain the dress is “the one”, production work for the gown can begin and it is one item off your wedding checklist!

Typically, the time needed to receive your custom-made designer gown upon ordering is about 6 months. If you’re wondering if there is a need to buffer extra time for your gown-making process, the short answer is no. Production has resumed for most designers and The Proposal makes sure urgent orders are being communicated to the gown-makers and prioritized. However, given the uncertainty with how the pandemic situation will unfold, it is advisable to buffer a bit more time for production and shipping.

For the added assurance, work directly with a retailer recognized by the designer label. The retailer will have immediate access to the designer’s team should there be a need to communicate with them.

When Renting

If you’re intending to rent a designer gown instead of purchasing one, you can place a deposit for the shortlisted gown you have in mind even if you don’t currently have a wedding date. Once the big day has been confirmed, inform the boutique immediately to check on the availability of the dress and lock it in if it is available for you. If it is not, another trip to the boutique will be required but who knows there might be newer gowns available this time!

Brands available for rental at The Proposal include Pronovias, Marchesa, Carolina Herrera and Galia Lahav.

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Preparing for Your Gown Shopping

Before you dive into the actual gown shopping, here’s what you can do to make the most out of it!

Make an appointment with the desired boutique and provide them with the basic information. These will include:

  1. Wedding details such as date(s), venue(s) and overall concept (whenever available)
  2. Images of gowns and dresses you like
  3. Your budget (whenever possible)
  4. Any other complementing services you’d require for example mothers’ attire, groom’s suit etc.
  5. Date you’d like to receive the wedding dress (if it is earlier than the wedding date). This may apply if you would like to do your pre-wedding shoot in the wedding gown.

On the day of the appointment, it will be most ideal to come in a strapless bra and nude underwear!

It seems to us that the gown shopping experience has been made even more exciting for most following the pandemic. Even amidst the unsettling landscape, life continues to offer opportunities for celebrations to take place and we sure are taking all that comes with it.

Feature image – Photo courtesy of The Proposal

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