It feels inescapable... COVID-19 is just now a part of life, and it's sad to think that it may never truly go away. We don't need to remind everyone the impact of COVID-19 on our personal lives, as everyone has experienced it first hand, but we did want to provide some transparency and insight into why your dress is taking so long and why it is more important then ever to shop and say yes early.
To recap, here is a high level timeline overview of COVID-19 and the wedding dress industry:
Dec 2019/Jan 2020 - COVID-19 starts impacting Asia where the majority of wedding dresses are made, or fabrics come from.
Jan 2020 - Chinese New Year, no manufacturing takes place.
Feb 2020 - Chinese New Year is extended due to COVID, still no manufacturing.
Mar 2020- Some capacity returns, production is heavily impacted.
Mar - July 2020 - Majority of weddings cancelled.
Summer 2020 - Designers are scrambling trying to fulfill orders, production is 3-4 months behind.
Fall 2020 - Designers are catching up, weddings are still being postponed/canceled.
Winter 2020 - COVID spikes, weddings are back on, most brides who ordered pre-COVID have their gowns. Delivery dates around 16 weeks, there seems to be hope.
Spring 2021 - All new stock orders for boutiques are delayed heavily because Designers are prioritizing brides with close wedding dates.
Spring 2021 - Lace and fabrics are heavily depleted, causing supply shortages. Designers extend delivery dates to 22 weeks and increase costs substantially.
Spring/Summer 2021 - Shipping industry is hugely impacted due to labor shortages at ports, causing further supply shortages, majority of gowns are late.
Summer 2021 - Due to the number of rescheduled weddings, alterations is now in shortage and wait times and cost is highest it's ever been.
August 2021 - Record number of weddings taking place in September/October, placing huge strain on the entire supply chain. Shipping costs are 10-20x higher than same time last year.
Projections for Fall and Winter 2021
It will now take at least 6 months to safely get a wedding dress
Fabric shortages mean quality issues for boutiques
Labor shortages mean production times increase, RUSH orders are suspended
Everything is more expensive
There is no end in sight for shipping increases and delays
So, this obviously all sounds terrible. I didn't even include in this recap all the countries that have been shut down due to political instability or COVID-19 mandated shut downs (Myanmar, Vietnam, etc), causing even further pressure on other Asian countries to shift production to and ramp up. The bottom line is, it is a mess. Everything is a mess, and it changes wildly week by week.
The most important thing to the Savvy Bride family is to make sure that brides don't even know all the chaos that is ensuing in the background...because honestly brides are burdened by already complex wedding day arrangements and planning. What we do want brides to know is that it is our job to make sure they have a perfect dress for their wedding day. Part of being a responsible business, is being transparent to our brides. So in an effort to be transparent, we also wanted to share what things brides can do to make their wedding dress experience as stress-free as possible.
Tips for a stress-free wedding dress journey:
Shop EARLY - at least 12 months before your wedding. This is vital even more now than ever. Because despite a boutique's best efforts to ensure your gown is perfect, mistakes still happen and from time to time we need to reorder gowns. We have seen everything under the sun from wrong beading, wrong color, wrong size, wrong dress, etc. So say yes early and allow the boutique time to ensure you get exactly what you want.
Communicate if you need your gown prior to your wedding date (if you're doing portraits or if you know that your wedding date may change). We submit your wedding date to designers so they can prioritize production. So if you need it earlier than your wedding date, please communicate that.
Be patient when requesting order updates. It is often hard to get updates from designers unless the gown is close to shipping. Often we here, "it is on track" and that is all. Most communication happens late at night due to the time difference - so when you request an update, we need to wait until the wee hours of the morning to talk to the design team overseas and sometimes it takes 3-4 days to hear a response.
When your gown arrives, don't wait to come try it on. Often times we only have max 2 weeks to dispute any issues with the designer. If you wait 2 months to come try it on, it is much harder to get the designer to help in solving the issue.
If you are unhappy about an aspect of your dress, know that Savvy Bride is there to help solve any issue. Again, it is our ONLY JOB to make sure you are 100% happy. We will admit though, it really does help if we can try and problem solve without being yelled at. We know how big of a purchase and how emotional this moment is for you. And we want you to feel amazing. Our staff works very hard for each and every bride and in the event that something is not meeting your expectations, approach us as friends and problem solvers, not your enemy.
And lastly - Alterations. A qualified bridal seamstress can make all the difference in the world. And no surprise here, but qualified seamstresses usually have a wait list. Don't wait until 4 weeks before your wedding to ask for an appointment. Call 3-4 months ahead of your wedding date to schedule an appointment. We can help arrange appointments as well, but don't wait!
We want to end this post with how much we appreciate every bride that chooses to shop with us. You are literally saying, "I trust you with the most important garment I will wear in my life" and this is not something we take lightly. We have an exceptional team, and wonderful designers and we do everything we can to surpass your expectations in every way. If there are any questions or concerns with your shopping experience or order, never hesitate to reach out. We hope this post has been educational and we thank all of our customers for their patience and understanding during this unprecedented time.