Lately, we are seeing more couples than ever with shorter lead times to their wedding date. Simultaneously, we are starting to see gown lead times increase again because of the Delta variant and increased production times due to increased demand. If you’re a bride in need of a wedding dress on a tighter timeline, we’re doing everything we can to ensure you find your dream dress with time to spare.
Independent retailers are taking a multi-tier approach to be able to service our brides:
- We have identified inventory within our stores that we can sell off the rack for brides with a lead time shorter than production time or for brides who prefer not to pay a rush fee to expedite production. Sometimes this is a new, never before worn gown, other times, these are store samples.
- Many of our designers have inventory portals that we can access. This allows retailers to check the availability of gowns by size that may already be cut or that will be delivered in the next several months. The beauty of this access is that there are no rush fees. This is a win-win, as the bride gets a new gown in her size, and designers get through their stocked inventory.
- Several designers have identified certain “expedited styles” within their collection that they can deliver with quicker than normal lead times with no rush fee.
- If a bride needs a specific gown that does not meet the criteria above, in some cases a rush fee may have to be incurred to receive the gown in an expedited time frame. We personally have not seen rush fees increase with our designers; however, we have been rushing quite a few bridesmaid and wedding gowns so far this year!
Overall, brides should remember that these are unprecedented times. We are doing all that we can to assist brides in finding the gown of their dreams and to deliver it for their wedding. Communication between the brides and the retailer is key in this scenario as well as providing as much lead time as they can so that they are not not in a tight spot. We also ask for brides’ patience and understanding as we are all navigating through uncharted territory!