Shop around to find your dream dress for your wedding day
‘Shein bride’ goes with Chinese online fast-fashion retailer
Dubbed the “Shein Bride” on TikTok, 27-year-old Samkelo Demi Dilima’s obsession with the Chinese online fast-fashion retailer has culminated with an invitation to her big day.
The University of the Western Cape graduate was the picture perfect bride with a wedding dress and accessories from Shein which amounted to R1,500.
“I’d bought a black dress to attend a wedding on Shein and was very impressed,” she said.
“Everyone complimented me, it didn’t need any accessories, it was perfectly suited to me. So, when I was going around looking for a wedding dress, I thought to myself why not on Shein?”
Dilima and her husband made plans for a small and intimate ceremony. They didn’t see the need of purchasing an expensive gown that she would not wear again.
“The wedding came at a busy time of my life when I had just given birth and had graduation plans under way,” she said.
Dilima’s first online purchase was hair bundles from another online store in 2019 – she was not impressed. After several online disappointments, she took an online shopping sabbatical for a few years, ending in 2021 upon the arrival of Shein.
“I was still hesitant and said to myself let me hold back and watch people buy from Shein. People kept buying and I said to myself, 'no man I think I should also try it out'. I do see people buy and I don’t see anything wrong with what they buy,” she said.
“I then began buying small things that did not cost too much and I could see from there that I could trust this. But still I had to be vigilant in how I spend my money online.”
Navigating the realm of wedding gowns with brides-to-be is Zamokuhle Thwala, founder of Bequest Brides, a black-owned bridal boutique in Johannesburg and Pretoria.
Thwala believes that finding the gown of your dreams is as important as walking up the aisle.
“Online buying can be impersonal as the bride doesn't consult with anyone which takes away the excitement of the family coming in and trying on gowns with you. The only option you have online is to browse pictures and choose the one that you think would suit you,” Thwala said.
“Aside from the purchase price of the online dress, there are other costs incurred such as custom fees and courier fees. Another possible unforeseeable big problem is when it [the gown] comes and the bride no longer likes it as much. They have already paid for it and will be forced to wear it.”
Thwala advised that brides should not rush to secure online gowns but should shop around first.
“Whether you decide to shop online or in person, explore different options before you commit. Go into bridal boutiques, try on different dresses and see what you like. Chances are what you like in a picture may not be what you like on your body,” she said.
Renting a gown would cost less than buying one and Thwala said that the only time to purchase a gown is if the price is at a steal.
“We are seeing many brides trying to sell us back their dresses because they don’t know what to do with it. I often tell brides that there is no need to own a wedding gown. The only reason to buy a wedding dress is if your budget for the dress was R10K and the gown is R8K to buy,” she said.
Found your dreamboat partner but not yet your dream dress? Thwala shares her advice on best bridal gown trends
- Pearls and bling detailed embroidered gowns are trending now. I’ve noticed a change with brides who would go for simpler and lesser eight years ago when I started.
- Illusion dresses give the appearance that the lace detail is on your skin, found mostly on the sleeves and bodice of the dress.
- Cream, ivory and off-white gowns are the safest options for brides. Opting for a pastel-hued dress outside of white, brides run the risk that guests would steal their thunder.
- Ballgowns are that one silhouette you can wear on the big day and get away with it. It’s easy and looks flattering on most brides. It’s big, it’s dramatic and it's all for your day.
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