These past couple months have been wild, terrifying, intense and confusing. It’s no secret at this point that the wedding industry (tbh, every industry) has been turned upside down by COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus. People are talking about going out of business and losing their jobs, let alone wtf will happen to their weddings.

The only thing I can do is think about how grateful I am. Grateful that I work in a wonderful industry filled with kind, caring people. All I have been reading about is gracious vendors stepping up to help couples reschedule their wedding to the best of their abilities, and I’m honored to call those people my friends. Not everyone has been lucky, or even able to have their dream wedding on their dream date. It may not be as perfect as originally planned, but you can’t cancel love.

I can’t speak to everything in our industry. But I can clue you in on what is going on with bridal fashion.

For what it’s worth, here are some things I can share. Not everyone will agree with me, and not everyone will like what I have to say. But with the number of calls I’ve received; I think it’s important to get some info out there for all brides out there as best as I can.

Here’s what to know if you’ve already purchased:

Our designers are incredible

I think this is true of almost every designer out there, not just the ones we purchase from. Because coronavirus has been on the manufacturer’s radar since the early stages of the outbreak in China, a lot of them have been able to stay on track. They are working tirelessly to answer questions and be there for stores every way they can, and they’ve been doing it silently in the background for months now.

Designers are pushing themselves to do whatever they can for brides to have their dream dress. And they’ve been as transparent as they can be. I can’t be more grateful for how proactive and helpful they have been in answering our questions and anticipating our needs.

No news is good news.

If you haven’t heard from us about a rollback on your confirmed shipping, don’t be scared!

This means that we haven’t been told your wedding gown, bridesmaid dress, accessory, veil and/or jewelry is coming in late. We are constantly checking our emails and phones to ensure that things continue to stay on time. We are on it and trying our best to remain proactive as best we can.

Speak up.

If you are nervous, please, please, please call us, or whatever store you purchased from. Email us. DM us. Send a carrier pigeon. Whatever you have to do! I speak for my store, and I’m sure all the others would agree, we would rather answer the same questions over and over than have you sit at home stressed and scared. Let us reassure you and be here for you. We want to do everything we can for you to the best of our abilities.

If you haven’t purchased:

My personal recommended timeline:

Right now, I’ve been telling brides order at least a year out. Yes. At least a year. I know that feels a lifetime away, especially in all this uncertainty. Frankly, I am anxious over what April will look like and if we’ll be allowed to accept customers in store at that time, let alone what 2021 will be like, but we can’t get caught up just in here and now and forget about the future.

We are not sure how designers’ shipping dates will shift. They’ve been transparent, but somethings are out of our control and things could change. Right now, at least a year is not something I am worried about. It means there should be plenty of time for shipping, quality control, gown visits and alterations.

Shit. I don’t have a year! Now what?

Don’t have a full-on panic attack. I’d like to see everyone order at least a year out, even at a time when everything isn’t a dumpster fire. But not everyone has that luxury, especially with states closing stores in an effort to contain the virus.

Eight months still should be fine, but it’s tighter than I’m sure most stores would be comfortable with and could mean that alterations need to be done quicker or that there is a little less time for quality control.

Designers are updating us regularly as shipping timelines update. Know this: a decent number of designers have cut out rush shipping. Stores may have some levers to pull to get you something in less than 20-24 weeks and we can talk through what options there are at the time of ordering, so you don’t have to resort to buying off the rack if you don’t need to.

It sucks because I have to now put pressure on people, which is against our very mission and the very fiber of my being. But as much as I want to give brides space to breathe, I have to be realistic, and I think that’s true of most stores.

Just know when stores are telling you the dates, they aren’t trying to be pushy. They are trying to be honest. Don’t take it personally, we want to make sure that if you like a dress, you can get it in time.

Respect the store’s decisions for social distancing.

To the extent they can, every store is making its own guidelines for how they want to help “flatten the curve” and follow the guidelines set forth by the CDC and government. Not every store is even able to be opened, including mine.

Even as I began writing this, several states, including New Jersey, have ordered non-essential businesses to close. Please call your store to check if they are open before booking and ask how many guests you can bring. If you aren’t feeling well – STAY HOME. If not for yourself, do it for those we love to keep them safe.

I need to order, but I also want to stay self-quarantined or my local bridal shop is closed. What do I do?

Short answer: Call the store!

Before the breakout got to this point, some brides or bridesmaids decided to go home and sleep on it, or wanted to schedule a future appointment to bring family in and show the dress before they said yes. And of course, we said no problem! Because we want you to have the space to breathe and say yes to the dress when you are personally ready.

Whatever the reason, they didn’t buy during their appointment, but now shipping has rolled back, stores are being asked/ordered to close and shit’s getting real.

Instead of coming back in, fill your order asap at home. Call the store and try to remotely order. Don’t miss your shipping date because you’re waiting for fifteen days to be over. Truth is, as the news unfolds there are a lot of question marks out there and waiting may not be an option for every bride or bridesmaid.

If you do want to wait, ask a store if it’s doable. I would rather take a look and see if we have time to spare to give you the experience you want to have with your family, or the time you need to come to a decision when you’re ready, so if I can give you a future appointment, I will. But not everyone will have that luxury, so ask me, or whatever store you’re considering purchasing from.

It may not be the answer you’re looking for, but it also may be the only option for some people. Our store has been working on remote solutions for ordering and doing video chats for lessons on how to measure yourself at home.  

We are forwarding our store’s phones and answering any questions as best we can. We are still taking orders, despite our doors being closed!

At the end of the day, we are here for you. We are happy to act as a support system and answer questions any way we can and be a resource for any bride, regardless of where they choose to purchase.

Together we can keep on track. We won’t give up on our brides and we won’t give up on love.
Phone: 856.779.0384
Email: info@lauraandleighbridal.com
Address: 937 Church Road, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002
(near Philadelphia, right outside the Cherry Hill Mall)

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