Why you should consider an ‘off-the-rack’ wedding dress

My beautiful wedding dress was off the rack and I am by no means ashamed to admit it. I bought my wedding dress on my first day of looking and it was about the 8th I tried on and second shop I has been to. I didn’t really plan to buy off the rack, the first shop I went to was a boutique for example, but the second was a sample store and that’s where I ended up finding the dress I loved.

I have had mixed reactions. Most people thought it was great or didn’t really have an opinion either day, but a few friends wrinkled their noses a bit. They seemed fixated on the fact that other women would have tried it on before me… What like every other piece of clothing you have bought from a shop you mean?! These pre conceptions are plain silly. So, for any off the rack brides like me, here are some benefits of buying a sample dress as well as some tips for getting it right.

Saving money is obviously a big one. My dress was an Alfred Angelo last season which was reduced to half its original price. The full price of most wedding dresses makes me wince (you’ll only wear it once) but I do understand the price tags with all the material and detailing. So, to buy a sample and save some pennies seems like a great idea to me.

It might be one of a kind! When I found my dress before buying it I went home to think about it and searched the web high and low for the same Alfred Angelo design elsewhere. I would not find it for sale for love nor money anywhere in the world, it must have been a discontinued line. This meant that next to no brides would be wearing it for the 2016 wedding season! For someone who likes to be unique like me this is a big plus and I was keen on being a DIY friendly bride so buying a sample kind of fitted into that theme.

Flexible fittings. When you order your dress in you have the big decision of choosing a size. Yes, you can have it altered but it’s more difficult to take things out than in. I have heard of brides ordering a dress in a smaller size and then panic dieting to try and get into it when they haven’t lost the weight they wanted to. My dress was a size 14 so that was what I got. When I bought it, I was a 12 and by the time I went for my first fitting I was a 10 so I could have it taken in a fair bit. But equally could have had it taken in only a little. Flexibility makes for a calmer bride!

Tips for buying off the rack:

  1. Check the dress thoroughly, a few gems missing here or there is no biggie (my seamstress fixed some of those for me) but stains, foundation marks or major damage could prove difficult and cause you unnecessary stress.
  2. Get a good seamstress who you trust and can fit it properly and repair any small problems. Mine was amazing and transformed the dress. It fitted like a glove.
  3. Do not be ashamed! It does not mean your dress is used, second hand or in any way less ‘yours’. On the other hand you don’t have to tell people if you don’t want to. They’ll never know! And it’s none of their business anyway.
  4. Pick a dress you love and don’t be put off it’s off the rack. If, like me, you didn’t necessarily plan on buying a sample dress but you fall for one then get it! It might be your only chance! And if it’s the one, it’s the one.

Off the rack is fabulous. It doesn’t mean the dress is any less beautiful, stylish or special. I’m so glad I found mine and  wouldn’t change it for the world.

Happy shopping!



  1. MrsWhyte August 21, 2016 / 9:42 pm

    Gorgeous dress! I originally bought my dress on Asos but my mum and auntie wanted to do the whole bridal shop thing and my auntie wanted to buy my dress. So I went to a shop with a sale on and got a dress there. I don’t understand people who say things like ‘I can’t wear a 2016 season dress in 2017!’ If you love the dress the season doesn’t matter!

    • Jessica Emily August 22, 2016 / 6:45 am

      Thank you! Yes I totally agree, it’s all about personal choice 🙂 I guess I have never really followed bridal ‘fashion’ so if someone has followed it their entire life maybe it would be important to have a ‘current trend’ – but I didn’t like any of those ones! X

  2. Jadirah Sarmad March 17, 2017 / 5:30 pm

    Your wedding dress looks gorgeous and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with buying a sample dress! I’m sure your post will help out a lot of other brides to be in dilemma! 🙂 x


    • Jessica Emily March 17, 2017 / 8:09 pm

      Thanks so much Jadirah ☺ xx

  3. Jenny Jo March 17, 2017 / 7:36 pm

    The way I feel is, if you love your wedding dress then who cares about it’s past. I mean afterall everyone has a past, why can’t a dress too 😉 Honestly yours was absolutely stunning so regardless of it being a “sample dress” who even cares. Not to mention no one would even know anyways….except for the people you bring with you to try it on I guess haha

    xo, JJ

    • Jessica Emily March 17, 2017 / 8:10 pm

      Haha yep very true! I loved it it didn’t bother me whatsoever. Thanks lovely xx

  4. Lisa Rebecca March 17, 2017 / 9:34 pm

    WOW! You looked absolutely stunning in your dress. I find it shouldn’t matter where you are buying your wedding dress from, it is your special day and most of the time it is impossible to see a difference if a dress costs £300 or £30,000 – Oh how I cannot wait for the day I walk down the aisle.. I’m such a girl haha!
    Stunning post/ such an informative read xx

    • Jessica Emily March 19, 2017 / 6:11 pm

      Thank you Lisa! I totally agree with you – it doesn’t matter at all! Thanks for reading 🙂 xx

  5. Natasha March 18, 2017 / 12:30 pm

    Your dress is gorgeous and really suits you! I wouldn’t be put off by anyone else as at the end of the day it’s mine and my husband-to-be’s day and if they don’t like it, it’s tough. If the dress makes me happy and feel like a princess and I’d be happy to walk down the isle in it that’s all that matters

    Tasha x


    • Jessica Emily March 19, 2017 / 6:11 pm

      Thank Tasha for your lovely comment! It means a lot. x

  6. Poppy Mayy March 19, 2017 / 1:41 pm

    This is such a great post. I’m getting married next year hopefully and am keen to find alternative ways to get my dress rather than spend thousands. This seems like a great way to do it.

    • Jessica Emily March 19, 2017 / 6:13 pm

      Congrats! It’s such an exciting time, but yeah some of the dress prices are insaneeee. I really felt like I didn’t want to go overboard for something I’d wear once! But I loved it to bits sample or not. I hope you find the perfect dress without too much hassle! xx

  7. Corinne & Kirsty March 19, 2017 / 8:57 pm

    Congrats! Getting married must be so excited! A new adventure starts! Your dress is amazing. It looks so so pretty! All five are great advice! When I get married, I’ll remember them! Thanks for sharing! xx Corinne

    • Jessica Emily March 22, 2017 / 5:37 pm

      Thanks so much lovelies! It means a lot 🙂 xx

    • Jessica Emily March 22, 2017 / 5:37 pm

      Thanks so much Sarah! xx

  8. olivia March 29, 2017 / 10:18 pm

    love the advice and you look amazing you dress is stunning

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