BRIDAL shops across the town are warning blushing brides to beware of buying dresses through non-authorised retailers online.
It comes after dozens of women have turned up at shops with horror tales of dresses turning up that were not as advertised, fake, shoddily made or, in some cases, not being delivered at all.
While the dresses are cheaper than those they may have tried on in boutiques, many websites do not provide the service expected.
Gary Watts, who runs Bridal Boutique, in Faringdon Road, with his wife Jane, said that they wanted to warn brides of the dangers.
“A lot of people are going on the internet to buy their dresses from places like China because they are cheaper but when they are turning up they are terrible quality, not what the picture looked like and people are being left upset,” he said.
“What a lot of these internet sites are doing is they are taking pictures of the brochures and uploading them onto the internet, but then what turns up is nothing like the picture.
“It is becoming a big problem and we see the individuals coming in upset just weeks before their wedding day.
“I always say you can’t beat feeling and touching what you are buying and would always recommend buying from a store, be that us or any other bridal store in Swindon.”
Julie Moody, who owns Harmony Brides, in Devizes Road, said that she had also heard many similar stories.
“The problem is, as bridal retailers, we only get to pick up the pieces when something goes wrong,” she said.
“It is not until a couple of weeks before the wedding that the dresses arrive and they are wrong and we get the brides coming in stressed because their big day has been ruined.
“We have sale rails in the shop and we do usually manage to find something that works, but it is not a nice experience.
“I am not saying all internet sites that sell bridal dresses are like it, but brides should make sure they are buying from a site that has been approved.
“With a wedding shop like ours you are paying for the whole service, which is what a lot of women like and nothing beats being able to see and feel what you are buying.
“It is one of the biggest days of your life and we don’t want to see it ruined.”
Charlotte Bean, 15, of Walcot, was in Bridal Boutique on Saturday trying on prom dresses and said she would not risk buying online.
She said: “It is good to come to a shop like this because you get to see what you are wearing, and make sure the colour is right.
“If you buy something online, you could get it and the colour is a different shade or it doesn’t fit how you thought it would.
“With a shop they help you get the dress that is right for you.”
Charlotte’s grandmother, Margaret Wheatley, said she knew someone who had bought online and it hadn’t been right.
“My sister got married and bought a dress for herself and two bridesmaid dresses in a shop,” she said.
“Then a friend who didn’t want to be a bridesmaid originally changed her mind and she tried to get a dress online and it was awful.
“The material was really cheap and it just wasn’t nice.”