For the past month, shipments from Chinese factories have dropped sharply, as the country fights the coronavirus. Even Apple warns of shipping issues with new iPhones assembled there.
Now reports are coming in from around the US of nervous brides wondering if their wedding gowns being shipped from China will arrive in time. More than half of all bridal gowns now come from China, bridal shops say.
Sabena Collins is looking for a wedding gown for her upcoming nuptials in Cincinnati this year. Like many young brides, she was tempted to order an inexpensive dress she saw online.
"You see them on Wish.com for $15; you see them everywhere," she said.
But this savvy bride has heard some warnings about delays in deliveries due to the coronavirus. Unlike many other online shoppers, she knows most of those cheap dresses she sees on Wish.com or Instagram ads ship directly from China, several weeks after you order them.
"I would worry that there would be delays, especially right now," she said.
Bridal shops warn of unfamiliar dress sites
Bridal shops say you need to be very careful these days if you want to save money by ordering gowns or bridesmaid's dresses directly off the internet, and you have no idea where those dresses are coming from.
Tina Minshall, manager of Bridal and Formal in Reading, Ohio, says the factory in China you are ordering from may not even be open, may only have a handful of workers, or it may have no way to ship the dress.
"Be aware and do your homework, because it is not a time where you want to go on the cheap end," Minshall said. "It's your wedding day, you got one shot at this, you don't want to make a mistake."
She says her suppliers have their shipping issues under control, as they can source dresses from other countries.
"Maybe a week delay here and there, but nothing the consumer is going to notice at all," she said.
But she says if you deal with a reputable bridal shop, they will make sure you get a dress that is already on the way, or comes from a manufacturer that is not based in China.
"So while they might have a factory in China, they also have one in India, in Sri Lanka, here in the States," Minshall said. But Bridal and Formal is urging fall brides not to wait too long to order, just to be safe.
Collins says she is not going to risk a dress from an unknown online seller that might not show up for her big day this fall, so she's staying local and is trying to buy an American-made dress, even if it costs more.
That way even though you may spend more, you don't waste your money.
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