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Wedding Dress Contracts 101

Do you solemnly swear to buy this dress? Before you whip out your wallet and get the gown of your dreams, you’ll have to sign a wedding dress contract (yes, it’s actually a thing -- and a really important one too).

Photo: Caroline Petters Photography

So what is a wedding dress contract? Well, it’s a document you have to sign with the salon before buying a dress. Since they’re making this dress especially for you, it clearly outlines the details of your purchase. It will include the dress style, the color, the size, the delivery date and any alterations to the original design you’re requesting.

The first thing you’ll want to do is to read the fine print, just like you would any other legal document. We’ve seen wedding dress contracts that state the designer can make alterations to your dress without your consent, so make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into before you sign over your rights and hand over your money.

Also, double-check all the information on the salon/dressmaker's contract. If it contains incorrect information and you sign it, the fault is yours. You could end up getting the wrong wedding dress (or the wrong size or color) and there will be nothing you can do about it.

Depending on your dress and changes you might make to it, there may be extra charges added to your final amount. This is the time to get all these extras listed with the costs.

When you sign the contract, you’ll also need to leave a deposit for the dress. This can vary: Kleinfeld Bridal in New York City, for example, requires a 60 percent deposit to put in the order, and the remaining balance is due when the gown arrives from the designer about eight weeks prior to the wedding date.

Your contract should include all of the following information (don’t forget to double-check for both spelling and accuracy of details):

The Salon

  • Salon name
  • Address and phone number
  • Names of the consultants who assisted you

The Money

  • Date and time of purchase
  • Total amount
  • Extra charges
  • Amount of deposit (ensure this amount is marked clearly on the salon contract)
  • Amount still owed
  • Date balance is to be paid
  • How many fittings are included in the price (if any)
  • Cost of each additional fitting
  • Means of payment

The Dress Details

  • Designer name
  • Style number or name
  • Color
  • Size/measurements sent to manufacturer

The Follow-Up

  • Expected delivery date
  • Date of first fitting
  • Name of seamstress/tailor

-- Jennie Ma

See More: Wedding Dress Shopping