Review: Buying a Wedding Dress Online from East Meets Dress

A Note from Dani: July 2024 is our one year wedding anniversary! I wanted to share some stories from when we got married to hopefully encourage and reassure any nervous brides out there. I was so nervous, but it ended up being the happiest day of my life!

I’m not a dress person. In fact, the only time you’ll see me in a dress is if it’s for an event that absolutely requires it, or the more likely scenario: I’m out of regular pants and need to wear something in public. 

When Xak and I got engaged in 2022, I was so excited we were getting married but then also terrified at the thought of being the center of attention at our wedding. On top of that, having to get custom measured and wear an uncharacteristically long dress that i would likely trip on was even MORE frightening.

Xak and Dani at the lake
The look of two people who have never had to get custom measured for anything in their life.

Several years ago, I used to live above a wedding dress shop and was introduced to the show “Say Yes to the Dress.” I’m mildly embarrassed to say this, but I’ve seen every single episode. (Seriously). Thanks to my many years of watching SYTTD (and its spinoffs), I have a pretty good idea on how annoying it can be to find a wedding dress, how stressful fittings can be, how long alterations can take, and of course the expensive price tag that comes along it.

All these thoughts were paralyzing me and I watched the months go by until our wedding date became closer and closer. I was easily making decisions on other important things (like writing out the desired song list for the string quartet and selecting the right donut flavors for our dessert vendor), but I could not bring myself to make a single wedding dress appointment at any salon or boutique. Instead, I decided to do some research online first to get an idea of what kind of dress I might want to try on in person.

The perfect Dress?

I get frustrated when someone on Say Yes to the Dress says they have no idea what kind of dress they want. Why do they not spend any time trying to figure this out in advance?! I at least had a good idea of what I knew I wanted in a dress:

  • A non-halter higher neck, like a Mandarin collar
  • A completely covered back
  • Nothing sheer or see through (Sorry, Pnina)
  • Sleeves, even though my wedding is in July
  • Nothing poofy/no ballgowns
  • Something fairly comfortable
  • Something that was less than $1k, including all alterations

All of this sounds like pretty reasonable requests, right?

After months of researching numerous wedding dress designers and assessing their collections, I realized nothing looked like anything I would be comfortable wearing, even if I went way above my budget. Everything else for the wedding was coming together, but it was 9 months before the wedding and I still had no idea how I’d look on that day. The only thing that seemed to fit the bill was a Snuggie.

When I re-evaluated my “must have” list, I realized the problem requirement was finding something with a higher neck that I liked. I saw several dresses that fit the other wish list items, but then it would have a sweetheart or a v neckline. I saw bolero jackets and bridal capes that would help, but that added several hundred dollars on top of the price of the dress. I decided to narrow my focus to high neck wedding dresses and hoped for a miracle.

Somehow, I stumbled up on a site called East Meets Dress.

About east Meets Dress

East Meets Dress is an Asian American fashion company based in California with a focus on the wedding industry. Their specialties are custom, modern Chinese cheongsams and Vietnamese ao dai.

Typically you’ll see cheongsams (or qipaos) as a long, form fitting dress with a high collar, short or cap sleeves, and characteristic pankou (decorative fabric Chinese knot fasteners seen below).

As I browsed the site, I realized…. this is exactly what I wanted. In fact, I have actually worn a cheongsam inspired dress made by Ma for a special event at school. Not surprisingly, the majority of the dresses on the website were red, however I saw options for white along with the ability to customize many of the features such as the length of the train, the sleeves, and even if the back should be covered (yay!).

Most of the prices of the cheongsams I liked were around the $400-$700 range. I’ve seen some other beautiful looking cheongsams on sketchy looking sites with suspiciously too good to be true prices. While I was still suspicious, this price range seemed much more realistic than the other sites I saw.

The Emma Cheongsam

I narrowed down to the one dress I liked the most, the Emma dress, and browsed through pictures of real people who wore the dress. It came in two options: a quick ship version with no customizations in standard sizes only or a bespoke version where you can customize the dress and provide your specific measurements for a tailor made experience.

I loved that the dress came in white, but I wasn’t so sure about the red trim. I decided to send off an email to see what my options were. Could I get this entire dress in white? If so, what did it look like and how much would it cost?

I got a reply back in about 2 days with a picture of a real Emma dress completely in white (one they did for another customer), reassured me the dress could indeed be made entirely white, and explained that custom trim colors (for example, blue) would cost $10.

After hemming and hawing for some time (3 months to be exact!), I wrote back again and asked how to disclose the desired customization if I purchased as well as how do I provide my measurements? I received a quick reply explaining that the customization is inputted during purchase in the comment box, and that a detailed measurement document would be sent to me afterwards.

At this point, we were less than 7 months before the wedding, and I knew I could no longer put this off. I had to do this. If not, I would have to find a celebratory, fancy Snuggie for the wedding day after all.

So… I did it! I selected and inputted my customizations, added to the cart, filled out all the necessary info, and clicked the check out button while closing my eyes.

When I bought my dress in December 2022, I ended up paying the following:

  • The White Emma Bespoke Cheongsam with white trim ($448)
  • 50 cm long train customization ($10)
  • Covered back customization ($10)
  • Route Package Protection ($6.75)
  • A Discount for taking the “style quiz” (-$10)

All together, I paid $464.75 so far…. for a wedding dress I had never tried on before or seen in person.


-Anakin Skywalker in Revenge of the Sith and me after realizing I paid for a wedding dress I’d never tried on

Getting Measured for the First Time

Shortly after completing the purchase, I received a “Next Steps” email from East Meets Dress asking for the following:

  • My event date which apparently I missed filling out (that’s what happens when you close your eyes during check out)
  • a reminder to speak up for any other customization requests before they start working on the dress
  • A detailed guide on what custom measurements and example pictures were required
  • An explanation that a $50 tailoring credit would be offered if any final adjustments are needed
  • An estimated timeline of 16 weeks for delivery of the custom dress

As I checked out the measurement guide, my anxiety exponentially increased as I realized there were a lot more things to measure than I knew existed like collar height, back waist to hips, and slit height. I’ve never measured myself nor did I trust Xak to measure me properly (Sorry, Xak). In fact the first line in the document says “We highly recommend you be measured by a professional tailor” which is probably there for a reason. So I took their advice.

I found a local tailor who ran her business out of her home and set up an appointment explaining I needed to get measured (in centimeters) for a custom wedding dress, along with several pictures needed to accompany the measurements like full body length front photos, or your back from shoulder to shoulder. When I arrived, I handed her the document, asked what I needed to do (this was my first time getting measured lol) and she reassured me we would get it all done.

All together, it cost $60 for the measurements, but it was so incredibly worth having a professional do it. I was now at $525 for my wedding dress (and counting).

Choosing the Hair Accessories

After sending off my measurements through a special link close to the end of December (July was wedding month!), I received a personalized confirmation email confirming that my measurements and pictures were all good to begin crafting my cheongsam. Since they were actively working on the dress, I was notified from this point on, it would cost an additional $100 if I asked for any more changes which was enough to make me not want to change my mind about anything.

As Xak and I celebrated the holiday season that year in 2022, I started thinking more about the other parts of my wedding day outfit I’d neglected to think about. While the dress was now (hopefully) settled, what about my hair? My shoes? Accessories??

As I frantically started searching for “Asian Wedding Hair” on Pinterest, I realized I was pinning a lot of nearly identical, fancy looking updos which had beautiful jeweled pins and hairpieces. I also realized that I saw a lot of these on the East Meets Dress site when I was searching for my cheongsam.

Since I planned on having two bridesmaids, I wanted to make sure they had something that sorta matched my hair. Coordination seems like the thing you do at weddings.

Although I wasn’t quite sure exactly how I wanted my hair to be yet, I figured it was safe to buy the pins now before I chickened out. Luckily, East Meets Dress had a really nice selection to choose from, and I settled on the Pearl Hair Piece which came with 5 total items:

  • Two larger pearl hair pins with green and red jewels and detachable fans
  • Two smaller pearl hair pins with green and red jewels
  • Pearl comb hairpiece

The hair piece set cost $62.01 after sales tax and a 10% discount from a coupon code.

Dress Delivery

Since the expected delivery timeline was around 16 weeks, I figured I wouldn’t hear anything back until March or April which was about 3 months before the wedding. Imagine my surprise when my dress arrived in January, ONE MONTH after placing my order.

The box arrived and I dove into it to see the following:

  • Chinese Lucky Candy (Fun fact: This was the first time Xak ever ate these, and now he loves them!)
  • A sticker and some cards
  • My hair pins (not pictured, but it came in the same box)
  • A zipped bag that contained my dress (!)

My custom cheongsam is in this bag!!!

As I carefully removed the dress from the bag, I realized I needed the help of bridesmaid Barb to actually zip up the entire dress, but I couldn’t wait for that. I wanted to see if it even remotely fit or if I had just spent essentially $500 on a tablecloth.

It actually fit!! Even though the zipper wasn’t completely up, I was shocked at how beautiful the dress was and that I felt like the best version of myself in it. I also didn’t think I needed to even use the $50 tailoring credit since it seriously fit really well!

After that, I knew things would be ok and suddenly, I couldn’t wait for our wedding!

My Cheongsam on the Wedding Day

As the months passed quickly, July 2023 came by in no time. While I was still nervous for possible issues to arise, I was also so terribly excited for Xak and I to see each other and get married!!!

After my dress arrived, I set up a trial run for my hair and showed the many “Asian Wedding Hair” Pinterest pics on my phone along with my pearl hair pins. I also explained that Xak and I would be doing a swing dance for our first dance, so please please please make sure my hair would stay in tact.

I was really pleased with how my trial hair turned out. On the day of, the hair and makeup artist did the same hair style and also ensured that my bridesmaids had their hair pins in place too. I’m really happy that we had something to tie us together.

Yay for hair theme coordination!

Xak was aware that I had a custom cheongsam made, but he never saw me in it prior to the wedding day. He knew how nervous I was about finding a dress that I would be comfortable in, and I am grateful that he was so supportive during my sleepless nights of wondering if I’d ever find something. Our First Look was great, and I knew Xak loved my dress as much as I did!

Presenting, Mr. Scone and Mrs. Doughn!

Final Thoughts

Since I didn’t do any alterations after I received my dress, the total for just the dress turned out to be $464.75. If you add in the cost of measurements with the tailor, it’s $525. That’s really awesome for a custom made dress. Counting the cost of the hair pins (which I shared with my bridesmaids), I spent a total of $590 from the site.

I am so relieved that I found East Meets Dress. I honestly don’t know what I would have done if I had to go down a different path. I don’t think I would have been nearly as happy or confident on my wedding day. I’m really appreciative to all the many pictures I saw on the main site and Instagram from the company’s own photoshoots and the actual customers and their reviews.

The thought of buying your wedding dress without trying it on sounds absurd, and I still can’t believe I did that… and that it actually turned out great! My biggest advice to anyone who chooses to buy a dress from here is to make sure you find someone who knows how to take accurate measurements. Also, if you have questions, make sure to ask before you purchase.

This is NOT a paid review. I wanted to share my personal experience because I definitely understand the frustrations of not finding dresses like these in a typical bridal salon. I also understand experiencing anxiety if you don’t dress up much or enjoy being the center of attention. I am extremely wary about buying something for the first time from a website, and I imagine many people are the same way. After all, I’ve seen plenty of horror stories. While my experience might not be the exact same as others, I am really happy and grateful to East Meets Dress for helping me look and feel my very best on the best day of my life.

Also, thank you for not making me having to resort to wearing a Snuggie!

Find someone who carries your train so you don’t trip.

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