Notice which suppliers the brides on the message boards recommend. Also check their customer satisfaction ratings online.
Read all of the company?s policies carefully, especially the return policies. Read the sizing charts. Get your measurements taken by a sewing professional.
Ask if a color swatch can be sent to you. You might want to ask if you can send them a color swatch to make sure they can match your color.
Some bridal retailers sell these gowns in their shops. If you find out one exists in driving distance from you, go to see these dresses in person. This way you can compare the quality with what you have been seeing from the designer?s dresses in bridal shops.
Realize your alterations costs may be more than the norm to get the gown to fit properly and to repair areas of the gown not sewn correctly. But since you saved significantly on the gown purchase you still might save overall.