My Cocomelody Experience
I was a bride that was trying to be ballin’ on a budget. I don’t feel bad about that at all, but it did mean that we had to stick to the budget pretty strictly. We ended up staying in budget (I’ll talk more about that in a different post), and still had our dream wedding. I don’t think we cut any corners, and it didn’t feel like a budget wedding.
Now, there are a lot of budget-friendly dresses. When I say budget friendly, I’m going to mean under $500. That was the budget. If you want one of those lower budget dresses, a lot of them are very simple. No-no-no. I wanted something extravagant. I wanted all lace, a full skirt, sleeves, a train…it was a lot. It’s a lot on $500. When I tried on dresses elsewhere (as indicated in this post), the dresses that had everything I wanted were closer to $1,500 or $2,000, or often more. So, I was rearranging my budget to fit in the dress, when I found Cocomelody.
Cocomelody is a online store that sells very inexpensive wedding dresses. I was somewhat heartened by the fact that they have a showroom in LA that you can go into to try on dresses. Since my experience, they’ve also started a home try-on program, but that was not an option when I needed to buy my dress.
Things that I liked:
You could send in custom measurements to get a made-to-measure dress. No alterations should be needed, right?
They had a facebook group where women could share pictures and stories so you could tell that it wasn’t a scam.
They had a huge selection of dresses, all in my budget. I didn’t feel limited at all.
In addition to custom sizing, they would alter the design of the dress.
I hemmed and hawed about it for a long time, but found this picture, and knew that it was meant to be my dress.
I waited until Black Friday, when they were having a 25% off sale. My wedding wasn’t until August, so I had a ton of time. With taxes, shipping, and the discounts and sales that I could find, the total cost of the dress was $351.75.
This broke down as $468 for the dress as is (this is the model I bought) with an $49 upcharge for adding custom long sleeves and building it to my measurements. Shipping was free on orders over $150, and I had a 25% discount, reducing the price by $139.25.
Ordering the dress was kind of stressful and involved a lot of back and forth. I had to take my measurements at home. We then exchanged emails several times to confirm my measurements. I ended up having to send photos of me measuring myself so they knew I was doing it right. My order was finalized on December 2nd.
All of the dresses have a quoted production time of how long they will take. Again, I wasn’t in a rush, but it’s nice to know when it’s coming, especially when many of the dresses you order from boutiques can take six months or more. Mine was supposed to take 40 days.
Forty days came and went. 50 days came and went. On day 55, I sent an email wondering where my dress was. To my total delight, they then immediately sent a tracking number and it shipped that day. I was a little concerned that it made it seem like my dress was just…sitting there, forgotten, until I bothered them.
Five days later, the box arrived! I had to sign for it, so I’m mostly happy that I was home at the time. I could not wait. I ripped that box open to see the dress. It was…everything I wanted it to be. It fit really well right out of the box, and the quality was so far beyond my expectations. The material felt better than any dress I tried on at David’s Bridal, and was on-par with the $2,000+ boutique dresses. I was so happy with it…except the smell.
Wait, what? The dress was supposed to be perfect! But it smelled like a fish market. I’m serious. Dirty, smelly, left out all night raw fish. I live in a small house, and soon the smell filled the whole house. To say I panicked was an understatement. I was doing all this while Charles was gone at work, but he was going to come home to the undeniable fish stink.
By the time he came home, I managed to limit the smell down to just the guest room, but he definitely noticed the odor. It was so embarrassing. Worse, when I reached out to Cocomelody, they said this was normal and I should just wait until the smell went away.
So I waited. After a week, the smell was still there. Some of the nice ladies on the facebook group suggested steaming it. The smell got worse. I was freaking out. So I waited.
Two weeks later, the smell was…different. It wasn’t fish anymore, now it was more like a silent-but-deadly fart. Even typing this, I wish this was a joke. In some ways this was worse. Taking pictures with Chuck’s friends, or cousins? Oh, there’s Caitlin, who smells like she shit her pants. Still freaking out.
At this point, I should have just paid to have it cleaned, but I didn’t. (Why not, I have no idea.) But the smell was going away for real. Finally, six weeks after I received the dress, it smelled normal. Well, odorless. Thank god.
This was really my only problem. I got the dress altered to have a bustle because of the long train, and it looked beautiful. I felt like a million dollars, but had probably saved over $1,000 by going this route. The bustle cost $30 at a local seamstress, so I came in underbudget and was just thrilled. Was it worth the total panic of ordering a dress sight-unseen? Was it worth the stress of that dress showing up less than perfect? I’m not sure. I can’t imagine doing it in any other dress now, but it did have it’s ups and downs for sure.
I will say that their options are a lot better now than they were when I ordered just last year. You can order standard size dresses to try on at home for a small fee. I think it’s $15 per dress, but don’t quote me on that. They also take returns now which they did not when I ordered my dress. Gosh, the whole thing was so risky and it totally paid off.
If you’re interested in a Cocomelody dress, I would suggest:
Join the facebook group so you can see the dresses on real people, including a lot of not-super-thin women (like me).
Go to a store and try on styles to see what silhouettes you like. It will narrow your search if you’re trying to find a dress that looks like one you saw in store, or even if you can narrow it down to “a-line” or “mermaid”.
Be so careful with your measurements, even if you’re getting a standard size (not custom sized, like mine was). Don’t go by what size you think you are, use your measurements and the size chart instead. I’m usually a 10. My dress was a 16. A dress that looks good is more important than squeezing into something too small.
Use the try-on program if you can.
Be prepared for some minor alterations, even if you do custom measurements. Because the lace on my dress is scalloped, getting it hemmed was going to cost big money, and I saved that expense by having my dress made to my height.
In the end, I think it was worth the stress and I love my dress.