As global supply chain issues continue to escalate, wedding dress delays could spoil the special days for many brides-to-be.
Many couples held off on weddings and rescheduled due to the pandemic, but now some brides are faced with their wedding gowns or bridal party dresses being delayed as well.
Upscale bridal shop L'Fay Bridal is advising brides to prepare for increased lead times for gowns ordered through their company.
"Gowns used to take about six to eight months to arrive, without rush fees," L'Fay Bridal NYC shop manager McKenzie Custin told "GMA." "Now brides can expect to wait a full nine to 10 months."
Rush fees have also become more prevalent for brides looking to receive their gowns in less than eight months, she said.
Custin said brides should also include time for at least a month-long alteration process when confirming their wedding dates. For example, if the wedding is planned eight months out, that only leaves seven months for a dress to actually arrive.
"The ideal timeline is nine to 10 months for your gown to arrive and one and a half to two months for alterations," she added. "Brides should be ordering their gowns a full year or a little over year in advance to avoid any stress, worry or rush fees."
It's estimated that there will be 2.5 million weddings in 2022, the most the U.S. has had since 1984, according to The Wedding Report.
Coupled with global supply chain issues, several retailers don't foresee wedding dress delays slowing down anytime soon.
"The increased timeline is unfortunately here to stay with the sudden boom," said Custin. "Many designers are operating understaffed due to COVID-19 -- this means that rush fees are required more often and the minimum turn around time for a gown has increased."
In addition to wedding gowns, supply chain disruptions have also affected the arrival of bridesmaid dresses.
New York City-based pediatric nurse practitioner Allyson Tauber, who is scheduled to get married on March 12, 2022, found her wedding dress rather quickly. Once ordered, it arrived in six months as promised and now she is awaiting to begin alterations within the next few months.
But she hasn't had the same luck when it comes to her bridesmaid dresses. She allowed them to pick their dresses from Bella Bridesmaids and had all participants submit orders ahead of time.
However, in September, she received an email titled "Urgent Production Change for Dessy Fabrics." "I was told that effective immediately, a few fabrics are majorly delayed due to COVID," Tauber told "GMA." "As it turns out, all of the dresses I had chosen were in the affected fabrics."
Tauber was given the option to have everyone come in for a fitting and order their dresses within eight days and they would arrive the week before the wedding or they could change fabrics, colors or designers to accommodate what was available.
"I have finally decided to move forward with a third option -- to cancel my order from Bella Bridesmaid and find my bridesmaid dresses elsewhere," she said.
Tauber said she's switched to Anthropologie's bridal service instead.
"Anthropologie’s BHLDN has been amazing to work with," she said. "I am very excited to have found a place where my bridesmaids can order dresses to try on at home and return them if they want to try another style or size."
A Bella Bridesmaid spokesperson explained to "GMA" that Dessy had delays and shortages on a subset of fabrics. However, Dessy is one of many designers that the company carries.
"We did notify brides the moment we learned of the delay to give them the choice of changing their order or to press forward with potential delays accounted for," a Bella Bridesmaid said. "Because we only focus on bridesmaids and are a franchise of small, female-owned businesses, it's very important for us to carry a variety of dresses, price points, production timelines [and more] to meet our clients' needs."
The company confirmed that Bella Bridesmaids can generally meet, or in many cases exceed, most bridesmaid needs as the business has a much larger selection than most of their competition.
While a great deal of the bridal industry has been impacted by ongoing global chain supplies, some stores, such as New York City's Kleinfeld Bridal, said it has not been intensely affected.
"We are truly not seeing any issues or hearing of any," said a Kleinfeld spokesperson. "The Kleinfeld merchandising and production teams are in daily constant contact with each of our designers and have not had any delivery issues nor do we foresee this affecting our brides."
The brand also highlighted that the store always has sample dresses available to buy straight off the rack.
Mass bridal retailers, such as David's Bridal, have also reported seeing a 45% increase for in-store purchases versus online likely due to condensed planning and supply chain issues. The company owns its own supply chain and carries over 300,000 gowns in stock in a variety of styles that are ready to go.
With continual major delays globally, experts also suggest shopping through small businesses that carry products made in America.