How does the sample gown process work?
1. Order gown(s) you are interested trying on through our website. We can ship up to two gowns together in one shipment without any additional shipping costs.
-You will be charged a 50% refundable deposit on the sample gown, along with the cost to ship it. Shipping typically costs between $80.00 and $90.00 for US-based brides, and around $250.00 for international brides.
-We will ship the sample gown in your estimated size (based on the measurements you submitted with your order).
2. Receive and try on sample gown! At this time, you will have a “Virtual Fitting” via Skype or Facetime with one of our stylists.
-During this Virtual Fitting, our stylists are able to see you in the gown and offer suggestions on how to improve the fit. We offer complimentary adjustments to improve the fit of our gowns.
**All US-based brides will be provided with a mini iPad to complete the Virtual Fitting on**
3. After three days with the sample gown, you will ship it back to the Katie May showroom.
-If you decide to move forward with the gown, the 50% deposit will be used to confirm your order, and the cost of shipping will be refunded to you.
-If you decide to NOT move forward with the gown, the 50% deposit will be refunded to you. We will not refund shipping for brides who do not confirm their order.
4. Once the gown is confirmed, we will start production on your wedding gown. All of our gowns take between 3 & 4 months to produce. If you have a shorter timeframe, we do offer to rush production at an additional cost.
5. Prior to shipping your wedding gown, you will be charged the remaining 50% of your gown. Shipping for final gowns costs $25.00 for US-based brides, and around $125.00 for international brides.
6. Upon receiving your wedding gown, final adjustments will need to be completed by your tailor. No returns, exchanges, or refunds of your final gown.
How long does the sample and final gown process take?
We are able to ship a sample gown to you within two weeks of you placing your order. For US-based brides, we ship the sample gown via UPS 2nd-day air. For international brides, we ship the sample gown via UPS Worldwide Expedited, which typically takes about a week. You have three days with the sample gown before you will have to return ship it.
All of our gowns take around 4 months to produce. If you have a shorter timeframe, we do offer to rush production at an additional cost. We recommend you receive your wedding gown 4-6 weeks prior to your wedding to give your tailor time to complete the final alterations.
To stay within our recommended timeframe, we suggest placing your sample gown order 5-6 months before your wedding.
What is the difference between the Princeville, Poipu, and Lanai gowns?
The first, most pronounced difference is the material: the Princeville is silk and the Poipu and Lanai are polyester. Also, the lace of the Poipu & Lanai gowns is a little more structured in its shape, whereas the Princeville’s French chantilly lace is very dainty and has a much drapier look. The Poipu bust cups are a true triangle shape, whereas the Princeville and Lanai cups are a oblong triangle, which exposes more of your chest area. All three are beautiful gowns, but price, fabric style, and your own timeline are all important items to consider when deciding on the gown.
I am a D-cup...will this gown work for me?
We have had many bustier brides wear our gowns and look amazing! All of our gowns come with complimentary adjustments, which include increasing the cup or bust area to provide more coverage. Additionally, we have a couple of undergarment options we can discuss with you that provide more bust support.
Will my final gown need additional tailoring?
Yes. Our gowns are not custom, so they all require additional tailoring. The three main alterations you will need to get done with an outside tailor are the hem, straps, and bustle. Although our complimentary adjustments will diminish the amount of tailoring you will need, they are still based on our patterns, so they are not done for your exact measurements. Your tailor will be able to do the final tweaks to make sure your gown fits your body perfectly.
Do you ever sell sample gowns?
Yes. We have sample sales about twice a year, and will soon be putting our discounted gowns on our website. We do not offer complimentary adjustments with these sample gowns, and they are all final sale.
Do you have a location near me?
We are carried in boutiques all over the world. For a full list of where we are carried, please visit our Locations Page. If you are not near any of our locations, we would be more than happy to send you a sample gown! For more information about this process, please see the first question.
Are the gowns custom to my size?
Our gowns are not custom to your exact measurements. To get the best possible fit, we first determine the best size range for your measurements. Once we figure out the best size gown for you, we can discuss different complimentary adjustments to improve the fit for your body shape. Although these can get close to your measurements, they are still based on our patterns, so they are not exact. You will need to get the final tweaks done with your outside tailor.
Can I change the aesthetic of the gown I’m interested in?
We do offer some options to make the gown your own, such as adding additional fabric or changing out the straps. Please email our stylists at email@example.com for more information.
Are customs/duties refunded for a sample gown?
Most of our international brides are able to get refunded for the customs and duties they pay for their sample gown. It differs for each country, so please contact your Customs Office for specifics pertaining to your shipment. Katie May is not responsible for any customs/duties charges you may incur.
My wedding is under the 3 month time period. Are you able to rush out gowns?
Yes. We are able to rush out a gown for an additional cost. Please see rush pricing below:
12-15 weeks: $100.00
1-12 weeks: $250.00
9-10 weeks: $350.00
4-8 weeks: $500.00
2-3 weeks: $750.00
We also have stock gowns and sample gowns available for sale for those brides with a small timeframe.
Can I order a gown without trying on a sample?
Yes; however, this is something we advise against. Once you place a gown order, it is non-returnable, so it is highly recommended that you confirm the gown is a style and size you are comfortable with before purchasing it.
Can I take a home a gown with me when I come in for my fitting?
If we have either a stock gown or sample gown available for purchase in the style and size you are interested in, you are more than welcome to purchase it and take it home during your fitting. Our stock gowns are brand new gowns in straight sizing, and are sold at full-price. Our sample gowns have been previously used as showroom samples or they are gowns made for brides that were not able to complete their purchase. These gowns are sold at a discount. You can discuss which gowns we have available for immediate purchase with one of our stylists.
What are the costs for ordering a sample gown?
To order a sample gown, we require a 50% refundable deposit on the gown, plus the cost of shipping. For US-based brides, we ship our samples via UPS 2nd-day air, which typically costs between $80.00-$90.00 round-trip. For international brides, we ship our samples via UPS Worldwide Expedited, which typically costs about $250.00 round-trip.
Do you make custom gowns?
Katie does take on a limited amount of custom gowns each year. These custom gowns are completely new styles she designs, rather than modifications on current styles, and start at $4,000.00. We start by requesting 5-10 images of gowns you really love (they do not need to be bridal gowns) with an explanation of the specific elements you love about each gown. We also ask which parts of your body you are hoping to accentuate with your wedding gown. We then need you to visit our showroom for full body measurements and to try on some of our collection to discuss fit preferences, fabric preferences, etc. We collect a $2,000.00 deposit at this time. Two weeks later, Katie will have a range of 3-4 gowns designed for you to choose from. Once a gown is selected, we usually require about 3-4 fittings with us in our Los Angeles showroom that take place over a 6-8 month period of time. The remaining balance of the custom gown is collected when you take your gown home.
Reasons to shop directly with Katie May?
-Work one-on-one with a Katie May stylist
-Try on your actual size - no clamping!
-Choice of complimentary adjustments to improve the fit of your gown
-Option to have sample gown sent directly to your house (see Sample Gown Process above)
-Surprises with final gown
-Opportunity to meet Katie herself
Where are the gowns made?
All of our gowns are designed and produced in Downtown Los Angeles.