LOMITA, Calif. - Peak wedding season is around the corner and COVID-19 is leaving brides-to-be in panic. The deadly coronavirus is delaying the creation and delivery of wedding gowns.
Magda Azer has owned House of Brides & Tuxedo for 24 years, recently moving the bridal shop from Torrance to Lomita. Nearly all her wedding gowns, mostly brand names, are made in China. Eighty percent of all wedding dresses in the U.S. come from China.
The coronavirus outbreak has indefinitely shut down some factories where Azer and many other bridal shop owners get their gowns.
“It’s scary for the orders coming,” said Magda Azer. “Until now, thank God, it’s been ok but when you go to April, May, June, this is very busy so we don’t know what’s happening.”
During the crux of wedding season, Azer is waiting on 30 gowns from China. A saving grace; some companies have online inventory that brides can access right away.
“It scares me because, for example, this customer, I have to give her the money back. I told her to come choose another brand that will come early. If she doesn’t like any of them, I have to give her the money back too.”
The key is to order early or choose inventory already in stock, like Azer’s dresses, that range in price from $1,200 to $3,000.
“It’s hard for brides a little bit bigger in size. For the smaller size, it’s easy to find in stock.”
The most nerve-wracking part is the unknown, of what’s to come with coronavirus and the domino-effect it’s quickly having on the world.
“I hope everything will be ok because if it continues it will be very bad.”
Before the coronavirus outbreak, brides would need to order their wedding dresses six to eight months in advance. Now bridal shop owners recommend they order their gowns at least a year before the wedding to allow time to make, send and alter it.