HOUSTON - Prom and wedding seasons are fast approaching, but the ships carrying wedding gowns and prom dresses from China are not.
Bride Ashleigh Perry isn't taking any chances. She bought her wedding dress off the rack, to avoid worrying it may not arrive in time.
"So my dress is here already. So all I have to do is finish paying it off," said Perry.
However, she tells us her bridesmaids are ordering their dresses, which are made in China, and that gives her some concern.
"They've already said on many of the sites, they said order now. So the shipping time is, at least, the making time is at least two weeks more, plus shipping," Perry told us.
At Panache Bridal and Formal in Houston, owner Sweetie Thakkar says brides are checking in on the expected arrival of their dresses.
Said one woman who came into the store on behalf of a bride, "She wants to know because, since the wedding is in June, she still has to do alterations and everything."
"The latest it would be here would be early May or by the 10th," Thakkar answered her.
Bridal gowns usually take six to nine months to make. But Thakkar says Chinese manufacturers alerted her it's now taking at least a few more weeks.
"About a month ago, we heard and started getting emails from every factory that couldn't accommodate certain ship dates," said Thakkar.
Because brides usually allow for extra time, Sweetie says none of her dress orders have been late for any bride's big day. But she says more brides and prom goers are buying off the rack to be safe.
"There's great stock. There are beautiful dresses, something that they love. Have it hanging in in their closet, then they don't have to worry about it not showing up or something," said Thakkar.
Meantime, Perry says she's trying not to worry about her bridesmaids' dresses.
"I know my dress will be here," she laughs. "We'll go from there."
Thakkar and other dress shops recommend the same advice for prom and wedding shoppers: Buy off the rack. If you order a dress, plan for it to take a few extra weeks. And remember to allow time for alterations, too.
Some bridal shops offer returns, some do not. Check your store's policy.