Southern Sweethearts: The eBay Dress

Soooo, I guess I have some explainin’ to do, huh? Yeah, this post has definitely been over a year in the making…

I know I left a lot of you ladies hanging, but I made sure to respond to any PMs I got regarding the topic of my eBay wedding dress. So hopefully you don’t all hate me for making you wait a year? *makessadpuppyeyesatyou*

The thing is, I wasn’t planning for it go this far.

I wrote the original post about my dream dress that cost a fortune and my plans to find an “knock-off”, but then I didn’t revisit the dress scene for quite some time after that. In fact, I actually had quite the journey in the dress department without ever setting out to do so.

To be quite honest, the dress was not that high on my wedding priority list. Much like flowers, I didn’t really know what was what in the wedding dress arena until I became engaged. I knew what kind of silhouette I wanted and I knew I wanted lace, but I had no idea about designers and price or anything else after that.

Then suddenly, I came across a photo of her. THE dream dress.


I knew right then and there that she was the one. I was looking at a photo online and didn’t need to be convinced any further. Yet I still went to David’s Bridal and one other boutique shop with my girlfriends (mainly for the “dress shopping experience”), participated in the Running of the Brides (hoping to find her to no avail), and even went to another boutique after the ROTBs to try her on again (yes, she was the one—I knew it all along).But alas! With my tight budget, a $4,000 gown was just NOT going to happen. I’d never heard of Jim Hjelm before my wedding planning. The only wedding designer name I could tell you off the top of my head back then was the great Vera Wang. But I knew she was expensive, so I stayed away from the get-go.

What I’m trying to get at is I didn’t have to have a designer label on the inside of my dress. But I fell in love with a dress made by a heavy hitter in the wedding designer dress world.

Luckily for me, no copyright exists on clothing designs, and I was able to find an inspired by Jim Hjelm dress quite easily.

Now, I know this will probably spark a debate, so I want to make three things clear before continuing:

Number 1: I was never able to afford the real Jim Hjelm in the first place, so the company was not losing any money by me buying inspired/knockoff/whatever you want to call it. Either I was buying a “fake” if it existed or a different dress altogether if it didn’t. I fell in love with the dress, not the name on the dress.

Number 2: Knowing no copyright laws exist regarding clothing designs, I never felt morally/legally obligated to not purchase an inspired by design.

Number 3: I never once tried to pass it off as the real deal. There are no labels saying it is a Jim Hjelm which ties back into #2, because that would be illegal if it did have one.

Anyhoo, back to the dress journey. I sold my ROTB dress (which I had won and cost me nothing), and made about $250 profit. The first Jim Hjelm knockoff I found was $699. But my mom called me to say she found another one for just $129 shipped! I got greedy and started thinking about all the money I could save and put towards my beloved Louboutins. So I went with that seller without doing my research or asking for sample work and got this:

FSIL modeling the $129 shipped knockoff.

I was so excited to receive it! Until I opened the box. It really wasn’t a bad dress per se, but it didn’t fit me (hence SIL modeling it) and the lace wasn’t at all what I expected. This bump in the road is one of the reasons why I never got around to blogging about my eBay dress experience. Because as it stood at that point, I had no idea how the dress thing was going to work out.I ended up going back to the original eBay seller I had found for $699. I had already contacted her and gotten photos of her past work and talked to some of the people who left feedback for her. Everything checked out, so I begged and pleaded with her to make me a dress and make it quick (this was literally less than 3 months out from my wedding). She responded and was actually having a sale, so I got the order in for $450 shipped and she guaranteed it would make it in time for any additional alterations. And she was right! It came in 3 weeks before the wedding and I rushed it in for an additional $200 worth of alterations and this is what I got:

Knockoff on left: Real deal on right

I have absolutely no idea what would have happened if this dress didn’t work out. Actually, I do know. I would have had to suck it up and deal with it. It came in at the 3 week point of no return. Thankfully, lady luck was on my side.

I held onto my first knockoff dress just in case the second happened to turn out worse. When it didn’t, I sold it, breaking even on its cost. Don’t worry, I gave full disclosure on the dress when I listed it for sale.

So the moral of the story is all’s well that ends well. I took the plunge with a knockoff dress and ended up loving my decision. But it could have all gone sour if the second dress ended up being a dud with no time to spare. So if you are thinking of going “inspired by”, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to fix a dress gone bad or be prepared to live with the consequences.

Okay, back to the wedding day, shall we?

Nakey time! MOH Amanda makes sure my Nu bra bubbies are in place. And yes, I wore Spanx. There was no way my hips and thighs were squeezing into that dress otherwise.

My mom ties me up.

MOH puts on my UGA garter, a surprise to Mr. Lab for later that night. :)

How’s about a closer look at that? Goooo Dawgs! (Is it fall yet?)

Wedding look complete! Now I just need a groom!

BM Ashley had to cut my ribbons because I had the train shortened and the ribbons went on for days.

One last check of the bubbies…

… and I was off to go take some bridal portraits and see my groom for the first time that day!

*All professional photos by Lindsi Jones Photography unless otherwise noted. Some images have been slightly altered by moi.

Previously on Southern Sweethearts:

Next Up: The Boys Get Ready and We Exchange Gifts!


Mrs. Labrador

Wedding Date:
November 2009
Get with the Program!
I Think It's Safe to Say We Had a Good Time...
Add a comment


  1. Guest Icon Guest
    T, Guest @ 6:22 pm

    I’m all the way across the world but i’ve come across the blog and this dress (and you!) are just gorgeous!

  2. Guest Icon Guest
    Mrs. Dulce, Guest @ 10:53 am

    Congratulations! You look fabulous! I give you big time props for taking such big risks because everything turned out so well!

    You’ve inspired me into taking a leap of faith on an inspired gown. I was taking a look at your link and there are many dress choices. Which particular seller did you go with? I am very wary of purchasing a dress online and wanted to avoid bad quality/scams. Is there anything that I should know or mention to them when I am ordering? Also, what payment method did you use? Some really recommend

  3. Member
    MassageBee 166 posts, Blushing bee @ 7:57 pm

    I’m not sure why but when I click on your ebay seller link it just goes to a search page. Maybe the link is too old? Could you tell me the name of the seller so that I could search for her that way? You look absolutly amazing and I was so afraid of sending so much money to someone and ending up with a poorly made dress, it’s so great to have actual feedback on someone.
    Thanks in advance.

  4. Member
    naturalbeauty7997 29 posts, Newbee @ 7:42 pm

    I love it! Your dress is beautiful…I wishI had a toned back like yours to wear something like that!

  5. Member
    homegirl 120 posts, Blushing bee @ 8:21 pm

    Wow I love the dress just as much as your explanation of the entire experience. You were on point from start to ending. I’ve actually been saying the same about my dress and situation.”I JUST WANT A BEAUTIFUL DRESS!” Not a nice name inside. LOL!

  6. Member
    Jumpingbean123 2 posts, Wannabee @ 5:42 pm

    Wow! Your dress is absolutely gorgeous… I would love to know the seller’s name on ebay, the link posted is no longer active :( My dream dress is also way out of my budget and I’m looking for a dress inspired by it.

  7. labrador Member
    labrador 1823 posts, Buzzing bee @ 3:46 am

    Hey everyone!

    I’m barely on Weddingbee anymore but I get questions/private messages about my dress all the time. I’ve decided to comment here with the response I give anyone who PMs me about the “dead” link I listed in this post dated several months ago.

    The dress, while not of exact same quality as the real Jim Hjelm, is an amazing value that exceeded my expectations and made me very happy.

    Here are some recent links (as of 2/8/11) to contact BridalDresses4U:

    A quick Google search may help you find more including additional reviews beyond mine. It has been over a year since my wedding, so this Weddingbee blog post is all the information I can remember from MY experience.

    Also, if you cannot find the seller from this post plus the links I’ve provided since, I doubt I’ll be able to do any better. Sometimes Google is the best answer. 😉

    I hope this helps and good luck with the rest of everyone’s wedding planning! 😀

    ~Mrs. Labrador

  8. Guest Icon Guest
    FutureMrsCoffey, Guest @ 10:52 pm

    Omg! What a beautiful dress! Before seeing all your beautiful pics i looked at dresses on Ebay and came across this seller (a good one, with excellent feedback etc) who is selling replicas of this dress, im not sure if it was your 2nd seller on ebay you found or not, im very curious! Could you email me both the sellers you worked with? Thank you and beautiful wedding!

  9. Guest Icon Guest
    FutureMrsCoffey, Guest @ 11:11 pm

    whoops! lol please disregard my last post, i didn’t see your last posting until now lol

  10. Guest Icon Guest
    Sue, Guest @ 9:52 am


    So i’m just getting around to buying my dress, and fell in love with this same jim hjelm dress. I’d love to know who the ebay seller was that you got the dress from and see if I can do the same! feel free to email at



  11. Member
    Trish2211 52 posts, Worker bee @ 6:27 pm

    wow, would you mind sharing the seller who you bought your dress from, I cant seem to find a post that says the name. Thanks

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