SAN DIMAS, Calif. — When Ashely Elliot’s boyfriend of more than seven years proposed to her last fall, she was not expecting it.

“I was honestly surprised, just because, you know, I thought it was never going to happen,” Elliot said. “And it happened on my birthday weekend and it was really pretty, we went camping.”

What You Need To Know

  • Azazie is a direct-to-consumer company that mails wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses to customers, who can try them on at home before purchasing

  • The company was founded in 2014, and it saw sales skyrocket in last six months during the pandemic

  • During pandemic, the company saw demand for face masks to match bridesmaid dresses and pared down, simpler, affordable gowns

  • The company also offers a wide range of sizes, from 0 to 30

After the elation wore off, the work started — planning for a wedding during a pandemic, including dress shopping. Elliot did not feel comfortable stepping into a bridal store to try on anything.

“You never know if it’s been tried on by someone else, if it has been cleaned,” she said. “When you go online shopping you also have kind of a hard time too, because when you buy stuff online, you never know what stuff looks like when it comes to you.”

Elliot said most models in photos wear bridal gowns sized too small for the average woman and shopping for a dress was frustrating until her twin sister, who is also planning a wedding, told her about a company called Azazie that mails dresses directly to the bride to try on at home.

The dresses are sanitized and customers have a week to try on up to three at a time. Elliot liked the wide range of sizes, from 0 to 30, and the price tag.

All bridal gowns are less than $800 dollars.

The company’s direct-to-consumer business model has been in the works for years but really took off during the pandemic.

Azazie’s Los Angeles-based Chief Marketing Officer Ranu Coleman said they normally sell 1,000 dresses daily but over the last 6 months, they have sold closer to 2,500 every day.

“What has happened is you’ve had one year where people had to postpone, cancel or they still had their wedding but it was much smaller,” Coleman said. “So they are planning a larger one for this year so we’re almost seeing double the amount of weddings from previous years.”

Wedding industry website The Knot predicts 47% more weddings taking place in 2021 compared to 2020. 

Coleman has also seen a demand for facemasks to match bridesmaid dresses and pared down, simpler, affordable gowns. Trends she expects to stick around post-pandemic.

“We started offering jumpsuits, slip dresses, definitely things that were a little bit more casual because that was the trend we were seeing,” said Coleman. “Affordability became really key for people, just financial hardships in general. We were noticing a lot of that.”

Elliot is still shopping for her wedding dress but in the meantime, she found her venue. She thinks her mom, who passed away several years ago and whose nickname was “Ladybug Dana,” would approve of it. Elliot said she got a sign when something landed on her hand at the venue.

“There was a ladybug so it made me feel like I’m going to choose this one,” she said.