Both of my dresses came from the internet, but not from any wedding dress websites.
I can’t tell you what sites are legit, but I can tell you that many are not. They are companies that steal dress images from other sites, and then when you order, they sell the order to the lowest bidding factory – meaning the factories say “this is how much we’ll charge for that” and then they pick the lowest one regardless of quality, to maximize the profit difference between what they pay and what you pay.
Some people get good results, but that’s just luck – which factory ends up making your dress. Here’s a list of sites this applies to:
Obviously this is a long list. The best way to use it is if you find a site you like, use your ctrl+f function on the list page and type in a small section of the URL and see if you hit a match. If it shows up, avoid.
This is by no means a complete list, and there are red flags you can look for like pictures with watermarks from other brands/sites, pictures where products alleged to be made in-house have vastly different image qualities, angles, or backgrounds, and sites with lots of grammatical errors and poor English. (Sometimes they edit out the backgrounds of their images entirely, often replacing it with something that looks like weird floral wallpaper.)
These sites are scams and whenever one URL starts to rouse suspicion online, they open a near-identical site at another URL to cover it up. New ones are popping up all the time so no list can be truly complete.
They write fake reviews of themselves, even fake articles, blogs, and press releases to try to assure people that they are not a scam, so it can be hard to spot if you’re not really accustomed to knowing what you’re looking for.
On a positive note, the same guy who wrote that list of scam sites also has a list that he says is more trustworthy. I can’t vouch personally for this as I haven’t ordered from any of them, but his list of fakes is very good, so I’d be inclined to at least give a few “trust points” to these, and having visited a few, they strike me as decent so far.