I ended up ordering my dress on Friday. I can't post photos here because Michael reads this. :)
I ordered it from a bridal shop in New Jersey (yes, Jersey!) called Chrissy O's. I had heard great things about them from The Knot. It's a "real" shop, not just some internet business, but they started taking online/phone orders to expand their business. They're not the only ones--there are several shops out there that do it. I had also checked into RK Bridal, Lee Philips Bridal, Pearl's Place, Netbride, and I think a few others as well. I liked Chrissy's because they were listed as an authorized retailer on the designer website, and also did price matching. My lowest quote was from Lee Philips, so I took it to Chrissy's and they beat it by 6%. Pretty cool. Saved me a couple hundred dollars.
I tried on and found my dress here in town at a local bridal shop. Before I knew anything about the possibilities of mail ordering it, I was planning on buying it there. I'm glad I have The Knot to teach me things! The local bridal shop lied to me and told me the dresses only came in one length. Come to find out later (again from the ladies on The Knot) that the designer offers the gowns in a "petite" length that is three inches shorter than the standard.
We were in the Poconos over the weekend to visit family friends, and Chrissy O's was only an hour away, so on Friday morning, my mom, Marie (brother's girlfriend), and I drove there to get them to measure me in person and so I could try on my dress again. I didn't HAVE to do it, I would have ordered from Chrissy's anyway, but since we were so close it was nice to make the trip to order it in person and have the extra peace of mind. While there, I mentioned to the saleslady that I had heard the designer's dresses come in a petite length, and asked if she could look into it for me. She went and looked at the sizing chart and said it was three inches shorter. She offered to pin the hem three inches to see if it would be appropriate for me. Turns out that it is--so it will save me at least $100 on the alterations because I probably won't need a hem. I was so happy when I walked out of there!
It should be shipped to me in 4-6 months. I can't wait to get it in and see what MY dress looks like! It'll be so different when it's not dragging three inches on the floor. If anyone out there has anymore questions regarding ordering dresses online, please let me know, I'd be happy to share!