How does the gown hire service work?
All of our hired items are delivered to you in advance of your ceremony. At checkout you will be asked to select your ceremony date and delivery address (if you aren't attending a ceremony just choose the date you want to hire the items for). All your items will arrive at your chosen delivery address at least two days before your ceremony date. You can then arrive at your ceremony with your gown already in hand and skip the gown queues on the day. After the ceremony, you have until two days after your hire date to send the items back to us using the resealable bag and prepaid return label we provide. This means you get to keep your hired items for a minimum of five days, plenty of time to celebrate and take lots of photos!
Do your gowns and mortarboards match those rented out by my university?
Yes, our gowns and mortarboards are authentic academic dress, conforming to the official style as used by the universities in the UK. We work hard to ensure that our items match those of other suppliers, so that our graduates are indistinguishable from everyone else. We have had thousands of customers from universities across the UK attend ceremonies in our regalia with no issues of conformity which is why we are the top rated gown supplier on Trustpilot, with a five star rating based on 950+ reviews!
Can I rent a gown even if I'm not attending a ceremony?
Yes! All of our gowns are home delivered so you don't need to be attending a ceremony in person to get one. We have plenty of customers who want to hire a gown to celebrate at home with their family and friends, or who want to hire the gown for extra graduation photos after their graduation day. You will be asked to enter a 'ceremony date' at checkout so just put the date of your planned celebration and the gown will be delivered to your home two days before.
How far in advance should I hire or buy my gown?
Our stocks are limited, which means we do not guarantee to have enough for every person graduating with a particular degree. For this reason, if you are hiring or buying a gown for a ceremony, we recommend booking two to three months in advance to reserve the stock. Otherwise you may find that your classmates beat you to it and we sell out long before the ceremony.
That said, if we do have stock available, we are able to fulfill last minute orders with our next day delivery service. So it's always worth checking, even if your ceremony is coming up very soon!
I'm travelling from overseas to my ceremony, where should I get my gown delivered to?
We regularly post our gowns out to hotels, just put the address of the hotel as the shipping address and make sure the name on the order is also the name on the hotel booking. The hotel should then associate the package with your room booking and hand it to you on arrival. Another option would be for you to have your gown delivered to a friend who is based in the UK and attending the same ceremony - plus if you both order from us you'll save on postage too!
How long can I keep my rental gown for?
When you hire a gown you will be asked to provide your ceremony date at checkout. Your items will then be dispatched from our warehouse to arrive at your home address at least two days before that date. You then have until 2 days after the ceremony date to drop it at a post office to send it back to us. For example, if your ceremony date is the 12th July your gown will arrive sometime between the 6th and 10th July. You then need to drop the gown at the post office (or have the items collected) and register your return by the 14th July. If you do not return your rented items on time you will be charged £12 per day that they are late, up to our maximum non return fee of £60 per set.
How do I return a rented gown to you?
Your hired gown will come in a resealable mailer bag or box with a prepaid return label. When you have finished with your gown you just need to put it back in the packaging, stick the prepaid return label to the bag and either drop it at the post office or book a Royal Mail collection. You also need to register your return on the hire returns page of our website and enter the tracking number shown on your return postage label. If you lose your bag or box don't worry - you can return it to us in any form of secure packaging.
How do I book a Royal Mail collection to return my gown?
Detailed instructions on booking a collection to return your gown can be found here.
I've lost my return postage label, what do I do?
If you have lost your return label please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will email you a new label to print out and stick on at home.
What if my robes don't arrive?
If your rented gown has not arrived 2 days before your ceremony date please contact us before 12 noon. We can then dispatch a replacement on a next day service to ensure you have a gown in time for your ceremony.
We post all our garments from our warehouse in the UK using Royal Mail tracked services. Once your order leaves the warehouse you will be emailed the tracking number so you can keep an eye on its progress. In the very unlikely event that your order is delayed, we will be more than happy to send out a spare or replacement to ensure you are not left without a gown on graduation day. If your order is especially urgent we also provide an 'express' service which means your items will be with you in 1-2 business days via a tracked delivery.
What if I cannot find the hood for my degree?
We currently only supply hoods to certain universities and for certain qualifications, so we may not yet have your specific hood in stock. We are, however, constantly broadening our range so you might like to check back a bit later. It may be possible for you to save money by buying our gowns and mortarboards, and renting or purchasing the hood from another supplier. This way you can still save money and you get a fantastic memento which you can keep forever.
What if my robes don't fit properly?
As long as you follow our sizing guide, you will have no trouble with fittings. These are academic robes and therefore are inherently loose fitting. We do however provide free exchanges if you wish to swap your size, you will just need to cover the cost of shipping a replacement.
What is your returns policy?
According to consumer rights legislation and practice, your cooling-off period is the period of time following your purchase when you, as purchaser, may choose to cancel a purchase, and return goods which have been supplied, for any reason, and obtain a full refund. Purchased products may be returned to us unopened for a refund (minus postage) within 14 days of delivery. Once the package has been opened only the difference between the purchase and hire price can be refunded if you wish to return the items.
For hired products, you may cancel your booking within 14 days after the date we send you the order confirmation. You will, however, lose this right if the ceremony takes place before then because, in that case, you acknowledge and request that the hire products will be made available for the ceremony (i.e. within the 14-day period). We will also not be able to refund hired stock after it has been dispatched, which is nine days before your ceremony date, as we then have no way of verifying whether it has been used or not, and we are unable to rent the stock to other students for the graduation event.
If you cancel your order within the cooling-off period, you will receive a refund in accordance with our refunds policy. To cancel your order, you must email us, stating your address and order reference and stating that you wish to cancel.
What payment methods do you accept?
We can take card payments directly via our website. Payments are processed by Shopify and we do not store your card details.
How long will it take for my items to arrive?
We only use Royal Mail tracked services to dispatch our domestic orders. Orders placed before 2pm will be shipped the same day while orders placed after that time may be posted the following day. We provide three shipping options. Regular postage usually takes between 3-5 business days, express postage arrives in 1-2 business days and our pre-9am service will arrive before 9am the next day for orders placed before 2pm.
If you are hiring a gown then you will be asked to enter a 'ceremony date' at check out. Your gown will be dispatched to arrive at least 2 days before that date.
If you are looking to have the products delivered overseas we offer an international post option, which is sent via local post services and takes 2-6 weeks. We also offer an international courier option which is a faster service offering delivery in 3-5 working days. The exact courier used for each shipment will depend on the location, however most commonly these shipments are sent via FedEx, DHL, UPS or DPD.
Can I change or add to my order once it is placed?
If you wish to make any changes to your order, please email us promptly at email@example.com. Once the order is shipped we cannot offer refunds for incorrect hire orders.
How should I treat my items once I receive them?
Gowns and mortarboards come flatly packaged. We recommend that you hang your gown once you receive it so that the creases have time to drop out on their own. Gowns and hoods can also be ironed at low heat or steamed to remove any remaining creases. Similarly, the mortarboards and hoods should be unpacked once received to remove any creases. If you get any marks on a hired product do not attempt to wash or clean it, simply return it to us and it will be dealt with by our professional cleaning team.
Do you offer PhD regalia?
We offer PhD regalia for some universities for purchase, prices at £300 per set. If there is no PhD regalia listed for your institution we also offer a bespoke robe making service through our partnership with a specialist seamstress. She can make any style of doctoral regalia to order and usually charges around £600 for this service, depending on materials. If that is of interest please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your requirements and she will provide a custom quotation.
I am ordering academic robes for a teaching position, do they need to reflect my exact qualification?
Some teaching institutions require staff to wear academic dress for formal occasions and we stock a range of generic hoods, gowns and mortarboards which are usually suitable for this purpose and can be purchased at a much lower rate than university-specific stock from other suppliers. It is worth noting that some institutions have more strict rules and staff must wear the regulation gown and hood from their highest earned qualifications, so it is worth checking before making a purchase.
Will my academic dress be delivered to my university or my home address?
Unlike other suppliers, we offer a convenient home delivery service for purchased and hired graduation sets. This means you avoid queuing up on the day of your ceremony. At the checkout we will ask you to enter a shipping address, which is where your items will be delivered to. This could be your parents' home, your student accommodation or a hotel you are staying in over graduation. Hired sets will arrive at least two days before your ceremony, so it's worth bearing this in mind when you select which address we should ship them to.
Can I collect and drop off my gown at my graduation ceremony instead of having it delivered to my home?
We do not have a presence on site at graduation ceremonies and therefore only offer home delivery and postal returns. You cannot opt to collect your Churchill Gowns products at the ceremony venue and you must return them to us in the post.
How can you sell your ceremony sets for so little compared to other suppliers? Are they actually good quality?
Our business structure is much more streamlined than most of our competitors'. We don't pay store rent or employ a large staff, neither do we pay commission to the universities. As a result, we are able to offer products of the same, if not better, quality than other suppliers but at lower prices.