At my in-laws house, we caught a bit on the news about a bridal shop that closed it's doors and left the brides and bridesmaids without their dresses. We've discussed before that if a wedding vendor goes out of business, it's unlikely you'll get your deposit back (even if you have a legal right to it) and they may leave you high and dry before the wedding.
I don't have much advice on this subject except that the whole "having to order a dress" thing was one of the things I disliked the most about the bridal industry, and a big part of why I bought my dress at Running of the Brides. There was something comforting about walking out of the store with my dress that day, and knowing it was in the closet at home, and nobody was going to run off with my deposit.
One thing that the news did point out was that if you buy your dress on a credit card, the credit card company may insure the purchase and give you back your money, but if you pay cash or by check, that is less likely. So that is at least something to consider when you put down your deposit. Also I was surprised that the store required payment in full for bridesmaids dresses - and I'm not sure if this is standard. Did anyone else find this to be required?