Wedding Dress…Girl Don’t Wait

The biggest NO you can experience in life is waiting until it’s too late, especially when it comes to your wedding dress! Never wait until the last minute to find the perfect dress. Here is a timeline to help you get your perfect gown in a timely manner.

Image from Fabulous Frocks Bridal

Timing, Timing, TIMING is both your greatest friend and worst enemy when it comes to dress shopping, my loves. We’ve all seen multiple episodes of ‘Say Yes To The Dress’ where a bride will come in a week to three months before her wedding to buy her dress and the bridal consultant is staring at her like she just grew another head. That’s because waiting that late is a big no no. Dress shopping needs to be done at least 9-12 months before your wedding date. Here is a timeline on getting your perfect gown.

1. Make Sure You Set A Budget

Before the shopping and browsing even begins, make sure you have your budget set. Think about the absolute most you’re willing to spend on your dress and put it aside. Setting a budget helps you narrow down your search and give you an idea of what to expect during shopping. You never want to put on a dress you can’t afford.

10-12 Months Before
  • Take this time to FIRST set your budget
  • Research different dress styles, silhouettes, and bridal salons
  • Decide who is going to be in your shopping entourage. (TIP: Make sure those in your entourage will 1. provide constructive feedback, not attitude and 2. remember in the end that it is YOUR day)
  • Last but not least, you are ready to start shopping!
8-9 Months Before
  • At this point, your dress selection should be narrowed down and any customizations you want should be noted. Now you are ready to buy your dress. You may be asking, “Why am I buying my dress so early?” Well, this gives you and the designer ample time to prepare all remaining tasks before your wedding day. Designers want you to look your absolute best on your wedding day, so your dress will more than likely be tailored to your specific measurements. And if there are any customizations, they can take the time to add your wishes come true by adding in every requested detail. They may even source from other countries if necessary.
    • Not only do you need to think about the time it takes the dress to be made, your perfect dress could be made outside of the country and needs plenty of time to ship.
    • Alterations and fittings also take up important time and are vital to the dress-making process.
    • You may be interested in pre-wedding bridal portraits; if so, take this into consideration when buying your dress to give yourself enough time to receive it before photos and your wedding.
5 Months Before

At this point, you’ll want to use this time as an opportunity to buy all your accessories and undergarments. It would be best to purchase these items before your first fitting so you can try them out together to get an idea of the “full look” for your wedding day. As for shoes, they are super important when it comes to your dress; the height and style of your shoes help determine the hem length of your dress and any alterations that may need to be done after your first fitting.

3 Months Before

Finally! Your dress should be done and sitting at the bridal salon waiting for you.

6-8 Weeks Before

You are ready for your first fitting! Any changes made to the dress should be minor (train trim, neckline, etc.). This would also be a great time to stay at a constant weight. If it goes up and down a little, that’s fine, but NO drastic changes. We’ve seen episodes of Say Yes To The Dress where a bride has lost too much weight and needs her dress rushed in alterations. To avoid any extra fees, try avoiding major changes and any drastic weight loss or gain.

2-4 Weeks before

Around this time, you should have your second fitting. Almost everything is complete and there may be just a few more touch ups that need to be done. Some brides may require a third fitting at two weeks to make sure everything is spot on, but this isn’t always the case. Around the three week mark would also be a great time for you to break in your new pair of shoes that will be going with your gown (you do not want to put in all the effort of adjusting your dress to your shoes just to take them off 5 minutes into the ceremony).

1-2 Weeks Before

At last, your dress is complete and ready for pick-up! You’ll be paying any remaining balances and alteration fees for your dress and then be on your merry way.

Seems like a lot right? Take this into consideration when planning your wedding and how much time you’ll need for that perfect dress. Do NOT wait! Give yourself plenty of wiggle room in case there are any last minute changes or alterations that need to be done.

Here is a visual timeline for your wedding dress shopping needs:

Photo by Jiaqi Zhou/BRIDES