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When should i start shopping for my wedding dress?


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when to go wedding dress shopping

Think you’re ready to start trying on wedding dresses? Depending on your wedding date, you may either want to wait or kick it in to high gear!

Most brides are aware that wedding dresses must be purchased pretty far in advance, but many women wonder when exactly to start wedding dress shopping.

Timing the purchase of your dress correctly helps you avoid both rush fees and dress regret. Planning for shopping around, production time, and alterations can seem like a lot to juggle, but we’re here to help!

Find our advice on wedding dress shopping appointment timing below.

Typically, we suggest making your bridal dress appointments 9-12 months prior to your wedding date. This date is suggested with the goal of picking out and ordering a dress 8-9 months before the wedding. This gives you plenty of time to shop around and find the dress of your dreams. It also ensures that you avoid rush fees and give designers the lead time necessary to create your gown from scratch. Don’t forget that each gown is made to order, so longer wait times are inevitable. Finally, this timeline allows for alterations after the dress has come in. Even though the dress will be made specifically for you, there will most likely be slight alterations done to make it fit like a dream, and that’s something brides must plan for.

Although it may be tempting during longer engagements, we suggest avoiding dress shopping before 12 months out. Starting your wedding dress hunt too early can result in dress regret later on. Brides who start before the 12-month mark often find themselves comparing their dress to newer designs as more recent collections are rolled out. Additionally, the farther out your wedding is, the less you know! Ensuring that you have the wedding theme and location established before you pick a dress can help make sure that it is appropriate for the occasion.


At the same time, if you wait until your wedding is less than 8 months out to start looking, you are risking having to pay rush fees to ensure that your dress arrives in time to be altered. Not all brides find their gown right away, so leaving time to shop around is essential. Your first wedding dress fitting will be about 2 months out from your wedding, with the second fitting following a month later. Your final fitting will be in the 2-3 weeks prior to your wedding day. When choosing a bridal appointment date, it’s safe to assume that most dresses will take at least 5-6 months to come in. If you don’t start shopping until 8 months out, you’re leaving yourself a dangerously short window to pick out, order, and alter a gown.


Bridal Gown on a mannequin

Although this is the standard suggestion, there are a few exceptions! If you’re planning on several intricate customizations, you’ll want to allow for a longer timeline. Additionally, if you’re planning on getting bridal portraits prior to the wedding day, you’ll have to have your dress ordered and fitted before your pictures. We still suggest following the 9-12 month timeline here, just make sure you’re going off of the date of your bridal portraits rather than your wedding. If your wedding is taking place overseas and you plan on shipping your dress, make sure you allow extra time for that as well! Basically, if you’re planning on anything that could extend or delay the typical timeline, air on the side of caution and give yourself extra time.


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