The secret ingredient to any perfect pairing is timing. Finding “The Ones” (your partner and your wedding dress) both rely heavily on timing. So how soon should you buy your wedding dress? Essentially, once you’ve said yes to your fiancé it’s time to say yes to a dress.
Unless you buy off the rack, your wedding gown will likely be custom made-to-order. That’s why it usually takes the better part of a year to get it from a bridal boutique to the ceremony.
Here we’ve put together a timeline that breaks down and demystifies the process of buying a wedding dress.
A Year in Advance
Plan your dress budget about a year before the wedding. Then you can start researching designers and styles you love. It will also give you a chance to research Dallas bridal boutiques and see if there are any bridal fairs or trunk show events you can take advantage of. A 15% savings on your wedding gown could cover the cost of your veil and accessories!
Keep in mind that you may have to make an appointment at some bridal shops, especially if you’re shopping on the weekends. Others, like Terry Costa, gladly accept walk-ins and operate their full-service bridal salon 7 days a week.
Nine Months in Advance
Grab your bridal babes and make a final decision. It may be love at first sight or come from some gentle prodding at the hands of an all-knowing bridal consultant. Keep an open mind, but in the end, when you’ve found the gown you’re going to walk down the aisle in, you’ll just know.
In any event, you’ll need to put down at least 50 percent to officially get the process under way. After making the deposit, the gown gets ordered from the designer. The bridal boutique does so based on your measurements, so after this point, it’s yours-- there’s no going back. Expect your gown to arrive in the next five or six months.
Six months in Advance
Shop for your undergarments and shoes. Both can drastically alter the fit of your dress. Perhaps you want some shapewear to help define the hourglass silhouette of your mermaid cut wedding gown. Or maybe you prefer a pair of kitten heels to go with your vintage-inspired wedding dress. Whatever you choose, just be sure to make a decision before your first set of alterations.
Now’s the time to pick your veil, too. Length, color and style are all important factors when deciding on a veil. The shipping time depends on the manufacturer, but usually take between two weeks and two months. Give yourself plenty of time if you plan to make changes to the length, number of tiers (layers), edging, decoration, or detachability (Velcro).
Three Months in Advance
Once your gown makes its way from designer to the bridal salon, it’s time for your first set of alterations. Bring your bridal accessories with you to make sure the fit and length are just right. In this session you’ll be making all the major alterations. It’s where you can do things like add cap sleeves or change out the sweetheart neckline. In other words, don’t be alarmed if you walk out looking like a pin cushion and have no idea what the final version will look like.
Six Weeks in Advance
This is the time to be and stay at your ideal wedding weight. At this fitting, the dress will be contoured and conformed to your figure. The seamstress will check for puckering and make sure the length is absolutely perfect before sending you down the aisle.
While you’re in the gown, move about the bridal salon and make sure you’re fully comfortable. You should be able to get around, sit and breathe easily.
Two Weeks in Advance
You’ll have one last fitting to make sure everything is picture perfect. If so, expect to put down the remaining balance on the dress and take it to its temporary home. We recommend keeping it in an opaque bag at your parents or maid of honor’s house so your sweetie won’t be tempted to sneak a peek.
The Day Before your Wedding
Collect all your accessories, something borrowed, the dress and an emergency sewing kit just in case. Also best to bring along a steamer so you (or one of your lovely brides maids) can quickly zap any wrinkles just before you step in.
A word about Rushed Wedding Gowns
Depending on the manufacturer, rush cuts for bridal gowns are sometimes available. There are extra costs involved and the rush dates differ among vendors. Certain vendors keep stock of some popular (“priority”) bridal gowns and may have one available for immediate delivery.
Really, it’s best to start shopping for a wedding gown early…very early. Truth is, you’ll likely be so excited it wont’ seem like a chore to try on pretty wedding dresses ahead of time.
Still have questions? Explore our thorough list of Wedding Dress FAQs!