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How Far in Advance do you REALLY Need to Order your Wedding Dress?

Terry Costa

Ordering your wedding dress is a lot like having a baby. They’re both huge life events that require careful budgeting and take about nine months to complete.

But wait, don’t most bridal stores recommend ordering your wedding dress four to six months in advance of your wedding day? 

Truth is, that largely depends on the wedding dress designer and how far it’s shipping. Those four to six months also don’t factor in the time it takes leading up to your order placement, or how long it takes to alter it after your wedding dress arrives.  

So, how far in advance should you really order your wedding dress? Open up your day planner and count backwards, taking the following pre and post-order factors into consideration.

General Ordering Tips

To review, the standard ordering timeframe for bridal dresses takes about:

  • 4-6 months for Bridal Gowns
  • 3-4 months for Bridesmaids Dresses
  • At least 2 months for Veils and Headpieces (depending on designer)

Don’t assume you can get a rush order.  On a rare occasion, there may be in-stock availability or a sample wedding dress of a particular style, though many designers custom make gowns and won’t even start the process until your order has been placed. Every wedding dress designer has different rush and shipping policies so it’s important to ask the sales associate about your options.

Understand most wedding dresses are final sale. You might think exchanging your wedding dress for a different size or color would be a piece of (wedding) cake, but you’d be wrong. Before you make the final decision, understand that much like your partner, you’re committing to the one for better or worse.

Before you Order your Wedding Dress

1. Decide what styles you do and don’t like most. Search online for trending wedding dresses, peruse bridal magazines, and make pinterest your best friend. That way you have some idea of what you like, or at least what you definitely don’t. For instance, are you pro long sleeve wedding dresses or do you think they look matronly? Is a satin wedding dress the only one for you or does it just need to be vintage and romantic to capture your heart? Keep an open mind and let the bridal consultants show you dresses you might not think to look at based on your body type.

2. Get an idea of your body type. Speaking of, it’s good to visit body style guides to get a general idea of your figure category. Some of the most popular types include pear, inverted triangle, rectangle, hourglass, diamond, and apple. Knowing a bit about your bod will help you focus on the wedding dresses that flatter your figure best. Not sure which category you fit in? Our wedding dress consultants can help!

3. Set your budget. Budgeting is such a dirty word, but a total necessity when making one of the biggest purchases of your life. Whether you have a generous benefactor or are footing the bill yourself, get clear on exactly how much you have to spend. Don’t start your wedding off heartbroken because you fell in love with a dream dress with a nightmarish price tag!

As you Order your Wedding Dress

Use exact, professional measurements. Don’t try to save a few pennies by measuring yourself at home. It’s super important to make sure a professional tailor or sales consultant has taken your measurements. Though you get to use the manufacturer size chart to make the final purchasing decision, it’s critical to get as close as possible at the time of your order. Avoid projecting your ideal wedding weight, and instead place your order based on the size you are at the time you make the order. It’s a good idea to do some research about the designer and ask the bridal consultant how the sizes usually run.

After you Order your Wedding Dress

Get final alterations a month or two before your wedding day. Even if you followed the manufacturer's size guide to a T, it’s rare for any wedding dress to fit perfectly the first time out the gate. In fact, most brides go through two or three alterations before the perfect dress fits perfectly.  Whether your alteration is cosmetic like adding straps or necessary like cinching the waist or shortening the hem, give it a few weeks of lead-time. Be sure to bring your shoes and undergarments you plan to wear as you do your final fittings!

It takes time to find the one. Follow these tips to get your dream dress delivered in plenty of time for you to start your forever.

Still on the hunt for your one and only? Say yes to our national bridal sales day this July for discount designer wedding dresses up to 50-60% off!