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Wedding Dress Shopping Timeline

You can’t believe it! You’re engaged! Now comes the questions about what kind of wedding dress you’re wearing. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Our stylists can help you with all of the details — and especially dresses! Because we know how long it can take to find, order, and alter a wedding dress, we always advise our brides to start shopping sooner rather than later. But how early is early enough? Follow this timeline to ensure that you’re walking down the aisle in your dream dress on the day of your wedding.

12 Months Before Your Wedding

You’ve got the ring, chosen the venue and date, and now is the time to start thinking about your dress. With a year to go until your big day, sit down and determine a budget for your wedding dress. Keep in mind that on top of the cost of your dress, you’ll also be paying for taxes, alterations, and possibly shipping. You may want to calculate jewelry, shoes, and veil within your dress budget as well.

Once you’ve determined your budget, it’s a good idea to do some wedding dress research. Start saving images of dresses that you find online and like. Your dress should accentuate the most flattering parts of your body while also complementing the style of your wedding. After you’ve got a vague idea of what you’re looking for, schedule an appointment or two at local dress shops. While some salons may allow walk-ins, most prefer that you call beforehand. Plus, you’re sure to have the undivided attention of a style consultant if you make an appointment ahead of time.

With your nearest and dearest in tow, your dress shopping experience can begin. Try on a variety of different styles, waist lines, and train lengths to find out what looks best on your body. Show your consultant the pictures that you’ve saved of gowns you like so that they can help you find similar items that will complement your style. If you have a specific designer or gown that you’re looking for, now is the time to mention it. They may have what you’re after or be able to find a similar dress.

8-9 Months Before Your Wedding

It’s time to say “yes” to the dress. With 9 months until your big day, narrow down your choices. Once you’ve found the gown of your dreams, place an order. Typically, you’ll have to sign a sales contract to begin the process. This requires either full or partial payment. Make sure all of the pertinent information is correct before signing anything. From this point, it can take anywhere from 12 to 20 weeks until your dress will arrive. Your dress shop should call you as soon as it’s ready.

5-6 Months Before Your Wedding

Chances are your wedding dress still hasn’t arrived yet, and that’s okay! There’s still some prep work to be done. Before you can have your gown altered, you need to purchase any undergarments that you’ll be wearing and find your wedding shoes. Undergarments can include your bra, body shapers, and slips. It’s also important that you find the hair accessories and jewelry that you’ll be wearing on the day of your wedding. Wearing these to your fittings makes it easier to measure properly for any needed alterations.

2-3 Months Before Your Wedding

Your dress is here, and now it’s time to begin the fitting process. You’ll most likely have three separate fitting appointments. Make sure to bring your shoes, undergarments and any accessories you’d like to try on with your dress to the firstfiting. If any adjustments need to be made, they’ll be marked and noted by your tailor. At each fitting, pay attention to how your dress feels. Voice any concerns you may have. Your dress should fit you comfortably. Make sure to test out a dance move or two, walk around ad have a seat in our dress as it is fitted. You’ll most likely have your next fitting in about a month and your final fitting a few weeks before your wedding date.

The Day of Your Wedding

The day is here and it’s time to enjoy it! You’ve spent the last year preparing your look for this very moment. Have your dress professionally steamed and ready for your day.  It is wise to have a kit of safety pins and fashion tape on hand. Make sure that your hair and makeup are done before you begin to dress. Give yourself at least 30 minutes to get dressed. This gives you ample time to put on your undergarments, slip into your wedding dress, and get buttoned or zipped. With your dress on, you’re ready to meet your beloved. Congratulations!

Once you have your bridal gown details sorted out, you can start to choose the best bridesmaid dresses for your ‘maids, too. Whether you’d like to work with a free stylist, or just receive lots of inspiration, we’re here to help. Sign up at to start putting together your perfect wedding day look.

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