Depending on your wedding priorities, you may have had your eye on a wedding dress since you got engaged. Or, perhaps you have a general idea of what you want, and some Pinterest pins to back it up. Finally, maybe you have no idea what you want to wear on your trip down the aisle. All of those are just fine! We’ve created a handy guide for you with an insider scoop on your dress shopping timeline. Learn when you should buy a wedding dress below!


Collect Your Inspiration for When You Buy Your Wedding Dress

If you’re excited about buying a wedding dress, the waiting period can seem to go on forever. Fill this time by researching different designers, lengths, silhouettes, and necklines to determine what will work best for you. Create a Pinterest board, or rip out pages from wedding magazines with glee! This phase of daydreaming about the big look can be really exciting. It’s also a great way to while away the months until you get serious about your dress.

One major planning step you should get out of the way before you say yes to the dress?

Choose Your Venue

You should choose a wedding venue that fits your style. However, it is important to make sure that your elements fit in the space. There are some dresses that just won’t work in certain venues. Trust us; you want your guests to look at you walking down the aisle and be stunned. You do not want them thinking, “why would she wear that here?”

Wait until you’ve booked your venue before you start narrowing the field. Not only does this ensure that the entire wedding look is cohesive, but it also gives you a backdrop to imagine behind your grand entrance!


Start Trying On

Ready- set- try on! If you have a traditional engagement point of about a year or over, you’ll want to do this before the 9-month mark. Do some research on local ateliers, or if you’ll have to travel to one to try on a designer you like. Make sure you have a reasonable expectation of price point so that you don’t get sticker shock. Even worse is when you try on a gown and fall in love with it only to find out that it is completely out of the budget. Avoid unnecessary heartbreak by sticking firmly to your budget, and bringing along moral support in the form of your mother or close friends.

Order 8-9 Months Before the Wedding

Depending on how popular your designer is, or whether you’re creating a custom bridal gown this is a good rule of thumb. Putting in your order 8-9 months before the wedding ensures that you have time for the dress to be made, fitted and necessary alterations to be done. For larger designers, it often takes a few months for the gown to be completed. You can probably expect your dress to be finished 3-4 months before the wedding, which allows for final fittings and tailoring.


Before the First Fitting

Here’s a handy tip for planning out when to buy your wedding dress. Try to have your full range of accessories and footwear picked out before the first fitting. Not only will you have a complete picture of how you will look on the big day, but you’ll also be able to swap out any details that just aren’t working together.

Plan for At Least Three Rounds of Fittings

Over the next few months, you should plan to have three fittings. Sometimes these aren’t necessary, but it’s better to budget more time and expectations when you buy your wedding dress than being caught by surprise! The first fitting is where heavy-duty alterations occur. You see the dress on and identify areas it needs to be taken in, let out, or altered in any serious way. Your second fitting will occur when these alterations are done. Finally, a third fitting will be scheduled if any changes are made during that second fitting.

Not All Timelines Are Created Equal

It’s important to stress that the process may take longer or shorter than the standard rule of thumb we’ve identified here! To err on the side of caution, make sure you ask timeline questions and what to expect when you buy a wedding dress. If your atelier or custom designer has a different process for creating your dress, they’ll be glad to share!

Good luck, and happy fitting!