When Should You Start Shopping for a Wedding Dress?

When Should You Start Shopping for a Wedding Dress?

The age-old question that still perplexes many - when should you start shopping for a wedding dress?  

In short, it is never too early, and you can have a rough idea of what you want for your ideal gown years or months in advance. However, most bridal experts and planners recommend you should start looking for your dream wedding dress at least 6-9 months before your big day.  

Trying to find your bridal gown is like finding one-in-a-million, like your fiancé. It can be quite a daunting thing to tick off the checklist when you have to rummage through different styles and designs to be set on a look you feel is worthy enough to be walked down the aisle. 

However, most bridal consultants can confirm that when a customer finds the perfect wedding dress, she lights up and her whole body language changes, confirming that all the legwork is worth it to find that one-of-a-kind rhinestoned needle in a haystack.  

So why leave this magical experience to the last minute? Enjoy the run up to your nuptials and make the most of it.  

With this in mind, here are our suggestions for a wedding dress shopping timeline. 

The engagement and mood boards

The time has finally come, and the question has been popped! When you get back down to earth and you have made the announcement to friends and family, start making a Pinterest board or a mood board with wedding styles you would like to see on your big day and a list of styles you would like to stay away from.  

Be sure to throw your net wide as the type of dress you eventually choose will have an impact on the other decision you make in the coming months on the lead up to your special day.  

Blonde wearing an off-the-shoulder mermaid wedding dress and sculpurala seam at the back, walking towards a car outside

Booking the venue

Every wedding organiser can come to agree on one point - like your dress, it is never too early to decide on your wedding venue, as one will affect the other.  

If you aspire to have an ethereal woodland wedding venue, then consider an ethereal boho-wedding dress with delicate floral embroidery or lightweight fabrics that dance with the wind. However, if you decide to get married in a more formal venue, such as an idyllic location with lots of history, then you may want to refine your search with more elegant bridal dresses featuring sleek fabrics and minimal detailing.  

Blonde woman wearing a mermaid wedding gown with long sleeves and bateau neckline, walking outside in high heels

Go against the grain and select a venue that is truly unique and intertwines with your personality, showcase that with a pink wedding dress which exudes effortless elegance and romance. To help ease the process and to help find your wedding dress, first come to an agreement with your partner on the desired venue and then the bridal dress style and inspiration will follow shortly after. 

Making your first store appointment

Here is when your wedding dress timeline feels as though it has officially started. The mood boards have been created and the venue has been chosen, you are now ready to schedule an appointment with expert bridal consultants who will help guide you through the process of selecting your dream gown for one of the happiest days of your life.  

When first entering a boutique or shop for a wedding dress, most brides-to-be don’t realise that it will look and feel like a traditional haute couture house that specialises in upscale and exclusive refinement. You will see gowns on racks that you can flick through and find inspiration, but they are simply samples, and you will have a made-to-order gown made by skilled artisans, especially for you.  

If you are wondering what to bring to your wedding dress appointment? We recommend coming with an open mind, your close friends and beloved family members whose opinions you truly value when trying on wedding dresses. When thinking about what to wear when wedding dress shopping, wear clothes and undergarments that you feel comfortable in and bring a set of heels along with you so you are able to gauge how you will feel and look on your big day. 

Get ready for your first fitting

After ordering your gown from your favourite wedding dress shop, calculate at least six months for delivery from the maker. When it arrives at the store, you will be contacted for your first wedding dress fitting, and this should ideally happen around 6-8 weeks before the wedding. Fitting for wedding dresses are when hem lengths, busts and waists are slightly tweaked to your exact body shape and size.  

Again, we advise you on bringing a pair of heels or shoes the same height you will be wearing on the actual day and maybe your maid of honour so she can practice bustling the gown.  

Finalise your look at your second fitting

At your next round of fittings, you will have a much clever vision on how the dress fits and compliments your bridal figure. Bring along your lingerie to ensure no bra straps or panty lines will be visible. The next step is to determine your desired wedding accessories, if you haven’t chosen a veil or what hair accessories you want to embellish you look with, now Is the perfect time!  

Brunette wearing a strapless wedding gown and an off-white bridal veil with delicate beadwork, featuring a floral motif

Picking up the dress!

For many dresses and styles, around two fittings are needed to ensure you look stunning before the big reveal. A week or two before your actual wedding, you will be able to pick up your dress and take it home with you for the first time! The store or boutique will make everything as easy as possible for you, packing it in a protective cloth bag so all there is left to do is give it a quick steam and you are ready to say those two words at the altar - I do!

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