There are very few things that you should leave until the last minute when planning a wedding, and shopping for and buying your wedding dress is certainly not one of them.
As soon as you get engaged the temptation to rush out and hit the bridal shops running is all too hard to resist. Trying on as many wedding dresses as you can is a rite of passage, and whilst it’s an experience that should be savoured, shopping too early or too late for your wedding dress can create issues.
Striking the right balance between shopping too early and too late is particularly important. Here we take a closer look at the wedding dress shopping timeline and answer the question – how early is too early to shop for your wedding gown?
The excitement of being just engaged should certainly be celebrated. Many brides do this by launching headfirst into wedding dress shopping but we’d recommend avoiding shopping too early for better clarity and a smoother, more successful experience.
Shopping early and trying on too many dresses is likely to leave even the most headstrong bride a little confused. Each season sees a new collection of bridal designs released, which means you may not want to commit to purchasing a gown so readily – even if it happens to be ‘the one’ – due to the dreaded FOMO or ‘Fear of Missing Out’. This indecision can cause untold stress for already under pressure brides-to-be.
Instead of shopping for wedding dresses right away, concentrate your efforts on other early wedding planning tasks. Set your budget and gather the inspiration that will shape not just your bridal ensemble but the rest of your wedding day. By using these early days wisely and doing your homework, you’ll be able to start the real business of wedding planning and wedding dress shopping with complete confidence.
As the vast majority of wedding dresses are made to order, you’ll need a decent amount of time to make sure the dress you finally choose is made to perfection. The average bridal gown can take up to six months to create so shopping too late may mean only a limited range of ready to wear gowns are available to you.
Where shorter lead times are possible, those shopping a little too late can leave no room for error and may even have to foot the bill for extra fees to receive their wedding dress on time.
You have to allow time for further alterations in the final weeks before your wedding date too, especially if you are looking to incorporate a wedding dress bustle.
Providing that you have a strong idea of your wedding style and theme, and have booked your wedding venue for your desired wedding date, the ideal time to start shopping is around 10 months before the big day.
Give yourself at least two months to browse and buy your dream wedding dress to ensure you’re able to enjoy a healthy lead time as well as complete any alterations required without rushing.
Some exceptions to the rule
The wedding dress shopping timeline is by no means set in stone. There are numerous reasons why you may have to shop a little earlier or later than what we’ve recommended.
If you’re planning to enjoy a short engagement, for whatever reason, browsing ready to wear collections and commissioning a seamstress of your own to complete alterations fast will help you to get around the long lead times that usually go hand-in-hand with wedding dress production.
If you have a little more time to play with but have your heart set on a custom wedding dress, you should also get started with dress shopping as soon as possible as The Knot describes:
“You particularly don’t want to procrastinate on the shopping process if you wind up ordering a bespoke dress—a gown that’s tailor-made from scratch, just for you. It can take several months for the dress to arrive and for the salon to make alterations, so it pays to give yourself time to shop at a comfortable pace and leave plenty of leeway for preparations.”
Tick another important task off your wedding planning checklist by booking a virtual viewing of our stunning wedding venue today.