Skip to main content

What's Up Weddings

The Timeline to the Perfect Wedding Dress

Oct 12, 2012 04:41PM ● By Anonymous

Nine to 12 Months Before

In most cases, it's important to shop early—approximately nine months to a year in advance of the wedding—due to the time needed to order, ship, and alter a wedding gown. If your wedding date is closer than that, don't panic! You can often push a rush on an order or buy a gown off the rack and take it home the same day.

Before you start shopping, do the following:

• Determine the formality of your wedding. A casual beach wedding calls for a very different dress than a grand fete in a mansion.

• Learn the lingo of wedding gowns, such as the types of skirts (sheaths, ballgowns, A-line, mermaid, just to name a few) and necklines (strapless, scoop, and sweetheart, among others).

• Choose your budget—avoid trying on $3,000 gown when you can only afford $1,500 because chances are you'll fall in love with the wrong one.

Now it's time to start visiting local bridal salons! Start slow, and try on dresses thoughtfully. Everyone hears magical stories about finding "the one," but not everyone experiences that feeling.

8 Months Before

If you haven't found and ordered your wedding gown, don't fret. Continue to visit salons until your dream dress appears. You might find as you visit different bridal salons that it helps to limit the number of friends and family members you bring. While it's fun to have a large group the first time you don a gown, it might get overwhelming when you really trying to narrow it down. However, designate one person who comes on each trip, whether it's your mom or maid of honor to write down the designer and style name with prices so you can remember each one for future visits.

7 Months Before

At this point, narrow your options down to three to three dresses, and make one visit to the salon by yourself so no one is trying to pressure you into choosing a dress you're not so sure about. Ask the sales assistant to outfit you with accessories such as a veil and shoes so you can see the overall look, but don't feel pressured to purchase them at the same time or from the same store as your dress.

6 Months Before

It's time to fill out that order form for the wedding dress of your dreams. When signing a contract and handing over your credit card, make sure the contract includes the designer's name, correct style number, the proper sizes, and approximate delivery date. Additionally, make sure it's noted how much you put down as a deposit.

5 Months Before

Now's the time to shop for accessories such as shoes, lingerie, jewelry, gloves, outwear, and veil. You might not need nor want everything, but this is the time to make that decision. If you plan to lose weight before you get married, make sure you're at your goal weight—or as close to it as possible—before your first fitting, which happens around the six-week mark.

6 Weeks Before

Your dress should be in by now, so schedule your first fitting. Bring one honest friend or family member with you to critique the fit, along with any of those accessories you purchased. One must-have: Your shoes. The gown will need to be hemmed appropriately, depending on whether you choose to wear flats or four-inch heels.

One Month Before

Come back two weeks after your first fitting and try the dress on again. In many cases, this is the last fitting a bride-to-be has before her wedding, so make sure that the dress' hem falls where you want it to (it should skim the top of your shoes), you can move and sit comfortably, and that there's no wrinkling, bunching, or pulling. If the alterations haven't been completed to your liking, you can schedule another fitting for the following week.

Bring your maid of honor along to this fitting so she can learn how to bustle the train, if necessary, as well as button, lace, or zip up the back of the dress. Ask the salon what the best way is to iron or steam out any wrinkles, as well as what to do if you spill something on the gown mid-reception.

Two Weeks Before

Visit the bridal shop one last time to pick up the gown and bring it home. However, try it on one last time – wedding day stress can do a number on your weight, so you want to make sure it fits properly before you leave the store.

When you bring it home, store it in a safe place away from any potential disasters, such as children with sticky fingers, animals with damaging claws, or nosy fiancés who might want to sneak a peek. The day of your wedding, you can rest assured knowing you're wearing the perfect dress to meet your new husband at the end of the aisle.