The question has been popped and the date has been set. The excitement is building. The day you have dreamed of is approaching and you can’t wait to get started. Then it hits you. How much time do you need to get the perfect wedding dress you have always dreamed of? A week? A month? 3 months?
Don’t worry! We here at Bridalxoxo have got you! Here is your definitive timeline to buying your wedding gown. From planning to that walk down the aisle, this timeline will help make sure the gown buying process is as stress-free as possible (at least when it comes to how much time you have!)
1 year from the wedding day
Budget and Research
Knowing how much you are willing to spend on the gown is going to set the tone for the entire process. Your budget will determine if you are shopping for a custom gown or an off-the-rack one. Whether or not you should skip the Giorgio Armani aisle in favor of J. Crew will be an easy decision when you know the budget ahead of time.
Once the budget is set, it is time to do some research. During this stage, you will want to determine what style of gown you are looking for. We wrote a great guide to the different parts of the gown that may give you some inspiration. You can find that guide here http://bridalxoxo.com/7-things-every-bride-needs-know-shopping-wedding-gown/. You can also use your venue as a source of inspiration for your style.
Looking online at various wedding catalogs and galleries can really help you visualize the kind of dress you want. Feel free to cut out pictures, email yourself links, or take screenshots of gowns that you like so you can show your wedding gown designer the kind of look you are wanting. This will help save you some frustrations trying to explain to the atelier and ensure you get exactly what you want.
If you are getting a special order or having a custom dress made, it is going to take 9-10 months to get your dress and get it altered and fitting correctly. Visiting shops and narrowing down your selections to just a few is going to take some time so it is important you begin the shopping process 11-12 months away from your wedding date.
When you go, feel free to take a few important people with you but try not to take more than one or two. More than that and there will be too many opinions to sift through and will only frustrate the process.
9 months from the wedding day
Make your final decision
With 9 months remaining, it is time to make your decision and take the plunge. Wedding gowns are complicated, intricate, beautiful pieces of art that take a lot of time to create. Because of this, you will likely need to sign some sort of agreement as well as give a down payment that averages 60% of the final cost of the gown.
3 months from the wedding day
Shop for accessories, undergarments, and shoes
You will need to have your undergarments before your first fitting to ensure the gown fits well with everything else you are wearing. A small difference in undergarments can change the entire fit of your gown. You are going to be in it for 8-12 hours on your wedding day, so you will want to do everything you can to make sure it is comfortable.
It is also a good time to select your veil, belt, shoes, and any other accessory you want. This will give the atelier time to add the belt and sash (if you picked one) as well as allowing you to see everything together to ensure a cohesive look.
The first fitting
3 months out will probably also be the first of 3 or more fittings and is the absolute latest you can get a dress (which will be an off the rack gown if you have waited this long). You should bring your undergarments, shoes, and accessories to each fitting as well if you already have them. These items all play a role in how the gown fits and without them, you will be left guessing what, if any, alterations are required.
6-8 Weeks away from the wedding
Something old, something new
6-8 weeks out is the time for tradition. If your something borrowed is something that needs to be sewn on, give your gown designer time to get it added before the final fitting. You can do this during what will likely be the second fitting.
During the second fitting, look for the little details like the dress bunching where it shouldn’t or a wrinkle in the wrong place. You can also request other small tweaks during this time. Also, make sure you move around the shop a little to make sure everything moves and flows like you want it to. Moving around will also help to highlight things you may not have otherwise noticed.
1-2 weeks away from the wedding day
Practice, practice, practice
In the final weeks leading up to the ceremony, practice walking around in your shoes so you can make sure you don’t end up as one of the wedding days fails we have written about in the past (http://bridalxoxo.com/15-fails-every-bride-can-avoid/).
This is also around the time you will have your final fitting and pick up the dress. If there are any more alterations needed, they will be performed during this time as well. Inspect the gown thoroughly to make sure it meets your expectations.
1 day from the wedding day
Prepare for anything
Get yourself an emergency sewing kit as well as a handheld steamer to make sure you are ready for anything. Also, gather everything up for the big day and put it all together. Just before the ceremony is a bad time to realize you can’t find your veil or you have a broken heel.
On the wedding day
Give yourself time
Give yourself 30-45 minutes to get dressed and do a final steaming and once over of the gown. A bridesmaid, mother-of-the-bride, or someone you have hired should be available to help you during this time.
Most of all though, don’t forget to have fun and take a few moments to soak it all in. With a little luck, this will be the only time you will ever have your wedding day so don’t forget to cherish it!
While following this schedule will make for a stress-free wedding dress shopping experience, it isn’t set in stone. With the right shop and a talented atelier, anything is possible.
No matter how close or far your wedding day is, we can help. Give us a call at 702-966-6717 or schedule an appointment. We have exclusive, private label gowns by several designers that can’t be found anywhere else in Nevada ready to give you the stunning and unique look for your big day.