Shopping Timeline for Your Wedding Gown

Shopping Timeline for Your Wedding Gown

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When it comes to saying "Yes!" to the dress, timing is everything! Our wedding industry guru offers a few wedding dress deadlines you don't want to miss.

In my previous Wedding Gown Shopping 101 article, I had given you a few tips on what to do when shopping for your perfect gown. Now, I am giving you a timeline from finding your dream gown, to finding your bridal seamstress, to finding yourself walking down the aisle on your big day.

12 Months Before the Big Day

Set Your Gown Budget
This was the number one tip I mentioned in my previous article. EXTREMELY IMPORTANT! After setting the budget for your wedding, youll need to decide how much of that will be spent on your dress. In addition to the cost of the dress, you’ll need to add on taxes, alterations and possibly shipping.

Book your Venue for your Ceremony and Reception
Before you start shopping, it is very important to know your venue, or at least have an idea of where you are having your wedding. If you plan on having a traditional wedding in a church, then shopping for a sexy, super low back gown, may not be your best option. However, if you are getting married on an island in the Caribbean, then you may just want that sexy, super low back gown that will make your fiancee drool. 

By booking your venue before you shop for your gown, it will help you envision your wedding and how you want to see yourself on your wedding day.

Go Wedding Dress Shopping
If you are wanting to special order your wedding gown, shopping 12 months out from your wedding is ideal. Schedule your appointments early since bridal salons can get booked up fast, especially on the weekends.  If you are able to schedule your bridal appointment during the weekday hours, you will, more than likely, have the entire boutique to yourself and will have the undivided attention of the bridal consultant. If you know you want to wear a specific designer, research online of which bridal boutiques offer that designer and then check to see if theyare having a trunk show (a traveling show of their entire collection) at a boutique near you. A friendly hint:  typically, the designers offer a special discount during the trunk show period.


8 Months Before the Big Day

Buy Your Dress
If you did not already purchase your gown on your first shopping trip, now is the time to pull the trigger!

You’ll know itThe One when you don’t want to take it off. When you purchase your gown, you’ll have to sign a contract and put down a deposit, which is typically 60 percent of the price of the gown. Before you sign the contract, make sure all the information is correct. Majority of bridal gowns arrive in the boutique between 4 to 6 months after the order is placed.


5 Months Before the Big Day

Choose Your Hair Accessories
If you did not already choose your headpiece and veil when you purchased your gown, then you need to make an accessory appointment with the bridal boutique to try on accessories. When you visit the boutique to pick up your gown once it arrives, this is also a great time to accessorize and order your headpiece and veil.

Select Your Shoes
Take the height of your heel into consideration. You’ll be on your feet for most of the day, so make sure your toes can handle it. 


3 Months Before the Big Day

Have Your First Alteration Fitting
In order to find the best bridal seamstresses, ask the bridal boutique where you purchased your gown to give you a few referrals. 

You will most likely have three to five fittings to get your dress altered to fit you perfectly. Its very important to get the timing of each of the alterations appointments right. If you bring your gown in too early to meet with the seamstress, you may end up with a dress that doesnt fit properly if you lose or gain weight after your gown is altered. If you bring your gown in too late, you may not have enough time to make all the alterations that are needed.

For your first fitting, ensure that you have your shoes and any undergarments that you plan on wearing.  


6 to 8 Weeks Before the Big Day

Have Your Second Alteration Fitting
The second fitting is your chance to make smaller tweaks to your wedding dress, like taking in the bodice a bit or perfecting the hem length. During this fitting, you’ll also want to make sure there’s no obvious wrinkling, bunching or pulling anywhere. 


2 to 3 Weeks to Go Before the Big Day

Have Your Final Fitting
This is where you’ll get to see your gown the way it will look when you walk down the aisle. Bring at least one family member or friend so you have someone there to learn how to create the bustle of your train.


1 Day to Go Before the Big Day

Get Everything Together
Buy a handheld steamer for those tiny wrinkles on the hem line. Your seamstress should have already done a professional steaming before you left with your gown. Also, put together an emergency kit (safety pins, fashion tape, etc),  itdefinitely better to be prepared. Make sure you have all of the parts of your ensemble in one place. Everything from your gown and veil to your jewelry and shoes should go together, especially if you’re switching venues after your makeup and hair are done.

Wedding Day

Have Fun!  Make sure you have your mom or bridesmaids ready to help you get into your gown. Then relax and enjoy the day!

Kelly Hill Bio Kelly Hill is the owner and managing director of Lace Bridal Couture and Love Curvy Bridal boutiques located in the Reading Bridal District in Cincinnati, OH. After graduating from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor’s degree in Fashion Merchandising, Kelly became a veteran of the fashion retail industry with over 20 years experience in retail executive management positions with companies such as: Michael Kors, Talbots, Parisian Department stores and Liz Claiborne. In 2011, Kelly decided to take a leap of faith and open her own boutique. Kelly, along with her husband, Allen, opened “Yours Truly, Kelly” bridal consignment. The bridal consignment business grew so quickly that it allowed Kelly to transition into offering custom designer bridal gowns that were exclusive in the Tri-State area. Lace Bridal Couture was then founded in 2014. Kelly and her amazing team soon found a niche in the bridal market that was not tapped and she recently opened her third boutique, Love Curvy Bridal. Love Curvy caters to the fashionable curvy bride with sizes starting at 16 up to sizes 32. Kelly absolutely loves working with brides and making their dreams come true. She and her staff work tirelessly to ensure that each and every bride who shops her bridal boutiques are treated with the most amazing service and offered the most amazing bridal designs that are not found anywhere in the immediate Tri-State area. Photo by: Greene Peas in a Pod Photography