Depending on what month you get engaged and what month you’d like to get married, it’s easy to feel intense pressure right from the get-go to check certain things off your wedding planning to do list. Aside from the biggies like booking a venue, “order a wedding dress” is usually high on the list of priorities (and sometimes anxiety triggers, too). There’s a reason experts urge you to make a quick decision, but if you’re working with a shorter timeline, don’t lose hope! Read on for our thoughts when you should order your wedding dress.
An off-the-rack gown (think BHLDN or J.Crew) can be shipped as quickly as overnight! Likewise, if you purchase a sample gown at a salon (the dresses brides try on – usually retired once that gown’s season has passed), you can take home your dress with you the same day. Of course, buying a non-bridal gown (like from Shopbop or Nordstrom) generally means a quicker or even same day turnaround, too.
Of course, the most reliable estimate will come from the salon where you purchase your gown – they are very familiar with each designer and can help you know what to expect! With any of these options, plan to leave 6-8 weeks for alterations after your dress arrives (usually 2-3 appointments).
Taking all of that into account, we recommend starting the dress shopping search as early as 15-10 months before your wedding date, but only after you’ve determined your location, venue, and the time of year of your wedding, as each of these factors will have a big impact on what type of gown feels appropriate.
I’d love to hear: How far in advance of your wedding did you order your dress? I started looking for a gown in August and purchased mine in November, nine months before my September wedding!
P.S. Ready for more dress shopping tips? Check out our YouTube channel, where we have a series of four videos to take you from inspiration to purchase!
We’ll be sharing a quick and simple piece of wedding planning advice based on our most frequently asked questions once a week! Feel free to email us with your own question, or pick up a copy of the Southern Weddings Planner for all of our best resources in one place!