If you’re newly engaged and starting your wedding planning journey, one of the most exciting parts of the process is choosing your wedding dress. However, with so many styles, fabrics, and designers to choose from, it can be overwhelming to know when to start shopping for your dream dress.
While you may be eager to start trying on dresses as soon as possible, there are several factors to consider before you book your first appointment. From the season and venue to delivery times and alterations, planning ahead can make all the difference in finding your perfect dress.
In this article, we’ll share expert tips on when to start shopping for your wedding dress, so you can make the most of your shopping experience and ensure you look and feel amazing on your big day.
Are you ready to take the stress out of dress shopping and feel confident in your wedding planning? Keep reading to learn more!
Start with the venue and season
When it comes to choosing the perfect wedding dress, it’s essential to consider both the venue and season of your wedding. These two factors will have a significant impact on the style, fabric, and overall look of your dress.
If you’re getting married in the summer, for example, you’ll likely want to opt for lighter fabrics like chiffon or lace, while a winter wedding calls for more substantial materials like satin or velvet.
Consider the Venue
Whether you’re getting married in a beachside resort or a grand ballroom, your venue will play a crucial role in your dress selection. If you’re having a beach wedding, for example, you may want to consider a more relaxed, bohemian-style dress, while a formal church wedding calls for a more traditional, structured gown.
Think About Your Personal Style
While it’s essential to consider the venue and season, it’s also crucial to think about your personal style when choosing your wedding dress. Do you prefer a more classic, elegant look or something more modern and trendy? Do you want something with intricate details and embellishments, or a more simple, minimalist style?
- Take inspiration from your everyday wardrobe and the clothes you feel most comfortable and confident in.
- Think about the elements of your favorite dresses and outfits and how you can incorporate them into your wedding dress.
- Consider any cultural or religious traditions that may influence your dress selection.
Don’t Forget About Alterations and Delivery Times
Once you’ve found your dream dress, it’s essential to factor in alterations and delivery times to ensure a perfect fit on your big day. It’s recommended to start alterations at least two months before the wedding to allow enough time for adjustments and fittings.
When it comes to delivery times, it’s essential to order your dress well in advance to avoid any last-minute stress or disappointment. Most bridal boutiques recommend ordering your dress six to eight months before the wedding, so make sure to plan ahead.
Give Yourself Enough Time for Alterations
Once you find the perfect dress, you want it to fit like a glove. But the reality is, even if you buy a dress that fits perfectly, there will always be some small adjustments that need to be made. That’s why it’s important to give yourself enough time for alterations.
Most bridal salons recommend starting the alteration process at least two to three months before your wedding date. This will give you enough time to have multiple fittings and ensure that the dress fits you perfectly on your big day.
Choose a Skilled Seamstress or Tailor
Not all seamstresses or tailors are created equal. When it comes to your wedding dress, you want to make sure you choose someone who is skilled and experienced in bridal alterations.
Before booking your alterations appointment, do your research and read reviews from other brides who have used the same seamstress or tailor. Ask for recommendations from your bridal salon or wedding planner. And don’t be afraid to ask for a consultation before committing to an alterations appointment.
Bring the Right Undergarments and Shoes
When attending your alterations appointments, make sure you bring the undergarments and shoes you plan to wear on your wedding day. This will ensure that the seamstress or tailor can make the appropriate adjustments to the dress length and fit based on the height of your shoes and the shape of your undergarments.
It’s also a good idea to bring any accessories you plan to wear with your dress, such as a veil or belt, to ensure that the overall look is cohesive and complete.
Be Prepared for Multiple Fittings
Alterations are a process, and it’s important to be prepared for multiple fittings. Most dresses require at least two to three fittings, but some may require more depending on the complexity of the alterations needed.
When scheduling your fittings, be sure to plan accordingly and give yourself plenty of time to make any necessary adjustments. And remember to wear the appropriate undergarments and shoes to each appointment to ensure a proper fit.
By following these tips and giving yourself enough time for alterations, you can ensure that your wedding dress fits you perfectly on your big day and that you feel confident and beautiful as you walk down the aisle.
Consider the time it takes for delivery
When shopping for formal wear online, it’s important to consider the time it takes for delivery. Delivery time can vary depending on the online store and their location, so make sure to check their shipping policies before making a purchase. Some online stores offer expedited shipping options for an additional fee, which can be helpful if you need your formal wear in a hurry.
Another thing to consider is the time it takes for alterations. Alterations may be necessary to ensure a perfect fit, and this can take some time depending on the extent of the alterations needed. Make sure to factor in this additional time when planning for your formal wear purchase.
Check shipping policies
Before making a purchase, make sure to check the online store’s shipping policies to ensure you have a clear understanding of how long it will take for your formal wear to be delivered. Some stores may offer free standard shipping, while others may require an additional fee for expedited shipping options.
Consider expedited shipping
If you’re in a hurry and need your formal wear as soon as possible, consider paying for an expedited shipping option from the online store. This can ensure your purchase arrives in a timely manner, but be aware that this may come with an additional fee.
Factor in alteration time
When planning for your formal wear purchase, it’s important to factor in the time it takes for alterations. Depending on the extent of the alterations needed, this can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Make sure to leave enough time for alterations so you can have a perfect fit on your special occasion.
Don’t forget to account for unexpected delays
It’s important to consider the possibility of unexpected delays when planning for a project. Delays can occur due to a variety of factors, such as weather conditions, unforeseen circumstances, and supplier issues. It’s crucial to keep these factors in mind when creating your timeline and budget.
One way to account for unexpected delays is to build in extra time for each stage of the project. This can help to cushion the impact of any delays that may occur. Another option is to have a contingency plan in place, such as having backup suppliers or resources available in case of unexpected delays.
Anticipate potential delays
- Communication breakdown: Make sure everyone involved in the project is clear about their responsibilities and deadlines.
- Resource availability: Ensure that all necessary resources are available when they are needed.
- External factors: Consider external factors such as weather or supplier issues that may cause delays.
Have a contingency plan
Having a contingency plan in place can help to mitigate the impact of unexpected delays. One approach is to identify alternative suppliers or resources that can be utilized if the primary ones become unavailable. Another approach is to have a backup plan for each stage of the project.
Regularly review progress
It’s important to regularly review progress to identify any potential delays and take action to address them as quickly as possible. This can help to ensure that the project stays on track and any delays are kept to a minimum.
Think about who you want to bring with you
Traveling with the right people can make or break a trip. Before you book your tickets, take some time to consider who you want to bring with you on your adventure. Whether you’re traveling with family, friends, or a significant other, it’s important to make sure that everyone is on the same page in terms of budget, itinerary, and expectations.
Consider what each person brings to the table. Do you want someone who is adventurous and willing to try new things, or do you prefer a more relaxed and laid-back travel companion? Make sure that everyone is on board with the destination and the activities planned, so that there are no unpleasant surprises once you arrive.
Traveling with Family
- When traveling with family, consider the ages and interests of each family member.
- Make sure to plan activities that everyone can participate in.
- Take into account any dietary restrictions or health concerns.
Traveling with Friends
- Choose friends who have similar travel styles and interests.
- Discuss budget and accommodation preferences before booking.
- Be flexible and willing to compromise on itinerary and activities.
Traveling with a Significant Other
- Communicate openly and honestly about expectations for the trip.
- Plan romantic activities or surprises to make the trip special.
- Consider spending some time apart to pursue individual interests.
Remember, the people you travel with can greatly affect your overall experience. Make sure to choose your companions wisely, and enjoy the journey together!
Take advantage of sample sales and trunk shows
If you’re looking for a way to save money on your wedding dress, then sample sales and trunk shows might be your best bet. Sample sales are events where bridal boutiques sell off their sample dresses at a discounted price, and trunk shows are events where designers showcase their latest collection at a store. These events can be a great way to find a designer gown at a fraction of the retail price.
However, there are some things you should keep in mind when attending a sample sale or trunk show. Firstly, arrive early to get the best selection, and be prepared to make a decision quickly as these events can be competitive. Also, be aware that the dresses may have been tried on by other brides and may have some wear and tear. Finally, make sure you know your budget and stick to it, as it can be tempting to overspend when you see a dress you love at a discounted price.
When attending a sample sale, be sure to wear appropriate clothing and undergarments so you can try on dresses quickly and easily. It’s also a good idea to bring someone with you who can help you with the decision-making process, but keep in mind that too many opinions can be overwhelming. Finally, don’t forget to ask the boutique staff about any alterations that may need to be made to the dress.
Before attending a trunk show, do some research on the designer to get an idea of their aesthetic and the styles they offer. Be prepared to try on dresses that may not be in your comfort zone, as designers often use trunk shows to showcase their latest collections. Also, don’t be afraid to ask the designer or boutique staff about any customization options that may be available.
Sample sales and trunk shows can be a great way to save money on your wedding dress and find a designer gown that you love. Just remember to arrive early, stick to your budget, and be prepared to make a decision quickly. Whether you choose to attend a sample sale or a trunk show, these events can be a fun and exciting part of your wedding planning process.
Be open-minded and trust your instincts
When it comes to finding the perfect wedding dress, it’s important to keep an open mind and trust your instincts. While you may have a specific style or designer in mind, trying on different dresses can help you discover new favorites. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and try on something you wouldn’t normally consider. You might be surprised by what you end up loving.
It’s also important to trust your instincts when it comes to choosing the right dress. Listen to how you feel when you try on a dress – if it feels like “the one,” then it probably is. Don’t let anyone else’s opinion sway you if you’re confident in your choice. This is your special day, and ultimately, the decision should be yours.
Consider your venue and theme
When choosing a wedding dress, it’s important to consider the venue and overall theme of your wedding. A ball gown might look out of place at a beach wedding, while a bohemian dress might not be formal enough for a black-tie affair. Think about the style and vibe you want to achieve and choose a dress that complements it.
Don’t forget about alterations
Most wedding dresses will require some alterations to ensure the perfect fit. When shopping for a dress, be mindful of alterations and factor them into your budget. It’s also a good idea to find a reputable seamstress or tailor who specializes in wedding dresses. They can make sure your dress fits like a glove and make any necessary adjustments to ensure your comfort throughout the day.
Take care of your dress
Your wedding dress is one of the most important purchases you’ll make for your special day, so it’s important to take care of it. Make sure to follow the care instructions provided by the designer or bridal boutique, and consider investing in professional cleaning and preservation services after the wedding. This will help ensure your dress remains in pristine condition for years to come. Remember, your dress is a cherished memento of your special day, so treat it with care and respect.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How soon should you go wedding dress shopping?
It’s recommended to start shopping for your wedding dress at least 8-10 months before your wedding day. This allows enough time for alterations and any unexpected delays that may occur.
Q: What should you bring to your wedding dress appointment?
It’s important to bring along a strapless bra, any shapewear you plan on wearing, and shoes with a similar heel height to what you plan on wearing on your wedding day. Additionally, bringing pictures of dresses you like can help your stylist understand your vision.
Q: How many people should you bring to your wedding dress appointment?
It’s best to keep your group small and intimate, typically no more than 3-4 people. Too many opinions can make the decision-making process overwhelming and confusing.
Q: Can you buy a wedding dress off the rack?
Yes, many bridal boutiques have a selection of ready-to-wear dresses available for purchase. However, alterations may still be necessary to ensure the perfect fit.
Q: What is a trunk show?
A trunk show is a special event where a bridal boutique showcases an extended selection of dresses from a particular designer. This allows brides to view and try on dresses that may not typically be available in the store.
Q: What should you do if you find “the one” at your first appointment?
Congratulations! It’s okay to say “yes” to the dress on your first appointment if it truly feels right. However, if you’re unsure, it’s okay to schedule a second appointment to try on the dress again before making your final decision.