Your wedding dress is perhaps one of the most iconic outfits you’ll ever buy. With so many different options available, from sleek figure-hugging gowns to full fairytale princess dresses, brides can choose an outfit that expresses their own personal style and makes them feel their best. And, with white dresses no longer being the only color deemed de rigueur, you can feel free to splash out and light up your special day with pastel or jewel tones.
With so much choice, it’s important not to leave this purchase until the last minute. You want to find the dress that makes you feel amazing. However, buying a gown as soon as you get engaged might mean that you change your mind, especially if you intend to have a longer engagement. So when is the optimal time to purchase your wedding dress? Let’s take a look.
Buying off the shelf
From big bridal chains to small independent boutiques, there are plenty of beautiful off-the-shelf options available for the modern bride. The joy of this option is that you can shop around for the best price, or wait for any seasonal offers, as there will usually be more than one gown in stock. Plus, you can often browse the different designers’ websites before you make a shop appointment, meaning that you don’t feel pressured to make a choice immediately.
However, with a lot of choices comes a lot of options to sift through. If you’re confident that you’re going to buy a dress off the shelf and it will be a good fit, we’d recommend looking around 9-12 months before the big day. That way, you won’t feel rushed, but it also won’t be so far ahead of time that you’re likely to change your mind.
Leaving time for adjustments
Wedding dresses, like all other clothes, are made to a stereotypical body – so they’re not necessarily going to sit perfectly on you, even if the size is right. This isn’t an issue; a talented seamstress can help tailor your gown to make it look like it was made for you, even if it was bought off the shelf.
However, you need to make sure that you leave enough time for them to work their magic, as what might seem like a simple job to you can actually be incredibly complex. Especially if your chosen dress has beading or lace, some adjustments will need to be made by hand sewing, which only adds to the time taken.
If you think you’re likely to get adjustments made to your dress, contact a seamstress as soon as possible and ask them how long they usually need for this type of project. They should also be able to advise what adjustments they can make, and what would be too difficult on a pre-bought dress.
Purchasing a custom gown
Do you want something completely unique and special? Then you might want to consider commissioning a custom wedding gown. There are some highly talented designers out there who can bring your dreams to life, whether that’s a perfectly fitting dress or a skirt and top set, to allow you to enjoy your wedding outfit for years to come.
If you’re going down the custom route, then make sure to leave plenty of time. It can take several idea sessions to settle on a final design, and that’s before the seamstress has even begun making the dress itself. To make sure that you get in with the designer you want, contact them as soon as you get engaged – they’ll be the best person to tell you their availability and turnaround times.
Creating your dream outfit
We hope that you’ve now got a better understanding of how long you need to leave for your search for the perfect gown: typically around 9-12 months ahead of your big day. Remember that this is a process you won’t want to rush – take your time, enjoy the moment, and find the outfit that makes you feel truly incredible.