Finding the perfect wedding dress is undoubtedly one of the most exciting parts of wedding planning. That eureka feeling when you've found 'the one'... Nothing compares. But with so many options available and so much to consider, one question often arises. And that is "How far in advance should I book my wedding dress"? Wedding planning is one heck of a journey - and a journey filled with a lot of questions. This is an important question to ask, as the timeline for finding and ordering a wedding dress can vary depending on a number of factors. Today, we're going to go over some key considerations before you go on your dress hunt that can help you determine the ideal timeframe for booking your dream wedding dress.

How far in advance shall I get my wedding dress? Your questions: answered! 

1. First things first - budget!

Once you and your partner have decided on a budget, understanding how much you can spend on your dress is made a lot easier. We recommend making a list of priorities/non-negotiables alongside your partner. If a dress is very important to you, then you'll want it higher up on your priority list. As we try to stress in every single article, your wedding is just that; yours. If you want a bespoke wedding dress, then that's brilliant. If you want a second-hand wedding dress, excellent. Maybe you want a suit that you found online? There is no pressure when it comes to dresses - choose what you want. Just make sure you know how much you're both willing to spend. 

2. What kind of dress do you want?

The next thing you want to figure out is what kind of outfit you want. We put this at around the 12+-month-before mark. This is because there is an abundance of different dress styles to choose from. You want to know what vibe you're going for early on, so you can then plan visits and fittings accordingly. And remember - you don't have to wear a white dress. You could opt for an alternative bridal outfitA suit, jumpsuit, a short wedding dress, a metallic wedding dress, shorts, jeans... Whatever floats your boat! Taking your venue into consideration is a good idea, too. If you're having a beach wedding, you'll want something comfortable. Having a country house wedding? Then something more formal would look great. 

3. Book your first appointment!

Now that you know what your budget is and what style you want, it's time to get booking those wedding dress shopping appointments. Finding the right bridal boutique for you will take some time - so we reccommend doing this 12+ months before your wedding date. Our first recommendation - our Recommended suppliers, of course! We've got a list of bridal boutiques and shops that are all fantastic. Read reviews, browse websites, use the wonderful world wide web, check the 'gram... The world is your oyster. 

4. Lead time AND ALTERATIONS - how far in advance should I get my wedding dress

Another thing to consider is the lead time required by the dressmaker or retailer. Lead time is the time between the initiation and completion of a production process. Wedding dresses are typically made to order. So, the lead time can vary depending on the designer or brand. Some designers require six months or more to make a wedding dress, while others may only need a few months. It's important to research your preferred designers, boutiques and shops to find out their lead times so that you can plan accordingly. If you have your heart set on a particular designer, it's essential to book your appointment as soon as possible to ensure that you can secure the dress you want within the required timeframe. 

Another factor to consider is alterations. It's rare for a wedding dress to fit perfectly right off the rack, so alterations are normal in the buying process. These alterations can take a few weeks to complete, so it's important to factor in this time when determining when to book your wedding dress. You may also need multiple fittings, so it's a good idea to leave some extra time in your schedule in case additional alterations are needed. As always, make sure you ask LOTS of questions! There is no such thing as too many questions when it comes to ensuring you know everything about both your dress and when it will be ready. We promise that your bridal boutique/designer will welcome these questions, and this in turn will put you at ease.

5. Your wedding date and your own schedule play a part too

Your wedding date is also a crucial consideration when determining when to book and buy your wedding dress. If you're getting married during the peak wedding season, it's important to book and buy your dress as early as possible to avoid disappointment. Similarly, if you're planning a destination wedding, you may need to allow extra time for shipping and customs, which could impact the timeline for ordering your dress. It's also very important to consider your own schedule and availability. If you have a busy schedule or work full-time, you may need to allow extra time to fit in dress appointments and fittings. You'll also want to ensure that you have enough time to enjoy the dress-shopping experience and find the perfect dress without feeling rushed or stressed.

6. So... how far in advance should I get my wedding dress? 

We recommend buying your actual gown around 8-9 months before your wedding. Of course, this number is going to vary for everyone due to a number of different factors. However, 8-9 months is a good ball park figure. You'll have tried the dress on, found out how long the lead time is at your favourite boutique, and your family and friends will have told you how sensational you look. So now, you have to buy it! When buying a dress, you often have to sign a contract and put down a deposit. Make sure you are certain about your dress, and you've asked all questions you can possibly think of about the gown. Make sure you know when the boutique expect your dress/outfit to arrive, and confirm that they'll let you know immediately. Then, there you have it. Wedding dress - completed it, mate. 

Will you go for a princess wedding dress, a tulle skirt, an alternative jumpsuit, an ivory suit, a metallic wedding dress, or something entirely different?

Still Searching For Your Wedding Dress?

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In conclusion, the ideal timeframe for booking your wedding dress can vary depending on a range of factors. To ensure that you have plenty of time to find and order your dream dress, it's important to research designers and retailers, factor in lead time, consider your wedding date, and account for your own availability. This might seem like a lot - but we promise, it's doable. By taking all of these factors into consideration, you'll be able to book your wedding dress with confidence and enjoy a stress-free shopping experience. And who doesn't want that? Keeping track of your budget is also important when it comes to wedding dress shopping. Our downloadable PDF wedding budget checklist will certainly come in handy here. If you want to really wow your guests and do an outfit change, then our article on wedding reception dresses and outfit changes will prove very inspirational indeed. 

Sasha Kirkham

Written by Sasha Kirkham

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