A lot brides are unsure of how long to wait until they order their dress. Some over estimate and start looking as soon as they have a ring on their finger; mainly due to excitement which is understandable! Some will come into our shop 6 months beforehand and say “I have loads of time, I don’t need to decide any time soon!” So what’s the right answer? How much time do you need to order your wedding dress?
The ‘Need to Know’ Part
Every bridal boutique will have their own designers that they stock. There are exclusivity rights that are determined by location, given by each designer to it’s stockist. They vary between designers and some could offer a radius of 10 miles, some could be 20, 35 or 50 miles. The biggest range I was ever given by a designer was 100km, so even though the closest wedding dress shop to ours was East London, we were unable to stock them in our Surrey bridal shop. I digress….
Gowns will take anywhere from 3 months to 6 months to be made and delivered to your boutique. There is no rule of thumb and no rhyme nor reason. Some designers offer ‘latest’ guaranteed delivery dates and some don’t. There are external variables that dictate how long your dress will be and sometimes it might be down to quality control, influx of orders or external factors such as natural disasters that are beyond our control.
So which type of bride are you anyway?...
The Super Excitables (or the ‘Get it Done’ Brigade)
These two scenarios are on opposite ends of the timeline and you want to fall somewhere In the middle to give yourself plenty of time with a safety blanket of time built in. Two years is a long time in advance and I would always recommend, if you’re a magpie type of personality who follows trends, wait until closer to the time to start shopping. You run the risk of falling in love with a dress and then falling out of love with it in the long wait until the big day. Fashion and trends change and you don’t want to be left feeling you jumped the gun! If you are in it for the long-haul and know that you won’t fall out of love with your dress, then continue shopping away to your hearts content! If you find your dress however, don’t’ make the mistake of waiting 12 months to purchase as you may find that your dress is no longer being made!
The ‘Last Minute Lovelies’
Sometimes a bride will email us and say her wedding is in 3 months time. Unfortunately, in these cases, it is past the point of no return and a reputable boutique would not take the order. I have had to refuse brides in the past when they reference a dress that they have seen on our website but their wedding is in a few months time. It’s hard because you want to help everyone, but realistically, even if a designer offers a rush service, which not all of them do, a rush means 6-8 weeks. This is a forecast and not a guarantee. On top of this, you need your alterations and a good seamstress is worth her weight in gold! If you have left it too late, I recommend sample sale dresses at boutiques that stock designers you like. Alternatively there are websites that sell pre-owned wedding dresses. All you’ll need is your alterations and a dry clean!
The long and short of it is, start looking for your dress 10-12 months in advance (unless you know you are going to be super fussy, in which case start 12-14 months prior). At the latest, I would say start looking 8-10 months prior. It’s always better to build in a safety blanket of time in case your dress takes longer than expected or if you need amendments to your dress once your alterations have begun.
WHEN SHOULD I HAVE MY ALTERATIONS DONE ON MY WEDDING DRESS?
This will usually take place 8-10 weeks before the big day. If you have decided to shape and tone up for your big day, make sure you stop making changes after your final fitting. Like I always say, live in a bubble. Don’t exercise, don’t eat, don’t go to work, don’t sleep, don’t breathe too much...just exist for the next 2 months so your gown fits you absolutely like a sexy little glove! 😊
If you’re still searching for your dress or any other suppliers, why not check out our industry friends page and see who we adore!