The Lief Bridal guide on when to buy your wedding dress

Ah, weddings. One of the most exciting yet stressful occasions in the event world! There are so many things to sort out; the cake, the band, the venue, the invitations, who will sit where, what type of food you will serve, how great-uncle Dave will get to the ceremony- the list goes on. But unmistakably, as most brides will tell you, one of the most important aspects of a wedding is da da da-daaaa- the dress. Yes, the dress. Every bride wants to look beautiful on their big day, but what happens if you leave shopping for your dream dress too late? Panic levels rise and there’s a higher chance of simply settling for a gown instead of missing out completely! Well ladies, seeing as your wedding day should be one of the best days of your life, we do not want to settle. So, if you want to make sure that you’re as cool as a cucumber when it comes to purchasing your dream gown, then you’re in good hands! Below are a few points to help make sure that you will pick an appropriate gown for your ceremony in a sensible time frame.

Number One - Your dress will most likely need some alterations

Consider the fact that you will need time for alterations and fittings after your dress is purchased. Give yourself 8-10 months to look for, and purchase your gown. It should take around 16-20 weeks (4-5 months) for your gown to arrive after being ordered, but could take a little longer if ordering in peak wedding season. You'll then need around 6 weeks to meet with your seamstress and for alterations to be completed. Remember to check with your Bridal shop what their alterations procedure is when buying, as this is not always a service that is offered by the shop so you may need to allow yourself time to look elsewhere for a seamstress when your dress arrives.

Number Two - Don’t be too hasty! Buying too early is also a no-no

Picture this, your now fiance has just proposed, you’re ecstatic (hopefully!) and you’re just desperate to start looking for a gown. You have no idea where your ceremony will be, what time of year it will take place, what the theme of your wedding will be etc., but you rush to the bridal store and fly through the racks eager to find your dream gown. Erm, wait a moment. Did you say that you don’t know where the ceremony will be? And you haven’t planned what season you’re getting married in? Hold on girl, how will you know what material your dress needs to be? What if you plan a destination wedding in a hot climate but you’ve already put down a deposit on the biggest princess dress in the shop or a dress with the heaviest satin train?! What if you buy a dress and then see something later that completely captures your heart? You get the idea, take your time and be sure you are 100% certain the dress you are about to buy is the one for you and your dream wedding.

Number Three - Choose your support group carefully

You only have to watch a few episodes of Say Yes to the Dress to see that wedding dress shopping with a big group of strong minded people is not always the best move. Lief recommends taking a maximum of four guests with you. Although you may want a range of different opinions, you don't want to be steered towards a dress that you don't love just because others like the look of it on you or because you've been left feeling confused. That's not to say that the opinions of your loved ones aren't important, but ultimately it is your wedding day so you should get the final say and feel confident in the choice you make. The less people influencing (confusing in some cases!) your decision, the quicker you will be able to come to a decision and find your dream wedding dress. Boom!

Basically, before you buy your dress you should be able to answer 3 of the 4 W’s. Who, What, Where and When.

  1. Who you are marrying (I jest!...but you really should know this)

  2. What the theme of the wedding will be if any.

  3. Where your wedding will take place- a beach, another country, a church etc.

  4. When will your wedding take place? What season/time of year.

When you can at least answer these questions, then you can give yourself time to focus on what dress will be right for you.

We hope that this has helped you to gain a little more perspective on when you should start looking for your dream dress. All the best with your wedding dress shopping and congratulations!

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