Use this guide to meet every crucial deadline. Ca n’t stop imagining yourself in a gorgeous wedding dress ? We do n’t blame you. Wedding dress denounce is one of the most excite things you can look forth to after getting engaged, but it ‘s not uncommon for to-be-weds to feel a little overwhelm by the process. Knowing when to buy your marry dress is the first base step—and we ‘re here to help you get started .

once you ‘ve researched bridal salons, bookmarked your darling marry dress trends and have tried on a few gowns, keep in beware that the action does n’t end there. Our wedding dress timeline highlights all of the significant fashion-related benchmarks to note while you ‘re wedding plan. From the start of your date to the bad day and beyond, here ‘s everything you need to know about budget and shopping for your gown, including precisely when you should buy your wedding dress to ensure that it arrives on meter.

In this article:

Wedding Dress Timing FAQs

When should you buy your wedding dress?

precisely when to go wedding dress shopping depends on the duration of your engagement and how cursorily you ‘re getting marry, but ideally, you should start trying on dresses about one class before your wedding date. If you do n’t find your dream marry dress during your beginning patronize appointment, do n’t panic—it ‘s completely normal to take a few weeks ( or even months ) to find your gown. According to The Knot Real Weddings Study, the average date distance is 14 months, but you do n’t want to wait until the stopping point hour to start patronize. If you ‘re on a like timeline, we recommend purchasing your marriage dress between eight and 10 months before the marry. This leaves enough time for your wedding dress to be made to your measurements ( more on this in a minute ), shipped to your bridal salon and sent to the sew for alterations .

If your engagement is less than a year long, you should start shopping for a marry dress arsenic soon as possible, particularly if you ‘d like to customize your gown in any way. The process of buying a marriage dress traditionally takes respective months, so you may be working with limited options or rush order fees depending on how soon you ‘re headed to the altar. Need a last-minute wedding dress ? Sample sale gowns and off-the-rack styles from a local bridal boutique are great options, along with off-the-rack elopement looks and wedding dress rentals .

How early is too early for wedding dress shopping?

In most cases, the sooner you start looking for a marry dress, the better. That being said, there are a few key marry details you ‘ll need to finalize before you decide to buy your marry dress. We recommend going shop once you ‘ve chosen your wedding date and have booked a venue. These two details will influence the type of dress you should look for ( including seasonality, style and flush of formality ), along with how much you can actually spend on your dress based on the rest of your wedding budget. If you start shopping for your wedding dress before you ‘ve finalized a date or venue, you run the risk of purchasing a blueprint that does n’t ultimately reflect the aesthetic of your special day .

Are wedding dresses made to order?

The short answer : Yes, most marriage dresses are made to holy order. This is particularly true if you purchase your gown from a professional bridal patronize, where the march includes working with a hairdresser to try on sample dresses. once you ‘ve found a dress you love, the hairdresser takes your measurements and shares them with the architect, who then creates a brand-new apparel for you. The entire process can take up to six months, which is why it ‘s significant to get the ball rolling shortly after your engagement .

If you purchase an off-the-rack marry dress, it wo n’t be made to order, but the top is that you can save meter ( and potentially money ) by taking the dress home with you the same day rather of waiting months for it to be ready. In this situation, you might still need to have the preen professionally altered by a dressmaker. Set aside a part of your budget and leave a couple of weeks for alterations in your timeline just in case .

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The Essential Wedding Dress Timeline

12+ Months Before Your Wedding

Set your wedding dress budget. After setting your chief marriage budget, decide how much of that will be spent on your dress. Our data shows that wedding overdress typically accounts for 6 % of the overall budget, and in 2021, the average cost of a marry dress was $ 1,800. In addition to the cost of the dress, we recommend budgeting for taxes, alterations and ship ( or rush fees, in certain cases ). finally, do n’t forget to set aside separate of of your budget for accessories, like your wedding shoes, caul and jewelry .

Research wedding dress styles. Before you start wedding dress shopping, it ‘s a good mind to figure out what you like ( or what you want to wholly avoid ). And while you do n’t need to become a marriage dress expert nightlong, knowing a few basics can help you describe your ideal snip when it ‘s time to shop. Brush up on fundamentals like wedding dress necklines, popular fabrics and dress silhouettes ahead of fourth dimension so you can well parcel your ideal look with a hairdresser. Taking your marry venue into consideration can besides be super-helpful when narrowing down your dress options. If you ‘re having a beach marry, you ‘ll credibly want a comfortable, unfussy gown. Getting married at an upscale hotel or grand estate ? A formal ball gown could be your apparel. You can besides think about the types of dress silhouettes you like to wear in your everyday life—are you more of a flowy hedge person or into curve-hugging bodycon styles ? Pull divine guidance from your daily cupboard and use that as a start point when you buy your wedding dress .

last, it ‘s important to keep an open take care. Doing your research can help narrow down your options at the startle, but an experience bridal adviser can besides help you find the right dress for your budget, body type and personal style. The wedding dress you end up bribe might tied surprise you. Book your first wedding dress shopping appointment. once you ‘ve spent meter familiarizing yourself with respective wedding trim styles, it ‘s time to find a bridal salon that speaks to your personal taste and offers gowns in your price range. Read reviews for boutiques in your sphere, then browse their web site or social media accounts to get an idea of the types of dresses and wedding dress designers they carry in their store. Make appointments at a few shops ( we recommend sticking to barely one or two locations in the begin so you do n’t overwhelm yourself ), and start prepping for your first time trying on wedding dresses. If you know you want to try a dress from a specific architect, see if they ‘re having a trunk picture ( a traveling show of their entire collection ) at a salon near you .

Finalize your wedding dress shopping crew. After you make your appointee ( mho ), it ‘s time to decide who will be with you while you ‘re trying on dresses. Bring a belittled cortege of close friends and love ones, like your ma, sister, maid of honor or bridesmaids. We recommend limiting your group to three or four people max—too many opinions can make your snip patronize experience unnecessarily confusing, and the salon may have limits on the number of people allowed .

8–10 Months Before Your Wedding

Buy your wedding dress. You ‘re about eight months out from the big day—consider this the sugared spot for when to buy your wedding dress. now ‘s the prison term to make a concluding decision and place the order. You ‘ll know that your wedding dress is “ the matchless ” when you do n’t want to take it off. When you purchase your gown, you ‘ll be asked to sign a contract and put down a deposit. The deposit will vary by retailer, but it ‘s normally about 50 % of the monetary value of the dress .

Before you sign the abridge, take a concluding opportunity to ask questions and make certain all the data is correct. Ask the salon when they expect your gown to arrive ( on modal, it ‘s 16 to 20 weeks from the day you place your order ), and confirm that they ‘ll call you when it comes in or if any issues arise .

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5–6 Months Before Your Wedding

Shop for wedding dress undergarments. You can start shopping for wedding undergarments, bridal shapewear and other essentials once you ‘ve purchased your dress. ( Do n’t put this gradation off—you ‘ll want to have everything on hand for your first alterations fitting. ) Whether you ‘re planning to wear a strapless brassiere, need to invest in nude undies or want to try a new version of shapewear, having the proper undergarments on hand can make all the remainder in how your dress looks and feels on the marriage day .

Choose your wedding accessories. Ahead of your alterations, it ‘s besides time to finalize the accessories you ‘re planning to wear ( if any ) on your wedding day, such as a veil, jewelry and shoes. We recommend finalizing your accessories in time to bring them to your first fit, particularly your shoes. The dressmaker will need to know how to adjust the hem of your gown based on the acme of your heels, or take the hem up even more if you ‘re planning to wear flats or sneakers. You do n’t need to wear a veil on your marry day if it ‘s not your vibration, but if you are planning to wear one, aim to have it picked out by your foremost alterations appointment. This will give you ( and your dressmaker ) a better mind of your stallion search, from head to toe. For casual gowns, you can opt for a short rouge or birdcage caul. If you ‘re wearing a ball gown, you might want to amp up the drama with something more deluxe, like a chapel- or cathedral-length humeral veil. Schedule your wedding hair and makeup trial. now that you know what you ‘re wearing on the marry day, you can start thinking about the rest of your search. Your hair and makeup trial should take place about five months before your wedding. Use your wedding dress to influence your hair’s-breadth and makeup—for exercise, if your nightgown has a show-stopping illusion lace back, you might want to show it off with an updo .

3–4 Months Before Your Wedding

Your wedding dress arrives. After months of waiting, your dress is finally here ( cut-in excited confess ! ). Depending on the salon ‘s policies, you ‘ll likely be expected to pay the remaining balance wheel on your dress when you pick it up from the shop. If you have n’t already reached out to a professional dressmaker for alterations, nowadays is the clock to do so. Be sure to choose person who has know working on wedding dresses and formal break. Schedule your first alterations fitting. Remember when we said that the process does n’t end when you order your marry preen ? Once the dress arrives from the architect, alterations are the future phase of your wedding trim timeline. You ‘ll probably have three alterations fittings to make sure that the dress fits you absolutely, and it ‘s significant to get the time of each date right. If your fittings are besides far in advance, you may end up with a preen that does n’t fit properly—your body weight and form could fluctuate after the gown is altered. On the other pass, waiting besides long to schedule your alterations will leave you in a time grind. Your first alterations appointee should take home at least three months before your marry. The first appointment is where the heavy rise happens : adding sleeves, switching up the neckline, adjusting the hem or requesting customizations, like beading. By the time you ‘re done, you might slightly resemble a pincushion, but the finished product will be worth it. Most bridal gowns will need at least some shape of alterations, and while some seamstresses charge a flat tip, others charge per serve. The cost can range from $ 200 for a basic hem to more than $ 1,000 for major adjustments. When it ‘s time for your first suit, remember to bring all of the undergarments and accessories you ‘re planning to wear on the actual marry day .

6–8 Weeks Before Your Wedding

Decide on your something old, new, borrowed and blue. If you want to include these sweetly traditions in your ensemble, it ‘s a good idea to have them ready to go before your final match. For case, if you ‘re planning to sew a blue ribbon or other keepsake to the inside of your apparel, you can ask your dressmaker to do it while they ‘re making the rest of the alterations. Schedule your second alterations fitting. The second fit is your luck to make smaller tweaks to your wedding dress, like taking in the bodice or perfecting the hem length. During this fitting, you ‘ll besides want to make certain there ‘s no obvious bunch or pulling anywhere on the apparel. Move around the salon in your gown—sit down, stand up and practice some dance moves while you ‘re at it. This will help you test that the fit is right and comfortable so you can easily get around ( and breathe without feeling like you may split a seam ). You ‘ll be wearing your dress for 10 or 12 hours on your wedding day, so if something feels wrong, now is the time to speak up .

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2–3 Weeks Before Your Wedding

Practice walking in your wedding shoes. As the say goes, practice makes perfect. Strut around in your marry shoes at home to make certain they are n’t excessively high or excessively rigid. If you ‘re sporting a modern pair of shoes, this gives you the luck to break them in or snag a more comfortable couple if needed. Schedule your final alterations fitting. You may want to have a box of tissues on hand for your final trip to the dressmaker. This is where you ‘ll get to see your gown precisely the way it will look on your marriage day—cue the chills ! Bring at least one family member or friend to share this particular moment with ( and then they can learn how to bustle the coach or intertwine up the corset ). Pick up your wedding dress. When your gown is cook, you ‘ll need to find a target to store it where your collaborator ca n’t sneak a peek. A plain water closet where the dress wo n’t get squished is ideal, but if you ‘re working with specify space, some salons will store gowns until just days before the marry. After the dress is in your monomania, inspect it to make certain everything looks right. Check for snags, discolorations or other damage. Keep it in a breathable, opaque dress bulge ( just in lawsuit your S.O. stumbles across it in the cupboard ). If your head covering is in the same bag, make surely it ‘s stored in a protective pouch so it does n’t snag on any of the gown ‘s embellishments .

1 Week Before Your Wedding

Pack your wedding day bag. Buy a hand-held steamer ( or if you already have one, make certain it ‘s clean and works well ) for your marry day emergency kit out. Pack it with other essentials, like condom pins, fashion tape and a sewing kit to have on hand merely in encase. Make sure you have all the parts of your ensemble together. Your gown, veil, jewelry and shoes should all be ready to go in one target, particularly if you ‘re having person help you transport everything to your venue on the wedding day.

After Your Wedding

Store or sell your wedding dress. Your wedding day may be over, but the marry dress decisions are n’t. now it ‘s time to decide what you want to do with the nightgown. If you ‘re holding onto the dress as a memento, you ‘ll want to take manage of it as best you can. Storing your beloved gown is n’t deoxyadenosine monophosphate dim-witted as hanging it up in the closet with the lie of your clothes, but fortunately, there are enough of services that will take care of it for you. One option is Wedding Dress Preservation by The Knot, our very own service that cleans and stores your nightgown safely in a keepsake box. A few early trusted options include this Wedding Dress Cleaning and Preservation Kit from David ‘s Bridal and Unbox the Dress, a service that re-designs your gown into a new dash you can wear every day. If you ‘d rather see your beautiful wedding full-dress make person else ‘s wedding ambition come true, you can opt to sell or donate it rather. For the former, we recommend closely Newlywed —they do most of the legwork for you .

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