When Should I Start Wedding Dress Shopping?

Once you get the ring and share the good news with friends and family, the wedding planning begins! And often one of the first questions is: when should I start wedding dress shopping? We have all the answers as well as some insider tips and tricks so your wedding dress search goes smoothly!

What’s the average time frame?

On average, brides start wedding dress shopping a few months before their big day. Of course, some brides take more time and some less, but we’re here to talk about the ideal time frame. Typically, you should set your dress budget 11-12 months before your wedding and start making appointments no later than 10 months out.

If you’re looking for off the rack…

You’re looking for a designer gown you can walk out of the salon with! You can purchase these gowns day-of, so there’s no waiting for the salon to order one in your size. And all you have to worry about is making any necessary alterations to get that perfect fit. However, the inventory of these gowns is constantly changing, which means you never know what will be available at your appointment. But, this also means that if you didn’t find the dress right away, you shouldn’t lose hope! It might be there the next week!

And if you’re on a budget, off the rack gowns are the perfect place to start! Many salons (including LBR Bridal) have a selection of overstock designer gowns, which can be priced at up to a 75% discount! Hello, style and savings!

If you’re looking for ready to order…

You’re looking for that perfect designer gown that feels like it was made just for you–because it was! The ready to order (or made to order) process means you’ll try on sample gowns from various curated designers (at LBR, these internationally designed gowns are hand-selected by the owner for maximum style and variety). And if you find the one, an expert stylist will take your unique measurements and custom order the dress in your size.

Since lead times for these gowns are typically 5-8 months out, we definitely recommend starting your wedding dress shopping earlier than that! While rush orders are possible, that will add extra cost to your wedding budget.

Alterations and customization and accessories, oh my!

So you’ve bought your dream dress and you’re head over heels for it–now what? Wedding dress shopping doesn’t stop once you have the dress! Do you need alterations done to make the fit perfect? Those can take up to two months. Do you want to make a statement with dress customization? That can take months as well (depending on what you want to add).

And now that you have the dress, you’ll need to think about accessories! Finding the perfect pair of heels, jewelry, a veil, and more takes time. And rushing this search will only lead to more wedding stress–or not being able to find what you need!

So when should you start wedding dress shopping?

As soon as you can! At LBR Bridal, we believe there is no such thing as starting your wedding dress search too early. Well, almost. If you’re planning a wedding two or more years away, we suggest waiting until you’re closer to the one year mark. Why? Because new dresses and new collections are released all the time, and you don’t want to end up with a dress that’s been out of style for a year and a half!

Generally though, we recommend starting to look for your gown 10-12 months before your wedding, and purchasing no later than 8 months before. If you stick to this schedule, you’ll have plenty of time to find your dream gown and all the perfect matching accessories!

Make your appointment to start looking for your dream dress

You can make your appointment online for one of our luxury bridal salons here. With salons in Chicago, Illinois, Birmingham, Michigan, and Miami, Florida, we’re ready to make all your bridal dreams come true!

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