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How Soon Before The Wedding Should I Buy a Dress?

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From a young age, many women start dreaming up their perfect wedding dress. As one of the most fun yet stressful parts of planning a wedding, many brides want to go out right away and purchase their gown. However, the process can be incredibly overwhelming, and shopping too early or too late can add even more stress. 

Made-to-order dresses can take anywhere from six to nine months for your couture wedding dress designer to create. It is essential that you provide yourself enough time to find the dress, schedule your three fittings, and make any custom alterations.

Wedding Dress Shopping Timeline

A traditional timeframe requires dress shopping to begin around 12 months before the wedding. Though your big day may still seem so far off, you want to ensure you and the designer have time to make your dress perfect.

12 Months Before the Wedding

Once you have the budget and venue set for your wedding, you want to consider both of those factors for the dress. Though you may allow some wiggle room if you find the perfect gown, you want to have a precise number in mind that you are willing to spend. If you wish to keep your dress under $5,000 or are eager to pay $10,000 or more, having a budget for your gown is incredibly essential. You also want to factor in taxes, the cost of alterations, and extras such as shoes, veil, and jewelry.


When you start trying on dresses, you want to have a basic idea of what you’re looking for. Do you love open backs, fitted silhouettes, or are you dead set on a lace wedding dress? Having a general idea of what you like, or even what you don’t like, can help your stylist narrow down your choices. If you don’t already have a vision for your ideal gown in mind, now is the time to create that Pinterest board.

5 Months Before the Wedding


While waiting for your dress to arrive, take this time to cross some other necessities off of your wedding checklist:


  • Have a tailor lined up, whether it’s through the bridal salon or a reputable couturier
  • Shop for your bridal undergarments — you will want these before your first fitting
  • Choose your veil and any additional hair accessories
  • Select your shoes while taking height, style, and venue into consideration


Ideally, it would help if you had all of the above selected and purchased before your dress comes in. This will ensure you can put the entire look together and make any changes as necessary once you see the full picture.

3 Months Before the Wedding

Around three months before your wedding, your dress should finally be ready. This is when you want to have your first fitting. During this fitting, your seamstress may make minor or major tweaks to the gown, change the neckline, trim the train, and make other alterations to help get the fit and style just right. 


This is where all of the heavy lifting will take place. Though you will leave feeling more like a pincushion than a bride, the first fitting is essential to ensuring your dress looks perfect come your wedding day. If you still do not have any accessories such as shoes or undergarments, wear something as similar as possible to ensure the dress is tailored to accommodate.

6-8 Weeks Before the Wedding

If you are participating in the “something old, new, borrowed, and blue” tradition, now is the time to decide on those items. You should also have your second fitting between six and eight weeks until the wedding. During this fitting, you should have a good idea of how the finalized dress will look. This appointment will consist of perfecting the hemline, fixing any wrinkling or bunching, and ensuring you can dance and move easily. You will be in this dress for 8-10 hours, so you want to ensure it is comfortable for extended wear.

2-4 Weeks Before the Wedding

Some dresses only require two fittings, but a third round may be necessary. At this point, your dress should be near perfect. Make sure to bring everything you plan to wear, and include some tissues as well. Your first look may be a teary one for you and whomever you wanted to share this special moment with!

1 Week Before the Wedding

With only one week left, your dress will officially be ready to be brought home. You will be expected to pay the remaining balance and fees, and the dress will be in a protective garment bag to ensure it stays safe and hidden until your big day!

How Early is Too Early to Shop Couture Wedding Dresses?

Though some brides know precisely what they want, purchasing your dress too early can have some negative consequences. For starters, wedding dress trends are always changing. By the time your wedding comes along, your dress may be out of style! If you have gained weight since your initial purchase, your dress may now be too small. It costs more to expand a dress than to take it in, so you could be looking at higher alteration prices.


At Galia Lahav, we can help you create the ideal dress for your wedding. We offer a variety of styles in our boutique locations all over the world. If you want a gown that will wow your soon-to-be spouse and your guests, we can provide stunning, on-trend options.

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Annaelle Beenstock image

Annaelle Beenstock | October 31, 2019

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