Your wedding gown is likely to be the most important dress that you will every purchase, so it can be an exhilarating, yet overwhelming experience to find the right one for your big day. There are probably dozens of questions running through your head – when do I purchase my gown? Where can I purchase it from? How do I know it’s the right one?
Whether you are getting a brand new gown or are using your mother’s and it needs some alterations, this is the only checklist you need to follow to ensure that your wedding dress shopping goes just as you always dreamed.
When to Start Looking
Start dress shopping early. Even a year ahead of time if possible, as it can take several fittings to ensure that your gown fits perfectly. If you happen to be purchasing a sample or pre-made gown, then you may not need as many alterations as you would with a custom-made dress. However, if you are getting a gown that if made specifically for you, then it will take a few times to ensure that each seam is done correctly and that the beading remains just as
intricate as it was meant to be. Keep in mind however, that if you don’t have up to a year to get alterations, then you might want to go with a simple dress, as they typically do not require as many alterations.
The more time that you have for shopping, the more you can try on and debate which gown is the right one for you!
9-12 Months Before Your Wedding
[ ] Be sure that you have determined the formality of your wedding, location and time of day before you go shopping as this can influence the dress type you are going to purchase.
[ ] Start imagining your perfect dress. What kind of gown is it that you want to get married in? Create a short list of six descriptive words that you want to describe the way you feel and look in your gown.
[ ] Create another list of the features that you absolutely do not want to have in your gown (veil, train, beading, lace, etc.).
[ ] Learn about wedding dresses. What is the lingo of bridal consultants? You should familiarize yourself with design elements, fabrics and more.
[ ] Start looking into a certain style. Get ideas from designer bridal magazines or collections that you find online and save them to determine the style that you are looking for. It can help to share these photos or the names of the collections that you like with your bridal consultant when shopping.
[ ] Plan a budget for your gown. Before you shop you need to set a budget, and it is a good rule of thumb to spend about 10% of your entire wedding budget on your dress.
8 Months Before Your Wedding Day
[ ] Choose the people that you want to bring with you to your fitting. Try to keep the number to about three, as some bridal shops cannot accommodate large parties.
[ ] Find a few salons that you would like to check out. Check out online recommendations or ask friends who have recently wed about where they had good experiences. Look online to make sure that the salons you choose will have the designer gowns you are looking for too. Make appointments to try on gowns with bridal shops (allowing a few hours per shop), and use a notebook to manage all of your appointments.
[ ] Get together everything that you will need. There are certain essential items that you will need to ensure that your fitting goes appropriately:
• Control top panty hose (these can help your gowns to go on easier)
• Strapless bra or a bustler
• A slip
• Shoes that are a similar height to the ones you are going to wear on your wedding day
• Tissues (because your mom is going to cry)
[ ] When shopping for your dress, you should write down the dresses and designers that you like, along with their prices. This can serve as a reference and reminder later on after you have seen dozens of gowns.
[ ] Remember when shopping that wedding dresses tend to run small. After you have had your measurements taken then you should order the size that suites your largest measurements because it is cheaper to take a gown in then to let it out!
7 Months Before Your Wedding
[ ] When you are trying on your gown at the salon you can always ask your bridal consultant to try on some accessories, like a shawl or veil, so that you can get an idea of what you like. It doesn’t mean that you need to purchase them, just try them.
[ ] Start narrowing down your gown choices and visit the final few a second, third and even fourth time if need be. Bridal consultants won’t mind if you schedule multiple appointments to see a gown, as they deal with indecisive brides every day. It is also a good idea to make sure that you go to one fitting on your own so that you can form your own opinion.
6 Months Before Your Wedding
[ ] Place the other on your dream gown. However, you want to be sure that you get some information on your receipt before you leave the bridal shop for safety’s sake.
• Name of the designer
• Name and style number of the dress
• Measurements (size) that the manufacturer is being sent
• Estimated date of delivery
• The number of fittings that you can receive for the price
• Amount that is owed on the gown
• Amount of the paid deposit
5 Months Before Your Wedding
[ ] Determine the accessories that you want to add to your ensemble, and start shopping for them.
[ ] Contact the salon again and make sure the delivery date is still a go.
[ ] If you are going to want to lose a little weight before your wedding then you should do it before your fittings. After your final fitting you should maintain your weight as much as you can!
6 Weeks Before Your Wedding(upon the arrival of your gown)
[ ] Get your fitting done. Bring together all of the accessories that you have for your big day and try on your gown in front of someone that you know can give you a thorough opinion.
4 to 5 Weeks Before Your Wedding
[ ] For the second fitting you want to be sure that you can:
• Comfortably move
• That it stays in place when you do
• There is no odd bunching or pulling
• On a full-length gown make sure the hem is above the toes of your shoes
[ ] Schedule repeat fittings if you are unsure about the way that your gown fits.
[ ] Bring an assistant with you to the final fitting. Whether it is your maid of honor, mother or a real assistant, you want the person who is going to help you on the big day to learn all about your dress. Make note of cleaning, how buttons and ties should be done, how bustling works and more important items that you will need to know on your big day.
3 Weeks Before Your Wedding
[ ] Call the bridal shop and plan a day to get your gown from the salon. But, you want to try it on one more time before you leave, just to be sure.
[ ] Drive down to the bridal shop and pick up your dream gown!
Follow this checklist and you are sure to make the dress buying process much easier on yourself, and still get the dress that you always dreamed of.