Every bride dreams of walking down the aisle in the perfect wedding dress, feeling like a princess or movie star. Choosing the right gown is a significant part of wedding planning and can be stressful. In this article, we'll guide you through the optimal timeline for how to shop for your wedding dress, helping you plan the journey to find your dream dress without unnecessary stress. So, grab your wedding planner, and let's get started!

Factors Influencing the Wedding Dress Shopping Timeline

Wedding Date and Season

Your wedding date and the season you're getting married will be crucial in determining when you should start shopping for your wedding dress. The time of year will influence the dress styles and fabrics you'll want to consider and the availability of designers and boutiques.

Dress Style and Fashion Trends

The ever-changing world of bridal fashion will also impact your wedding dress shopping timeline. You'll want to stay updated on the latest trends and popular styles and research the designers who create the looks you love.

Custom-made vs. Off-the-Rack

Another essential factor to consider is whether you want a custom-made wedding dress or an off-the-rack option. Custom gowns typically require more time for designing, creating, and adjusting, so you'll need to factor this into your shopping timeline.

Potential Alterations and Fittings

Even if you choose an off-the-rack dress, you'll likely need some alterations to achieve the perfect fit. Make sure to account for the time required for multiple fittings and adjustments.

Designer and Boutique Availability

Finally, consider the availability of your preferred designers and bridal boutiques. High-demand seasons and famous designers may have longer wait times, so starting your search early will ensure you have the best chance of securing your dream gown.


Infographic - Wedding Dress Timeline - Ordering and Alteration.

The Ideal Timeline: When & How to Shop for a Wedding Dress

Starting the Search: 9-12 Months Before the Wedding

  1. Researching Styles and Designers: Begin by exploring different wedding dress styles, silhouettes, and designers. Save images that inspire you and create a mood board to help you visualize your perfect look.
  2. Browsing Bridal Magazines and Social Media: Stay updated on the latest trends by following bridal magazines, blogs, and social media accounts. Pay attention to the styles that catch your eye and take note of the designers who create them.
  3. Attending Bridal Shows and Trunk Sales: Make a point of attending bridal shows and trunk sales to see the latest designs in person and potentially score exclusive discounts.

Dress Appointments: 6-9 Months Before the Wedding

  1. Booking Appointments at Bridal Boutiques: Start scheduling appointments at bridal boutiques that carry the designers and styles you're interested in. Be sure to bring a trusted friend or family member along for support and advice.
  2. Trying on Various Styles and Silhouettes: Keep an open mind and try on a range of wedding dress styles and silhouettes. You might be surprised which designs flatter your figure and make you feel most confident.
  3. Considering the Opinions of Close Friends and Family: While it's important to stay true to your personal style, it's also helpful to consider the opinions of your close friends and family. They may offer valuable insights and suggestions you still need to consider.

Ordering the Dress: 6-8 Months Before the Wedding

  1. Allowing Time for the Dress to be Made and Shipped: Once you've chosen your dream dress, it's time to place the order. Remember that it can take several months for the gown to be made and shipped, especially if it's a custom design. Make sure to factor this into your timeline.
  2. Considering Designer Lead Times: Be aware that different designers may have different lead times, so it's important to communicate your wedding date to the boutique and ensure that your dress will arrive with enough time for alterations and fittings.

Alterations and Fittings: 2-3 Months Before the Wedding

  1. Scheduling the First Fitting: Once your dress has arrived, schedule your first fitting appointment. This will allow you to see how the dress fits and identify any necessary alterations.
  2. Allowing Time for Multiple Fittings and Adjustments: Remember that you may need several fittings and adjustments to achieve the perfect fit. Be sure to allocate enough time in your timeline for these appointments.

Final Fitting and Dress Pick-Up: 1-2 Weeks Before the Wedding

  1. Ensuring the Dress Fits Perfectly: Your final fitting will confirm that your dress fits flawlessly and is ready for your big day. It's essential to ensure everything feels comfortable and secure, so you can focus on enjoying your wedding.
  2. Arranging for Dress Storage and Transportation: Coordinate with your bridal boutique or a trusted friend to arrange for proper storage and transportation of your gown leading up to the wedding day. This will help prevent any last-minute stress or damage to your dress.

Tips for a Stress-Free Wedding Dress Shopping Experience

Setting a Realistic Budget

Determine a budget for your wedding dress before you start shopping. This will help you avoid falling in love with a gown that's outside your price range and assist boutique consultants in finding options that suit your financial plan.

Choosing the Right Entourage for Dress Shopping

Select a small group of trusted friends or family members to accompany you on your dress-shopping journey. Ensure they understand your style and will offer honest, constructive feedback.

Being Open to Different Styles and Silhouettes

While it's great to have a vision of your ideal wedding dress, keeping an open mind is also essential. You may find that a style you had yet to consider is the one that makes you feel most beautiful and confident.

Trusting the Experts at the Bridal Boutique

The consultants at your bridal boutique have a wealth of experience helping brides find their perfect gowns. Trust their expertise, and don't hesitate to ask questions or seek advice.

Embracing the Process and Enjoying the Journey

Lastly, remember to enjoy the process of finding your dream wedding dress. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so embrace the journey and cherish the memories you make.


With this wedding dress shopping timeline, you'll be well-prepared to embark on the exciting journey of finding the perfect gown for your special day. By starting your search early, staying organized, and remaining open-minded, you'll be on your way to walking down the aisle in a dress that makes you feel genuinely radiant. Remember, the most crucial aspect of your wedding dress is how it makes you feel. While trends and fashionista opinions have their place, your confidence and happiness should be the ultimate deciding factors. As you go shopping, trust your instincts and choose the gown that speaks to your heart. We hope this guide has provided valuable insights and practical tips for a seamless wedding dress shopping experience. Embrace the adventure, stay true to yourself, and enjoy every moment of this magical journey. We all at DeLorne Bridal wish you a beautiful wedding day and a lifetime of happiness. Now that you have your wedding dress shopping timeline, it's time to start planning the rest of your big day. Check out our other articles on bridal fashion, wedding planning, and more. We'll make sure you're ready to celebrate in style. Happy shopping, and congratulations on your upcoming nuptials!