Some brides can’t wait to start looking for their dream dress — they hit the bridal boutiques at the first chance they get. Others like to bide their time and start wedding dress shopping closer to the big day. The point is, there’s no right or wrong way to go about planning your big day and finding the perfect gown.

However, creating a plan of action is never a bad idea. Planning your wedding dress shopping can help you find the dress you’ve been dreaming of and avoid mistakes commonly made by other brides. So how far in advance should you buy your wedding dress, roughly?

When to Buy Your Wedding Dress

The short answer to how far in advance you should buy your wedding dress is at least six to nine months before the big day.

This time frame allows your dress to arrive, time for alterations to be made and by this point you will probably have started making other wedding arrangements.

This might feel like a long time before your wedding, but it’s much better to be ahead of schedule than risk rushing to find a dress at the last minute. Last-minute stress is the last thing you need when planning a wedding, and leaving it any later to buy a dress can limit the time you have to find a dress you’ll fall in love with.

Things to Consider When Planning Your Wedding Dress Shopping Timeline

Here are some of the factors that affect how far in advance you should buy your wedding gown.

Allow Time for Your Dress to Arrive

What many brides don’t realise is that wedding dresses can take months to order. You may spend weeks or months looking for the right gown, and then it may take three to nine months for the dress to arrive — especially if you’re buying a custom-made or designer wedding dress.

However, if you don’t want to wait months for your dress to arrive, you should consider buying a sample wedding dress. Sample dresses are dresses that have been tried on in showrooms or used for marketing purposes. As a result, they’re more affordable and ready-to-wear, so you won’t necessarily need to buy so long before your big day.

Factor in Time for Alterations

Regardless of how long your dress takes to arrive, you may want to make alterations to the fit or design, and this takes time. It can take up to two months to get your dress altered.

Think about Weight Fluctuations

Whether you’re hoping to maintain your weight for your wedding, or lose/put on weight before the big day, weight fluctuations between the day you buy your wedding dress and the day you get married are inevitable. You don’t want to buy a dress only to find it’s too large, or even worse, too small on the big day.

So if you have many months, or even a year or more before your wedding day, it’s perhaps worth waiting until closer to the big day to buy your dress. You can still buy in advance, but not so far in advance that your weight has time to change drastically!

Book Your Wedding Venue First

It’s a good idea to hold off of buying your wedding gown until you’ve chosen and booked a venue. You never know, the venue and location of your wedding could affect the dress you decide to buy.

For example, if you book a venue in a cold location, you might want to choose a winter wedding dress that complements a winter wonderland-style wedding. Or if you book a beachfront wedding, a heavy, ornate dress may not be the way to go — you might need to opt for a lighter and cooler option instead.

Don’t Forget about Finances

Beautiful wedding dresses come at a price, and often you’ll need to act quickly to secure the dress of your dreams. So don’t start wedding dress shopping until you’re ready and able to buy one. You don’t want to fall in love with a dress only to realise you ’can’t buy it yet.

When you’re ready to start wedding dress shopping, Belle Bridal is here to help. We can help you find stunning, designer wedding gowns for a fraction of their usual price. Contact us today to book a free appointment at our London bridal boutique.