Wedding Dress Shopping Timeline

Buying your wedding dress will be a fun outing for you and whomever you decide to bring along. But if you've ever wondered why you should buy your dress so far in advance of the wedding, today I'm breaking it down for you:

12 months prior to the wedding

  • Set a wedding dress budget.
  • Start looking at styles and designers you love.
  • Choose your wedding dress shopping team. 2-3 people will suffice; I do not recommend bringing along more than 3 people with you when you go shopping.
  • Schedule bridal salon appointments.

9 months prior to the wedding

  • Choose your wedding gown.
  • Pay the retainer fee (typically 50-60% of the total price).
  • Let the bridal salon take your measurements.
  • Ask the bridal salon when they expect your dress to come in (usually 4-5 months from the day you place the order).
  • They'll send in your measurements, and the designer will start making your dress.

6 months prior to the wedding

  • Shop for your undergarments that you'll need. You'll want these before you go to your first fitting.
  • Choose your hairstyle and any hair accessories (including veil).
  • Buy your shoes. 

3 months prior to the wedding

  • Have your first fitting. Take your undergarments, shoes, and accessories with you.

6-8 weeks prior to the wedding

  • Choose your "something new, something old, something borrowed, and something blue." If any of these items are going to be sewn into your dress (i.e., a blue ribbon on the underside of your skirt), you'll want to take it to your next fitting.
  • Attend your second fitting. Remember to take your undergarments, shoes, and accessories. Walk around in your dress in the salon so you can be assured you're happy with the alterations.

2-3 weeks prior to the wedding

  • Break in your shoes. Start walking around the house in your shoes to break them in and to get used to wearing them.
  • Have your final fitting. Your dress should be almost, if not already, finished. You'll want to take someone with you - perhaps your mom, sister, or best friend.
  • Pick up your dress.
  • Find a good place to store your dress until the wedding. Keep it in a breathable, opaque bag (so your fiancé can't see it!).

1 day prior to the wedding

  • Put everything aside and make sure you have everything you need. You'll want to keep your dress, veil, undergarments, shoes, and hair accessories together. You'll also want to have a steamer, bleach pen, and mini-emergency kit (safety pins, fashion tape, etc.).

Day of the wedding

  • Have fun! Schedule about 30 minutes for you to get ready, and be sure to have a bridesmaid help you.


Make sure you visit some of our favorite bridal salons in SC, Charlotte, and Atlanta!