When to Buy a Wedding Gown Based Off Your Engagement Timeline

September 5, 2018

So you’re having an average engagement length (~1 year)…

Congratulations! On average, most brides spend a year to a year and a half planning their weddings. This gives them more than enough time to get all the necessary parts together while also dealing with the stresses of life. If you have an “average” wedding engagement, here’s a concise timeline of what to expect regarding finding, ordering, and fitting your gown.

  1. Create a vision board with inspiration of your perfect dress. Whether you utilize Pinterest or use your own materials, researching silhouettes, necklines, and detailing you like makes it easier to choose!
  2. Book an appointment at a bridal salon. Almost every boutique prefers appointments to walk-ins, as it’s easier for consultants to help find your perfect dress when they know they have at least 90 minutes with you. Be respectful of your consultant’s time; if you don’t find your dress, schedule a time to come back! Consultants love seeing return brides and it makes scheduling easier for everyone.

But when should I schedule my appointment?

    1. Any time after you get engaged! While you’re welcome to book with us anytime, one year to nine months prior to your wedding is prime dress ordering time. Why? Because often, designers’ shipping times for dresses are anywhere from 4 to 6 months after ordering. That means we’ll receive your dress with MORE than enough time to get it fitted, altered, and accessorized for your big day.
    2. We recommend limiting yourself to just a few bridal salons. Overwhelming yourself with options can cause insecurity, doubt, dissatisfaction in the process, and having more choices than you’d actually want.’
    3. Trust your stylist. We might be biased, but we know our inventory! We see these gowns in the bag AND on bodies every single day. We will never pull over price point without discussing with you first and your stylist should ask questions to really narrow down your search!


  • YOU SAID YES! Now what? We special order your dress! Your wedding gown will be made for you at ordering, which is why all sales are final. Your dress will arrive based off the designers’ shipping schedule. Once it arrives, you come in for a fitting. When the dress balance has been paid, she’s yours to take home!


But what about alterations?

  1. Good question! At DG, we don’t do alterations in house. We refer out to Juliana at Quikstitch, whom we LOVE. We recommend to all brides that they give their seamstress at least two months to alter their wedding dress in order for everything to be done appropriately.


So you’re having an extra-long engagement (~18 months plus)

Awesome! We love when brides give themselves plenty of time to plan their special day. You are welcome to come try dresses on anytime, however there are some tips and tricks we’ve learned along the way for in-advance brides:

  1. While there’s nothing stopping you from ordering your dress as soon as you like, taking the timeline into consideration is helpful. For instance, if your wedding is Fall 2020, you’re shopping too early! Your dress would arrive over a full YEAR before you need to consider alterations and it will need to be properly stored in the meantime. While we are happy to store it for you free of charge, DG’s company policy is all special order dresses need to be paid in full within 60 days of arrival. So just keep that in mind if you would like us to hold onto it until closer to your wedding day.
  2. If your wedding is more than 12 months away, there will also be new collections coming in the arriving seasons that could also fit your budget/theme AND your timeline. As all sales are final, it breaks our hearts when girls buy their dresses super early but then fall out of love!


So you’re having a super short engagement (~6 months or less)

Get ready, sister friend, because you are in for a fun six months! Planning a wedding on a short engagement can be stressful, but can also allow you to really prioritize and focus on what’s most important for you. When it comes to bridal gowns, your shopping situation is going to be vastly different than other brides.

  1. Ordering a new, custom dress in less than 6 months is often difficult to do. Have realistic expectations of what is possible within your timeline and discuss this with your bridal consultant. Sometimes, designers have certain dresses in certain sizes ready to go; other times, there’s just no way to get a new designer gown rushed that quickly. Your consultant will help you to the best of her ability, but expect some obstacles or an occasional “That can’t be done.”
  2. Schedule an appointment as quickly as possible. Like, yesterday. The sooner, the better because it gives you more options!
  3. If you can, buy the sample dress you tried on in store and look for sample sales. If you tried a dress you loved on in store in your size, or within 2 sizes of your size, many bridal salons will let you buy sample dresses for a discounted price. They often need slight fixes, like zipper replacements, due to the amount they were tried on, but buying a sample eliminates the order time and instead allows you to focus solely on alterations.
  4. If at all possible, be flexible. The more wiggle room you give yourself on timeline, price, and expectation, the more likely your consultant will be able to move mountains for your wedding day!

What’s the benefit of sample dresses & sample sales?

Sample sales allow for brides on a budget or time crunch to get a great dress within their means. Often, sample dresses are in great shape with minimal amount of TLC needed to get them back into great condition. Sample sales also allow brides to get designer gowns for a fraction of the original, re-orderable price. Buying a recently discontinued style in your size during a sample sale is a great way to get a unique gown without breaking the bank!