When to start wedding dress shopping
How soon is TOO soon?
5 Reasons why you should wait to start wedding dress shopping.
From the moment you get engaged the big thing on any gal's mind is THE DRESS. I remember that excitement from my own wedding dress search, but sometimes you can be TOO excited and it doesn't pay off to start too early. 9-12 months before is the golden sweet spot to start your search with enough time to choose / order and alter your dress before the big day.
1. The Latest Collections
Starting more than 12 months before your wedding date means there will definitely be new collections launched between then and the wedding. With social media showcasing the latest collections the second they are released, cue mega FOMO about not being able to try them on. Most stores hang on to the best from previous season collections anyway so there will be MORE on-trend choice for you the closer you leave it to your wedding.
2. Ready to commit?
Even if your heart stops and you fall hard for a dress, will you be mentally ready to commit and order it? Will you be wondering if something better will come along (point no. 1). Better to wait until you are in the right headspace and are prepared to make a decision. Use the time before to research designers and what boutiques you want to visit. When the time comes to start shopping you will be ready to contact your favourite boutiques and have a good idea of the style of dress you are looking for.
3. Keeping it short and sweet.
Given that a lot of stores don't allow photography of the dresses, you need to be able to remember how you felt wearing it. Starting your search far too early means you are more likely to spread out appointments, and therefore making it harder to remember and compare your favourite dresses. You can also go into dress overload if you visit too many stores, so narrow it down to 3 boutiques and visit them over a period of 2/3 weeks. This leaves you in the best position to easily compare your favourites. ( and your besties will secretly thank you for not dragging them to every shop under the sun.)
4. Changing shapes.
I have always stood firm on the point that nobody should feel they need to lose weight or change shape before getting married. But, I know that often we will tone up or want to lose a few pounds regardless. It can happen without even trying (the stress of table planning will do that to anyone - am I right?) so in light of that there is no point shopping until you are happy with your shape/size. I NEVER allow anyone to order a dress that's too small for them, and in all honesty you won't get a true reflection of how the dress will look if you were a few sizes smaller. Anything can happen in 2 years - you could have a baby, incur a scar you want to hide, go up a bra size.... so choosing a dress that far in advance just doesn't make sense, as it may no longer be the style or size that suits you best by the time your wedding rolls around.
5. Changing your mind.
This is by far the scariest point. It's what makes the decision so difficult in the first place, what if you 'Change Your Mind?!' Of course this could happen at any point (especially if you are co-erced by well meaning family members to buy a dress that isn't truly you) but choosing a dress way too soon gives too much space for second thoughts. Obsessing over pinterest pics of your dress for 18 months could lead you to really overthink it, or even worse - GET BORED OF IT. Looking at your dress too much is never a good idea so once you have decided on it, forget about it until it's time to pick it up in store. Which if you've timed it right will be about 3 months before the big day and hopefully having not looked at it in 6 months means you will fall in love all over again - yay!
So once you have your date set, work backwards and schedule in some shopping time about 12 months before. Don't leave it to the last minute to contact the boutiques as they will usually be booked up a few weeks in advance. I would recommend seeing no more than 2 boutiques in one day to avoid overload (even the most experienced shopper can suffer dress exhaustion from trying on too many in one go)
If you are worried about finding THE ONE, then read our recent blog post on making a decision.
and don't fret if you have less than 12 months - that's ok too!