WEDDING DRESS SHOPPING TIMELINE
When to start wedding dress shopping - booking your appointments and a general guide to how it will roll when your order your wedding dress.
12 MONTHS OUT
So you have one year to go, hopefully by now you have your venue sorted. I wouldn’t recommend starting the wedding dress search until you are sure where your wedding will take place, different locations might involve certain practical elements to think of - city wedding vs. woodland out door wedding, so lock this down if you can.
This is the time to start your research (as if you haven’t already.. but let’s pretend we don’t look at wedding dresses before we get engaged ok?). Let yourself fall into a insta rabbit hole and look into different brands. What stye of dress appeals the most? Which designers do you like? Most will have a stockist page on their website so you can check if there’s anywhere in Ireland to try them on.
*Make sure you follow us on pinterest too for lots of beaut bridal inspo.
11 MONTHS OUT
Now you should have a shortlist of boutiques who stock the style of dress you are interested in. Try to narrow it down to 3 and this is the time to schedule your appointments. There is absolutely no point in visiting a boutique if you aren’t into any of the brands they stock, so if someone gives you a recommendation then make sure to look into it first. Ideally visit no more than 2 shops in a day and over say a month at the most. If you do too many in one day your brain might explode (for real babes) and if you spread them out too far you won’t easily be able to compare your favourites. (remember it’s no pics in most stores so you need to be able to remember how you felt in each dress)
9-10 MONTHS OUT
OK, now the fun begins! 9-10 months before your wedding is the ideal sweet spot to start your wedding dress shopping. This gives you a month or two to look, and hopefully means you can make your decision without feeling any time pressure.
A first look appointment at ARCHIVE 12 lasts for 90 mins which will give you plenty of time to try on any dress you wish. We charge a small booking fee of £15 that is redeemable against any order placed.
8 MONTHS OUT
Lock it down and order that dress! All our wedding dresses are made to order - this means it can take 4-6 months for your dress to arrive in store. Ordering now will give you plenty of time once it’s arrived for any alterations needed. Plus you want time to find the right shoes, underwear and accessories.
We offer a 45 min second look apt for when you need to try your favourite dress on again and make the final decision.
To order we take a deposit of 50%, with the final 50% paid on collection. Our prices include delivery and any customs/Vat charges if coming from overseas.
Of course we have plenty of clients who order with less than 6 months until their wedding day, but you should be aware that most bridal designers charge a rush fee for this. And from experience I would say it usually leads to more stress for everyone involved - no matter how chilled out you think you are about it!
4-6 MONTHS OUT
Now that you have your own dress sorted, this is the perfect time to think about your best gals and choose your bridesmaids dresses. There are so many cool options right now, from jumpuits and separates to ivory bridesmaids dresses. We stock the REWRITTEN collection and they can take up to 10 weeks to arrive.
Our bridesmaids appts last for 1 hour which is plenty of time for everyone to try on a range of styles and colours.
We take a full payment up front when ordering bridesmaids dresses.
Depending on how many bridesmaids you have, you can vary the options with a mixed colour palette, or keep the colour the same but vary the style. One thing to note is try to at least give the girls a starting point. I’ve noticed recently that often the bride doesn’t mind what everyone chooses. While this is very kind and generous in theory, not everyone is comfortable being given free reign and would rather you told them what you would prefer. (For more advice on bridesmaids dress shopping see our recent blog post here.)
This is a good time to think about your own accessories and make a final decision on whether you want a veil / crown / headpiece/ jewellery etc. All of our accessory pieces are also made to order so can sometimes take up to 2 months to arrive in store.
We take full payment up front for any accessories ordered.
This is also the time to book in with your seamstress to complete any necessary alterations. Even though you haven’t collected your dress yet, if you wait until then you mightn’t be able to get an appointment at the time you need! We don’t offer alterations in house but can recommend some very talented people in both Belfast & Dublin. So drop them a line now and they will advise you when the best time is to schedule your first fitting for both yourself and your bridesmaids.
2-3 MONTHS OUT
This is the moment…. when you finally get to pick up YOUR dress!! Once it arrives in store I will contact you to book in a 30 min pick up appt. This gives you enough time to try it on again and if you haven’t already chosen accessories we can have another look too. You will take it home at this stage and my advice is to keep it at someone else’s house! The temptation to look at it all the time may be too much, and no one wants to get drunk and try it on, spilling red wine on it in the process… TRUE STORY!!!
We also offer a 30 min accessory appointment at any stage for anyone wanting to try our range of veils and jewellery. So even if you didn’t order your dress with ARCHIVE 12, you are very welcome to bring your dress in to try on with our collections.
If you haven’t already, this is also the time to make a decision on shoes and underwear as you will need those when you have your first dress fitting.
6 WEEKS OUT
This is roughly when you will have your first dress fitting appointment. You want to leave it as close to the wedding as possible to make sure it is a perfect fit on the day. From here, your seamstress will advise you how many more appts are needed but it is usually 1 or 2 before your dress is ready to take it home again.
Keep it safely in the dress bag until a couple days before the wedding.
1-2 DAYS OUT
OMG it’s almost time. 1 or 2 days before I would advise you to gently steam it. Hang it up high enough so the skirt can hang straight. At the shop I use an ordinary steam iron (like this one) and just press the steam button while holding the iron close to the fabric, but not touching it. Just be super careful the iron doesn’t spit water as on some silk fabrics this can leave a watermark. Or you can buy a handheld steamer relatively cheaply if you prefer (also an amazing product to take on your honeymoon or to have in the house.) Then just let it hang overnight and it should be ready to go!
THE WEDDING DAY
This is the day you finally get to wear the dress you spent so much time and energy choosing, and hopefully you are absolutely buzzing to put it on again! Leave it until the last minute to put your dress on to avoid any accidental spills.
Once it’s on - take a minute to soak it all in. You should feel like the hottest version of you EVER! Then hopefully for the rest of the day you can forget you are wearing it and enjoy the love that everyone will be throwing at you.
If you have any questions on ordering your dress or timescales then please leave a comment below. I am always happy to help!