Many couples are opting for longer engagements these days, but don’t start shopping more than 12 months in advance. “The moment a bride starts trying on gowns, she’ll inevitably fall in love with one,” said Lash. “If she’s not ready to buy, it quickly becomes difficult for her. In other words: Do not visit bridal salons until you’re ready to make a purchase.”
It’s important to have the rest of your wedding details in place before you can truly shop for a gown, since many factors can influence the style of the dress. Consider your venue: “An ornate gown with tons of embellishments and a sizeable train might look stunning in a ballroom but completely out of place at a beachfront ceremony,” said Tolu Ogbechie, one of our real bride bloggers. Also, the colors you choose for your bridesmaids and décor can influence whether you choose white or an off-white shade.
But, at the same time, don’t procrastinate. Most dresses take anywhere from five to eight months to come in, according to DeMarco. You can sometimes place a rush order if you need it in under five months, but it’ll cost you.