Happy New Year & HUGE congratulations if you are newly engaged!
If that is you, we hope you’re making the most of every second in that just engaged love bubble, before entering the world of wedding planning which some can find a little overwhelming! It doesn’t need to be though, and for when it comes to finding your wedding dress here’s our top tips on how to get started whatever your timeline…
One of the MOST important things to know before you start thinking about your wedding dress, is your venue. Are you getting married on a beach? In a traditional church? Or perhaps you’re going more rustic with a barn? Any which way, location will have a big impact on what wedding dress you’ll want to choose so pop venue at the top of your to do list.
Once your venue & date is secured, you know how much time you’ve got to play with & what season you are planning for so now you can decide when you want to shop for your dress. Below is our advice depending on how much time you have…
12-18 months before the wedding;
12-18 months is the sweet spot, this is where the majority of our brides say YES! 18 months ahead gives you time to relax & enjoy the process without feeling under any kind of pressure. The wedding is in sight & feels like its coming round quickly so it’s good to start getting the big things ticked off the list. Lots of brides also find decisions on colours, flowers, bridesmaids, grooms suits etc MUCH easier to make once their wedding dress is sorted, so 12-18 months gives you comfortable time to move on to all of these other decisions that follow…
2+ years before the wedding;
Perhaps you have planned you’re wedding abit further in advance, you want more time to save up, plan, enjoy the fiancé era… can’t say we blame you! Shopping for your wedding dress 2+ years away from the wedding might not be for everyone, but is certainly not uncommon, so don’t think you are ‘too’ early. But what we would say, is don’t start shopping at this stage if you’re not ready to find the one! This is because there is no guarantee that the same wedding dresses you see now will be the exact same ones available when you are ‘ready’ to say yes. So, if you’re starting this far in advance, make sure you’re ready to say yes if you fall in love with something!
Once common misconception around shopping around the 2 years in advance mark is that all the trends will have completely changed & you won’t still like the same wedding dress you like now. 2 years in wedding planning time is nothing, trends move slowly because everyone is planning ahead. You will still LOVE what you pick, so don’t let this idea put you off if you’re keen to get this one ticked off your list.
Less than 8 months before the wedding;
So, you’ve decided to just get on & do it! Why wait? We hear you! Given that most of our dresses take 4-6 months to be delivered & you want to allow 6/8 weeks for alterations, if you are planning to order a new wedding dress (as opposed to buying off the peg – we’ll come to this in a sec) then you really want to get going. Don’t stress, or panic, you have time at this point & orders can be rushed if needed so there’s always options BUT get started at this point because there’s nothing worse than scrambling to make a decision because you’re under pressure & you have to.
(note, lead time of 4-6 months is based on our designers & may differ from one bridal boutique to the next)
Alternatively, you may be interested in buying a sample/off the peg wedding dress. This means you can take the dress home with you the very same day & therefore no need to allow any time for deliveries, but you will still need alterations. Sample sale dresses are a really really good way of getting a designer wedding dress at a bargain price. Here at Brides of Bakewell, our off the peg dresses have been tried on in the boutique by other brides, but never worn outside or altered so they are still in fabulous condition, we only let them go because we have to make space for new dresses coming in. Even if you are open to the idea of buying an off the peg wedding dress, we would still advise you make a start looking if you’re around the 8 month mark. Buying a sample wedding dress can be a little more restrictive because you are relying on finding a dress you love, roughly in your size, your choice is narrowed. It is possible, but still just give yourself time for this reason.
A few extra bits of general advice regardless of your time frame.
You do not need to plan to visit lots & lots of bridal shops. Our advice here is to do abit of research, what brands do you like? What styles do you like? What’s your budget? What kind of wedding dress shopping experience do you have in mind? Then use this information to find a boutique you think ticks these boxes. If you have any questions – give us a call! We are experts – let us help you! We won’t force you try dresses that you really don’t like, but we will show you lots of options & show you how to decide on the right shape, detail, colour etc for you! So many of our brides find The One here at their first shop so our advice is to take it one appointment at a time & don’t over commit yourself to lots of appointments. There is such thing as trying on too many dresses & just finding yourself in an overwhelmed blur of lace & tulle.
Also, don’t hold off shopping & cut yourself short on time because you’re planning to lose weight. We will help you find a dress that makes you feel fabulous whether you have weight you want to lose or not, by no means do you want to feel like you MUST lose weight for a dress, its unnecessary pressure & you just don’t need it.
Finally, just enjoy the whole process. One of the main things our brides tell us when its all said & done is that they wish they could do it all over. You probably dreamed of planning this wedding before you got engaged, so enjoy it, keep it fun & keep it all in perspective.
Ali & Molly x