When Should I Start Looking For My Wedding Dress? Your Full Guide

When should I book a wedding dress appointment?

You’ve got the ring, booked the venue and now you’re wondering ‘when should I buy my wedding dress?!’

Many brides are unsure when to start shopping for their wedding dress, as it often feels like your wedding date is so far away.

As bridal boutique owners, we see it all. Brides who have three years until their wedding and brides with only a few weeks!  We however would recommend starting the search for your dress around 12 to 18 months before the big day. With a range of designers to choose from, not to mention styles of dresses, there is a lot to decide upon so it’s best not to delay!

What a lot of brides don’t realise is that on top of the time it takes to find your dream gown, wedding gowns are made to order and therefore on average can take at least six months to receive. On top of this you want to incorporate a little bit of time for unexpected delays, then enough time to have a minimum of three dress fittings (yes three!).

So make sure you book your wedding dress appointment as early as possible to get the ball rolling.

Bridal Boutiwue in Chester

When should I have my wedding dress altered?

We would always recommend that you have alterations to your gown with a bridal seamstress. We have a recommended seamstress who does fittings in-store should you require this service.

When ordering your gown, we try to order your nearest size to ensure a great fit, but it is very unlikely your gown would fit you perfectly. We would therefore recommend all brides

booking an alterations appointment, to give them that perfect custom fit.

What alterations are required obviously varies greatly between brides, however, we would recommend as a minimum that all brides book in for at least three wedding dress fittings. It may be that the third fitting is not needed, but more commonly than not, that final fitting is used for tiny tweaks to just ensure your dress is absolute perfection on your wedding day.

Obviously, perfection takes time and this process needs to be included in your dress shopping timings.

Has covid changed anything in terms of wedding dress shopping?

The short answer is sadly yes…

Although life in the UK seems to be back to the ‘new’ normal, other countries are not as fortunate and this is causing supply chain issues with the wedding dress process.

Unfortunately, some of the factories where the gowns are made have had to go into further lockdowns and some designers are therefore struggling with the backlog. Fortunately, to date, our designers are managing to keep on top of the orders, but within the last week, a couple of big bridal labels have announced they cannot take any new orders until next Autumn as they simply cannot cope with the level of demand.

Bridal boutique in cheshire

So what does this mean for you?

Please do not worry about covid delaying your wedding dress, however, we would advise you to just be aware and to start your dress shopping with plenty of time! Shopping for your wedding dress should be a wonderful experience that we cannot wait to share with you, but we would hate for you to miss out on some dresses due to leaving it too late or have to pay additional fees!

What do I do if my wedding is less than 12 months away?

Again, please do not panic. Although we would advise that 12 months is the minimum time for you to shop for your wedding dress, there are things we can do if your timings are a little tighter than this!


Many of our designers have the option to ‘rush order’ which means they can get dresses to us quicker than their normal timescales. Rush orders do usually come with an additional fee of up to £100, however it is well worth it if your wedding is swiftly approaching. If we feel a rush order is needed, we will of course advise you of your options at your appointment.


If your wedding date is sooner than the designers rush timescales, we can also sell you an ‘off the peg’ gown. This would be on a dress by dress basis, but we would work closely with you and our seamstress to ensure the fit of the gown would be perfect and you still get your dream bridal look! Again please do not stress, as we will advise you of this at your appointment if we feel a sample gown is your only option.

What if I want to lose weight before shopping for my dress?

This is a phrase we hear a lot and of course, if that is something you wish to do, so long as you have enough time before your wedding date there is no issue.


The problem with this arises when brides have less than 12 months to their wedding but are still delaying starting their wedding dress shopping as they feel that they want to lose weight first. We would always recommend in this instance to start your dress shopping, as with less than a year to go, you want to feel good in your dress whether you lose weight or not! If you do change in size after picking your dress, please do not worry as we can take gowns in around three dress sizes!


However, we would hate for you to not be able to get the gown you want, as you have left it too late to buy your dress!


Need help?

If you have any concerns about shopping for your dress, please get in touch through the contact form below. We are more than happy to chat with you about when your best time to start shopping is and of course to book you in to try our stunning dresses should you feel the time is right!


More than anything, don’t forget that wedding dress shopping is fun and we cannot wait to share that experience with you.

My Funny Valentine Bridal Shop

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *