The Real Reason You Have to Buy Your Wedding Dress So Far in Advance

Wedding Dresses
Wedding Dress Alteration Timeline

Photo: Laura Allen

You're newly engaged, and you're excited... to go wedding dress shopping! And while your wedding date (if you've even set one, yet) may seem like it's ages away, it's actually a good idea to head to the bridal salon sooner rather than later. The reason? A made-to-order wedding dress from a bridal salon takes about nine months to make! So gather your girls and start hitting the bridal boutiques. Aside from the fact that it may take you some time to find "the one," you'll need to perfectly time your three (yes, three!) fittings, allowing for custom alterations and then some more custom alterations. To help explain why it takes so many months to perfect your dress, here's a breakdown of the timeline—from purchasing your dream gown to walking it down the aisle.

9 months before the wedding: Pick your gown and pay a deposit of 50 to 60 percent. The dress will be made to your measurements, and different parts may be crafted in different areas of the world.

3 months before: The gown should be finished and at the salon. Just in case it's not, you have wiggle room before the first fitting!

6 to 8 weeks before: First fitting time. Keep your weight stable from here on out. Make minor tweaks (change neckline, trim train, et cetera).

4 weeks before: Second fitting. Choose the headpiece, veil, and accessories.

2 weeks before: Third fitting. The gown should be almost flawless. Try on your entire wedding look.

2 days before: Pick up your finished gown and pay the balance, including alteration fees.

The Big Day: Show time!

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