When Should I Go Wedding Dress Shopping? Timeline + Shopping Tips

Feb 18, 2022

Once you get engaged, many brides ask the question, “When should I go wedding dress shopping?” It can be tricky to know whether or not it’s too soon to shop and when it’s getting down to the wire! This guide will help you know when to go shopping.

When Should I Go Wedding Dress Shopping?

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been asking yourself the question, “When should I go wedding dress shopping?” Ideally, you should start the process about a year before your wedding date.

Wedding Dress Shopping Timeline

This timeline can help give you a bit of a clearer answer to the question, “When should I go wedding dress shopping?”

12+ months before:

  • Set your budget
  • Research bridal shops and dresses
  • Decide who to bring with you
  • Start shopping

9+ months before:

  • Say “yes” to the dress and purchase it
  • Start reaching out to seamstresses to schedule fittings

6 months before:

  • Purchase your day-of undergarments
  • Choose hair accessories and jewelry
  • Purchase wedding day shoes

3 months before:

  • Have your first fitting

6-8 weeks before:

  • Have your second fitting
  • Decide on your “something old, new, borrowed, and blue”

2-3 weeks before:

  • Start breaking in your wedding shoes
  • Have your final fitting
  • Pick up your dress from seamstress

Week of:

  • Get your dress steamed and pick it up
  • Put together a day-of emergency kit (safety pins, sewing kit, fashion tape, etc.)

Day of:

  • Schedule about 30 minutes to get fully dressed – have someone help you and get photos taken!


  • Decide what you want to do with your dress
  • If keeping, look into preservation options
  • If passing it on, look into places to sell or donate it

Overall Wedding Dress Shopping Tips

Here are some of our top tips for wedding dress shopping.

Check out upcoming bridal events

Before you book an appointment at a bridal shop, check to see if they have any special events coming up! This could include tester events, sample sales, trunk shows, and more. These events will sometimes feature gowns that the shop doesn’t typically have in their shop and exclusive discounts or gifts! Visit the events tab on our website to see our upcoming events.

Avoid shopping too late or too early

We know that you’re excited to start shopping, but you might want to wait until around the 1-year mark to shop for your dress! The only reason that we say this is that new styles and trends are constantly coming out for wedding dresses. However, if you want to start the process early – go for it! We just recommend that you stop looking at dresses once you find your dress.

With that being said, don’t wait too long to start shopping, either. Most wedding dresses are made to order unless you purchase one off-the-rack.

Because of this, we recommend starting to shop about a year before your wedding! Your gown won’t even start to be made until they have your measurements and payment. And if you order too close to your wedding date, you may be charged rush shipping fees.

And again, once you say “yes” to the dress… stop looking! You have put a lot of time and thought into your final decision. Second-guessing yourself will only make the process that much longer and more difficult for you!

H3: Consider how many people you’re bringing with you

Try to keep in mind who you are bringing with you. It can be tempting to bring all of your friends and family, but the more people you have means more opinions. Keep your crew as intimate as possible!

Unfortunately, one negative opinion can completely change your opinion of a gown that you might have loved at first. Only bring people who you know will love and support your decisions! Also, many bridal shops have a limit to how many people you can bring with you. This is due to the size of private bridal suites, so be sure to check on that before you ask anyone to come with you!

Work with a personal bridal stylist

Working with a personal bridal stylist is going to be a huge help to you as you are shopping for your wedding dress. Here at K&B Bridals, we require an appointment for wedding dress shopping to ensure that you have a bridal stylist to work through your journey with you!

A bridal stylist does so much more than a typical salesperson does. Your bridal stylist will basically be your best friend throughout the entire process. Some of the things that they will do for you include:

  • Making sure that you’re ready to say “yes” to the dress
  • Help you figure out what styles/silhouettes make you feel beautiful and confident
  • Helping you take care of cleaning and preservation after the wedding
  • Making sure that your dress is steamed for your wedding day
  • Helping you plan for alterations
  • Helping you in and out of each dress
  • Works through all of your emotions with you

Don’t buy based on an incentive

Don’t purchase a dress based on the size that you think your body will be on your wedding day – purchase it based on your size now (if you are pregnant, this is likely a different story).

It is always easier for a seamstress to take in a dress than to let it out. Even if you are confident that you are going to lose weight, a seamstress can sometimes bring in a dress-up to 2 or 3 sizes!

When it comes down to it, trust the recommendations of your bridal stylist. They are pros at figuring out measurements to order… we won’t steer you wrong! Also, remember that your bridal size is most likely going to be larger than your everyday size.

Keep an open mind

A lot of brides go into their appointment with an idea of what they’re looking for… which is perfectly fine! However, keep in mind that a lot of brides end up buying a dress that is the complete opposite of what they thought they wanted. You will never know what styles you are going to like on yourself until you start trying them on!