When To Start Shopping For Your Wedding Dress

When To Start Shopping For Your Wedding Dress

When To Start Shopping For Your Wedding Dress. Mobile Image

Dec 18, 2023

When Should I Start Shopping For My Wedding Dress?


You’ve said yes to your partner and secured the ring!  Congratulations! There are so many exciting things ahead of you.  You’re probably thinking “I need to say yes to the dress now!” and you’re right, you do need to say yes to the dress but when?


One of the most common questions we receive is “when should I start shopping for my wedding dress?”


While there's definitely an ideal timeframe for shopping for your dress, we have options for any bride!



Excited about gown shopping but have no clue where to start when it comes to wedding dresses?  We've go you covered! Check out our FREE Wedding Dress Silhouette Guide here!




Shopping for your wedding dress is certainly our favorite part of the wedding planning process! Brides often wonder, is there a perfect time to start the shopping process?  At Charlotte’s, we believe that the perfect time to shop for your dress is as soon as you’ve secured your venue and know your wedding date!  But what if I book my venue 16 months before my wedding, is that too soon to shop? The answer, no but if that feels too soon for you, then starting the shopping process 12 months before your wedding is a good idea.


Let’s break down the process!



At Charlotte’s, the gowns you will try on in store are samples.  Once you find the one to say “I do” in, we will special order that design in your size and color for the big day!  Special order gowns can take anywhere from 6-8 months to arrive! That’s from placing the order with the designer, having it made, and getting it shipped to the store.  Different times of year can affect this timeline, as well as world events that may elongate shipping time but a safe bet is 6-8 months for a special order arrival.




Every gown needs alterations to ensure that it is the perfect fit for you! Whether it be minor adjustments, like a bustle and tightening of straps, to more complex adjustments like adding custom sleeves, you’ll want to leave yourself time for any necessary alterations.


Alterations typically take between 2-3 months (based on seamstresses availability and of course this can vary as well!) so you want to ensure you leave yourself enough time to receive your gown, pick it up in store, and then have your gown altered.


Once you say yes to your wedding dress, you will receive a list of our preferred seamstresses!  Shortly after your appointment your stylist will reach out to provide you with your gowns estimated arrival time from the designer - once you have this information, you’ll want to start reaching out to a few of the seamstresses provided to compare schedules and secure your alterations appointments in advance.






We know that not every bride has (or wants to wait) 12 months to tie the knot, which is why we want to give as many options as we can for every bride!


At Charlotte’s we have the ability to check inventory with our designers in real time.  In most cases, when ordering a special order gown the dress will be made from first stitch at the time of order!  However, some of our designers have gowns already in the production process to accommodate shorter wear dates or tight timelines. This means we can pull designs for you that are ready (or just about ready) to be shipped out meaning they may only take 2 months versus the standard 6-8 months!


Additionally, if you have a shorter time frame or are looking for a more budget friendly option, we have some gowns available to purchase off the rack, meaning you could walk home with your gown in hand that same day! 



No matter the timeline, your stylist will help guide you through the process and celebrate with you as you say yes to the dress!


Have any questions about when or where to begin the process of saying yes to the dress?


Call us at 503.297.9622 or email us at bridal@charlottesweddings.com!

Book Your Appointment!