At recent wedding exhibitions, I have been asked the following question by loads of brides. 'When should I order my dress?' As a rule, we tell our customers that they should have orders for wedding dresses in about 7 months before the wedding (at the very latest!!! order earlier if you possibly can!) and 5 months for bridesmaids - stick to that rule and you shouldn't go wrong.
We always allow a ‘cushion’ of at least 6 weeks between the quoted delivery date and the bride’s wedding. I like all orders to be in a good bit before the wedding to allow adequate time for a relaxed run-up to the big day for getting things like alterations carried out and accessories picked, so whilst the company are not actually quoting us the full 6 or 7 months, this is the guideline which keeps stressful timescales at bay!
If you can , get ordered a good 9 months or more in advance. The earlier you get in your dresses, the sooner you can relax and get organised. No bride wants to be be getting anxious over how close to her wedding that her order is going to arrive. Organising a wedding can be stressful enough without having to worry about how close to your wedding your dress will arrive. And as a busy shop owner, it is a worry that I can do without as I get stressed out over deliveries too!!!!! (especially when they arrive later than what I was expecting and I am getting the 'is it in yet?' phonecalls from frantic brides!) I often get brides who keep putting off going to try on dresses as they are in the process of losing weight, but don't forget, you can always go out looking a year before, and if you find your dress, you can still put a deposit down to secure it and get measured 7 months before the big day to give you a chance to start on your weight loss regime and get a dress closer in size to the dress size you will be on your big day. The dress can always be taken in if you lose any additional weight. Better to do that than to leave it a couple of months before the wedding and miss out on the dress that you really wanted. My heart sinks when a bride makes an appointment and tells me her wedding is only a few months away as I know she will be limited in her choice of dress. Every bride should have the liberty of choosing any dress in any size in any colour that we can get. The more organised you are, the more choice you will have. You can still buy off the peg if you leave it too late to order, but you won't have the same selection as you would have had if you had come earlier, and it's not every dress we will part with for a bride who needs a dress in a rush!!
In sum, my advice is 'be prepared and get organised!!' Get out at least a year before your wedding if you can – the earlier you get out the more relaxed the whole experience will be and you won't be feeling pressure to 'panic buy' Most brides coming to our shop for the first time have over a year until their big day. Our average first time bride goes looking about 13 months before her big day.
Our entire Essence of Australia range and some of our Maggie Sottero dresses can also be got on rush cuts (additional fees apply to most of these) so if you have left it a bit late, we won't turn you away - we always have options available including the option of buying off the peg (although your choices will be more limited). Some of our bridesmaid dresses can also be got on a rush cut so don't fret about that either if you have left that task a bit late.
And one last tip – only go shopping when you feel you are ready to buy, so don't come out too early either until you are ready to do some serious looking. Our stock is forever evolving. New dresses are always coming in… current dresses are forever being discontinued… dresses are being bought off the peg. So if you do decide to go shopping early, NEVER assume that you will be able to come back and revisit a dress in the future as it may no longer be in the shop or it may be discontinued. This is something I find happens all the time (and I often get grief from brides to be about it!) so wait until you are ready to go shopping, as opposed to saying ‘Let’s go out for ideas and revisit those ideas in 6 months time or next year’. That gorgeous dress that you loved may well be gone on your next trip back to the shop. It's a bit like you saying that you want to buy a house in 18 months time. You wouldn't go visiting estate agents or arranging house viewings until you were ready to make a move. You might have a nosy at websites to get ideas, but you wouldn't throw your energy into house-hunting until the time was right to act on making a purchase.
If you do go out early and find ‘the one’, then STOP LOOKING at wedding dresses!! Get it ordered, and when it comes in, put it away when it arrives in and don’t let it lose its magic by looking at it too much! I get loads of brides visiting my shop who tell me that they have a dress at home that they have went off. Wedding dresses are too expensive to buy and not wear, so don't fall into that category and be disciplined to tick the box as 'done' when you decide on the one.
Happy (stress free) shopping.x x Ciara