Q&A: How far in advance should I shop for a wedding gown? - Wedding Fashion - Wedding Planning

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Photo Credits:
Dress -- Geoff White Photographers
Shoes -- Red Loft Studios
Bridal Accessories -- Geoff White Photographers
Designer Spotlight –- Tat Leong and Luke Walker
Ribbon Detail -- Faith West Photography
Diamond Necklace -- Geoff White Photographers

How far in advance should I shop for a wedding gown?

A Two words of advice: Shop early! Nine to twelve months before your wedding is ideal since you'll need about six months for fittings and alterations. Why so much lead time? Unless you buy a ready-to-wear dress or a sample gown, wedding dresses require a lot of customizing once you purchase them. When your dress arrives, it’ll have to be altered -- usually several times -- until it fits you perfectly. If your wedding is just a few months away, you can still purchase a custom gown. Many companies can turn a dress around more quickly if need be, but if you have less than six months, start shopping right away and try to be flexible about your dress choice.

Also, try to avoid shopping on weekends and evenings if your schedule allows it. Bridal salons get insanely busy -- especially if you're marrying during a popular wedding month, like June or July. If you can take time off during the week to shop, you'll get more of the salesperson's time and attention.

Here are 5 easy tips to take the stress out of wedding dress shopping.