Wedding Dress Timeline

You just got engaged! Now what? With all the craziness of planning a wedding a bride always needs to be planning ahead whether it is a search for the perfect cake or a DJ with the best tunes. Most importantly, you need to think about a timeline for your wedding dress, bridesmaid dresses and all the other fun stuff related to wedding attire.

A wedding dress is something every bride should have at the top of her list, obvi. Wedding dresses can take several months to ship and alterations can add extra time to the process as well. With all the budget and time constraints that already come with planning a wedding, starting dress shopping early will alleviate some of the unneeded stress later.  Below is a timeline we have created, that we know you’ve seen a million times in “The Knot”, but it still floors me every day when people get their minds blown when I tell them how long it takes to get their dress ordered in to the store.  Please take these suggestions to heart, we promise it will make your life better.

8 to 9 Months until the Big Day

Start your search for the perfect dress!

A year before would be ideal, but most brides can get away with 8 or 9 months. All of the wedding dresses we carry at Dora Grace are custom made and take several months to arrive once they’re ordered.

“Why do they take so long?”  Good question.  First, our designers do not carry stock in a warehouse because of the multiple varieties of colors, sizing, length, etc. that brides can choose from when ordering a dress.  So once an order is placed, they get to work making a dress just for you!  I know this seems like forever, but if you can find someone that can whip together a beautiful hand-beaded wedding gown in less than a month, let’s talk.

Starting your search early also allows for any issues to be dealt with without extra stress; e.g. your dress arrives with a flaw and we need to replace it with the designer.

If you want a veil or a sassy birdcage now would be a great time to order those as well so that you can try out your complete look once the dress comes in to the store.

6-7 months until the big day

Have your bridesmaid’s come in, try on, and order their dresses.   Similar to bridal gowns, all of the bridesmaid dresses will be custom ordered and they are not stocked by the designer.  Some styles in the busy season will take up to 4 months and you don’t want to put your girls in the tough spot of running around trying to get alterations done a week before your wedding.  It’s also quite a feat to wrangle a large group of girls, so the earlier you start the process the better.

Now is also a great time to start talking about suit and tuxedo rentals for the guys.  Believe it or not, the guys are often harder to get organized than the girls (<— shocking, right?)

3 to 4 months until the Big Day  

At this time you should have already had at least one alterations appointment done if you have been planning ahead. Three to four months might seems a long way out from your wedding;  “What if I lose weight?”  What if I gain weight?” “What if I grow 5 inches and need a different hem?”  Okay so this last one probably won’t happen but they are definitely valid questions.  A few months from your wedding is an ideal time to start the alterations process, but we would also like you to be at a stable weight (and height).  Our advice would be to start your weight loss process early, not when your dress arrives at the store.  Nobody likes a grumpy bride that’s starving herself for a month before the wedding!

If you haven’t pick out your extra sparkle like an elegant tiara, or the perfect earrings, this would be a good time to choose those extra touches and get them ordered.

1 week until the big day

Have your wedding gown steamed. At Dora Grace we will do this for you, and keep your dress safely stored until your wedding day.

Day of the wedding

Relax!   You were a savvy, timeline conscious bride and you planned everything perfectly.  Enjoy the day and be in the moment with your new spouse!


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