Should I shop for a gown right away?

August 19, 2014

Dear PB Pro,

My fiance and I recently set our wedding date for a little over a year from now. I really don’t want to rush into the craziness of wedding planning quite yet, but my mom says I shouldn’t wait on finding a gown. Is she right? When do most brides go gown shopping?

— Gowning Around

Dear Gowning Around,

You know what they say: “Mom is always right!” Most brides start gown shopping about a year out from their wedding — so yes, it’s time to start looking. Unless you’re at a huge sale or bridal expo chock-full of discontinued gowns, you can’t just buy one off the rack. Wedding dresses are not ready-to-wear; they must be ordered to your specific measurements. Once ordered, you can expect to have your gown in about six to nine months — and that’s not factoring in time spent on alterations. But don’t panic; you have plenty of time. Reputable bridal salons will speed things along as needed and possibly even offer alterations right in-store, or recommend a good tailor. Find bridal boutiques near you at

In the same vein, don’t wait on ordering bridesmaid dresses. Just as with your gown, bridesmaid dresses usually have to be ordered. They also take months to arrive, and then will need altering. It’s important to purchase all of the dresses at once so that the fabric comes from the same dye lot. Giving yourself and your girls plenty of time now will mean less stress later!

Happy shopping!
The PB Pro


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