When Should I Buy a Wedding Dress?

So, you’re planning a wedding. First, take a moment to enjoy all of those post-engagement feels. Sit in that moment longer than you might want to. 

I offer this advice as a wedding dress designer who has worked with dozens of people planning weddings; I’m here to tell you that once you strap into the wedding planning roller coaster, you’re on it — for better or worse.

So take your moment! Take more than one! Then, whenever you’re ready, let’s talk about what you’re wearing.

When is the right time to buy a wedding dress?

The internet will tell you to have your wedding dress ordered at least a year before your wedding day. That number — a year  — often surprises people. “So, that’s… now? Before I even send invitations?!”

A year is the recommendation because of a little thing called alterations. Buying the dress is often just the first step. Because so many wedding dresses are bought made-to-measure or off the rack, they’ve got to be altered to fit the unique body of the person wearing the dress. 

I’ve already talked at length about what alterations can cost (and why, surprisingly, going custom can actually be the more affordable choice). Here’s another pro in the column for why it’s worth considering custom: It’ll also save you time.

How long does it take to make a custom wedding dress?

No, I can’t do it in two weeks. It’s not because I don’t work quickly and efficiently. It’s not even because I’d like to get up from my sewing machine every once and awhile and, you know, maybe see my family and go to the restroom. Making a wedding dress in two weeks just won’t give you and I the time and space that we need to really savor this process.

Most of my clients contact me a year before their wedding. The sweet spot is nine months. The goal, of course, being that we have room to play, to go back and forth on design elements, fit, and fabric. These decisions deserve time. I try to create a feeling, not just a dress because this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience we’re talking about.

When you hire a custom wedding dress designer, you’re hiring a guide. Every question you’d have to Google, you can ask me. Chances are good that I might even know more than an algorithm.

What if I’m not wearing a dress?

Great! Let’s talk. I’ve made any number of non-dress outfits in my day (most memorably, a pair of matching biking uniforms for a couple who loved to ride their tandem bicycle together).

I’ll be able to tell you how long and how much the project will cost after we talk a little bit more about what you want, what you need, and what you want to feel like wearing these clothes.


Let’s start brainstorming together! Contact me here.

Lens: Amanda DeBusk