Let’s get you on track to say YES! to the dress.

Ideally, you have selected your venue (fingers crossed you chose us), have your wedding date locked in and are starting your wedding dress search.

If you don’t have your venue locked in yet, we recommended that you pause reading and book a site tour at Q Events, our fabulous wedding planners will take you through all of our wedding packages, pricing and available dates (then come back and continue reading).

Having your venue locked in will make selecting your dream dress easier as you know the vibe of your venue which will set the tone for your wedding.

Book a site tour


We have put together a recommended timeline for shopping for your wedding dress (feel free to follow this loosely). As well as everything you need to know about your budget, pre-shopping research what to wear whilst shopping, storing your dress and more.

Wedding Dress Shop

12 months prior

Let’s talk about the B-word….budget.

12 months before your wedding is an ideal time to agree on a budget with your partner. Decide how much you would be willing to spend on the wedding dress and suit for your wedding day. It doesn’t have to be an exact figure, it can be just a rough estimate.

When figuring out your budget it’s a good idea to keep these extra costs in mind;

  • Alterations fees
  • Accessories
  • Veil
  • Shipping costs
  • Preservation (if you decide you want to preserve your dress and/or suit)
  • Post-dry cleaning

11-10 months prior

Pre-shopping research

It is highly recommended that you do some research before selecting where you will purchase your dress. Take a look at some stores, boutiques or online stores that you want to try on wedding dresses from. This will help you with what styles are available at each store and what you do or don’t like in a dress (make sure to write these things down if you come across them, you can reference these whilst you are shopping).

You may already have a dedicated Pinterest board or saved posts on Instagram of your dream wedding dresses (don’t we all?). Which is amazing and will allow you to take note of some commonalities within them (maybe you’ve pinned about 8 dresses that are off the shoulder or 5 dresses with a corset bodice?).

Our main piece of advice…..keep an open mind! Sometimes the dresses you don’t initially like at first end up being the dream dress.

  • Once you have narrowed down a few stores, it’s good to start making appointments to avoid long wait times and busy periods.

Who to take with you

Wedding dress experts claim the importance of only taking a small number of people with you to go shopping.

But we are here to tell you to take whoever you want with you! If you are going to be taking multiple people here’s a suggestion, split up the days when you go dress shopping and alternate people who come with you. You will get a good mix of opinions and honest feedback by bringing a variety of your nearest and dearest.

The important people you take with you may include;

  • Your mum or mother figure
  • Your mother in law
  • Maid of honour
  • Bridal party
  • Siblings

Make sure you inform everyone of the dates, times and locations of the shops.

9 months prior

It is recommended by wedding dress experts that you start shopping for your wedding dress 9 months before your wedding, to give you as much time as possible.

This is so there is enough time for;

  • The dress to be made
  • Arrive in the country
  • Have all of your fittings
  • Make alterations

If you feel that 9 months is too early for you to be shopping, starting at 6 months out is also a good timeline to follow.

What to wear to your appointments

Wear nude, comfortable undergarments, this will ensure that they don’t show through the dresses when you are trying them on.

Also, if you like to wear certain undergarments such as shapewear, a petticoat or hosiery bring it with you to slip on when trying the dresses on.

6-8 months prior

You’ve gone and done it, you’ve said YES to the dress!

Now it’s a waiting game for your dress to be made and shipped to you.

During this long (emphasis on the long) wait, it’s a good time to complete some items off your checklist (if you haven’t already)

  • Find somewhere to get your wedding dress alterations done (if you don’t already have one)
  • Purchase your wedding shoes (you must have your exact shoes when doing the alterations, so your dress is not too long or short)
  • Purchase all your other accessories
    • Veil
    • Jewellery
    • Gloves (if you choose to have gloves)

2-3 months prior

The waiting game is over and your dress is here (how exciting!)

You will have anywhere between 1-3 fittings with your seamstress/seamster (depending on what needs to be done and what you want to be done)

  • Basic hemming
    • Adjusting the length and sides of your dress
    • Making it well-fitted to complement your body
  • Adding details
    • You may want to customize your dress
      • Off-the-shoulder straps
      • Sleeves
      • Train length
        • Adding a bustle – this allows you to take off your train and have it functioning as a wedding dress

When attending all of your fittings we recommend bringing ALL of your wedding day essentials, especially the shoes!!

1-3 weeks prior

You should receive your wedding dress anywhere between 1-3 weeks before your wedding day. The wedding dress will be flawless and all alterations and customizations would have been completed.

Now it’s time to store your dress until the big day……

Your dress will most likely come in a cloth bag (if it comes in a plastic bag, remove it ASAP and transfer it to a cloth bag). Keeping your dress in plastic may cause moisture and then cause odour, it may also cause your dress to dull and turn yellow (trust me when we say this would be your worst nightmare).

If your dress is heavy and has a lot of layers you will want to store it flat in a cloth bag or wrapped in cotton sheets.

If you are hanging up your dress use the small straps inside the dress (you may know them from having to tuck them in every time you wear a top or dress in the past) but these will take the pressure off the sleeves or straps and then they will not stretch.

    • If you are unsure about how to store your dress ask the dress designer or consultant, they are experts for a reason.

Day of the wedding

Before you walk down the aisle, hang up your dress whilst you are getting your hair and makeup done to air it out. If it looks a little wrinkled, there’s nothing a steamer won’t fix (just be extremely careful).

Lights, camera, action! It’s showtime.

We have no more advice for you except…….savour every moment of your magical day!


Download our full wedding dress shopping timeline here