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When Should You Start Trying On Wedding Dresses?

Finding the perfect wedding dress is a crucial part of your wedding plans. It’s essential to start the dress shopping journey early, allowing lots of time which in turn ensures a stress-free experience. In this article, we’ll provide expert advice and timelines to help you determine the ideal time to begin trying on wedding dresses.

The Brie wedding dress by Karen Willis Holmes Bridal is a statement long sleeve sheer high neck gown with a low back, fitted skirt with a split. Brie features a v neck spaghetti strap bodice under the dreamy cuffed sleeves.


Importance of timing when trying on wedding dresses


A common question that comes about when brides begin their wedding planning is “ When should I begin trying wedding dresses on? “ The answer to this question will depend on several factors such as your wedding date, time required for alterations, time required for your wedding dress to be made and the availability of your preferred fabric and style. Starting early allows you to explore various options without feeling rushed or overwhelmed. Timing will make all the difference in finding your perfect gown that reflects your personality and unique love story. From booking your first appointment to considering order timeframes and alterations, understanding the significance of timing will ensure that you have a fun stress-free wedding dress journey. 


The Aubrey wedding dress by Karen Willis Holmes Bridal is a long sleeve V neck gown with a low statement back and A line skirt


Expert Advice on When to Start


Some factors to consider before you start wedding dress shopping are your wedding date, venue and aesthetic. Your wedding date will determine what will be available to you so again being safe and leaving 9-12 months for wedding dress shopping. The venue you choose will also dictate what type of dress you purchase. Will your wedding be indoors or outdoors? Will it be hot or cold? Is the wedding formal or casual? What’s the environment like surrounding you? These are all important questions to ask yourself when deciding on your dream wedding dress.


The Lou-Lou & Elizabeth wedding dress by Karen Willis Holmes is a strapless draped bodice with a full skirt including pockets & a statement split.


Timelines for Trying On Wedding Dresses


To provide a general guideline, let’s first break down the timeline into three main sections:

Research and inspiration, First bridal appointments, and Finalising the wedding dress choice.


The Jacqueline and Mila gown by Karen Willis Holmes jayyyy-Whitevine Photography


Research and Inspiration:


Research your wedding dress Inspiration at least 12-18 months before the wedding. Creating a vision board via Pinterest of wedding dress silhouettes, fabrics and overall tone which will help narrow down what type of wedding dress you may be after. Be sure to branch out and explore lots of different styles, keeping in mind what is in your budget, what your venue will be and the weather and what reflects your personality.


Bridal heels being put on by KWH bride wearing the Blake & Camille wedding dress


First Bridal Appointments:


Once you’ve gathered inspiration and narrowed down your preferences, it’s time to schedule your first bridal appointment and start wedding dress shopping. It is best to start trying on wedding dresses 9-12 months before your wedding as this will give you ample time for getting a dress sorted. Keep an open mind and try on different styles to find the one that complements your body shape and personal style.

This is an exciting milestone in your wedding dress shopping journey, as you’ll have the opportunity to try on various styles and begin envisioning yourself as a bride. Here’s what you can expect during your first bridal salon appointment. When you arrive at the bridal showroom, you’ll be greeted by a stylist who will guide you through the dress collections and process. Based on your preferences and style, the stylist will pull a variety of wedding dresses for you to try on if you haven’t pre selected anything. Be open to their suggestions, as they have experience in finding the perfect dress for different body types and styles. If you have specific dresses in mind, let the stylist know so they can accommodate your requests.



Trying on Dresses:


In the fitting room, your stylist will help you into each wedding dress, ensuring a proper fit and making any necessary adjustments with pins. Please be very aware most dresses are sample sizes and no one fits a standard size perfectly pinning and using your imagination is always necessary as not every size is always available. Take your time while trying on each dress. Walk around, sit down, and move in different ways to get a feel for how it fits and if it suits your comfort level. Pay attention to the silhouette, neckline, fabric, and overall style and feel of each dress. Consider how it complements your body shape and reflects your personal style. Don’t be discouraged if the first few dresses don’t feel right. It’s all a process of elimination. Keep an open mind, as the perfect dress may be one you hadn’t initially considered.


The Lou-Lou & Elizabeth wedding dress by Karen Willis Holmes is a strapless draped bodice with a full skirt including pockets & a statement split. 


Consultant’s Expertise:


Please utilise and trust the expertise of your stylist as they only want to help you with your wedding dress shopping. They have extensive knowledge of the styles and fabrics available. They can offer valuable advice and help you make informed decisions. Listen to their feedback and be open to trying on dresses they recommend. They have a keen eye for what will flatter you and make you feel comfortable and beautiful on your wedding day.



Documenting Your Favourites:


Along your wedding dress shopping journey, please  take photos and videos or ask someone to take them for you. This will help you remember each dress and compare them later when making a final decision. You could ask a friend to take notes on each dress while you are in it, including details you liked or didn’t like, such as neckline, embellishments, or fit.

Remember, the goal of the first appointment is to explore different styles, understand what makes you feel comfortable and beautiful, and start the process of finding your dream dress. Don’t feel pressured to make a decision during this appointment. Take your time, enjoy the experience of wedding dress shopping, and trust that the right dress will reveal itself eventually.


The Shelby wedding dress by Karen Willis Holmes is a sheath cut simple classic gown with a V neck, low back and statement bubble sleeves.



6-9 months before the wedding


 Narrow down options and make a decision:

After trying on several wedding dresses, you may start to notice a pattern in the styles you prefer. Consult with your trusted friend or family member who accompanied you to your appointments to get their input and feedback on each wedding dress. Narrow down your wedding dress choices based on a few key elements, the most important being what makes you feel the most special? What makes you feel confident and beautiful? What feels the most you and suits your style? Once deciding on ‘ The One ‘ you can now do the exciting part of saying yes to the dress by placing the order and start the dress making process.

Finalising the Dress Choice (6-8 months before the wedding):

You want to aim to finalise your wedding dress choice and place the order within this timeframe. Consider any potential delays in production or alterations, and build a buffer within your timeline before ordering. If you have your heart set on a wedding dress always lock it in as soon as possible to avoid the risk of disappointment, stress and added costs. 


The Shelby wedding dress by Karen Willis Holmes is a sheath cut simple classic gown with a V neck, low back and statement bubble sleeves.


Fittings and alterations 2-4 months before the wedding


2-4 months before your big day is usually when your fittings with your seamstress will occur. During your fittings your seamstress will do your hem, bustle and any other alterations you are after. You will need to get your wedding shoes organsied before your first fitting as this is when your hem will be altered to your height. Your fittings are also when you should be finalising any undergarments or accessories options you wish to wear on your wedding day, so be sure to bring along any shapewear, tape, underwear options you will possibly be wearing on the day as well as any jewelry and hair accessories. Be sure to also not wear any makeup to your fittings or have any food or drinks in the appointment as this is the dress you will be wearing and we want to keep it as clean and fresh as possible.




Final weeks before the wedding


The final weeks before your special day you will feel a range of emotions but two big ones should hopefully be excitement and relief! It all feels so real now you’re getting married all of the planning and preparation has paid off and your final fitting is here. Your seamstress will make any minor last minute tweaks at this point and ensure our gown is ready for the big day and ready to take home.


KWH real bride Abbie wears the Blake & Prea gown by Karen Willis Holmes, a modern structured wedding dress in satin mikado featuring a corseted bodice




Ultimately, By following our expert advice and adhering to the outlined timeline, you can navigate your wedding dress journey with confidence and find the perfect wedding dress that reflects your unique style. Remember, the wedding dress shopping experience should be enjoyable and memorable. Cherish the moments and trust yourself in finding the dress that makes you feel radiant on your wedding day.


Jenna wears the Blake & Prea wedding dress by Karen Willis Holmes, a bustier fit and flare dress that provides structure and modern style.














Additional Resources that you will find useful:


Ultimate Guide to the Perfect Wedding Dress Shopping Experience

How to Choose a Wedding Dress – A Complete Guide

Ultimate Guide to Wedding Dress Styles & Silhouettes for Your Shape

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