One of most asked questions I get is “when should I go wedding dress shopping?” And the answer is pretty simple. Since most gowns take about 14-16 weeks (4 months) to come in and you’ll want an additional 2 months for final alterations, I recommend ordering at least 6 months before your wedding. You can begin shopping at any time, but don’t wait too long! See that was simple. But I want to give you a little more information on how the gown process works and what to expect when you get ready to order your gown.


One of most asked questions I get is "when should I go wedding dress shopping?" And the answer is pretty simple.  |  Katharine Marie Weddings

Wedding Dress Sample Sizes

Each store is different when it comes to what size samples they carry. At Katharine Marie Weddings, our goal is to have dress samples in all sizes so everyone can find their dream dress. I don’t carry each dress in every size, but a variety of dresses in a variety of sizes from each designer. Some dresses are made to fit certain bodies more than others and I’ve taken that into consideration when choosing the size of each style. Don’t worry! This doesn’t mean we can’t get a dress in your size; most of the dresses can be ordered in sizes 2-28. Speaking of sizes…

Actual Wedding Dress Sizes

Bridal gowns typically run 1-2 sizes larger than what you wear in everyday clothes. I like to tell my brides not to worry about the number on the tag, lets order the size that best fits you now. We can always cut the tag out *wink*. Once you’ve chosen your dress or at the end of your appointment, we’ll take four measurements (bust, waist, high hip, and low hip) and we’ll go off the largest number to determine what size is best suited for you. This may mean going up a size in a fitted gown because your hips may measure bigger than your waist or bust or vice versa. The other areas are where your final alterations will be made once your dress arrives. Again, don’t let the number size being ordered impact your choice of a wedding dress.

Wedding Dress Ordering Process

You may be wondering why your wedding dress arrives in 14-16 weeks. Your dress doesn’t get made until we send in your order. That means your dress is being made just for you! Which is really fun right?! Occasionally, the designer may have some popular sizes and styles on hand for a quicker ship time, but that is not standard. And if there are any custom changes you want made, that will add to the time.

The dress will ship to the shop and it will be inspected. We want to make sure nothing was damaged during shipping and then you will be notified that it has arrived. We’ll set up a time for you to come try on your own dress for the first time. If there are people you want to see the dress, who didn’t come with you to pick your dress, they can come with you to your first fitting. Since I recommend only bring 3-4 people to your main appointment, this is a great alternative to letting everyone be involved.

I hope this helps you understand the wedding dress ordering process better! If you want more information on how to make your experience the best it can be, grab my wedding dress shopping guide today.