wedding dress

Your 12-Month Wedding Dress Timeline

Shopping for your wedding dress is undoubtedly one of (if not THE) most exciting parts of wedding planning! It’s fun, but can feel a little overwhelming if you’re not 100% sure where (or when) to start looking. We’ve created your wedding dress timeline below so you can start planning the shopping appointment of your dreams:


Twelve months before your wedding day, start researching designers and styles that you love. It’s important to set your budget at this time too (and stick to it!) Remember to set aside some money for your accessories, like a veil, shoes and jewelry. Decide who will attend your appointments with you – it’s a good idea to include family members and supportive friends, but leave your overly opinionated cousin at home. We suggest setting your appointment no sooner than 10 months out so you have enough time to truly find the perfect dress.

You can find Essense of Australia, Stella York and Martina Liana retailers here!


Uninformed brides might think bridal shops stock every designer and style in sizes 0-36, but that’s not the case! It takes about 4-6 months to order the dress, then another 3 months for completing alterations, so give yourself plenty of time to work with your retailer. Note that when you find THE dress, you’ll pay for it at that point. Shops may charge you the full price then or take a deposit (roughly 60% percent) and request the rest upon pick up.


It’s time to complete your vision! Start shopping for hair accessories, jewelry and shoes. Don’t forget your preferred undergarments either! Consider strapless bras, body-shapers and underwear as these all play into the overall look and fit of your gown. Shop for comfortable footwear. If you choose to wear heels for the ceremony, it’s a good idea to pack flats or sneakers as a backup for dancing the night away (no bride should be in pain on her big day!)

Martina Liana Style 862

The Dress: Style 862


It’s time to get fitted! This is a great time to begin your alterations – you don’t want to go too early or late as any fluctuations in weight can leave you with a dress that doesn’t fit properly. Bring EVERYTHING – your shoes, your undergarments, your hair accessories. This is the time to see your bridal look come to life! Alterations can cost anywhere between $200-$1,000+ so be prepared and make sure you have money set aside in the budget for this.


Schedule your second fitting. This is for those final tweaks, like adjusting the straps slightly or evening out the hem. Practice walking in your dress and heels to ensure the length is just right (it should barely sweep the floor and you shouldn’t trip!)

Martina Liana Style 862


Time to pick up your gown! You’ll attend your final fitting to ensure it’s perfect and learn how to bustle your dress for the reception. Keep your gown stored in a garment bag and keep it out of harm’s way.


Slip that gorgeous gown on and go get married! Schedule about 20 minutes with your bridesmaids to get the dress on, buttoned or tied up and photographed. Breathe, relax and relish the moment you’ve been waiting for!


Ask your bridal shop for wedding dress preservation recommendations. You can have it cleaned, boxed and stored for years to come or you can sell/donate it so it can make another bride’s dream come true.

Martina Liana Style 862

Photos: Eric and Jamie