Ask the Expert: How Soon is Too Soon to Start Dress Shopping?

Question: I just got engaged and can’t wait to start shopping for my wedding dress. Brides are always being told that you shouldn’t wait until the last minute to order a gown (because of alterations and such), but is there such a thing as shopping for a dress too soon before the wedding? We haven’t set a date or picked a venue yet so I’m not sure if I’m jumping the gun by looking for a gown right away.

Answer: Every bride has their own priorities when planning a wedding, says Lovely Bride owner Ivy Kaplin, and if finding a dress is one of your top priorities then shopping early is a great idea. “Having your gown can often help plan other parts of the wedding, like what style of bouquet you want and what color your bridesmaids will wear,” she says.

The downside to shopping before you have the major details of your daylike your date and venue—nailed down? The fear of buyer’s remorse. Even when you think you’ve found The One, it may feel like it’s too soon to make a purchase, Kaplin says, and the last thing you want is to make an impulse buy and regret it later on—or find something you like even better.

So if you do find a dress you love early on but don’t want to commit to it right away, just be sure to ask the bridal salon how long they think the style will be available—some designers discontinue gowns more frequently than others, Kaplin says, so you’ll want to take note of how much lead time you have before needing to place an order.

For more Ask the Experts, go here.

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