The idea of bridal gown shopping is wonderful and leaves a lot of room for imagination. It’s a dream come true for most fashionistas, but it is a delicate process. And for new brides, it’s a whole new world, far different from off-the-rack shopping and far more complex than internet shopping.
While your wedding date may seem ages away, finding the ideal bridal gown in Brisbane, on the Gold Coast or anywhere in between is an important point in your early planning. Bespoke made-to-order wedding gowns typically take 6-9 months to create, so it’s a good idea to visit the bridal salon sooner rather than later.
Helena Couture Designs has a few important guidelines on how your bridal gown purchase and fitting timeline should look.
After You Get Engaged
It’s safe to assume you’ve been daydreaming about wedding dresses long before your partner popped the question. But if you do not already have a vision board drafted up, now’s the time to do your homework.
Start collecting clippings from bridal magazines, adding to your Pinterest board, scoping out this year’s top trends, researching and pinpointing your favourite designers, and gaining inspiration from real brides. Start making notes on the similarities and common themes between dresses. Do you like the embellishments? Or the way dresses sit on the shoulder? Do you prefer a fitted or draped silhouette?
The first step is putting your vision to paper so that you have a reference point to bring to your first bridal salon appointment.
After You’ve Picked A Venue
The wedding venue you choose plays a big part in setting the tone for the day. For example, a ball gown is not going to be very practical at a beach venue. Pinpoint your venue or at least have it narrowed to your final few options before you begin hunting for or designing your bridal gown.
Start setting your bridal dress appointments 9-12 months prior to your wedding date, with the goal of finalising your decision and ordering your gown 8-9 months before the wedding. This gives you plenty of time to shop around, find the dress of your dreams, and have it tailored, altered, fitted and dry cleaned with enough breathing room to handle the rest of your arrangements for the big day.
Book In Advance
Remember to make appointments far in advance because bridal boutique appointment slots fill fast. Do some research into your chosen boutique’s price range and sample sizes to ensure that you’ve picked the right fit for your budget and vision.
9 Months Before The Wedding
By this time, you should aim to have finalised a decision, selected a design and settled a deposit on your bridal gown. Bespoke gowns require careful artistry, skill and time to create; it’s not a process you want to rush or leave to the last minute. Remember to factor in any travel time and pre-wedding photoshoots you might want to schedule before letting your designer know what date you need your gown to be ready. Most brides aim to have the dress completed one month before the due date.
5 Months Before The Wedding
If your dream gown is not ready by this time, there is no cause for stress. Remember, perfection takes time. But there are still other points on your wedding checklist to check off. By now, you can start picking out your adornments so that by the time your first fitting arrives, you’ll have your veil, jewellery and other accessories picked out, giving you an idea of the completed look.
You’ll also need wedding shoes picked out before you have your dress tailored so that it can be hemmed correctly. Most boutiques have an in-house dress tailoring service, but if not, you also want to use this time to choose the seamstress who will tailor your gown.
2 Months Before The Wedding
By now, your gown will be complete, or at least in the process of being finalised. This gives enough time to trim, train and make final alterations. Bring your bridesmaids with you to your first fittings so they can learn how to help you fit, button up, fasten, accessorise your dress and receive guidance on how to carry your train.
Some gowns are designed to transition from a ceremonial outfit into a reception outfit by bustling the train so the bride can walk more freely. You may need your bridesmaid’s help bustling your gown as well, so it’s great if they have inside advice from the designer themselves.
1 Month Before The Wedding
Here you will have your final fittings. After already having your first fittings, you’ll have an idea of what undergarments or lingerie work best with the dress. Bring them, along with all accessories, to the final fittings. During this time, you’ll settle any outstanding fees and take your dress home in a protective bag.
On the day of the wedding, or even the night before, you can take your dress out of its bag, hang it up, air it out and steam out any creases. Your moment has arrived. Time to focus on enjoying the celebration you’ve worked so hard to plan and look breathtaking while doing it.
It’s quite a journey from the time you start envisioning your perfect wedding dress to the time you complete your final fittings. We would love to be a part of it! As one of Australia”s most well-respected wedding dress designers, Helena Coutour Designs specialise in creating bespoke wedding gowns designed individually to your figure shape, personality, budget, colour palette and style.
If you are searching for your dream bridal gown in Brisbane, on the Gold Coast, or any of the surrounding interstate locations, get in touch and make your first appointment today.