When should I start shopping for my wedding dress?

When is it too soon or too close to the day? 

There’s a lot that goes into purchasing a wedding dress.  So we've created a timeline to help you get off to a good start.

Oscar Salazar Photography

Oscar Salazar Photography

One year: 

Start setting a budget for your wedding dress.  Setting a budget will help your bridal consultant not only match you with dresses that you may potentially fall in love with, but which are also within your budget

After you’ve set your budget, start browsing wedding dress styles online to get a feel for styles that you like.  Get inspiration on different looks before you make your bridal appointment.  This will also help you in requesting the style of gowns that you would like to try on at the bridal salon.

Grab your girls and start shopping!  One thing we would recommend: Keep your entourage small.  Everyone will have a different opinion and this may cause some unnecessary stress and a deviation from your original vision.

Try on several styles and not only those that you have favored.  Often times, girls find “the one” and it is a completely different style than they had original set out for.  So try on as many styles as possible.  It’s part of the fun!

8-9 months:

It can take up to 6 months for bridal salons to order your dress and have it delivered to their shop.  Don’t push it.  You'll also need to take into consideration your bridal fittings.  It can take up to 3-4 fittings to alter your dress.  So around the 8-9 month mark, you should have a final decision and deposit placed on your gown.

6 months:

Start shopping for accessories, shoes and undergarments.  *You will need your shoes and undergarments for your bridal fittings. 

If you are having a destination wedding, start calling the airline to find out if they have stow closets near the cockpit and/or what their carry on restrictions are.

fitting photo.jpg

3 months:

If you’ve decided to alter your dress with the bridal salon where you found your dress, they will schedule your first fitting around this time to allow for changes in measurements and ensure a proper fit.  If you chose to do your fittings elsewhere, start making those appointments around this time.

3-6 weeks:

Your second and final fittings will take place within this time frame.  This will allow time for your seamstress to make minor alterations after your first fitting.

3 weeks:

Take your dress home in a garment bag.  We recommend using a breathable non-woven garment bag.  If you have a veil, hang it with your dress to prevent wrinkles and the possibility of leaving it behind.  Choose a spot for your dress away from possible accidents.  Avoid storing it in heavy traffic areas.

1 week:

Now is a good time to get your dress steam cleaned.       

Wedding Day!

Yay!!! The day is finally here.  Time to put that beautiful dress on and celebrate   



Unexpected Wedding Venues for Couples who Love All Things Unique

Photo: Pexels

Photo: Pexels

Weddings are amazing events where people from all over the country-- even the world-- get together to drink, eat, dance, and celebrate a couple's love. Because weddings are so fun, people have quickly found a way to make them into an industry-- and a massive one, at that. The United States wedding industry makes an estimated $72 billion in annual revenue. That's an average cost of $35,329 per wedding, according to The Knot's 2016 Real Weddings Study. The average annual salary of a 20-24 year old in the United States is less than $28,000, so that means it stands to reason that some people are spending more on their nuptials than they make in an entire year!

One of the biggest expenses couples have to make is the cost for reserving the wedding venues. For a simple church ceremony, you may be able to get away with paying only $500 before any officiant fees and decorations. However, for a ballroom or large entertaining room in a hotel, museum, or community center, be prepared to fork over $2500 to $10,000 just for the reception. Note that these reception halls often hike up the prices once they find out the event is a wedding. Try booking the same place for a "family event" and see if the quote isn't lower.

Finding alternative venues for a wedding is one of the simplest ways to cut down on the huge expense. Not only can it help the couple save money, but an unexpected wedding venue helps couples in love express themselves in a way that is fun and unique.


Backyard Wedding

Photo: Gina & Ryan Photography, CA

Photo: Gina & Ryan Photography, CA


Okay, so having a wedding reception in the backyard isn't exactly the most original idea. However, with the money you save not renting a space, you can make your backyard the venue of your dreams. Plus, there is the added comfort of having such an important day celebrated in an important place.

Personalizing a backyard wedding reception is a lot of work, but you don't have to do it all yourself.  Places that rent out things like tables and chairs for other wedding receptions are more than happy to deliver to your home. You can even have things like a trellis or arbor pergola built to add a touch of class. The national average cost to build a pergola is $3,501. Finally, having a sound system set up means you can save on having a DJ or band and simply play songs from your playlist. Plus, you will be able to enjoy your new professional sound system long after the ceremony is over-- a wedding gift from you, to you!


National Park Wedding


Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite National Park


Moran Point, Grand Canyon


Nature lovers can say their vows surrounded by the glory preserved by our National Parks without breaking the bank on their wedding budget. The costs and requirements for a park's special use permits varies depending on where you are. However, the fees should only run you around $100. Some popular national parks for weddings to consider:


  • The First African Baptist Church, Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia

  • Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park, Washington

  • Bridalveil Falls, Yosemite National Park, California

  • Moran Point, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona


Library Wedding

Sure, a library wedding didn't work out for Carrie Bradshaw in the Sex and the City movie, but that doesn't mean your local book stacks aren't the perfect location for you to say "I do." The cost of renting out a library for a wedding really depends on the size and scope of both the library itself and the wedding. Getting married in front of 200 people at the Chicago Public Library is going to cost more than, say, getting married in front of 50 at the little library in your hometown. However, most libraries-- big and small-- employ unique architecture and design that make them perfect for wedding ceremonies. Many of them have connecting outdoor spaces that can be used for receptions, as well.


Weddings bring people from all over together to celebrate love-- there's nothing wrong with that! However, the cost of that celebration can run pretty steep. One of the easiest ways to save money for other parts of the wedding is to find cool but inexpensive venues for the ceremony and reception. Venues like backyards, national parks, and libraries help save some money while showing how unique the couple's love really is.