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When To Shop For Your Wedding Dress - Our Bridal Attire Timeline

Updated: Jan 31, 2022

When should I start wedding dress shopping? This is a question we’re commonly asked by brides-to-be, with some super eager to get out the starting blocks, and others worried that they’ve left it too late.

The good news is that there are no precise timings set in stone, but as we enter what is set to be one of the busiest years for weddings (we’re looking at you 2022), we figure it’s best for you ladies to give yourself a little leeway.

And so, in this LP post we’re focusing on the full wedding dress shopping timeline, covering everything from booking boutique appointments and saying yes to the dress to the all-important alterations, accessories and final fitting.

It’s our aim to provide a helpful guide to ensure your wedding dress shopping experience is everything it should be - fun, relaxed, memorable and special! What we’re not here to do is scare you into a high-pressured/panic-purchasing frenzy of a dress search.

Yes, after a sustained period of big day postponements and a backlog of engaged couples, 2022 will be a bumper big day year, and the build-up is likely to spill over into 2023. However, remaining calm and having clarity on when and how to shop for your wedding dress should lead to choosing a gown from a place of love and consideration rather than clock-ticking hysteria.

If you do have a shorter timeframe than what’s set out below, hold off on the I’ll-never-find-a-dress meltdown, as there’s a good possibility we can still order in certain dresses for you. Furthermore, in addition to our made-to-order collections, we also have a gorgeous range of ready to wear wedding dresses that can be purchased and taken away the very same day. Check out our #PearlsGirls Podcast episode on The Dress to find out more.

Meanwhile, for those of you ready to start booking bridal boutique appointments, we have a number of Little Pearl Luxury Bridal Experience slots still available pre-Christmas. These would be perfect for those of you getting hitched before October 2022 that haven’t yet purchased your gown. And for the rest of you lovely ladies, our booking diary for the new year is NOW OPEN! Simply click here to view availability and book an appointment at our beautiful North Yorkshire bridal boutique!


12 Months To Your Wedding Day

Research & Budget

With a sparkler firmly on your finger, it’s time to do a little homework, but by no means the boring #yawns type. This task requires you to spend time looking at pretty dresses on wedding blogs, in bridal mags and on social platforms like Instagram and Pinterest to get an idea of what you’re most drawn to. Beautiful ballgowns, dreamy A-lines, figure-hugging fishtails, whatever steps up your heartbeat, take note of what it is that excites you...shape, detail, fabric. At this point, also bear in mind the style of your chosen wedding venue and season, as this is likely to influence your decisions. Finally, the not so fun bit, setting the dress budget. Going into this with a rough figure will avoid heartache later down the line, trust us! So, it’s worth doing the sums pre-shop to gauge your spending allowance, taking into account the dress, accessories and alterations.

Book Appointments

Now the excitement goes up a notch! With an idea of your dream dress in mind, it’s time to find and book appointments at bridal boutiques with collections that align with your bridal vision...and budget. Try not to book too many at once. Instead, secure just one or two appointments to give you a starting point without prompting overwhelm. Keep in mind that weekend slots can get snapped up super quick, so prepare to book several weeks in advance if you want to go prime-time.

Attend Appointments

Excitement officially off the scale; it’s time to shop! First things first, choose your #shoppingsquad with care and keep it tight! Pick just two, or possibly three, companions who you trust implicitly and that know your style to a tee. Next, relax and enjoy this incredible experience. Don’t feel at all pressured; as professional bridal stylists, we’re here to help, advise and empower, guiding you to a dress that’s right for both your head and your heart (and nobody else’s). Keep in mind the styles you loved during the research stage but don’t be scared to deviate to alternative designs so you can be sure of your decision!

Read our top tips on how to choose who to take wedding dress shopping with you here.

9 Months To Your Wedding Day

Say Yes to the Dress

There’s no definitive ‘the one’ moment for all. Some brides know as soon as they see their dress on the hanger, let alone try it on, but for others, it can be a slower process to selecting the gown that reigns supreme. Just don’t feel the need to visit an endless list of boutiques and keep the search going. Often this will only lead to confusion and overwhelm, ever seeking the ‘next best thing’. You may well find the perfect dress in the first boutique you visit; heck, it could even be the very first dress that you try on. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. If it feels like you and you love it, then mission complete! Feel confident in your choice and ignore any FOMO niggles. Dress selected, you’ll be required to pay a deposit, measurements will be taken, the order placed, and then the patient wait begins.

6 Months To Your Wedding Day

Shop Bridal Accessories

With your dress in the making, it’s time to focus on a different bridal shopping area...accessories! From footwear to jewellery, veils and headpieces, this is another fun and fabulous part of the attire timeline. Whether ladies have bought their wedding dress with us or not, we offer bridal Accessory Styling Appointments at our North Yorkshire bridal boutique, helping you to complete that perfect big day vision. Again, when shopping, think about your wedding venue and season, as well as your dress design and plans for your bridal hairstyling, as these elements could sway your selection. Above all, the accessories you pick are a wonderful way to reflect your individual style and really make your bridal look your go with what glows you up!

Click here to book an Accessory Styling Appointment at The Little Pearl.

3 Months To Your Wedding Day

Dress Delivery Day

Things just got oh-so-real! The wait is over as your dress should be arriving at the boutique around this time, ready for you to pay the remaining balance and book in for your fitting appointments.

2 Months To Your Wedding Day

Bridal Alteration Appointments

Prepare to meet your dress! Brides tend to require two to three alteration appointments during the countdown to the big day. At these appointments, your seamstress will be looking to achieve the perfect fit, altering hems and seams whilst also dealing with any customised alterations. These might include adding sleeves, extending the train or crafting extra detailing. Here at The Little Pearl, we have an in-house seamstress, or we recommend two seamstresses external to the boutique, who are all experts in their field. Be sure to take your accessories along to these appointments, particularly your footwear and underwear, to ensure the length and fit will be spot on.

2 Weeks To Your Wedding Day

Final Dress Fitting

There could be tears (of joy, of course!) as you try on your gown for the final time before the big day. This appointment is the perfect time to address any last-minute dress tweaks but also to see yourself in your gown and finishing touches ahead of the “I dos”.

1 Week To Your Wedding Day

Dress Collection Time

With your big day in sight, it’s time to take your dress home! Brides having their alterations done with our in-house seamstress will usually collect their dresses with a week to go until the wedding. Boutique stylists will professionally steam your gown and present it in a special protective bag to keep it safe until your moment in the limelight!

The Big Day


Oh, hello, wedding day! It’s finally arrived, and this is your moment to feel your awesome amazing self in a dress that you la, la, la love! For those looking to extend their Little Pearl bridal experience, we offer a special on the day Dressing Service. To keep the stress low and the elation sky high, a member of our team will join you and your bridal party on the wedding morning to help get you ready to go from Miss to Mrs in flawless style!

Post Wedding

Clean & Store

Your dress may well be in need of a good old clean after all that celebrating and so we’d recommend taking her to a professional dry cleaners experienced in handling wedding dresses. You can then store her in a beautiful box as the ultimate keepsake of your special day to treasure forever. We have a beautiful range of storage boxes in stock at the boutique, with gorgeous designs and personalised options available. Just contact us to find out more!


BECOME A #PEARLSGIRL - Simply click here to book your Bridal Experience at our gorgeous North Yorkshire bridal boutique, The Little Pearl.

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