When you should order your bridesmaids dresses depends on a few factors. You want to leave plenty of time before the wedding to research and decide on a dress style and color. Then, you’ll want your girls to try on the dresses with plenty of time left for alterations and delivery. In general, six to eight months before the wedding is safe.
Here’s a timeline on when to order bridesmaid dresses so that you can check it off your pre-wedding to-do list.
No matter where you are in the wedding planning process, the first step is to do some research and determine what bridesmaid dress style, length, color, and material you like. You’ll also need to figure out the price point and let your bridesmaid’s know what budget you have in mind. For this part of the process, you might want to do your dress shopping online or in-store with a few bridesmaids, so that you can get a visual for how the dress will look.
Once you have a dress type in mind, you can check in with the manufacturer or online retailer and ask how long it will take to order the dresses. You should also confirm that they have enough in stock to accommodate all your girls.
If your girls are picking out their own dress, you may have more flexibility with the timeline. You’ll still want to give them plenty of notice and details about the color, style, length, or material you have in mind. That will give them time to shop for and pick out the perfect dress, plus make alterations, if needed.
Around six months before the big day is a sweet spot for ordering the dresses. Some designer dresses and other bridesmaid’s dresses from bridal boutiques may take two or three months to get your dresses in stock. Plus, you need to allow two months for alterations. You’ll also want to leave in some leeway time in case anything goes awry. Keep in mind, dresses and styles may change by the season. So, if you come across a dress you love, don’t wait too long before having your girls order it.
Around six months before the wedding, if you have the bridesmaid gown picked out, go ahead and tell your ladies to order their dresses.
Once your bridesmaids’ dresses come in, you’ll need to allow plenty of time for alterations to be made. Bridesmaids’ dresses are usually ordered in specific sizes and then are typically altered as needed. Alterations can take a while, so you’ll want to make sure that your dresses come in at least a few months before the wedding. That way, if your bridesmaids go through one round of alterations and need another alteration last-minute to fix anything, there’s still enough time.
Your bridesmaids will want to schedule a final fitting where they try on the dress to make sure that all the alterations are right. If everything looks great, they can take the dress home and keep it safely stored until the wedding day.
Whether you order your bridesmaids dresses online or in-store comes down to personal preference. If you prefer the personalized service you get with an in-store boutique, you can shop in-person. They will help you determine the exact timeline of when to order the dresses and may even offer alterations in-house. If your wedding party lives in different cities, having your bridesmaids order online may work best. Just make sure that they order with plenty of time left for returns or exchanging sizes before the wedding.
The timeline for renting bridesmaids dresses is a bit tricky. Most sites only allow you to rent dresses for immediately before the event, and then they need to be returned the next day. Ideally, you’ll be ordering dresses from a site that allows your bridesmaids to receive the dress up to a week before the wedding. That way they can exchange it if it doesn’t fit with plenty of time. Some rental sites even allow at-home try-ons before the wedding, where you can choose from a few styles and sizes before deciding what you like best. If you’re only able to secure the dresses a few days before, have your bridesmaids order the same dress in two different sizes, so that they can use the one that fits best.