Last minute shopping for a wedding gown can be exciting and exhilarating. It can also be stressful. Our team at Perla Bridal recommends that brides purchase and order their gown at least six months before their wedding date. Once ordered, wedding dresses take 4-6 months to arrive at our boutique. This is because designers need time to create a gown and then ship it. After it is shipped, wedding dresses and accessories take time clearing customs before arriving at bridal salons.
However, we have also helped (and welcome) countless brides in need of a wedding dress sooner than the recommended timeline. Here are some tips to keep in mind and questions for your consultant if you are wedding gown shopping at the last minute.
#1: Ask If the Dress Can Be Rushed.
If you’ve found your dream dress, but missed the recommended window to purchase, ask your bridal consultant if the designer might still be able to accommodate you via “rush order.” This will incur an additional fee depending on the designer and style of dress, but would be worth it to be walking down the aisle in the gown that made you feel absolutely beautiful.
#2: Buy from Inventory
Many bridal shops have gowns that were formerly floor models and samples that they place for on-site purchase in their inventory section to create space for the current and new season dresses. Many of these gowns from a past season may even be even discounted. This is a wonderful section to look through if you need a wedding dress ASAP. You will be able to purchase and walk away with your wedding dress on hand.
#3: Ask If It’s Possible to Purchase The Current Floor Model.
This one’s tricky. Say you’ve found your dream dress and it’s not from inventory. It’s from the current season and your wedding is right around the corner. Even if your stylist places a “rush” order, it still wouldn’t arrive on time. You can ask if there’s any way possible for the bridal boutique to sell you the floor model you are wearing (provided the dress fits or can be altered to fit). Before you make this request, you absolutely want to take a moment, reflect, and make sure this is “the one” as your stylist will need to get approval from management and in some cases, may need to go to bat for you in order to sell it. Selling an in-season sample gown means the salon will have to pull it from the floor and order a replacement that will take time to arrive which means potentially losing sales, especially if it’s a popular dress. Depending on the popularity of the dress, your consultant may not get approval from management. If they do, pretty please, don’t ask them for a discount because “it’s a sample.” Refer to the above reason if you must.
#4: Don’t Forget the Accessories
Like bridal gowns, accessories such as wedding veils and hair ornaments also have to be created and shipped. If you’re in a time crunch, it would be advisable to buy your accessories alongside your wedding dress to complete your bridal “look” and ensemble. It will be one less thing to stress and worry about and will give you more time to focus on the other wedding planning details that need your attention.
#5: Book Your Alterations Appointment Right Away
Alterations are hugely important, but sometimes forgotten in the excitement of shopping and wedding planning. All wedding gowns need to be altered, but these appointments book up very quickly, especially if you are getting married during prime wedding season (April -June and September – December). Alterations can take 2-3 months across multiple visits, especially if your gown has elaborate detailing or you are asking for custom work. Perla Bridal offers in-house alterations for brides who purchase from us, but these appointments do fill up fast. Consult with your stylist and book your alterations appointment that same day and/or week you purchase the dress in order to make sure it is ready in time for your wedding day.
#5: Bring People You Trust to Support You
If you’re short on time, need to make a quick decision, and order your wedding gown post haste, then this may not be the time to bring a large entourage that have different opinions with you as you shop. It may not be ideal to invite the friend that has a very different style from you or the aunt that wants to see you in a ballgown when you want to wear a mermaid style dress. You will want to talk to your loved ones before your appointment about your vision and style preference and bring those who will support the look that you, the bride, want for your wedding day. It’s also perfectly ok to shop and enjoy this experience on your own (many last minute brides do this with success) as it adds even more excitement and mystery to what you’ll wearing as you walk down the aisle on your special day.
Lastly, be flexible and open-minded, especially if your wedding is right around the corner. Allow your bridal consultant to guide you to selections and gowns that will not only make you look stunning and feel like a bride, but will arrive on time or be available for you to take home that same day!