I hate deadlines. I am the kid who at school always left their homework or exam prep till 20 mins before, leaving some teacher or parent looking ashamedly at me! I like to think this is why everyone thought I had "potential" but in reality it was a sneaky ploy to look far more intelligent than I really am always hiding that normality under the guise of lazy genius! I was the same with my wedding preparation. I didn't want to make any decisions, the thought of being decisive over my dress, the flowers, the rings etc sent me into a right panic.
Dreaming of the dress and other wedding related paraphernalia always seemed so much grander and far more Disney in my head than in reality. I just never felt ready to let go of that fabulous fantasy.
I wanted the illusion of genius and originality to live on forever but in actuality what I thought I wanted as my fantasy wedding gown my saddlebags and boobs just didn't agree with and if I changed my mind on the flowers one more time I think my florist would've quit on me! Basically what I am saying is, I understand, brides everywhere I sympathise I really do and yet getting your timings right is something we all have to get our head around. Here is some guidance for you on the wedding dress prep from one procrastinator to another.
I'm not an indecisive person. As a self confessed CONTROL FREAK I love a list. Being organised and having things ready to go on time and in order is a delight to me - I even
laminated an itinerary for my wedding day so no one could change it without my special sharpie!
This evidence should be enough to explain why you can believe I'm a decisive person and therefore one would expect me to have picked a wedding dress in a timely and organised manner. Yet when it came to putting that final order in I really held off and I cannot tell you why?
Okay that's a lie, I can! It was the thought that something new would appear the next day, week, month and I would have missed out on THE MOST FABULOUS wedding dress that I had ever seen. What, as a bride, you need to remember is that this is always possible. I still see dresses now that I'm sad I never got a chance to wear and I've been married 6 years. I cannot tell you that anyone of them would have been "the one" over my actual dress, which I still to this day love, but who knows? There is no end to the unknown and what may be in the future. My advice for dress ordering is set yourself a date and stick to it. That date should be a very minimum of 7 months before your wedding date but ideally 9 months plus where possible. See our magazine snipped timeline below for guidance.
Timing for ordering bridal gowns are not set by stores and contrary to popular belief we would never use them as a pressure tactic to get brides to commit to a sale. We do however have them set by designers and their corporate head offices.
They are completely outside of our control, so please trust your Bridal Stylist when she tells you about deadlines. Its not for our benefit but more yours. If it's 3 weeks before your big day and your dress still hasn't arrived we won't be the ones panicking or worrying (we know its on route) but when you don't know if your veil / shoes / bridesmaids compliment your gown because its not here its just not worth the worry.
Often brides think there is no way it takes 4 - 6 months to make a dress and you're right it does not - however what takes 4 - 6 months is all the admin, joining a global list of brides waiting for their made to order gown, the hand beading of laces, the fabric collection, the transport of fabrics to start construction on that gown and laces from across the globe (China, Vietnam, India, Mexico, Spain, Italy), the courier logistics of your gown arriving to the store etc. These things do take 4 - 6 months and some times longer.
What sends me straight for the Gin is when brides say "the designer will make it work if they want my order". This is not unusual and let me tell you, even if I (a store owner) wanted a dress on a rush and to jump the queue they would laugh in my face and ask why I left it so late. It would be a resounding NO! The corporate head offices do not worry over 1 or 2 sales for brides who missed deadlines, they deal with hundreds of brides daily and prefer to have those gowns on time rather than risk the streamlined process for 1 or 2 orders.
I am always grateful for a last minute cheat to the system so I thought I would share one with all you eleventh hour wedding parties. There are some designers that offer a rush / super rush / express rush option on their gowns so there is still hope. The downside is you will have to put your hand in your pocket for the pleasure and this can be as much as 10-20% extra added to the price of your gown. So unless you have an unlimited budget its best to avoid where possible. The other option is the fabulous off the peg or sample sales from independent dress boutiques - these stores can offer you an discounted rate on an off the peg gown and are a gem but make sure they offer you an alterations service. Being stuck with an ill fitting, too long, back fat shaming gown with only 6 weeks till the wedding day with no seamstress at your disposal is a nightmare I would not wish on my worst enemy.
Due to my own delays and lack of backbone my own gown arrived just 6 days before my wedding. Although I am a control freak, on occasion I'm so laid back that I'm horizontal. This meant my gown turning up with less than a week to go didn't ultimately phase me but I doubt there's many brides out there than would feel so calm. It did help that I knew the designer and had the tracking details (I'm not insane girls!). Should you want to avoid this panic and have the luxury of picking and choosing fitting dates, having those fun accessory appointments and other benefits to being organised then trust me you don't want to leave it last minute. Set yourself that 8/9+ month Deadline Day and stick to it - you will thank yourself in time!