Finding a wedding dress at short notice can be an overwhelming thought! Many modern couples are deciding to get married very shortly after they get engaged, so sometimes a time-frame of just a few months or even weeks is becoming more common. There might be a particular reason for this, such as an illness in the family, booking the only available dates at a favourite venue, other plans that mean you need to get married right away and so on. Or perhaps you just can't see a reason to wait! Whatever your reason for a swept-off-your-feet wedding, one of the first things you'll be wanting to do is find a wedding dress. This might seem like a herculean task, and many traditional bridal shops will tell you it's impossible, but don't despair - it is absolutely possible if you know what to do!
Traditional bridalwear stores tend to suggest that you give yourself between 6 months and a year to find your perfect wedding gown - this is so adjustments and fittings can be booked, or the right size shipped in etc. While browsing these stores can give you a firm idea of what kind of dress you're after, many simply won't be able to provide you with a gown at short notice, so looking elsewhere is your first step to finding a late-notice wedding dress.
Your options include non-wedding clothing stores, vintage wedding dresses and wedding dress factory outlets:
The high street is sometimes a great place to start, and larger department stores often stock wedding gowns at affordable prices. But these tend to be rather limited, generic and might not cater for smaller or larger dress-sizes.
If you can find a vintage dress that fits, then fantastic! Many vintage dresses are often in very slim sizes, however, so may narrow down your options. Perhaps you have a family heirloom of a gown that could be adjusted to fit you?
Finally, wedding dress factory outlets are great places to find affordable designer wedding dresses in a huge range of styles. These outlets buy end-of-line, one-off and ex-display/catwalk bridalwear and are able to sell on to the customer at greatly reduced prices. Sometimes you can save up to £1500 on a top designer dress! They may also work with new or specialised designers who offer their gowns at reduced cost. This option gives you the greatest choice, with larger outlets stocking up to 700 dresses in a variety of styles and sizes.
Wherever you find your dress, you will most likely need to have it altered in some way. Even 'off-the-peg' dresses may not fit perfectly. But hiring a bridalwear seamstress is fairly cheap and easy to do, and you can get the work done with a quick turnaround if you start looking for your wedding gown as soon as you being planning your wedding.
Other top tips for anyone looking for a wedding dress at short notice include:
- Set aside a whole day for shopping and plan to visit just a few bridalwear stores rather than panicking and rushing round as many shops as possible.
- Don't rush! Take your time to research what type of gown you are after and be open to trying on lots of different styles.
- Take the advice of the staff and whoever you've brought along with you.
- If possible, do some research on the gowns available before you come into the store.
- Don't stress! Even if you don't find what you're looking for first time round, bridalwear stock changes frequently, and new wedding dresses will come in regularly. Chances are, in a week or two, there will be a whole new range for you to choose from.