This is how to find a wedding dress on a short notice

To start shopping for a bridal gown on a whim might feel daunting, but we want to ensure you that there are actually many avenues to try. Here’s our best tips on how to find a gown – starting as soon as you have finished reading! Below are all the ways to find a last-minute wedding dress.

Take a deep breath

Be sure that this can work out, and there is no actual need to panic. After reading these tips you’ll easily find a last-minute dream wedding dress – although it is unlikely it’ll be this seasons designer gown – but that’s okay! Have an open mind and prepare to be flexible to look at various styles, silhouettes and designers. Remember that the happiness of your wedding day and life ever after does not depend on your outfit!

Call the bridal shop

Since bridal gown salons have the broadest range of dresses on offer, it’s a great place to start looking to see what’s within easy reach. Even if they don’t currently have a off-the-rack gown to sell, a bridal salon may be able to at least point you in the right direction. Call up a few salons to find out their speediest dress manufacturing time. While it usually takes up to 8 months for a made-to-order gown to be received (the normal purchasing method), there might be an option to pay an extra rush fee in some cases, if you are prepared to set aside more budget.

Search for sample sales

While you got the bridal salon on the line, also ask them if they have an upcoming sample sale—or if they are able to sell you an older sample dresses off the rack. Bridal salons regularly sell off of older dresses to make space for newer models. If your size is a US 4/6 or UK 8/10, the chances are higher that their sample size could fit you well without alterations—so you could take it home right away. An added bonus is that these gowns are often heavily discounted! Be aware that sample dresses have been used many, many times and may or may not be in a great condition and will definitely need professional cleaning – possibly repairs as well.

Online wedding dress shopping

It could be risky in case your packet is delayed or lost in the delivery, but there are well-established online dress retailers where ordering a wedding dress is just as simple as ordering a pair of shoes. Look for an outlet which ships quickly and have an option to track your order, so that you can buy with peace of mind. Make sure to only buy from a place with great reviews from real customers to ensure its legitimacy, and make sure there is a return policy you are happy with. A bonus with online shopping is the endless variety of styles, sizes and colors and if you choose well your wedding dress purchase might be one of the easiest tasks on your wedding planning checklist. Regarding sizes – if you are on a real rush, you may not have time to do any fitment alterations on your gowns so bear that in mind when you order.

Hire your gown

Whilst rental outlets mostly cater for bridesmaid or evening dresses, you might be able to find a suitable wedding gown to rent, for much less than what it costs to buy. Note, however, that renting a dress means you won’t be able to alter it and them hem length might be an issue if you are shorter or taller than average. The selection might be a bit limited as well, but it is well worth a try if you are looking for a traditional style gown in standards sizes.

Pre-loved wedding dresses

Research secondhand wedding dresses as well – you might find this the best option if you want a high end dress in a short time frame. Many brides sell their dress after their wedding, and even unworn gowns in case there has been a change of wedding plan, or style preference. A bonus is that on the bigger preloved sites you’ll have a vast range of designer gowns at reduced prices. There are several websites that specialize in selling preowned wedding dresses, such as Still White, but still be sure to do your research so you know the seller is trustworthy as the agreement is between you and the seller only. A secondhand dress was likely tailored to fit someone else and may not come in a standard size or length – so it is best to factor in alteration time as well, if possible.

Check at the shopping centers

If you’re very short on time, many online and physical department stores sell long white gowns. Although not necessarily created to be a wedding dress, you might be able to find a suitable piece in their evening wear section that could totally work for your wedding, especially if the wedding is low-key or an elopement.

Accessorize

Let’s say you have found only a basic wedding dress – now you can use it as a foundation garment you can spice it up with added accessories, such as a bolero, long veil, belt and even an removable train or over-skirt (which are all easier to buy off the rack). If you are looking for a glam outfit but could only find a minimalist gown on a short notice, look for accessories with pearls, a sequin topper, a tulle over skirt, a sash with beading or a luxe veil with applique. Amazing accessorize and jewelry will go along way long way in adding extra high-end factor to a simple dress. Make your look your own and let your lovely personality shine, even if your dress was not exactly as you planned!

Editor

Jo is dedicated to all things bridal. When she is not supporting and inspiring brides through Sheer Bride, she can be found designing bridal wear with the help of her three cats.