A Wedding Dress Timeline to Help You Look Your Best

The minute you say “yes” to that most important proposal, time starts ticking, and due to the 2020 global pandemic, wedding timelines are shifting and styles like micro-weddings and elopements are on the rise. Amidst booking venues, caterers, photographers, florists and other providers, it can be easy to get stressed out and forget about a very important person — you.

engagement ring in green box

You deserve to look and feel your best on your wedding day. So, when you become a bride-to-be, it’s a good idea to begin thinking about your dream bridal look sooner rather than later. As a general rule, the sooner you get started, the greater your chances of getting exactly the look you’re after.

As you may know, there is more to it than going to a bridal store and buying a wedding dress. Not only do your bridal fashion choices — a gown and bridal accessories — need to fit your personal style & budget, “The Dress” of your dreams may take time to order. Plus, you’ll need time to look for undergarments, shoes and just the right personal touches: wedding veils, jewelry and hair accessories that will reflect your unique bridal style, transforming “The Dress” into your dress! 

At Laura Jayne Accessories, we’re “personal touches” experts and our line of beautifully handcrafted veils and other bridal accessories are designed to empower you to take “The Dress” to the next level, making it uniquely yours.

To help you stay on track and get you styled to perfection from head to hem on your wedding day, we’ve pulled together this essential wedding dress and accessories timeline.

wedding dress hanging on door

9-12 months before

Get some wedding inspo. Flip through wedding magazines, google celebrity weddings and visit online wedding resources like Wedding Chicks and Style Me Pretty to get an idea of what you like and what you really don’t.

Create a Pinterest board, if you haven’t already. Look into different bridal looks and wedding themes to find the one that resonates with you and your couple. Not only will this help you nail down your wedding style, but you can share it with suppliers to help them understand what you’re looking for on your big day.

Shop for wedding dresses. Be open to trying on different styles. Find a reputable wedding salon and trust the trained experts to guide you in your search to find “The Dress” to fit your wedding style and personality. 

Order your wedding dress as soon as you are comfortable doing so. Most are specially ordered and take time to make, and in most cases, require 2 to 3 dress fittings.

Don’t have 9-12 months before your wedding day? No worries. Many bridal shops sell gowns “off-the-rack," have a selection of samples for sale, and in some cases, depending on what you want, will look into placing a “rush” order.

bride wearing a mini robe hanging a wedding dress

6-8 months before 

Once you’ve selected your dress, give some thought to the undergarments you’ll want to wear. Bridal underwear needs to make you look beautiful in your wedding dress and a great fit is key. For a light coloured gown, whether you choose to go with shapewear or a matching bra and panties, consider nude or off-white items that are least likely to show through. Consult professional bra fitters and lingerie specialists for help with finding the perfect undergarments for your body type and dress style. 

No matter what you decide, always bring the undergarments you’re planning to wear to your first fitting because, in some cases, you may need to switch gears and have bra cups or straps sewn into your dress. Partner with your bridal consultant or tailor for help with these decisions.

Book a consultation with your hairstylist.  Show them pictures of bridal hairstyles and hair accessories you like and explore options that will work best for your hair. Discuss your current haircut and any possible changes you’re considering. If you want to grow out your bangs, improve the condition of your hair, or try a new haircut or color, it’s a good idea to start sooner than later. If possible, plan a "same day" mini hair trial and “dress visit” to help you nail down your bridal look with accessories.

PRO TIP: According to bridal hairstylists, Shannon Petrolito and Uno Jo Shan, you should consider getting a layered haircut if you want wispy hair strands framing your face.  

Start looking into wedding accessories. When you bought your dress, chances are you already tried on a veil and some accessories at the salon. If you loved the way they looked, but didn’t commit, consider booking another appointment to try them on again with a sample of your dress or similar style.

Now is the perfect time to ask your stylist or bridal fashion consultant for advice on what veil shapes and lengths would complement your gown and what 
jewelry and hair accessories would complete the look.

PRO TIP: If you don’t know where to begin when it comes to accessorizing your dress, check out: 5 easy steps to style your dream dress like a pro.

wedding shoes

4-6 months before

Choose and buy a pair of bridal shoes (or two). Dress fittings will usually start within 8-12 weeks of your wedding and you’ll want to have your shoes to get the hem length right. Before you buy, consider where and what you’ll be doing in your shoes on the day— micro-wedding in an intimate garden party setting or walking down the aisle at a grand ballroom with dancing? Look for dyeable shoes with comfort-added features like cushioned insoles and adjustable toe and ankle-width such as Angela Nuran bridal shoes. And don’t forget to wear them around the house indoors days before the wedding to gently break them in. 

PRO TIP: If you have your heart set on a pair of designer shoes that have a look to die for but kill your feet, consider buying a back up pair with a similar toe shape—that way no one will know the difference when you make the swap and you’ll have happy feet! For more expert advice, check out: 4 Pro Tips to Find the Perfect Comfortable Wedding Shoes.

Finalize your bridal accessories. Like dresses, wedding accessories are often made to order, especially veils which come in different lengths, shapes, colours, fabrics and sizes. In stock and off the rack accessories are also available, but like dresses, more time will open up more options to you. A bespoke bridal veil with hand embroidery or a shimmering cathedral veil with crystals can take up to 12 weeks to make.

Choose bridal party outfits. Now that it’s starting to feel real, the time has come to order fashion choices for the members of your bridal party; maybe even treat your bridesmaids to something sparkly like a pair of earrings or hair barrettes!

bride in veil and shoes getting ready

2-3 months before

Set up an appointment with your glam squad to create your look. Try out your bridal hairstyle and make-up. Remember to ask your hairstylist where your veil and headpieces go and let your make-up artist know how you want your eyes, lips and nails to look. Also, don't forget flawless makeup requires flawless skin! Discover How to get Camera-ready Skin with pro tips from Mobile Makeovers.

Get your “getting ready” wear worked out. You’ll want to be sitting pretty, quite literally, while your team of beauty experts do their work. There’s so many options for beautiful robes (like the one from By Catalfo featured above) that will add style and glam to your “before the wedding” photos. 

Organize your final fitting schedule, pick up your dress and wrap up any miscellaneous details. If you have any outstanding shopping  to do online, it’s best to get your orders now to prevent any disappointments. 

Check, check, check. You’ll have boxes and boxes of wedding stuff by now. Make sure you know where everything is and haven’t left anything out.

4 weeks before 

The countdown is on! Finalize the details of where everything needs to be and how it’s going to get there on the day. Also, consider other little details including a steamer, stain remover pen and sewing kit. If you have a wedding planner, they’ll look after these things, but if you don’t, you’ll want to pack items like these just in case!  

1 week before wedding

Pack everything up for safe transport and get it ready to go! Put your accessories in a clearly marked box or bag so nothing gets forgotten. Place tissue paper in between delicate items and take special care to keep your wedding dress and veil hanging, in a breathable bag. Alternatively, if you’re getting ready in the comfort of your own home, take your gown and veil out of the garment bag and hang it up in a safe, pet-free zone so that minor creases fall out.

Re-connect with your wedding photographer to confirm your timeline and any special photos you want. Whether you want a black and white shot of your veil from the back, or a picture from above that catches the sparkle of your dress and hair piece— it’s your day, you choose.

bride and groom sitting at the table

Breathe in, breathe out! You’ve made it to the finish line and now, it’s time to relax, let it go and enjoy your wedding!

At Laura Jayne, it's our passion to help brides find the perfect accessories to reflect their unique personality and style so they can feel and look their best on their wedding day. Visit the shop to get started, or contact us for styling help.

Want to get more styling tips, plus be first to know about new product drops, sales & events? Be sure to join our exclusive club of Very Important Brides & Babes (VIBs).

Photo Credits:

Engagement ring photo credit: Lucy Tran Photography
Angela Nuran shoes image: Jaylyn Todd Photography
All other images: Magna Arnott Photography
Robes: By Catalfo
Engagement ring: Anouk Jewelry
Wedding dress: Justin Alexander from Helen's Bridal, Barrie Ontario