Lea and Johnathan met in January at a game night with friends. A week later Johnathan took Lea to a country dance and asked her to be his girlfriend. By April, they knew they wanted to get married and Johnathan proposed. What followed afterwards was not anticipated by either of them.
Lea and Johnathan ended up remaining engaged for two years after the initial proposal. For one reason or another the date kept getting pushed back – but they both knew one thing – no matter what, they wanted to be sealed for time and all eternity in a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints temple. Planning a wedding became a struggle, because they had 4 working wedding dates in the two-year engagement period. When they finally settled on August 28, 2015, they still had the challenge of planning a wedding from three different locations – Lea and Johnathan were finishing their current semester of school in Wyoming, Lea’s mom and sister were planning the reception with Lea’s long-distance guidance in Idaho, and the temple sealing itself would take place in the Bountiful, Utah LDS temple.
The reception took place in her grandmother’s garden in Idaho the day after the ceremony. The family went to work setting up tables with white tablecloths set with glass dishes filled with red, blue, and silver pebbles. They used red and blue balloons to add whimsy and color.
Lea bought her wedding dress early into the engagement, but over the two years, she didn’t regularly try it on again to assure the fit and style – which became a challenge the week of the wedding when her weight had fluctuated enough that the dress did not fit. Lea’s mom worked quickly to let out the panel for the corset back, but with all the stress of the wedding details to be organized, the dress could have been one less thing to worry about.
Getting the wedding gown is one of the most exciting parts of planning a wedding. There are so many things to think about – style, cost, venue, season – when purchasing a gown. Many brides have a vision of what they want to look like on their wedding day. But purchasing a gown can be a challenging step for long or short engagements.
In the case of long engagements, a bride needs to keep in mind what Lea experienced – the human body changes, and regular fittings are important to assure the dress will fit. In most cases, a bride should not order a wedding dress more than a year ahead of the day, according to Bridal Guide’s article “10 Mistakes Brides Make When Dress Shopping.”
“It’s important to have the rest of your wedding details in place before you can truly shop for a gown, since many factors can influence the style of the dress. Consider your venue: ‘An ornate gown with tons of embellishments and a sizeable train might look stunning in a ballroom but completely out of place at a beachfront ceremony,’ said Tolu Ogbechie, one of our real bride bloggers. Also, the colors you choose for your bridesmaids and décor can influence whether you choose white or an off-white shade” (Bridal Guide).
A specific vision for your wedding when you go to buy the gown at the right time, and getting regular fittings will be the saving grace for a long engagement.
On the other hand, in the case of a short engagement, you really need to act quickly to get the dress. “Traditionally, a wedding dress must be ordered at least six months before a wedding… However, for the bride short-on-time, there are other alternatives” (About.com – Weddings).
Tali Gallo, a blogger for Solutions Bridal Designer House planned her wedding in five months, and assures her readers, “Five months is enough time to order a wedding dress. There is no need to panic, but my advice is to act quick. The more time you give the seamstress the better.” For three months or less, however, a bride most likely will have to compromise and purchase a gown alternatively to the traditional method.
Sample sales will have gowns you can purchase off the rack, dry-clean, and have altered quickly, but some stores’ samples will be limited in size and number – so getting “the one” is a slightly higher task. A bride should also be aware that samples have been tried on, and are bought as-is, so they have to pay special attention to any defects, like stains or rips in the fabric, because fixing these problems will add to the already costly bill.
Other options to consider: “Visit a large bridal emporium like David’s Bridal, where they have a wide range of sizes in stock, ready to be worn. Consider using a dress not intended to be a wedding dress or bridesmaid dress, including prom dresses. Also, JCrew now carries a line of dresses suitable for brides and bridesmaids looking for a relaxed style” (About.com – Weddings).
Whether you’re getting married in 3 months or 12, the dress is an important decision. Maybe it’s an overwhelming decision and process for you as a bride – but do not fear! There are so many resources for you to refer to. The Knot has a great article that breaks down a timeline just for the dress. Martha Stewart Weddings has 18 great tips for wedding dress shopping. And, always, have fun – enjoy looking at photos of gowns, enjoy trying on the dreamy dresses; make the process of planning and making decisions an opportunity to be creative and unique to you and your style. Your wedding is your story – tell it your way.
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