How to Find a Last-Minute Wedding Gown

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Because most wedding gowns can take over four months to be delivered, finding a gown in a matter of weeks might feel like an impossibility. Before you give up on finding your dream gown, read the information below.

  • Define what you're looking for and how much you are willing to spend. From a traditional white gown to a slinky red dress, determine what type of dress you want. Time may be a limitation, but it's a good idea to begin your quest with an ideal in mind.

  • Conduct some preliminary research. Search Craigslist to see what's out there. Don't count on finding your dream dress, but give it a shot. When performing your search, use terms other than 'wedding gown.' Use a variety of descriptive words like: white dress, formal gown, bridal gown, party dress and other terms that will expand your search results.

  • Call local bridal salons and explain your situation. Ask about off-the-rack options. Many wedding gown stores sell sample dresses at discounted prices. This prevents you from having to order a dress and provides you with major savings. Also inquire about lines that ship immediately or have quicker turn-around times. Larger, well-established companies mass-produce their dresses and have well-stocked inventories available for shipping at all times.

  • Shop til you drop. Find fine dress boutiques in your area, and call ahead to ask if they carry more formal styles. Time is of the essence, so know before you go. Hit high-end department stores and check the special occasion dress section. Also browse the party and prom dress section which may be located in the juniors' section. If you're looking for a more informal dress, visit other apparel stores in the area. Again, call ahead to find out more about their dress selection.

  • Visit bridal department stores like David's Bridal and Bride's Mart. These stores carry a variety of wedding gowns in stock, in multiple sizes. They usually carry accessories as well, like veils and shoes.

  • Go vintage. For a truly one-of-a-kind look that can be bought right off the rack, visit vintage clothing stores. You'll find an assortment of old wedding gowns and party dresses. Try your luck at thrift stores for more retro-gowns and at dirt cheap prices.

Tips & Warnings

  • Ask bridal salons about rush order options. Many bridal dress lines can accommodate special time lines for an added fee. Others have certain styles that are always in stock and may be shipped immediately.
  • Remember that most bridal dresses need alterations. You might find the right size, but alterations are usually necessary for a custom fitting gown. This can add days, or even weeks, to the whole process.
  • Most bridal salons don't allow walk-ins, so be sure to make an appointment if you plan to stop by.

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