Shop early. It takes about six to 12 months from the moment you place the order to when you can bring the gown home, so once you have that ring on your finger, it's game on. The designer needs four or five months to make it, and then you'll want to schedule three fittings, about one month apart. Giving yourself ample time also guarantees that you’ll be able to fit in a variety of shopping experiences, from appointments at bridal boutiques to designer trunk shows. If you're short on time, don’t worry: For a surcharge ($50 and up), anything is possible.
Make sure the size is right. No two designer size charts are created equal. If you're a size 6 in the ready-to-wear world, for example, you could be anything from a 2 to a 12 on planet bridal. It can be jarring to see a larger number on the order form than you're used to, but resist the urge to get a smaller size. Taking in a gown is easy; letting it out is difficult.
Bring your best friends with you, but not too many. On reality shows, brides always bring a whole crew of friends and family members to join in on the shopping fun. And every single time, there's loads of drama. The takeaway? Less is more when it comes to companions. Bring one or two people whose input means the most to you. Otherwise, you'll spend too much time trying on gowns they picked out and steering the conversation back to what you want. If you can't imagine not including all of your friends.