What Do Wedding Dresses Cost?

A woman looking at wedding dresses

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If you're currently engaged, odds are you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed by one particular area: your wedding budget. That figure will determine how much you'll be able to spend in every area of your big day, from the venue down to the smallest details. One of the most notably tough areas to budget for is your wedding dress. How much should you budget for your wedding dress?

 

Your wedding dress is the one thing you've probably spent the most time dreaming about over the years, and there are emotions at play when it comes to choosing "the one." So setting a budget for this particular purchase is a tough thing to do. Setting the budget for your wedding dress is made even more difficult because the costs for dresses vary so widely and are based on a variety of factors. 

To make matters worse, wedding magazines can be confusing and often don't even list prices for gowns. So how do you figure out how much wedding dresses cost to save and budget for the one you want? Below are some tips and information that will help guide your budget. 

Dress Costs Depend On a Variety of Factors:

  • Designer - High-end, designer brands typically cost more because they are a symbol of status and exclusivity.
  • Fabric - Some fabrics are more expensive than others, plain and simple. Whether you have a love for chiffon or shantung, you'll want to check out how your fabric choice affects your bottom line. 
  • Details and embellishments - If there are lots of decorative embellishments like hand-beading or lace appliques, that can drastically increase the price.
  • Season - Bridal gown designers debut collections at least once, if not twice per year. Newer designs will likely run at higher price points than dresses from past seasons. 

Examples of Wedding Dress Prices

For around $500, you can purchase a wedding dress at a larger retailer that is machine made. Generally, these are made largely of synthetic fabrics and have minimal amounts of hand-detailing. You may be able to purchase a lovely bridesmaids gown in white from a more well-known designer. Make sure to get the wedding dress altered to help it fit you properly. There are many beautiful dress options available for the smaller budget.

Brides who are looking for a designer wedding dress in silk or other natural fabric should expect to pay between $2000 and $4000. For this amount of money, the gown should be very well made and include some hand detailing. You'll go to a salon where they'll measure you, help you pick your wedding dress, and order it directly from the designer in your size. Once it arrives, you may have to pay a little extra to have it altered to fit you perfectly.

For brides who have a more extravagant budget, you might choose to pay $6000 and up for a designer wedding dress custom-made just for you.

A dressmaker will work with you to precisely fit and design the gown around your body. Most of the work will be done by hand with incredible attention to detail, so you should expect to pay a premium for that sort of service and experience. 

How to find a Wedding Dress in Your Budget

Once you've decided how much you are willing to spend on your dress, you must do your best to only look at dresses within your price range. If you don't try on something you can't afford, you won't fall in love with something you can't afford, right? Wedding dress shopping isn't easy, but if you keep trying, you'll find something you like.