Shopping for a wedding dress is one of the most exciting parts of planning a wedding. As much as you might dream about buying an expensive wedding dress, affordable wedding dresses are just as beautiful. But how much are wedding dresses, anyway?
Your wedding gown should fit into your budget – try to decide on a price range before you look for dresses. It’s possible to get lovely wedding gowns at every price point, so don’t worry if money is tight for your wedding – you can still find your dream dress.
Average Wedding Dress Cost
The price of a wedding gown varies greatly and depends on several things. Certain factors like designers, material, and style can affect the price. Business Insider estimates that the average price for a wedding dress is anywhere from $1,509 to $3,158. The Knot has similar price, estimating that the average cost of a wedding gown in 2018 was $1,631, with dress alterations.
With such a wide range, brides can designate a budget and find a wedding gown that fits their needs, whether you want an elaborate, beaded wedding dress or a simple white gown.
How much to spend on a wedding dress is up to you, but make sure you stick to your wedding budget. Some brides might prefer to spend more on their dress while others might want to spend more on the venue or catering. The average cost of a wedding dress doesn’t have to determine your budget!
Most Expensive Wedding Dress
If you’re a fan of Say Yes to the Dress, you’re already familiar with Kleinfeld wedding dresses. You might also be shocked by some of the prices.
Kleinfeld once sold a Pnina Tornai wedding gown for $80,000. Though it’s not a dress from Kleinfeld, there’s even a wedding dress adorned with diamonds for $12 million. For the most part, that’s out of everyone’s price range.
Celebrities can spend up to millions of dollars on custom-made gowns, but with the right bargains, you can find a beautiful dress for a fraction of the price. You don’t need an expensive wedding gown to look your finest.
Inexpensive Wedding Dresses
Yes, wedding dresses can be expensive, but you can also find wedding dresses that fit your budget. To find an affordable wedding gown, start looking early in the wedding planning process. Here are a few methods to save big on your wedding gown.
David’s Bridal has a section on their website that features wedding dresses for under $100, which is less than a tenth of the cost of an average wedding dress. Although there’s a fairly limited number of full-length dresses, all of them are extremely affordable. Keep updated with their sale section and the sale sections of other bridal stores for steep discounts.
If you find a dress from last season, there’s a good chance it’s discounted. If you truly adore the dress, then there’s nothing wrong with wearing something from the previous season. After all, it’s your wedding day, so you should wear the dress that fits what you enjoy the most.
Used wedding dresses are also inexpensive, and many are still in prime condition. Look in your local area for shops that sell used wedding dresses, or check out Borrowing Magnolia. Many of Borrowing Magnolia’s dresses are under $1000. Borrowing Magnolia inspects the dresses that are listed on the website to ensure that all of them are high-quality.
Another way to save on your wedding gown is to skip any ornate embellishments and find a basic gown. If lace, beads and sparkles are your style, you can always accessorize and use jewelry to take a simple white dress to an elaborate outfit.
Factors that Affect Cost
We all know weddings are expensive, but you may find yourself wondering why wedding dresses are so expensive. There are several factors that affect the price of these gorgeous gowns. Consider the following when budgeting for your wedding dress.
The fabric of your dress can change its price. For example, fabrics like silk, tulle, and high end lace are typically more expensive compared to more common materials. If you have your heart set on a full silk dress, anticipate how that might increase the price.
If you’re looking to save on fabric, there’s nothing wrong with polyester – the material has become better and better quality over time, and with the right embellishments your dress will look lovely no matter what fabric you choose.
Embellishments and Details
When you imagine your dream dress, is it beaded? Lace-covered? Bedazzled? These embellishments and what they are made from tend to affect the cost of a wedding gown. Intricate details that take more time to carefully add on will cost extra.
To cut costs, consider opting for a simpler dress and adding extra accessories. Or, if you want an embellished gown, pick a simple dress and ask your seamstress to add certain details like buttons, appliques, and more.
If you want a dress from a high end designer, it will cost extra. A Vera Wang gown – or any household name or big name in fashion – will cost more than other dresses off the rack.
While you might love the idea of a designer dress, you can find beautiful gowns without the designer name. If you’re set on a certain designer, research their costs so that you’re prepared for the price tag.
Although the wedding dress itself is the major cost, you need to plan for other expenses as well. Factor wedding dress alterations into your total wedding dress budget so there are no surprises when it comes to price.
Instead of a flat price, wedding dress alterations depend on the part of the dress that needs to be altered or taken in. Material also determines alteration price, for example, lace and beads are more delicate and difficult to handle, so alteration price will increase. As a result, the average cost of wedding dress alterations is not definitive. The Wedding Seamstress provides a list of their services and a range of prices. Be prepared to spend a couple hundred more on alterations and leave room for them in your dress budget!
Storing and preserving your wedding gown is another cost you should consider. Learn how to store your wedding dress and don’t forget to budget some extra cash for this post-wedding process.
Make sure that when you’re creating your wedding budget you account for not only your dress, but other accessories. You can count these as a separate expense from your dress if you want, but don’t forget to save some money for the rest of your ensemble. This includes your shoes, veil, undergarments, and any jewelry or other accessories.
Wedding Dress Sales
One of the best times to buy a wedding dress is during a retailer’s sample sale. These sales are usually in the summer and winter. Sample sales are typically final sale, so it’s recommended that you go dress shopping before and already know what dress to buy. Despite the name, sample sales have a wide variety of wedding dresses. If you’re prepared, a sample sale will score you a major discount.
Trunk shows, where a specific designer features products at a bridal salon, are an ideal place to start looking for a wedding gown. Trunk shows might have exclusive, new designs, but it’s also a place to look for discounts. Designers bring their new line of dresses to trunk shows, so even at a discount, it’s unlikely you’ll score a better deal than a sample sale.
If you’re patient and know how to shop for the best deals, it’s possible to find a gorgeous and affordable gown for your big day.
Can You Rent a Wedding Dress?
Absolutely! If you’re looking to cut costs, one option is to rent a wedding gown. However, this decision needs some consideration. Renting a dress means that you won’t be able to hold onto the dress as a memento, but it can be significantly cheaper than purchasing one. You might even be able to find a great deal on a designer dress.
Rent the Runway is a website that helps you find steals on all types of designer clothes, wedding dresses included. The site even has a wedding concierge service to provide dresses and consultations to brides and bridesmaids. There are plenty of unique styles to choose from and even more nontraditional wedding dresses, like jumpsuits.
Local stores also have rental options, so check your local area for places to shop for deals.
This page may contain affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, we'll earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you.