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Wedding Dress Cost


How Much Does a Wedding Dress Cost?

 
low costLow: $200 or lessaverage costMedium: $500-$1,000high costHigh: $2,000-$5,000+
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  Typical costs:
  • On the low end, a wedding dress can cost $200 or less for an off-the-rack white or cream evening dress in a synthetic fabric from a department store, or for a simple or on-sale wedding dress from chain bridal retailer.
  • In the mid-range, expect to pay $500 to $1,000 for an off-the rack or custom-made wedding dress, with a small to medium amount of beading or lace detail, from a chain bridal retailer or bridal boutique.
  • And on the high end, expect to pay $2,000 to $5,000 and up for a custom-made designer dress in silk, sometimes with elaborate embellishments of hand-stitched lace or beading, from an upscale wedding boutique.
  • The average cost for a wedding dress is $1,505, according to The Bridal Association of America[1] .
Related articles: Bridal Veil, Wedding Dress Alterations, Wedding Day Make-up, Bridesmaid Dress

What should be included:
  • Upscale bridal salons and even mid-range chain bridal stores typically provide personalized service, assigning a retail assistant to the bride while she shops, taking professional measurements before ordering the dress, and providing advice on accessories.
Additional costs:
  • Do not forget to factor in the cost of alterations, which can run from $20 for a small nip or tuck in the bodice to $200 or more for more labor-intensive work. If you buy your dress at a bridal salon, ask whether alterations are included and, if not, get a written estimate of the alteration costs ahead of time.
  • Get started early so you can avoid a "rush fee." Designer wedding dresses typically must be ordered two to five months ahead of time; if you order late, many shops will charge 10 to 25 percent extra.
  • Most wedding dresses will require special undergarments, which vary depending on the style. At minimum, most brides pay $30 and up for a strapless bra and many buy a body-slimming garment such as Spanx[2] for about $50. Make sure to try on the undergarments with the dress as early as possible.
Discounts:
  • One of the best ways to get a quality dress at a steep discount is to attend a sample sale at a bridal salon or designer's studio, where floor samples are sold for 25 to 75 percent off. However, most store samples come in smaller sizes, so this works for brides who are a street size 4, 6 or 8. Some shops sell overstock, too, and those dresses come in a range of sizes.
  • Save money by ordering a bridesmaid's dress in white or ivory, but be aware that some designers charge an extra fee of $50 or more for a single ivory dress. This can be a good option for a bride who cannot afford a very expensive wedding gown but is drawn toward more luxurious natural fabrics, such as silk.
Shopping for a wedding dress:
  • Be aware that wedding dresses can easily be taken in, but it is difficult or impossible to let them out. Also, it is important to know that wedding dresses typically run a size or two smaller than street size.Brides.com[3] offers a guide on how to get the perfect fit. And TheKnot.com[4] offers shopping tips.
  • If you want to buy a designer dress but do not want to pay designer prices and are willing to consider a worn-once dress, sites such as Preowned Wedding Dresses.com[5] and eBay[6] offer dresses that originally costs thousands of dollars for up to 70 percent off.
  • Other shopping options include David's Bridal[7] , which offers a variety of dresses in various sizes that can be purchased on-the-spot, and online wedding retailers such as HouseofBrides.com[8] , which often offer designer dresses at steep discounts. Some brides try on a dress at a boutique, then order it online for less. The tradeoff, though, is the lack of in-person service.
  • For local bridal salons, The Knot.com[9] offers a city-by-city guide to retail shops.
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
Custom Gown
Amount: $6,000.00
Posted by: Mackenzie in Brinkley, AR.Posted: January 4th, 2014 10:01AM
Designer: Stephen Yearick
I just purchased a beautiful custom gown from Lows Bridal in Brinkley, Arkansas. It was 100% custom made by the designer and I can not wait to walk down the aisle in it
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Awesome dress
Amount: $785.00
Posted by: marina93 in Sacramento, CA.Posted: March 27th, 2013 01:03PM
Store: David\'s BridalStyle: simple, Cinderella (ballgown)
Designer: David\'s Bridal
I visited two stores before stopping by David's bridal. They had huge sales that day and after I tried on 5 dresses, I thought of going back and buying a $1000 dress at a small store. Then the sales assistant brought the beautiful dress I bought. It does not have any diamonds but rather just has some sparkles on it, very puffy/ballgown, the way I like it, and it has two little puffs on top of the skirt making it look kind of like the cinderella dress ;) Love the dress, the fabric is awesome and it looks unique and just gorgeous!
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Eco-conscious Wedding Dress
Amount: $1,220.00
Posted by: SarahinKC in Kansas City, KS.Posted: March 20th, 2013 10:03AM
Store: Style: Eco-friendly
Designer: Janay Handmade
Janay, a local green seamstress, is building my dress from my mother and maternal grandmother's dresses. My mother's lace and my grandmother's silk buttons are going on a dress made from organic cotton sateen — 100% eco-friendly.rnrnThe total cost of the dress ($1,220) includes all alterations, a final pressing, and a handmade accessory. The best part? Janay will modify the dress after the wedding to turn it into a formal dress.
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My wedding Dress
Amount: $3,700.00
Posted by: Fabulisha in West Hartford, CT.Posted: March 10th, 2013 02:03PM
Store: KleinfeldsStyle: Ballgown
i love my dress. Perfect and chic with silk tulle ruffles. Cant wait to stun at my wedding this fall
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Store closing sale
Amount: $375.00
Posted by: michelle.bolz@hartfordlife.com in Avon, CT.Posted: May 17th, 2012 07:05AM
Store: Maynard's BridalStyle: Alfred Angelo 2093
Designer: Alfred Angelo
Before I was even engaged I saw a going out of business sign on my local bridal show. My boyfriend encouraged me to go looked. I figured I wouldn't find anything as they were just selling what they had in stock and were not placing new orders. I knew I didn't want white, I'm a size 12 and 5'0". Well, I found the perfect dress for only $375. I couldn't be happier as I just don't get when people spend a car downpayment on a dress they wear once...
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Designer Gown
Amount: $600.00
Posted by: EAnn in Temple, TX.Posted: March 15th, 2012 06:03AM
Store: House of BridesStyle: 2100
Designer: Alfred Angelo
Do not order your dress with House of Brides.com. I had a very negative experience. They advertised a dress that they did not have, and had already charged my credit card for it. When I asked for a refund, they gave me the run-around. I had to get the Better Business Bureau to investigate in order to get a timely response. They also did not apply an advertised promotion to this dress purchase. They charged me for veil and shoes that were supposed to be free. Finally, I got the refund, but after much hassle.
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Designer Gowns
Amount: $1,065.00
Posted by: HappyBride610 in Cincinati, OH.Posted: April 26th, 2011 02:04PM
Store: Bridal and Formal, Cinci OHStyle: Silk A-Line with long train and beading
Designer: Signature Collection
I got a BEAUTIFUL dress at Bridal and Formal and it was not made with cheap materials as most the David's Bridal gowns were. I have a friend who found my exact dress in a boutique for over $4500 plus tax and I walked away with tax for $1065. There are five times more gowns there then anywhere else I have ever seen or heard of. The store has everything you need there and the sales people are extremely helpful. The only thing I would avoid buying there was veils, they seemed high to me on veils so I got mine else where even though they offered a discount for everything. However, I got my gown, my bridesmaid dresses and their dyable shoes all at Bridal and Formal.
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Custom gown
Amount: $21,300.00
Posted by: Aqua Willows in New York City, NY.Posted: January 23rd, 2011 08:01PM
Store: KleinfeldStyle: Ballgown/cupcake
Designer: Custom
I had a custom gown made for myself and it was all paid for by my daddie! Thx dad! The total cost came out to be 21 g before tax of course. It was a huge, sparkly, cupcake gown and it was totes puffy! It was absolutely gorgeous and sexilicous! I am like totally bamboozled that I got it! It is like SO ME!
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Wedding Dress
Amount: $179.99
Posted by: alicely in New York City, NY.Posted: December 8th, 2010 11:12PM
Store: www.dressesshop.comStyle: Floor Length
Designer: DressesShop.com
I bought a Sheath/Column Bust Corset Floor Length Applique Pleated Beading Chiffon Wedding Dress from DressesShop.com. And i think it is wonderful.It is Fitted but with a straight skirt,this can be soft and floaty as in a grecian style or fitted and structured with a straight skirt.
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Wedding Dress
Amount: $400.00
Posted by: Potatopuff in New York City, NY.Posted: September 5th, 2010 11:09AM
Store: The Bridal GardenStyle: Ballgown
Designer: Michaelangelo
A stunning dress that should have cost thousands... At the bridal garden, dresses are donated (most are new!) from designers, and all of the proceeds go to charity! Check them out!
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Wedding Dress
Amount: $299.99
Posted by: Sandra Akin in Augusta, GA.Posted: August 26th, 2010 08:08PM
Store: David's bridalStyle: 98570
Designer: Michaelangelo
My husband and I were on a tight budget when we got married, so I knew I couldn't spend any more than 300 on a dress. And the first dress I tried on, I knew was the dress, at 299.99.I'm a plus size woman and am only 5'4 so it was no surprise to me, it had to be hemmed. The accessories along with the alterations added about 150 more to the dress, but I could not have been happier with the dress. It fit me beautifully, and actually made me look like I had a waist.
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My Custom Made Wedding Gowns
Amount: $1,000.00
Posted by: teilaweila in Hillsboro, OR.Posted: July 23rd, 2010 09:07PM
Store: EbayStyle: Satin ballgown with pickups and roses
Designer: Ebay Designer in China
Spend a total of $1,000 for two dresses including alterations :) It pays to shop around! Sure the dresses were'nt completely finished underneath but seriously? WHO CARES?! no one ever sees that anyways!!!! Handmade dresses just for me and everyone thought I paid 5k!!! Forget Kleinfelds!!!!!
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Plus Sized custom under $200
Amount: $180.00
Posted by: MightyHappy1010 in Santa Clara, CA.Posted: May 24th, 2010 03:05PM
Store: Style: strapless, lace over satin
Designer: me
I had a hard time finding pretty plus size dresses that didnt cost $2k. So I tried my go to source, Ebay. I designed my own dress with my own colors and paid $180 including shipping. The negative, for me at least, was it was made in China. I hate buying non-American stuff but my budget screamed louder then my patriotism and I got the dress of my dreams custom made to fit me.
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The Best Dress for Me!
Amount: $206.01
Posted by: Sarah Page in San Anselmo, CA.Posted: May 19th, 2010 09:05AM
Store: ShadowsStyle: Vintage
Designer: Nataya
I absolutely love this dress. It is, to me, a real wedding dress. It is a vintage style dress but with modern elements. It's a see-through lace, and came with a nice slip - but I think I am going to shop for a different slip that suits me better. I will be able to enjoy this dress for years and I love that I can wear nothing under it (after the wedding of course) and be super sexy in my wedding dress for my husband (at home).

Shadows is a wonderful store. My friend who is also getting married this year, and I spend FOUR hours trying on dresses there the day I bought my dress. We had a very nice and helpful assistant the entire time. I found a long veil while there which, when I sent my mom a picture of me in the whole ensemble, my mom said she will buy me the dress AND the veil, she loves it so much! The veil costs more than the dress, but is so worth it. I will be a unique and very romantic bride in this.
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What I paid for my wedding dress
Amount: $1,900.00
Posted by: K&C Newport Beach in Costa Mesa, CA.Posted: May 12th, 2010 08:05PM
Store: Mon Amie BridalStyle: Anushka
Designer: Augusta Jones
Picture of the dress site: http://www.augustajones.com/fashion04b.htm
I am a size 16, and I had to purchase a 24. Because of the larger size there was an additional fee of $450.00. This is the breakdown of costs:

Dress in size 24: $1795.95
Quick Rush Cut (less than 4 months): 531.00
Extra size "Le Femme": $450.00
CA State Tax: 161.13
The shop gave me 30% discount on the dress and "comped" the rush fee and the extra size.
TOTAL paid: $2002.48

I am at a short timeline, and I do not have time to shop around. The best advice for brides:
KNOW your budget ahead of time Be Flexible with the style of gown BUY off the rack TRY not to pay more than what is budgeted unless you are willing to cut the budget in another area to make up the difference SHOP at a reputable location Write down the style and size you will need and CALL around. You will be surprised that NOT all pricing is created equal.
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wedding dress
Amount: $400.00
Posted by: melissa w in las vegas, NV.Posted: March 26th, 2010 01:03PM
Store: celebrations bridalStyle: ball gown
Designer: allure
its a beautiful starpless ball gown dress with chapel train
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wedding dress
Amount: $610.00
Posted by: Beautiful Bride in palm springs, CA.Posted: March 26th, 2010 12:03PM
Store: David's BridalStyle: v8820
I love my dress! I tried on at least 15 others and I kept coming back to this one. I have a short torso and wide hips, every other dress seemed to make me look wider and shorter except this one. It matches me, my wedding colors, and the wedding style.

http://www.davidsbridal.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplayView?catentryId=6096909&searchDimension=689%2B4294965107&subCategory=-49999486%7C-49995498&searchKeyword=v8820&searchKey=All&catalogId=10051&categoryId=-49995498&searchSort=&searchDimensionName=DavidsBridal.com&langId=-1&currentIdx=103&search_category=689%2B4294965107&storeId=10052&ddkey=http:EndecaConnectionQueryCmd
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great dress, great experience
Amount: $400.00
Posted by: kvp in LA, CA.Posted: March 15th, 2010 11:03PM
Store: pre-owned wedding dresses dot comStyle: strapless beaded goddess (not poofy)
Designer: wtoo
This was a 2009 season dress listed for $550 in the Watters catolog. It's simple and gorgeous, silk charmeuse. The website, pre-ownedweddingdresses.com, was pretty easy to use. Most of the gowns on that site were more expensive than this one -- if you want a better selection of used dresses on the low end, like under $300, you should try BravoBride.com. The person I bought it from did not wear it -- tags still on. She was just wonderful, sent it quickly and boxed it like a gift. I will have to pay for alterations -- probably about $100.
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I\'m so glad I found The Bustle Bridal Boutique
Amount: $800.00
Posted by: Superstar in Del Mar, CA.Posted: February 19th, 2010 04:02PM
Store: The BustleStyle:
Designer: Chic Couture
I found my gown, a custom made Chic Couture gown, at THE BUSTLE in Del Mar, California. The one on one customer service was wonderful - but the best part of the experience was that the boutique also has a hair and makeup salon for trials and day of services. You can't find such great services together anywhere else - made my life so much easier!!
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Lace Gown
Amount: $800.00
Posted by: a user in Edwardsville, IL.Posted: January 27th, 2010 12:01PM
Store: Style: modified mermaid
Designer: Alfred Angelo
My wedding gown is a satin with a lace overlay which has beads in it. strapless, zip-up back with fake buttons, chapel train.
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Courture gown
Amount: $995.00
Posted by: a user in La Jolla, CA in La Jolla, CA.Posted: December 5th, 2008 01:12PM
Store: M BrideStyle: Junko gown (Diana)
I'm always drawn to high-quality fabrics and luckily I found my Junko gown (Diana) while going to the sample sale at M Bride in La Jolla. My dress was originally $3600 and I paid $995. It's 100% silk with some organza and tulle. Beautiful gown and I love it so much! The only thing is that it's a size 8 and I'm a size 0. Now I have to worry about alterations and also dress cleaning since it was a bit soiled on the bottom due to the fact that it's a sample gown.
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BRILLIANT! Wedding Consignment!
Amount: $800.00
Posted by: DMP in Minneapolis, MN.Posted: May 29th, 2008 11:05AM
Store: Brides of FranceStyle: Shangai
Designer: LaSposa
I found a NEVER WORN consignment La Sposa at this store. The prices across the board were amazing. They sell new and pre-owned (which are all marked half of retail). Its small, quaint, and family owned. Don't buy anything until you have checked them out. They have two stores, Uptown and Edina.
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David\\\'s Bridal sans alterations
Amount: $400.00
Posted by: error message in Rockville, MD.Posted: April 2nd, 2008 10:04AM
Store: David\\\'s BridalStyle:
Designer: Oleg Cassini
Bought an Oleg Cassini gown during their semi-annual sale... I was happy with the store when I made the appointment to try dresses on, and do quite like my dress, but when I went to pick it up, was not treated like I was spending nearly 1K on a dress - decided to find alterations elsewhere as they started at $75 for hems. One suggestion is if a store doesn't have your dress as a sample size, try a similar style in a dress you may not have been considering to get a rough idea of what your dress will look like in your size.
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Ebay
Amount: $400.00
Posted by: Megan in Los Angeles, CA.Posted: January 9th, 2008 07:01AM
Store: EbayStyle:
Designer: Pronovias
I love my dress and I got it on ebay for $400! It was originally ove $1800. I knew I really liked this designer so I just waited until I saw the dress I wanted in my size. Definitely worth it.
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Custom at a bargain
Amount: $350.00
Posted by: Twistie in Santa Rosa, CA.Posted: October 8th, 2007 01:10PM
Store: homemadeStyle: N/A
Designer: me and my bridesmaid
I could have bought a gown off the rack, but it would never have suited me so well or been so special as the one my bridesmaid sewed for me.

The lace was handmade (by me) silk. The fabric was purchased through a company that offered near wholesale prices to the public on pure silk.

The pricetag above also includes the lovely, fanciful cotton full slip made to go underneath.

Yes, it took a lot of work and a great deal of time, but it was well worth every stitch. Plus I didn't have to pay for a lot of alterations so the dress would fit my petite woman frame and I wasn't restricted to the details and lines that happened to be fashionable that year.

If you or someone close to you is an excellent sewer, then take my advice and make your own. Nothing could possibly be more special that knowing the hands that made your gown sewed it with love.
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Great Dress Great Price Large busted lady
Amount: $280.00
Posted by: happy in idaho in Boise, ID.Posted: September 21st, 2007 10:09PM
Store: Davids BridalStyle: 98570
Designer: Michaelangelo
I am 5'8 180 pounds 38DDD and I actually found a beautiful off the shoulder gown that fit perfectly with no alternations with the full crioline slips and garment bag for less than 300 bucks! Looked all over for months and Davids Bridal has the best fitting gowns!
Great deal on strapless corset that fit's unbelieveably well and tip on veils and a tiara for 20 bucks --contact me!
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money doesn't buy happiness
Amount: $450.00
Posted by: Happy bride in san jose, ca, CA.Posted: September 7th, 2007 12:09AM
Store: Davids BridalStyle: simple and elegant
I spent far less than the national average, and I loved my dress. It was ivory tulle with a ruched bodice, delicate ivory beading and a chapel train. I initially bought a $1200 gown elsewhere, but thankfully was able to cancel the order -- it was too fancy, and I felt like a stiff plastic cake topper. The simpler dress was more my style, and the price was a lot easier to handle. I know it's a once in a lifetime event, but that doesn't mean spending crazy money on a dress you wear only once.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.bridalassociationofamerica.com/Wedding_Statistics/
  2.  www.spanx.com/category/index.jsp?categoryId=2992553
  3.  www.brides.com/wedding-dresses-style/wedding-dresses/2010/06/essential-guide-wedding-dr...
  4.  wedding.theknot.com/bridal-fashion/wedding-dress-shopping/articles/15-must-read-gown-sh...
  5.  www.preownedweddingdresses.com/
  6.  www.ebay.com/sch/Wedding-Dresses-/15720/i.html?_armrs=1&_mdo=Clothing-Shoes-Accessories...
  7.  www.davidsbridal.com/Browse_Bridal-Gowns-Features-All-Gowns
  8.  www.houseofbrides.com/c-3-wedding-dresses.aspx
  9.  wedding.theknot.com/local-wedding-vendors.aspx
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