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 .
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.
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 for about $50. Make sure to try on the undergarments with the dress as early as possible.
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 offers a guide on how to get the perfect fit. And TheKnot.com 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 and eBay offer dresses that originally costs thousands of dollars for up to 70 percent off.
Other shopping options include David's Bridal , which offers a variety of dresses in various sizes that can be purchased on-the-spot, and online wedding retailers such as HouseofBrides.com , 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 offers a city-by-city guide to retail shops.
7 Lesser-Known Discounts for the 50+ Crowd As they age, members of the Baby Boomer generation don't like to admit that they're senior citizens, but they love getting discounts. It's kind of a quandary, because some of the best deals available are reduced prices for older folks. || Posted October 21 2013
7 Ways to Stretch Your Reduced Food Budget End of the year budgets are tight for everyone, especially in this economy.It's especially hard for the millions of Americans who depend on government programs like food stamps to help make ends meet. || Posted November 11 2013
I purchased a stunning designer wedding gown from Our Story Bridal in New York City. The store is absolutely beautiful carrying a very large selection of the top designer wedding gowns. I saw dresses from Monique Lhuillier, Oscar de la Renta, Pronovias. I ultimately decided on a Romona Keveza wedding dress that was retailing at 60% off its retail price. And it fit me like a glove! Could not be happier!
I think weddings were intended to be meaningfull and spiritual unions, we can save money by not buying a expensive dress or suits, it can work out cheaper if you buy online that could customize for you and give you some adervice about how to choose a suit one in good quality and low price.And my friend did.She bought the one from 58weddingdress which is in good quality and low price and in free delivery.It was amazing when she dresses it which surprised us all.
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!
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.
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...
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!!!!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!
Posted by: a user in La Jolla, CA in La Jolla, CA.
Posted: December 5th, 2008 01:12PM
Store: M Bride
Style: 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
CostHelper is based in Silicon Valley and provides consumers with unbiased price information about thousands of goods and services. Our writers are experienced journalists who adhere to our strict editorial ethics policy.
UTI urgent care visit Paid: 147.00 Visit was $135. Antibiotics was $12. Waiting for four hours in the waiting room and the visit was quick... [more]
Spanish Medical Interpreter Paid: 150.00 I worked with SynShyne Services out of Monroe, NC. They were so worth the price! Professional, friendly, accurate, great attitude and always on time. I recieved an itemized report after every contact and a user friendly invoice weekly... [more]
Skin prick allergy test Paid: 573.00 Took my 9 yr. old in after an allergic reaction to eggs. Several panels for nuts, fish & top 8 allergens. Sure enough, egg came up. Got a script for epinephrine and left... [more]