* Post written by Yen Tran - owner and founder of Envious Bridal & Formal.
You’re taken away adrift into a series of daydreams to the land of beautiful...oh so beautiful wedding gowns. You’re surrounded by seemingly endless bridal gowns of all silhouette types, fabric makes, designers and detailing....
You snap out of your daydream and back to reality where you’re holding onto your phone scrolling through your Instagram feed which in recent times have become the curative kind of feed with an abundance of bridal content, especially wedding dresses. I’m sure after you have saved all the pictures of your favourite bridal dresses you’ve clicked across to the brand’s website to get some more information. What do you see? A product page with several more photos of the dress, perhaps some dress specifications and then a button that prompts you to make a booking for a dress viewing.
Oh wait – what about the price?
Some online bridal websites display the price of the dress, but most don’t. Are you curious as to just how much that beautiful dress may cost you? If the price tag isn’t a concern for you, well, I am so very envious of you! But let’s face it, most of us are.
So, do you have or have you set a budget as to how much you will be spending on your wedding gown?
If not, you should. Here’s why.
Just like you, I was once a bride-to-be and shopping around in search for my dream dress. I had made a booking for wedding dresses viewing at a renowned Perth bridal shop one Saturday with my mother. As we entered the store, our eyes were set upon a sea of white and ivory palette wedding dresses that was displayed against a bone white wall that featured a pattern emulating an intricate lace style.
The bridal store was a rather spacious and in the middle of the store stood a bridal consultant holding several wedding dresses for a bride-to-be to examine.
“All these dresses are how much?!! You’re kidding me! But I can’t afford that!” the bride exclaimed.
The bridal consultant looked a bit taken back at the bride’s outburst but regained her composure and indicated to a small section in the back corner of the store. “I’m sorry if the prices are not what you had expected but we do have a small selection of wedding dresses that are in your price range.”
The bride-to-be hurriedly made her way over to the corner, rummaged through the wedding dresses, flipped the swing tags to check the price and then turned back to the bridal sales consultant with furrowed brows. “Some of the dresses are OK, but I don’t love it. I love the ones I tried on first.”
Whilst waiting for the bridal consultant to finish up with the bride, I got to witness the appointment close with the bride not being interested in anything else but the couple of gowns she had tried on earlier. She left the bridal store crestfallen and honestly, I felt for her. You’ve fallen in love with a gown, and it’s not just any gown, it’s the most beautiful gown that you will wear in your lifetime, but you can’t and won’t be able to get it because you can’t afford it.
I’ve seen many brides get caught up in the excitement whirlwind of trying on countless wedding dresses only to have their expectations crumble upon them, be tremendously disappointed and have what’s supposed to be a fun and rewarding experience turn into a mental (and monetary) letdown.
These brides I’ve seen have;
a) Tried on and found “The one” wedding gown but the dress is way out of their price range.
b) Have fallen in love with particular designer gowns after trying it on and now no other dress can compare (in their minds).
c) Completely overspent their wedding dress budget.
Understanding how much you are willing to spend and what you can actually afford on your wedding dress will ensure your shopping experience will be so much easier, efficient and enjoyable. Therefore, I strongly recommend that you think deep and set a budget before you even entertain the idea of searching online for your dream dress or booking appointments at bridal stores.
So where do you start and what to consider with your wedding dress budget? Read on for my top tips.
Top 3 Tips To Setting Your Wedding Dress Budget
First think about your ideal overall wedding budget. Then think about how you will fund for everything. The sum of the money that you will have to spend is directly relative to three sources of money; your own savings, your partner’s savings plus any other contribution base such as your family or your investments. How much money can be gathered from each source?
Make a list breakdown estimation of all the items and services that you intend and require for your wedding. What is your total budget? Then look over your list again determine if there is anything on the list that you can possibly reduce your budget on, or, even eliminate! This will enable you to allocate more money to other high priority items on your list. Let’s say you came to $50,000 for your entire budget and you have decided you are happy to compromise on the music component by dropping the live band option of $13,000 for a DJ that cost $5,000. This will give you a saving of $8,000 which you can reallocate the funds (in the entirety or part of) to something else which you deem is more important, i.e the venue, your wedding dress etc.
That’s right. Do your research and know the difference between online prices and bridal store prices. It’s great to check up online to see the price ranges but sometimes the online stores aren’t representative of what the actual prices are. If you have ever come across websites where they display absolutely stunning dresses at absolutely rock bottom prices (too good to be true), how can it really be? Some would say they are scam websites, taking the original designer’s images and using it for their websites.
It’s important to do some research and find out the bridal boutiques that you have in mind that you want to go visit what their price range is and the styles of dresses they carry. You’ll want to avoid being in a situation of falling in love with a wedding gown, only experience shock or disappointment upon finding out that it is largely out of the price you’d be comfortable to pay.
3. Don’t Forget Alterations
This is a cost that many brides overlook and don’t realize it until they’re almost at the final stages of signing off on their wedding gown. Whether you are purchasing a wedding gown off the rack of order the dress from a designer in a size closest to your measurements, chances are, (unless you are exceptionally lucky) alterations are almost always required to give you a final perfect fit in your dress.
Some of the most common alterations to wedding dresses include hemming the dress, taking in the dress or letting it out.
Expect to pay from $400 - $900 on alterations, depending on what needs to be done and how much alteration work is required. For example; when your dress arrives you find that you need your dress to be taken out. Your dress is quite heavily beaded on intricate lace. Of course this will cost significantly more for alterations than a dress that is more minimalistic for obvious reasons – much more labour intensive, time consuming and intricate to work with.
Some bridal stores offer in house alterations while some others will refer you to their recommended seamstresses or may even leave that decision for you to go find your own. The prices of alterations will vary across different vendors so it’s wise to keep in mind the potential alterations you may need if you select a certain dress.
This is particularly important if you are a bride that cannot go over a certain amount. The additional cost of alterations to your wedding dress could mean that you’ll blow your budget out to what you had originally budgeted for.
So it only takes a bit of time, some preliminary research and you’re on a good path to ensuring your wedding dress shopping experience is a whole lot easier, seamless and enjoyable whilst staying within your budget…which translates to less stress and money saved!
Did you find having a budget help you stay on tracking in looking and shopping for your wedding dress? Leave a comment below what your experience has been like!