How to find a wedding dress within my budget?

A great question I get asked all the time. Brides are not sure how much a wedding dress costs to determine a budget. You can easily find dresses online or big box stores for as low as $100 or you can go to a designer showroom and spend $20,000. What determines price is many things – manufacturing, fabric quality, fit quality, service level, and brand name. Finding a dress at the lowest price isn’t the smartest way to approach finding your perfect wedding dress. As in the end, you could be on an endless hunt and pay more in alterations if it’s a low-quality dress as well.

The best approach isn’t going by what to think you should spend on your dress, as of course, we would all say as low as possible – I included. You should instead first have a total wedding day budget and put aside a percentage for your wedding dress alone.

What should that percentage be of the wedding budget? Well, 5% is a good average to put aside for the dress itself, then another 5% for your accessories, alterations, and beauty is a good start. If you get lucky to find a dress for under your 5% then great! Or if you find a dress for a tad over the 5%, BUT it will be made for you so alterations are less then great – or you don’t plan on having a veil etc, you can spend a bit more on your dress.

How should I start shopping for my dress? Another great question which here is a few posts to help you:

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Researching the right bridal shop for you – Part 1
Chances are, if you’re engaged, you have BIG feelings about gown shopping. You’re either ready and excited and can’t wait to get started or you put it off for a while because you were a little nervous about the process. Or you fall somewhere in between. The good news is that I am here for you and promise to make the experience a fun one. I have a singular mission in working with you, and that’s to find you a gown you love at a price you feel comfortable with an experience that leaves you with that warm and fuzzy feeling. That sounds great, right??
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Researching the right bridal shop for you – part 2
Now that your venue is selected and date is set, you’re likely looking at what bridal boutiques to visit so that you can shop for your bridal gown, and there are many options out there! Last week we advised first narrowing down your selection to the stores that have the correct price range of gowns you’re looking for. Once you have done that, how can you pick the best stores to visit?

When should you start shopping? Dress Timeline – Step 3
The ring is on, the champagne is popped to celebrate, the venue and date are set…..and now it’s time to go wedding dressing shopping! But when should you start shopping for your wedding gown? A good time to start is 8-11 months before your wedding day. In the era we live in today of “fast fashion”, you may not realize that bridal fashion follows a whole new set of rules when it comes to timing.
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When to book an appointment – Step 4
Your venue and date are set. You took our advice from the last two weeks and figured out which bridal boutiques have both the right price range of gowns and will deliver the best experience (missed those blog posts – read here and here). So now it’s time to get shopping, right? Almost…..
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Find the right boutique, find the perfect dress!
Just like other wedding vendors, there are many bridal shops to consider. Each having their own gown selection, style and personality. It can be overwhelming and hard to determine what is best for you. Let’s make sure you are successful in finding your dream dress based on your wedding style, vision, and budget before booking your appointment.

Things to Know for a Flawless Wedding Dress Shopping Experience

Lastly, if you chose to visit Your Dream Bridal, it will be unlike any other wedding dress shopping experience. Some final thoughts for you as you begin your dream dress search.

1. Be on time.

I reserve 90 minutes for every bride, and my consultations run back-to-back. (Unless you booked a ‘Let’s Celebrate’ reservation). If you arrive late, it will cut into the amount of time I have with you to try on dresses. But life does happen! Sometimes I may be running late with a bride and ask for you to wait. I will, of course, offer you your full time if that happens. However, if you are more then 15 minutes late, I will have to assume you are no longer coming and will forfeit your consultation.

2. Plan to bring your key decision-makers with you.

When you find your dress, you want your favorite people there to share the moment! If someone can’t join you, you can plan to face time them. I can fit 3-5 comfortably but do have limited space in the boutique. If you need to bring more then 5 people, then you can book a ‘Let’s Celebrate’ reservation.

3. Determine your ideal budget for your dress and communicate that to me.

Part of my role is to find you a dress that won’t hurt your wedding day budget, so being as upfront and honest with yourself and me will help us find a dress that you love everything about—including the price point. My dresses range from $2,000 – $4,000 with the majority of them falling between $2,250-$2,750 and sale gowns at 50% off retail.

4. Set a wedding date.

I can not order a dress without a wedding date. It’s required by the designer. Plus a wedding date and venue really do help guide the vision for your day and ultimately how to want to feel that day.

5. Get excited about your dream wedding gown! 

Most dresses take 4-6 months to produce, and all dresses require alterations, which can take an additional 2-3 months. If your wedding date is quickly approaching, that’s OK, I’ve got your back! Keep in mind though, that your options become limited, or you may run into additional rush fees. I will help you navigate the best option for your big day, so leave the stress to me.