Factors That Drive Up the Cost of a Wedding Dress

There are few things more exciting in a girl’s life than finding her wedding dress. She may have dreamed about this moment since she was five and know the exact specifications of the gown down to the last sequin, or she might have just been prompted to shop after her future husband-to-be popped the question. Whatever the case, whether you’re a bride-to-be who has been researching dresses for months or simply looking to find your dream dress on the spot, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by all of the different options and details that go into creating a one-of-a-kind gown.

From the silhouette to fabric to embellishments, there is no shortage of choices. And because the gown isn’t just a piece of clothing, it’s a garment that requires a lot of time and resources to create—which means that it can also be quite pricy! So how do you know whether or not the dress you’re falling in love with is worth the price tag? We asked a bridal expert to break down the factors that drive the cost of a gown.

The first thing you need to do is be clear about your budget. “Whether you’re planning to purchase the dress yourself, or someone else is paying for it on your behalf, be upfront about what you can afford,” says Dami Olukoya, a bridal designer and founder of Black-owned womenswear label Imad Eduso. “Then, you can focus on the other things that will make your wedding truly special.”

In addition to your budget, it’s important to consider your wedding vision when shopping for a dress. Olukoya suggests choosing three words that sum up how you want to feel on your big day. This might be romantic, vintage, or glamourous. Then, you can narrow down your dress options by choosing styles that reflect those feelings. For example, if you want to feel elegant and glamorous, a ballgown would be an ideal choice. Similarly, if you’re looking to feel more romantic and feminine, a fit and flare gown would be a good option.

Another factor that drives up the cost of a gown is the type of fabric it’s made from. “Some fabrics, like lace, are very intricate and require a lot of labor,” says Moore. She adds that higher-end fabrics like silk and satin often have more of a premium look to them and can be more expensive.

The neckline of a gown can also affect the overall look and price. For example, a strapless or off-the-shoulder gown is typically more expensive than a V neck or sweetheart neckline. And the sleeves of a gown can also make it more or less expensive. From barely-there cap sleeves to boho bell sleeves, there are a variety of different silhouettes to choose from.

And of course, accessories can also have a major impact on the dress’s price. The most common accessory is a veil, which is traditionally worn to cover the head while walking down the aisle. Other popular choices include a flower crown, fingerless gloves, and other unique details.

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