When shopping for your wedding dress, there’s a lot to consider. You’ll have to decide on a silhouette, fabric, style and more—and all of those options can have a big impact on the final price tag. The good news is that there are ways to cut costs without sacrificing quality or style. Just be sure to shop during sales, consider pre-owned dresses and don’t forget to factor in other cost-influencing factors such as season, fabric and customization.
The silhouette of your gown is one of the first things to consider. Silhouettes include ball gowns, mermaids, A-line and sheaths—and each has its own distinct effect on the look and feel of your dress. For example, gowns with fuller skirts like A-line and princess styles cling to your figure for an hourglass effect, while dresses with straight-lined silhouettes like sheath and column styles skim over the body. Choosing a silhouette is an easy way to narrow down your dress options and find the perfect dress for you.
The neckline of your dress is another crucial factor. There are plenty of different necklines to choose from, including bateau, jewel, sweetheart and off-the-shoulder options. Some necklines show more skin—including cleavage, depending on the depth of the plunge. Others, like portrait and V-neck styles, are ideal for showcasing your collarbone and shoulders.
A wedding dress’s fabric is also important, as it can dramatically change how the gown looks and feels. Lace, for example, is a feminine and romantic fabric that has been a wedding staple since the Victorian era. Other fabrics, such as satin and silk, offer a smooth, sleek feel that adds elegance to your dress.
Other details, such as appliqués and embellishments, can add texture, sparkle and a bold aesthetic to your gown. However, the amount of detailing can also have a direct effect on the dress’s overall cost, since hand-embellishments require hours and hours of labor to create.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask your bridal stylist to give you a quote upfront. The average wedding dress can run anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000, and you’ll want to be well prepared when it comes time to make your decision.
Once you’ve decided on a dress, be sure to place your order 8-12 months in advance. This will allow your gown to be custom-made and help avoid rush fees, which can cost as much as 30 percent of the final dress price.