Whether you’ve been dreaming about your wedding dress since the age of five and know exactly what you want to the last sequin, or you’re just hoping to find something that feels like the most authentic version of yourself on your big day, your gown should be a reflection of your personal style. And while the perfect silhouette may end up being different than what you expected, that’s perfectly okay!
A wedding dress is the most significant and symbolic piece of clothing a bride will wear, but there are so many other things that go into making your gown truly your own. It needs to fit in with your vision for the day, complement your favorite features, and work in tandem with your venue of choice to create a seamless, cohesive ambiance.
From the romantic and timeless ball gowns worn by icons like Duchess Kate, Grace Kelly, and Jackie O to the voluminous sheath dresses that flatter curvy body types, there are so many different ways to show off your shape on your wedding day. But what makes a wedding dress special—and often more expensive than ready-to-wear formal gowns—is that it’s made especially for you. “A wedding dress is usually handmade to order, never worn or tried on by anyone else and tailored to be a perfect fit,” explains expert bridal designer Richard Cho. “This takes a lot of skill and time.”
When it comes to choosing your wedding dress, start with three words that describe how you want to feel on your wedding day. This will help you narrow down your dress options and make the process more focused. Keeping your budget in mind is also important, so when you’re appointment-making, start with the least expensive shop and keep scaling up from there.
Another factor that influences the price of your gown is how much detailing and embellishments you want to add. Beading and embroidery take more labor to construct than lace, for example, so you can expect the price of your dress to rise accordingly.
The fabric you choose for your wedding dress will also impact its look and feel. While silk and satin are the most popular choices, there are many more wedding-appropriate fabrics to consider as well. Shantung, for instance, is a textured weaved silk with a more mature, muted appearance. Meanwhile, chiffon and organza are soft, translucent materials that can add an airy, whimsical quality to your gown.
When it comes to calculating your wedding dress costs, don’t forget to include the cost of any alterations that will be needed. Almost every gown needs some tweaking to achieve the picture-perfect fit, including taking side seams in or out, hemming, adding ties or buttons for a bustle, mending fabric, shortening straps, and inserting bra cups. You should also plan for any accessories you’ll need to complete your look, such as a veil or headpiece. A typical alterations bill could run anywhere from $150 to $500.