How to Find the Perfect Wedding Dress on a Budget

wedding dress

As your big day approaches, one of the biggest concerns is finding your dream dress. It may seem silly to spend a lot on something you’ll only wear once, but most people don’t get a do-over on their wedding, and a beautiful gown can set the tone for your entire event. If you’re on a budget, the good news is that there are plenty of ways to make your dream dress a reality without blowing your entire budget. Consider shopping during sales and pre-wedding season, looking for secondhand options or even customizing your gown to save the most money.

The amount of time, detail and labor required to design and produce your dress will significantly impact its overall cost. In addition, dress embellishments like hand-embroidered lace and intricate beading will add to the price tag. If you’re not a fan of beads, embroidery and appliques, look for plainer styles to keep your dress affordable.

Another factor that can dramatically affect dress pricing is the fabric used to make it. Silk and lace are some of the most expensive fabrics, while chiffon and satin can be much more affordable. Keep in mind that a dress made from the same fabric can look drastically different, as each type of fabric has its own distinct effect on the appearance and movement of your dress.

A bridal boutique’s reputation also plays a significant role in how much your dress costs. High-end designers like Vera Wang, Oscar de la Renta and Dolce & Gabbana carry a larger price tag than lesser-known designers, as well as designer-inspired lines offered at mass-market bridal stores.

The silhouette of your dress will also impact its cost. For instance, an empire-style dress, which has a high waistline and flares out from the hips, can help balance out wider hips while adding a flattering shape to petite frames. A fit-and-flare style, on the other hand, is perfect for hourglass figures and can accentuate curves without being as restrictive.

Other elements that can add to the price of your dress include the addition of corsets, cups and lining. While these features are not necessary to make a beautiful dress, they can provide extra comfort and support and can also be easily added on in alterations for an additional cost.

Lastly, train lengths and other dress accessories can also hike up the final dress cost. Longer trains, such as a chapel or cathedral dress, will require more material and take up more floor space, while shorter trains, including sweep and Watteau styles, barely graze the floor and are less formal.

If you’re looking for a wedding dress that will be both on-trend and affordable, consider shopping for a pre-owned gown from a website such as Stillwhite, Once Wed or Tradesy. Many wedding dress sellers offer this option in order to give brides the opportunity to find a beautiful dress at a fraction of the retail price. Just make sure to research each site carefully and read the return policy before making a purchase.

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