How Much Should You Plan to Spend on a Wedding Dress?

Feb 21, 2023Wedding Dress, Wedding planning

The price of a wedding gown can depend on numerous factors, including the bridal shop you buy from, the dress’s designer, alteration costs, and its anatomical features.

According to The Knot Real Weddings Study, the average cost of a wedding gown is $2,000. While, of course, off-the-rack gowns may be priced lower, more luxurious gowns can sometimes fall in the $3,000 to $8,000 range. Customized dresses can even cost as much as $10,000.

To properly accommodate your budget, consider ways to spend less while still picking a gown you adore. Below are some factors to consider when planning how much to spend on your wedding dress.

how much to budget for wedding dress 2023

4 Factors to Consider When Budgeting for a Wedding Dress

The average cost of a wedding dress may seem intimidating to some, but there are ways to budget for one and ensure that the gown is affordable and still what you envision for your special day.

1. Personal Budget

Like any other large purchase, you’ll want to establish a clear, set budget for your wedding gown before you start shopping. This can help ensure that when you’re looking at wedding dresses, you stay within your budget.

The best way to stick to your budget is to know the price of each wedding gown you try on. Avoid trying on dresses that are over budget; the last thing you want to do is fall in love with a dress that’s too expensive for your wallet to handle. Instead, limit the wedding dresses you try on to only the ones that are affordable for you.

2. Designer vs. Non-Designer Dresses

Another huge factor in determining how much a wedding dress costs is the designer who made it. It’s no surprise that big fashion designers come with a higher price tag than those who are smaller or less well-known. These dresses are usually made with high-end materials and will carry the power of the designer’s name behind them—like Vera Wang, Oscar de la Renta, Dolce & Gabbana, and more.

Designer wedding gowns can range anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000. The higher end of this spectrum typically includes customized wedding dresses, which are gowns made specifically for you. If you have a specific bridal style in mind for your wedding day, you can personalize and customize a dress. However, it’s important to remember that personalized gowns are far more expensive than those that aren’t, with the price only increasing as you incorporate more custom features.

If your heart is set on a designer gown for your wedding day, consider attending trunk shows or sample sales, which may sell these dresses for far less than the normal retail price.

3. Alterations 

Some wedding dress alterations are unavoidable. When setting your initial wedding dress budget, you should plan to pay for alterations since you’ll likely need at least something adjusted to make the dress fit perfectly.

More labor-intensive alterations, like changing a neckline, adding breast cups, or adding beading, will cost more money. For this reason, try avoiding major alterations by finding a dress you love as-is. Even if minor adjustments are needed, such as a seam alteration, you can still avoid spending as much as $500 to $1,000 on large gown changes.

4. Accessories

Accessories are a fun way to jazz up your wedding day look, but too many can quickly become a budget issue. To avoid going overboard, consider the price of your veil, shoes, and jewelry in your dress budget. If you’re looking to splurge a little more on your dress, try reducing the price of your accessories by opting for less expensive wedding shoes or forgoing the veil altogether.

wedding dress budget 2023

Tips for Saving Money on a Wedding Dress

With such a large range in pricing, it may be challenging to predict how much to budget for your wedding dress. It may even seem silly to spend a lot of money on an item you’re only planning on wearing once. However, most people don’t get to have a do-over wedding, so you’ll want to make the event as spectacular and special as possible.

Dresses made from luxurious fabrics like silk, satin, charmeuse, organza, or embroidered lace are going to cost more. Synthetic or blended fabrics, like crepe, rayon, chiffon, and polyester, are usually more affordable options. Of course, the thought of a polyester wedding gown may be nerve-wracking for some but don’t worry. Plenty of polyester blends can look and feel just as high-end as some of the more luxurious fabrics out there.

When you’re sitting down to figure out how much you can spend on your dress, consider its pricing as part of your wedding budget as a whole. You may already have a maximum price point you’re looking to stay under while you plan for your special day. Adjusting your spending on items like floral arrangements, food, music, venue, or something else can allow you to splurge a little more on your dress.

At Savvy Bridal, we work with brides-to-be every day to find the perfect wedding gown for their special day! With dresses starting at $800 (Kansas City) and $1000 (St. Louis), we have several options to choose from to fit any budget. Schedule your appointment today!

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