A wedding dress is one aspect of a wedding that a bride typically dreams of her entire life. If you’re currently engaged (congrats!), then you most likely have some ideas in mind of what style dress you want to wear on your wedding day. Before you jump right into shopping, it’s incredibly important to figure out what your wedding dress budget is.
Once you fully understand how much you can afford to spend on your wedding dress, it will make the process of finding your perfect dress so much easier.
What’s Your Total Wedding Budget?
The first step to figuring out your wedding dress budget is to make sure that you have your entire wedding budget figured out. Once you have that down, you can determine how much you want to allocate to your wedding dress.
Make sure that you consider every detail when determining your wedding budget. We recommend creating a spreadsheet to help you keep track of everything. You can even download a free template like this one to help you out!
For reference, these are the major categories that you’ll want to factor into your overall wedding budget. Keep in mind that this is your budget, though—you can take out or add anything that you want.
- Hair and makeup
- Favors + gifts
- Flowers + decor
- Invites + paper
- Reception venue
- Wedding planner
- Wedding rings
- Extra fees/emergency fund
For a more detailed list, check out this article!
How much should your wedding dress budget be?
So, how much should your wedding dress budget be once you figure out your overall wedding budget?
Generally, most newlyweds devote about 10 percent of their wedding budget to attire. Keep in mind that this includes more than just your dress—it may include your outfits for other occasions (like your bridal shower or bachelorette party), the wedding dress itself, alterations, special undergarments, accessories, your spouse’s outfit, and any cleaning or preservation that you get done.
Yes, this is a lot! But 10 percent of your wedding budget is a pretty large chunk, too. After determining your attire budget, you can figure out how much of it you’re willing to devote to your wedding dress.
If your dress is the most important element of your wedding day to you, then you certainly can devote more of your budget to it. Just remember to keep in mind that you may have to cut in other areas, such as flowers or music.
Research, Research, Research
While looking through Pinterest, Instagram, and “Say Yes to the Dress” episodes are perfect ways to get a sense of the wedding dress style that you might want, they will do nothing for you in terms of figuring out your wedding dress budget.
Before you go wedding dress shopping, call the salons and studios that you will be shopping at to figure out the price ranges that they offer. There’s nothing worse than getting to your wedding dress appointment and finding out that they don’t offer anything in your price range.
Some shops will be more accommodating (at K&B, we have dresses ranging from $99 to $3,000!), some are incredibly budget-friendly, and others will only offer gowns at a high price point.
Keep in mind that the cost of the dress will depend on a lot of different factors! These might be:
- Fabric: Some specific fabrics will be more expensive than others. Make sure you do your research on how much your favorite dress fabric typically costs!
- Details and embellishments: If a dress has a lot of details, such as lace appliques or hand-beading, then the price will typically be higher than a dress that doesn’t have a lot of detail.
- Designer: If you’re looking at dresses from high-end, popular designers, then they are going to cost you more than if you choose a lesser-known designer.
- Season: Typically, bridal gown designers release new collections once or twice a year. The most recent line of gowns will typically be more expensive than older ones.
Tips for Staying Within Your Wedding Dress Budget
If you’re truly struggling to stay within your wedding dress budget, there are a few tips that we have for you that you can follow. Hopefully, these will help you save some money and be more conscious of how much you’re spending!
Check out sample sales and trunk shows
Sample sales and trunk shows are excellent ways to save some money on a wedding gown.
Bridal salons and studios will typically offer a sample sale to get rid of some of their inventory or wedding dresses that are discontinued. This means that you will be purchasing a gown directly off the rack that other brides may have tried on. However, most of these dresses are typically still in good condition with very little wear-and-tear!
If the dress does have any issues, such as a broken zipper, loose beading, or ripped hems, be sure to ask whether or not they think the issues can easily be fixed.
Trunk shows are another excellent way to save money. Designers very rarely offer a discount on their collection, but trunk shows are often a time where they do! These are held in various bridal salons and studios. During the trunk show, the featured designer will typically have a discount on the dresses that are being featured.
At K&B, you can find out about our current special events here.
Don’t forget about alterations
Something that will often slip a bride’s mind is the fact that your dress will probably need alterations. Whether you buy a dress straight off the rack or order one through a designer, alterations are almost always necessary to ensure that the gown fits you perfectly.
Some studios will offer alterations directly in-house, others will provide you with a list of recommended seamstresses, and others will leave it entirely up to you.
In general, you can expect at least a few hundred dollars to go toward alterations.
Confidently Saying “Yes” to the Dress
Our biggest tip when it comes to your wedding dress budget? Only look at and try on dresses that are within your price range. Never try on a dress that is far off from the top of your budget range, because if you never try it on, you’ll never fall in love with it!
If you want to schedule an appointment with K&B to find your perfect dress, click here.