• 05/08/2023

The Average Cost of a Wedding Dress

The Average Cost of a Wedding Dress

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A white dress is one of the most recognizable symbols of marriage. Similar to how every style is unique, the prices of each vary wildly. What is a good price for a wedding dress? You must know the average cost of a wedding dress to find out if you’re paying a reasonable price.

What Do Wedding Dresses Typically Cost?

Most brides browse dress racks wondering if their estimate is a good guess for a wedding dress. While everyone has different budgets to work with, it can help you if you know what other women pay. In 2022, a wedding dress cost around $1,800 on average. This number may seem a lot higher or lower than you expected, but many factors contribute to the overall cost.

What Factors Influence the Price?

There are a few hidden costs you need to catch right away. The price tag has one number when you pull it off the rack, but you might get a different one at the register if you choose add-ons. It’s normal to alter your dress, but you should factor those costs into your budget.

Beyond the dress itself, a range of things factors into the overall cost:

  • Material: Wedding dresses are supposed to be a bit of a splurge purchase, so they’re usually made with fine materials. While wearing pure silk for a day is nice, it heavily influences the overall cost. 
  • Embellishments: Everyone can appreciate some extra glam on a dress, but add-ons like sequins or lace can be expensive. 
  • Alterations: Most brides have to tailor their dresses to fit them properly. Even if the fit is perfect, many still choose to make small customizations like adding length or volume. While minor changes may be affordable, significant alterations typically cost up to $1,000 on average.
  • Seasons: New styles are typically released in seasons to keep up with wedding trends. It can be fun to wear the latest dresses, but new releases are more expensive because they’re more popular.
  • Location: You may spend more for a dress if you’re in a location with a higher general cost. Location can also influence price if there aren’t many competing businesses nearby or you live far away from your retailer and have to pay shipping costs.
  • Shop type: How you get your dress matters. For example, you can shop in specialty boutiques, thrift stores or online. While each is fairly similar, they come with variables that fluctuate the overall price. 
  • Accessories: Accessories can add some personalization and beauty to your dress, but they factor into the cost.
  • Brand: Designer brands can be chic and gorgeous, but be aware you’re just paying for the brand name.

While most brides won’t deal with every one of these factors, it’s helpful to keep them in mind when shopping. For example, it may be cheaper to buy a dress online, but the cost of shipping and alterations can add up to be more expensive than something you’d get in person. Knowing what to expect might save future brides time and money.

How Do You Save Money on a Dress?

The average cost of a wedding dress may fit into your budget, but trying to save is still worth it. The estimated price of weddings in 2023 is around $30,000 on average, so budgeting might be helpful. If you’re wondering how to save money on a dress, there are plenty of ways to do it.

  1. Choose Unconventional Dresses

One of the best ways to save money on a wedding dress is to get something unconventional. Since white is a traditional wedding color, wedding-related inflation and raised prices affect white dresses significantly. Instead of wearing white, consider a colored dress. Subtle or pale shades can look classy and help you save money.

Consider an alternative style if you have your heart set on classic white. It’s becoming fashionable to wear jumpsuits, short gowns or simplistic looks. A ball gown can make you feel like a princess, but nontraditional styles have the same effect and are affordable.

  1. Shop Smart

Comparison shopping can be an easy way to save money. Browse your option at multiple in-person and online stores and save the looks you like for later. You might get a better deal by comparing similar styles and prices. Choosing cheaper materials, fewer embellishments and affordable accessories can also help.

You should also shop smart whether you’re in person or online. The Better Business Bureau recommends checking the refund policy and the return window of the shop before paying to ensure you can have a backup plan. It’s also wise to pay a deposit instead of upfront to keep some leverage. 

  1. Plan Ahead

Plan to get your dress far in advance, if you can. Decide what you’re looking for right away and keep an eye out for deals and sales. Many brides wait to get their dress until closer to the wedding because they want to make as few alterations as possible, but planning ahead can be useful. Shopping in the off-seasons can help you snag your dream dress just because you waited for the right time.

  1. Make a Budget

Making a budget can help you save money because it guides you through the process of buying a dress. It’s better to figure out your expectations so you don’t walk into a shop and fall in love with an option out of your price range. Plus, it helps you factor in the various extra costs so you aren’t surprised by them later. 

Setting your budget around the average cost of a wedding dress is a good starting point. You can plan to pay a certain percentage of your overall wedding on a dress or make a price cap to narrow it down further. If you really want to go all out, consider cutting back on accessories, embellishments and alterations so you can put more towards the dress.

  1. Look for Alternative Options

It also may help to get your dress used or rent it for the day. Many brides feel sentimental about their wedding dress but don’t usually have an occasion to wear it again. Instead of letting it sit in your closet for years, consider renting it to save money. 

If your heart is set on keeping it, look for used dresses online or at rental shops. You might surprise yourself and find one you fall in love with. Plus, they’re typically cheaper — with a price tag of around $50 to $600 on average — because they’re from past wedding dress trends. 

The Average Cost of Wedding Dresses

Plenty of variables go into the overall average cost of a wedding dress, but you can limit how much they influence it. It’s okay to splurge for your big day and treat yourself, but saving money where you can might be worth it.

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