Wedding dresses vary considerably in price from $500 to $100,000 (and also in terms of what you get for your money). For example, you can purchase a perfectly adequate off the peg dress, from bridal chains such as Pronuptia or Berketex brides, for as little as $300. But you have to accept, that at this price, the dress is likely to be mass produced (ie: manufactured in the Far East), and is unlikely to be in silk fabrics or particularly unique.
On the other hand, you can also buy famous New York designer dresses for $6,000 or more (which are also manufactured in China and then altered to fit you) from top West end designers bridal stores such as Selfridges and Browns Bride. Admittedly the service is better and you should expect silk fabrics, but one could argue that if you are paying $6,000 for an off the peg dress, then you are simply paying for the name.
If the bride is prepared to pay $6,000 for her dress, it should (at the very least), be made to measure. For example, all Johanna Hehir’s dresses can be made to measure for between $3,500 and $ 8,000. This means the wedding dress is individual, handmade in England, to fit you.
At this point, it is probably helpful to understand the difference between off the peg, made to measure and couture dresses.
The majority of bridal stores buy the dresses they sell, from big bridal dress manufacturers. These dresses are usually ordered for the customer in the closest standard size and then altered to fit the bride. This is not ideal fit wise, but it is the only way to keep prices low. This is commonly known as “off the peg” but unfortunately, some bridal stores attempt to pass this off as “made to measure”. Don’t forget to ask if the price quoted includes alterations?
As these are usually extra and can add several hundred pounds to the price of the dress, depending on what needs doing.
There are also a number of designers who mistakenly describe their dresses as “couture” when in fact they are made to measure. These are all rather cynical attempts to take advantage of the bride’s lack of understanding and to persuade her that she is getting more for her money than she actually is.
Made to measure is where the bride chooses an existing design, that is then made up to fit her. The price quoted normally includes a number of fittings. Made to measure dresses typically start from $3,000 upwards. In the ideal world, all brides would have their dresses made to measure, to ensure a perfect fit.
Couture is where the customer sits down with the designer and the dress is designed from scratch to the customer’s specification. With couture, there is usually always a toile fitting, (to check the fit of the pattern), before the dress is cut and made up. Couture dresses typically start from $6,000 upwards, as they are very time consuming and expensive to manufacture.
What are other ways to have a cheaper wedding?
So, now it’s finally sinking in that he’s popped the question and you’ve said yes, your heart may have sighed when thinking about how much it’s going to cost you both.
After deciding to get married, before starting the preparations, many brides and grooms find they have to decide what their budget is… I know I did. It’s a fact of life that wedding’s aren’t cheap. However, it is possible to do them cheaper if you know how!
There have been plenty of ways we have managed to save money on our own wedding and I’m glad this great site has given me the opportunity of sharing my ideas and tips with you, so here goes…
The first thing I did was the list what my guest’s strengths are and how I could involve as many of them as possible. I found this a great way of cutting down costs. My father is obviously walking down my isle and my mum is having a pampering session with me on my big day. That left my mum’s hubby Mick at a loose end. Not being able to afford a Toastmaster I asked Mick who gladly said yes. He has a great presence and isn’t shy or afraid to use it. With a list of things I want him to say and a dashing red waistcoat instead of ivory like the other members of the male bridal party I know he’s not only going to sound the part, he’ll look the part too!
Toastmasters range in price from $175.00 to $395.00 (that I’ve found) so with the waistcoat only costing me $35.00 I’ve made a saving of at least $140.00.
Music or entertainment is also another way I cut costs. Having recently been to a Scottish wedding, I was wowed by bagpipe players and thought they were amazing. I was adamant I wanted something to live for when I make that intense walk down the isle. A close friend and former colleague of mine have a daughter that plays the flute beautifully. I approached her and she very kindly agreed to play me some classical music for my big entrance.
I hope I have given you some ideas of how you can reduce the cost of your own wedding.
Over the years Jeffrey Howard has since worked on many blue-chip brands including Nissan, British Telecom, The AA and working at this site as a marketing adviser. I’m super passionate about helping others live life with more freedom and flexibility, and a bit of travel thrown in for good measure.