How much does a wedding dress cost?
Buying a wedding dress is unlike purchasing a piece of everyday attire. You’re going to be wearing this dress on one of the most important days of your life, and so you’ll likely spend quite a bit of money on your wedding dress. While wedding dress prices do vary greatly, the average wedding dress cost in the U.S. is $1,000. It typically ranges from $280 to $1,650, but you can purchase a wedding dress for far above and below those prices.
- $ 100 or less Lower range
- $ 1,000 Average cost
- $ 280 - $ 1,650 Most couples spend between
- $ 2,600 or more Upper range
What impacts wedding dress prices?
What additional wedding dress costs should a bride plan for?
- Alterations: If you want to drastically change your wedding dress, your alterations may end up costing more than your actual wedding dress!
- Undergarments and accessories: Be sure to factor in your accessories— bridal undergarments, shoes, and more. These accessories will greatly affect how your gown looks and fits, so don’t forget to include them in your wedding dress cost.
- Cleaning and preservation: Don’t be surprised if you’re still spending money on your wedding dress after your wedding! Whether you plan on wearing your wedding dress again, passing it on to a future generation, or none of the above, it’s still a good idea to have your gown professionally cleaned and preserved. Wedding dress cleaning and preservation can cost $200 or more.
How can you save money on a wedding dress?
- Don’t try on dresses that are over-budget: Be upfront with your bridal salon consultant about your budgets—and be sure ask about the cost of each dress you try on. Avoid the temptation of trying on a wedding dress that’s out of your price range.
- Find a simple wedding dress, and accessorize: As mentioned, a simple and relatively unadorned wedding gown will cost less than an extremely detailed wedding dress. If you’re on a tight wedding dress budget, we recommend finding a simple gown and using a beaded sash or a brooch to give it some extra sparkle.
- Find a dress you love as is: Any significant alterations or customizations that you do to a wedding dress will cost (a lot of!) money. Therefore, if you want to make significant changes to a wedding dress (add sleeves, change the silhouette, etc.), that gown is probably not for you. Look for a wedding dress that you love mostly as it looks off the hanger.
- Scour sample sales: Many bridal salons offer sample sales where they sell sample dresses from past seasons. These sample dresses are typically in sizes 6 to 12, so if you fall in that size category, you may find a gorgeous gown at a low price at one of these sales.
- Visit trunk shows: If you’re set on purchasing a gown by a specific designer, you might find a deal at a trunk show. Trunk shows are when a bridal salon features the collection of a particular dress designer—and usually offers a discount (usually about 5 or 10 percent off that designer’s wedding dress prices). Research which salons in your area carry your favorite designers, and check their websites for upcoming trunk shows.
- Give yourself time to shop: A wedding dress can take several months to arrive after you’ve ordered it. Be sure to start shopping for your wedding dress as soon as possible —many brides shop at least nine months in advance, if not more. If you wait until the last minute, you may end up paying rush charges for your dress, which can greatly add to your total wedding dress cost.
How much does it cost to alter a wedding dress?
What questions should you ask a wedding dress tailor?
- How many fitting appointments will I need? How long will the process take?
- What types of alterations do you recommend for my wedding dress?
- Have you worked with a dress and fabric like mine before?
- Can you provide a cost for my alterations?
- How will you store my wedding dress?
- What do I need to bring to my first fitting appointment?
Wedding Dresses and Gowns
As you plan your wedding, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is your wedding dress. The dress you choose should reflect your unique style and personality and make you feel like the most beautiful woman in the room. How does a bride say “yes” to that perfect dress? Here’s a quick guide to shopping for wedding dresses.
Set Your Budget
When you start browsing bridal gowns, it’s easy to fall in love no matter the price tag. Before you even pick up a bridal magazine, set a strict wedding dress budget. We suggest allocating around 10 percent of your overall wedding budget to your dress – and don’t forget to include the cost of your wedding accessories in that line item!
Narrow Down Your Style
About a year out from your wedding, start browsing bridal dresses and get a feel for how they match up with your style. Now is the time to educate yourself on silhouettes, necklines, fabrics and more. Our wedding dress style guide can help.
Once you’ve set your wedding date and chosen a venue, add these factors into your dress calculation. Are you marrying in the winter at a beautiful church? Then you might choose a dress with heavier fabric – like satin – in a more traditional silhouette like a ball gown or A-Line.
Book Wedding Dress Salons
About 10 to eight months before your wedding, it’s time to get boots (or heels) on the ground to start your wedding dress hunt. Consider wedding dress salons in your area and book appointments with your top choices – most salons do not allow walk-ins. Take a look at our complete wedding dress shopping guide to learn all the tips and tricks to finding the wedding dress of your dreams.
Trying on Bridal Dresses
As your salon appointments approach, assemble your fashion squad to give you feedback and moral support. Keep your posse small, as too many opinions can get overwhelming. When you arrive at the salon, your stylist will discuss your dress preferences and budget and help you choose options. Keep an open mind; your stylist knows what looks good on different body types. If your stylist suggests a dress, even if it’s not a silhouette you are considering, give it a try. You might be surprised.
Choosing Your Bridal Gown
When your heart leaps and you can’t stop grinning at the reflection in the mirror, you’ve found the right wedding dress. The salon will likely ask for a down payment and then order your dress. Over the next months, your dress will be created just for you. It should arrive a few months before your wedding so you have time for fittings and alterations at your salon. (See our full wedding dress shopping timeline.) You may feel like you’re waiting forever, but this is the perfect time to pick your wedding accessories and knock off other items on your wedding to-do list.
Ready to start shopping for wedding dresses? WeddingWire is here to help. Put in your location and search for the top salons in your area. Read reviews and start making appointments. Happy dress hunting!