October 2018

Bargain or designer wedding dress

This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.

When it comes to your wedding gown, there’s one thing for sure. You want to look – and feel – GREAT.

So where should you buy your dress? Do you go all out and invest in a designer frock, or do you save your hard-earned money given that you’re just going to wear it for one day?

Well… the single wear argument is a strong one. There’s surely only so much someone wants to spend on a dress that will only get to see the light of day on a single solitary occasion.

And yet, there’s the old adage – you get what you pay for. Let’s face it, even the less style-savvy among us still want to feel awesome on our wedding day, and it has to be said that designer gowns are built to flatter. So, even if you’re usually a jeans and t-shirt kinda gal, your wedding dress is one of those times where you need to take your time, shop carefully, and invest wisely.

So – bargain or designer?  Let’s look at this realistically.

Bargain Or Designer Wedding Dresses

Buying a bargain dress

Photo credit: Donna Sharpe

Cheap And Unknown

While cheap knock-offs and imported frocks might look like a bargain, chances are the product you receive won’t look anything like the pictures on the website.  It doesn’t take too much searching to find a plethora of horror stories from brides who bought from unknown sellers on the internet only to be hugely disappointed.

Buying cheaply isn’t a no-no but buying from unknown sellers with no comeback is definitely to be avoided. If you’re on a budget, you don’t want to end up spending out twice because the first dress was a let-down.  Do your research, protect yourself by making sure that returns are accepted, and bear in mind that if it looks too good to be true, it probably is!

Pre-owned wedding dresses

Photo credit: Donna Sharpe


This is such a wonderful option, giving a gorgeous gown the opportunity to travel down the aisle one more time.  Most gowns are only worn indoors for a few hours, and if they’ve been dry cleaned you could be grabbing yourself a gorgeous designer gown for a snip of the price.  A must-consider for the budget savvy bride!

High Street wedding dresses

High Street

Then, though, you’ve got your high street option.  You can go to an established store which is part of a trusted chain.  Here you can try dresses on for shape and size and make sure that it’s as good in real life as it is on the website.  If it needs taking in or adjusting you can still get it altered to be a perfect fit, but you’ll know what you’re getting.  Seeing the dress in real life also means you get to see it, touch it, know that it’s well made and in a nice fabric.

Of course, being a high street frock does run the risk of it being a more commonly seen choice, but that’s part of the deal with it being cheaper than designer options – manufacturing a large number of these gowns means being able to produce them more cheaply and is how the stores can price them lower.

Bridal boutique

Photo credit: Donna Sharpe

Bridal Boutiques

Then we get into bridal boutiques.  Prices still vary quite a lot with designer gowns so it’s worth doing your research.  Check out which designers are low/mid/high end and pick boutiques that stock the right price point for you.

The beauty of shopping in a boutique is the attention to detail and being treated like a bride. An appointment set aside especially for you, an assistant to help you through the shopping process and gowns that are designed to flatter.  Sure, this is one of the more expensive options, but you get what you pay for, and if quality matters to you, this is where it’s at!

Couture bridal wear

Photo credit: Donna Sharpe


Of course, there is one other option, and that’s going all-out bespoke.  Working with a designer on a one to one basis can be an amazing experience, creating a wedding dress that is completely unique and entirely one off.

So many brides find that while shopping off the peg, there may be a little something they love or would like to change on various dresses they try.  The bespoke gown can take all of the elements you love the most to create your dream gown, whether that’s fabrics, sleeve style, detailing or neckline.

This route is naturally more expensive due to the very individual attention that you receive. The process of design alone may take quite some time before the first piece of material is even cut, and of course you’ll be required to return to your couture designer for fittings. This, though, is all a part of this experience.

Your Choice

Ultimately, whatever you choose, remember this… ALL brides look beautiful on their wedding day.

Choose what suits you in terms of both style AND budget. Don’t break the bank for something you’ll wear once, but if you can afford it, splash out for a super special dress.

The most important thing regardless of budget, is that you feel incredible on your wedding day.

Let Honeyfund honeymoon registry help you finance your big day.

BIO: Wedding industry expert Donna has her own successful wedding blog Pasties & Petticoats, as well as offering freelance writing services for wedding businesses across the globe as The Wedding Writer.

With extensive experience in the wedding industry, Donna loves to inspire couples and shout from the rooftops about incredible wedding services and suppliers.

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