Wedding dress

Bargain or designer wedding dress

Photo credit: Donna Sharpe

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

Pre-Loved

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

Couture

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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Tips for buying your 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.

You’ve just said YES to the man of your dreams, now it’s time to find the perfect gown. If you’ve ever seen “Say Yes To The Dress,” you’ve seen some super stressed brides and gown shopping horrors. Here are a few quick tips to keep your day stress-free.

Tips For Stress-Free Wedding Dress Shopping

1. Make An Appointment

Make an appointment at bridal salon

Making an appointment with a wedding gown salon is just as important as scheduling an appointment with your doctor – you would never just pop-in on your dermatologist, right?

Setting an appointment allows the salon to prepare for you. They’ll be expecting you on the decided date and time and your consultant will be able to focus entirely on you. Without an appointment, there may not be anyone available to show you a single dress – yikes!

Okay, so you’ve made an appointment. Don’t get caught up in the moment and make 3 appointments for the same day. If you don’t find your dress at the first salon, then go ahead and make a second appointment. Decision exhaustion is real – your brain can’t handle looking at too many dresses in one day!

2. Know Your Budget

Look at dresses within your budget

Knowing the dress budget before the first appointment will relieve so much stress. I PROMISE.

  • If you are paying for the gown, do some research and come up with a number both you and your fiancé are comfortable with.
  • If someone else is paying, have a conversation before your appointment. This may be uncomfortable initially, but totally worth it in the end. If you know the budget is $2,500, you won’t need to wonder if you should try the $5,000 gown in the window!
  • Consider accessories and alterations. Make sure you have some wiggle room; don’t max out your budget on the gown alone.

3. Limit Your Entourage

Limit your entourage

The great Andy Warhol once said, One’s company, two’s a crowd, and three’s a party.

However, I think it’s best to leave the party for the wedding day. Too many opinions during the appointment can be overwhelming and confusing. You’ll be the one wearing the gown when you say I do so it’s important to bring only those whose opinions you trust and who encourage you to find the dress that makes you feel the most beautiful. Oh, and be sure to bring along the person with the purse.

4. Have An Open Mind

Have an open mind

So, you’ve probably been adding photos to your wedding dress Pinterest board for the last 6 years. That’s ok! In fact, you should do some research on different styles and fabrics before your first appointment. However, it’s equally as important that you go into each appointment with an open mind. It’s not uncommon to fall in love with a dress that you never imagined even trying on!

5. Don’t Be Afraid To Say, “Yes!”

Say "Yes" to your dress

There’s a good chance you’ll be able to find a dress you love at every bridal salon you waltz into. That being said, it’s okay to find “the one” at your very first appointment! Don’t think you need to try on every gown in the city before you can decide. It’s actually pretty common for brides to purchase one of the first dresses they try on when working with an experienced bridal consultant.

So, when you find a gown you love, stop looking and say, “YES!”

Help finance your honeymoon with a Honeyfund honeymoon registry.

Bio:  Alyssa Hall is the Social Media Manager for Bustle. Bustle is a bridal salon nestled in Homewood, Alabama providing a high-end shopping experience to style-savvy brides on a budget. Bustle specializes in designer sample wedding gowns straight off the rack. Visit Bustle’s website to learn more!

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