You’ve got your first bridal appointment scheduled, your gown inspiration board curated, now all that’s left is to decide just how much you are willing to spend on your gown. It may seem like a simple question, you may have already set aside a specific amount when you were determining your wedding budget, or a friend or relative may be gifting you the gown and determined the budget for you. But your gown budget needs to cover so much more than the gown itself. So, before the bridal consultant asks you for your budget, make sure you’ve accounted for everything.
PHOTOGRAPHY | Love & You Studios
1. Gown Ticket Price
This is the first thing that comes to mind when we think “gown budget”. It’s simple enough, it’s the price of the gown. That being said, the same gown can have different prices at different retailers, so if you do know exactly which gown your heart is set on, do some research and call around to make sure you’re getting the best price possible. Another way to make your budget stretch a little further is by shopping trunk shows, where boutiques usually offer significant discounts if you order during the promotional period.
PHOTOGRAPHY | Taylor & Porter
2. Cost of Alterations
For many women, their wedding gown is the first and only garment they will have altered, so it can be hard to know what to expect when it comes to pricing. Even if you have had garments altered in the past, wedding gown alterations cost significantly more than say, a cocktail dress or suit. If the boutique where you are planning on purchasing the gown offers in-house alterations, you may be able to get an estimate from their tailor before you place the order for the gown. Because the store sample is usually not the same size you order, they won’t be able to give you an exact quote until they see you in your actual dress, but at least this will give you a place to start. If you aren’t sure yet where you are getting your alterations, we recommend budgeting around $700. This is on the high end, but it is always better to budget more than to not set aside enough.
PHOTOGRAPHER | The Great Romance Photo
3. Sales Taxes
This is probably the most overlooked piece of the gown budget and it can be a pretty penny! The sales tax rate depends on where you live or where you purchase your gown. So, before you take that gown shopping trip, make sure to look up the sales tax rate on clothing for your destination (city and state).
PHOTOGRAPHER | Oliver Fly Photography
4. Shipping & Handling Fees
Whether you are searching for more variety or meeting up with friends and family, it’s not uncommon to travel to another city or state to go gown shopping. If you don’t plan on traveling back to the boutique where you purchased your gown, most boutiques can ship the gown you when it arrives. While this is super convenient, there is a fee for this service and it can be upwards of $100. So, if this is your plan, make sure to inquire about the boutique’s shipping and handling fees before you place your order. Chances are, it’s still cheaper than a plane ticket and a hotel, but it can take you off-guard if you’re not expecting it.
PHOTOGRAPHY | Shannon Moffit Photography
5. Bridal Accessories
Now, you can get as specific as you want with this line item. Some people count shoes and jewelry, but for our purposes, let’s just consider anything that you plan on purchasing at the bridal boutique at the time of your gown purchase. Your gown appointments are a beautiful blur of fine fabrics and glitzy accoutrements, so it’s easy not to realize that the delicate beaded sash that sold you on the gown adds another couple zeros to your final price. Pace yourself and don’t get too attached to any accessories until after you are sure you’ve found your gown, then, you’ll have a better idea of what is left in the budget.
PHOTOGRAPHY | Michelle Beller
Some wedding gowns have structure built-in, but some require a little extra help. Whether it’s a bustier/corset or some shapewear, you want to make sure that you set aside some of your gown budget to build that infrastructure. Now, this part of the budget is specific to the undergarments that you wear with your gown on the day of your wedding, not your wedding night lingerie, that is a different budget altogether.
PHOTOGRAPHY | Stephanie Brazzle Photography
From Style Me Pretty – https://www.stylemepretty.com/2019/11/22/heres-exactly-what-goes-into-your-gown-budget/