The Knot’s 2015 Real Weddings Study found that on average brides spent $1,469 on their wedding dress, up $112 from 2014. For any other dress that amount is beyond extravagant unless you’re a red carpet starlet or royalty – and even they borrow gowns instead of buying them for most of their public appearances.
If you’ve ever seen an episode of Say Yes to the Dress, you know that what a woman wears on her wedding day has real emotional meaning. While I like to encourage all brides to not try on dresses that are over their budget, I totally understand that things can get out of hand at a bridal salon. One moment you’re trying on an affordable sweetheart neckline gown and the next your attendant has slipped you into a gorgeous lace number that has your heart pitter-pattering in a way you never knew possible from a garment.
Slipping on a gown that makes you feel like a million bucks for your big day is worth spending a little extra cash. If you still aren’t convinced, consider these four reasons for why it’s okay to make the dress a wedding budget priority and some ways to save on other things to offset the cost.
Why It’s Okay to Splurge on Your Wedding Dress
Comfort and Beauty Are Priceless
Finding the best designer wedding dresses is a matter of knowing what style suits your body type and will make you feel comfortable. Studies have shown that what we wear can have a profound impact on our self-esteem, confidence and how others perceive us. It’s so influential it can alter the way our brains think.
If an expensive dress is what you end up feeling the most beautiful in, it may be worth spending a little extra. Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life. You deserve to feel completely comfortable and amazing when you walk down the aisle, after all.. this is a one-time thing!
It Celebrates Your Personal Style
A wedding is all about the bride and groom. It’s a chance to share their love with the people they care about most and celebrate being a couple. Part of the celebration is showing off your personal style. There’s no better way to do that than with the wedding dress.
When your groom sees you for the first time in your dress, the image will forever be embedded in his mind. You want that image to be one that truly represents you in all your beauty.
The Wedding Dress Can Become a Family Heirloom
Because wedding dresses are often expensive, women tend to hold onto them. As a result, they can become a family heirloom that gets passed down from one generation to the next. Your daughters or future daughters-in-law could end up saving money on their own nuptials by wearing using your wedding dress instead of buying a new one. The chances of this? Not very likely… but if you want to justify your purchase a little more you could use this as ammo.
It Will Be Seen for Years and Years in Pictures
Another reason to splurge on the wedding dress is the fact that it will be the focal point of the pictures for years to come. Couples spend big bucks on professional photography to capture the most memorable moments of the wedding day. That means the wedding dress will be forever preserved from every angle in hundreds of pictures. Usually, these wedding photos will be displayed on mantles, desks, walls, and social media accounts where they will be are seen by all of your friends and family. You want your dress to be worthy of that kind of coverage!
Now, I’m not trying to convince you to spend more money on your wedding dress, I just want you to know that if you fall in love with a dress that’s pricier than your budget, it’s not the end of the world. There are many ways to balance out your budget!
Where to Save to Offset the Cost of an Expensive Wedding Dress
If you decide to splurge on your wedding dress, there are ways to cut other expenses to offset the cost. Weddings are extremely personal so what one person considers to be a priority could be completely unimportant to someone else. However, the tips below are based on dollars and cents, which means they can help you save the most money!
Choose the Right Location
As The Knot’s study shows, the location of the event has a huge influence on the overall cost. To put it in perspective, the average cost of a wedding in Manhattan is $82,299 (most expensive in the country) compared to $17,361 in Alaska (least expensive location). One of the major reasons for the price differences is the cost of venues and vendors. Choosing an inexpensive area to get married can save you bundles!
Choose the Right Time of Year
During the wedding high seasons, everything from venues to catering will be in higher demand, which typically increases the cost. If you’re thinking about getting hitched in October, September or June (the three most popular months for weddings) you may want to adjust the date by a month or so to save money. Another month you may want to avoid is December. With so many holiday celebrations happening, vendors are going to be busy and charging premium prices, so it’s better to stay away from those peak months.
Use Flowers That Are In-Season
Many brides are tempted to select their favorite flowers for the bouquet and décor, but this could end up costing you a fortune. Flowers that aren’t in-season here in the U.S. will have to be specially ordered and shipped in from somewhere else. Needless to say, that costs much more than selecting flowers that are naturally blooming the month you get married, so choose in-season flowers for your wedding month.
Rent a Home for the Wedding and Reception
Venues are by far and away the largest expense of a wedding. A budget-savvy bride can save a bundle by renting a beautiful home instead of a public space. You can save even more by having the ceremony and the reception in the same location. BONUS – you can stay there that night as opposed to renting a hotel suite!
I hope this has given you some things to think about. If you’ve found yourself fallen in love with a dress that’s breaking your budget, try these tips to reduce your spend elsewhere. Best of luck and happy shopping!
Favorite Wedding Dresses from BHLDN
Editor’s note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more pandemic wedding resources here.