Updated May 29, 2019

Average Cost of Wedding Dress

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A bride spends $1,564 on average on her wedding dress. And that doesn't include shoes and accessories. Read this report for the real costs of wedding attire.

The day you've dreamt of all your life doesn't come cheap. Wedding dresses can get real costly real quick.

Read our report and see just how much you should start saving for your dream day.

Eye Opening Costs

You knew your dress would cost more than your little black dresses. But did you know just how much? Read on to see what is in store for you.

  1. What is the average cost of a wedding dress?
    In order to feel like a princess, it's going to cost you. The average bride spends $1,564 on her wedding dress. This is just the dress, though. There are still the accessories to consider, including the veil and shoes.

  2. How much is a Vera Wang wedding dress?
    Vera Wang is one of the most well respected wedding designers. With respect comes a high price, though. Vera Wang puts out two collections every year. The Vera Wang Collection starts at $2,900. The Luxe Collection starts at a whopping $6,900.

  3. How much does it cost to rent a wedding dress?
    Renting a wedding dress could save you as much as 85% of the retail cost of the dress. You can find simple wedding dresses for as little as $30 to rent at Rent the Runway. If you want a more traditional wedding dress, try Borrowing Magnolia. You'll pay between $500 and $1,500 to rent a dress. However, you could save as much as 50% on designer dresses this way.

  4. How much do most brides want to spend on a wedding dress?
    It turns out that women are a little more frugal than we thought. According to a study conducted by Lyst, brides stick to a budget of $1,000. Luckily, there are many ways to still get a dream dress with this budget.

  5. Who traditionally pays for the wedding dress?
    If you are following the age-old tradition, the bride's family pays for the bride's dress. However, tradition doesn't always hold true today. Many couples foot the bill for their own wedding, including the cost of the gown.

  6. How can you save money on a wedding dress?
    Your dream dress may be out of reach. There are ways you can lower the cost, though. This may get you closer to the dress you always wanted.

    • Buy during the "off" season. New designs come out in the spring. Shopping during the summer or winter could save you as much as 80% off your dream dress.
    • Shop sample sales. As new designs emerge, bridal shops have to clear the floor. If you are an "average" size, you may snag a dress for a fraction of its original price. (The average wedding dress size is 10 or 12. This equates to a 6 or 8 in regular clothing).
    • Buy the dress "as is." Don't ask for elaborate alterations. Unless you need alterations to fix the fit, leave it.
    • Choose a simpler version. You can still opt for your desired shape or silhouette, but keep it simple. Maybe you can find a dress with the same silhouette but less beading. Or you find an option with less lace.

    Looking for other ways to cut costs on your wedding? Check out this article from All the Frugal Ladies for even more ideas to get married for less.

  7. What is the average cost of a bride's shoes for her wedding day?
    A bride's shoes can range in price from $25-$1,000. Some brides prefer to splurge on the shoes rather than the gown. You can find bargain bridal shoes at stores like David's Bridal and Payless Shoes. The average bride, however, spends around $150-$200 on shoes. Stores like Macy's and Nordstrom offer designer shoes within this price range.

  8. How much are wedding dress alterations?
    It's hard to pinpoint exactly how much you might spend on alterations. Every dress is different. At a minimum, budget $75. That covers the basics, making it fit perfectly. If you have to add a bustle for your train, expect the price to increase.

Special alterations, such as adding sleeves, changing a corset's back, or creating a bustle, could cost as much as $500.

The Veil and Its Traditions

Blushers may not be tradition any longer, but women are still donning veils. Will you or won't you? Read on for some juicy tips.

  1. What is the meaning of the wedding veil?
    The wedding veil has seen many meanings throughout the years. It started out with the Greeks as a way to ward off evil spirits. It then became a sign of purity. Today, most people just see it as a tradition rather than a sign of purity.

  2. Do you have to wear a veil on your wedding day?
    You certainly don't have to wear a veil on your wedding day. But many brides who swear they won't wear one end up wearing one. In fact, 54% of brides wear a veil at least to the ceremony.

    You can decide once you find "the dress." When you have it on, you might feel like something is missing. If you do, try a veil. You won't know if you'll like it or not until you try.

    If you do hate it, check out some of the other options below.

  3. What do women wear instead of a veil?
    Women who won't wear a veil usually wear some type of hair accessory. A few options include:

    • Flower circlet
    • Rhinestone circlet
    • Hair comb
    • Hair pins
    • Headbands
    • Tiaras

Wedding Dress Traditions

If you thought about waiting until the last minute to shop for a wedding dress, think again. We provide tips to help save you some wedding day stress.

  1. How soon should you start shopping for a wedding dress?
    The absolute latest you should buy your wedding dress is 6 months before the wedding. But experts recommend you start 12 months before the date. This might mean shortly after getting engaged!

    At the very least, start planning. Set your budget, decide who will shop with you, and do your research. To play it safe, it's best to make a purchase 8 months before the wedding. This allows enough time for alterations and unforeseen issues.

  2. Why do brides wear white on their wedding day?
    Most people think white symbolizes purity and innocence. In fact, blue signifies these things. The tradition to wear white didn't start until after Queen Victoria's wedding to Prince Albert. The queen, who was used to doing things her way, threw caution to the wind and wore a white wedding dress instead of blue.

    A few years later, it became tradition as wedding magazines everywhere encouraged brides to wear white.

  3. What does the old saying "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue" mean?
    Many brides receive gifts of items to fit this theme. It's known as a symbol of good luck. Your family and bridal party usually provide the token gifts. They have the following meaning:

    • Something old represents consistency in your relationship
    • Something new represents a positive future
    • Something borrowed represents happiness
    • Something blue represents purity and innocence

Dressing the Groom

The groom might not get away as cheap as you thought! Groomsmen pay their fair share too.

  1. How much is the average groom's attire?
    Grooms get away lucky. The average groom spends $280 on his attire. This includes everything down to the shoes! That's just about 18% of what the bride spends.

  2. How much does it cost to be a groomsman?
    You probably hear bridesmaids complaining of the cost of weddings, but groomsmen aren't at any advantage. In fact, they spend an average of $738 on bachelor party accommodations. You still need to add the cost of a tux, around $200, and wedding gifts.

    Groomsmen easily spend over $1,000 on a wedding!

  3. What expenses does the groom cover for the groomsmen?
    Typically, the groomsmen pay for their own attire and necessary items for the wedding. The groom typically buys the groomsmen a gift, though. Some grooms choose to pay for the groomsmen's suits as the gift. This helps alleviate the financial burden of being in a wedding party.

    The groom usually also covers accommodations for out-of-town groomsmen. This includes the transportation to the events.

Dressing the Bridesmaids

Bridesmaids know it's costly to be in a wedding. Just how costly is it, though? We provide you with the nitty gritty details.

  1. How much is the average bridesmaid dress?
    Bridesmaids get away a little cheaper than groomsmen. The average cost of a bridesmaid dress is $165. Bridesmaids get to keep their dresses too. However, more than half of bridesmaids surveyed in a study by Wedding Paper Divas won't wear the dress again.

  2. Why do bridesmaids wear the same dresses?
    Bridesmaids wearing the same dress is an ancient tradition. The ancient Romans required it in order to ward off evil spirits. It was thought that the spirits would get confused if everyone standing at the altar wore the same color/outfit.

    Today, brides take a more modern approach. Some choose a color and let their bridesmaids pick the dress. Others still prefer the same dress, but only to help her special friends stand out at her wedding.

  3. How much does it cost to be a bridesmaid?
    Bridesmaids make out with less expensive clothing. But they have hair, makeup, and accessories to purchase. This brings a bridesmaid's average cost up to $381.

    Bridesmaids also cover the cost of the bridal shower. This is in addition to the bachelorette party. On average, bridesmaids spend an additional $500 on these events.

    Adding the cost of travel and gifts in, bridesmaids spend an average of $1,300 on their BFF's wedding.

  4. What expenses do brides cover for the bridesmaid?
    Generally, the bride covers the flowers, hair and makeup cost for her bridesmaids. In addition, brides often give their bridesmaid a thank you gift for being in the wedding. Most brides also cover accommodations for out-of-town guests and transportation costs to the wedding events.

Just for Fun

  1. What is the most expensive wedding dress ever made?
    $1,500 sounded like a lot to spend on a dress for one day, right? Consider the Diamond Wedding Dress. It cost $12 million!

    Granted, it's layered in diamonds - 150 carats worth. I wonder how comfortable that would be?

  2. What was the cost of Princess Diana's wedding dress?
    The wedding of the century was beautiful and expensive. Princess Diana's wedding dress was a whopping $13,000. Perhaps even more shocking, though, is her wedding cost around $70 million in today's money.

The Final Word

You have the final say in the cost of your wedding attire. Do you want to go all out? Or would you rather save the money for a house and college education for your future kids? It's all up to you!

Sources and References:

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